My ATV rumbled through the arid dirt track of the Tarlac Recreational Park. I sped past a dune buggy; my hands shaking wildly as the ATV bounced through a rough patch of the road. The sun was gloriously shining above, the wind whipping through my whole body, my camera dangling just below my neck; the only thing missing was an AC/DC song blasting through as soundtrack and everything would’ve been rock n’ roll perfect.The change from absolute calm to supreme mayhem couldn’t be more jarring.
Our group from Microtel Luisita’s Tara Quin Tarlac Tour has just visited the hilltop sanctuary of Monasterio de Tarlac before heading to the Tarlac Recreational Park. It is arguably the hub of sports activity this side of the province.
Packed lunches were passed around as we were briefed on what to expect from the recreational park. Through spoonfuls of pancit and crispy chickens; my ears suddenly perked up as I heard that the park has dune buggies and ATV’s (all terrain vehicles) available to drive around.
The introduction went on; the 78-hectare Tarlac Recreational Park also has an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a lagoon for kayaking, an excellent biking trail, a zipline and an airsoft ground.
But all these are just flying through my head. I’m rarin’ to go board that ATV!
I’m a relative newcomer when it comes to riding an ATV, having only driven it once through Mayon Volcano’s Lava Trail the year before. But it was such an exciting and addictive ride that even though the dune buggy seemed the safer choice, I still jumped on the ATV first.
Instructions were given and first-timers were briefed on how to handle the vehicles. Driving an ATV and a dune buggy is actually not that hard, it’s basically just a more advanced bump car. Advanced, being it has a gear for drive, neutral and reverse. One just has to shift to drive, press the accelerator, brake if needed and that’s it.
Revving our engines up, we donned our helmets and roared after the lead guide towards the rough trail of the Tarlac Recreational Park. The road winding through the rocky outskirts of the park is dry and dusty; clouds of dirt flew through the air as we sped through the landscape.
Good thing I was wearing a Headware for nose and mouth cover and an arm-warmer to protect myself from the elements. I just wish I bought that pair of aviator shades I saw in Zalora the week before so I didn’t have to squint every time I pass through a dust cloud. It would’ve made for an easier, and not to mention safer drive.
The trail wound up and down through hilly parts of the complex. I lost track of the time but I guess it took a good thirty minutes for us to loop around the tracks and return to our starting point. The trail was really scenic that I have to stop every now and then take photos of the landscape.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Not by a long shot.
I totally forgot there were other things I can do in the Tarlac Recreational Park. I could’ve biked, I could’ve paddled a canoe through their lagoon, or perhaps ridden the zipline (which I’ve done numerous times before, but sort of felt it lacking in excitement).
What I did instead is ride the dune buggy through the same rough course; first as a passenger to take photos, then as a driver.
I was so addicted with Tarlac Recreational Park’s rough trail that I spent the whole afternoon, doing nothing but revving and roaring across its dusty roads with AC/DC songs playing on my head. It was pure adrenaline-rush and I kept wishing I’d find a longer trail to get lost in.
After uncountable hours of ripping through Tarlac Recreational Park, I emerged from the dune buggy all dusty and thirsty. And you’d never guess, but there’s a brainfreezing-cold Razon’s Halo-Galo waiting for me at the end of the line. How perfect is that.
Tarlac Recreational Park
Address: Tarlac Recreational Park & Jose Yap Sports Complex, San Jose, Tarlac
Contact Number: (0998) 354-4261
Entrance Fee: None
Activty Fee: Dune Buggy & ATV P500.00/hr
Kayak P50.00/hr | Biking P50.00/hr | Fishing Php100/day Camping P300.00/tent | Own Tent P100.00/head
GPS Coordinates: 15°30'04.1"N 120°30'01.2"E