It used to be that the towering wind turbines of Bangui in Ilocos Norte was the sole site where people can marvel at these slender sentinels watching over the sea. Now, in barangay Halayhayin in Pililia, Rizal, these megastructures were erected on the undulating hills sloping along the scenic Laguna Lake. With only a couple of hours away from Metro Manila, where the country’s leading demand for electricity is at its highest, not only would the Pililia Rizal Wind Farm be able to supply renewable energy in a close proximity, but people like me who marvels such machinery in a beautiful nature backdrop would be ecstatic not to travel more than 500 km just to see them.
Road to Rizal
The APEC break finds me and a couple of travel buddies of mine Oman and Allan, spontaneously driving south to Rizal escaping the mayhem of Edsa to visit the Pililia Rizal Wind Farm. I have read about this wind farm for a while from Kara and Allan before but haven’t got time to explore it. I think this was a good time as many of the access roads winding through the 27 wind turbines within the 4,515 hectares area of the wind farm are already open for exploration. Vehicles just need to be 10 meters away from these turbines when parking.
It was refreshing to drive down this route as I haven’t been in this parts for ages. Antipolo has developed well and the Manila East Road has some scenic overlooking spots of Laguna Lake. As we head close to the junction leading to either Jala-jala or Mabitac, we could already see the windmills from the distance. We took a left to an ascending road and eventually found one of the entry points to the Pililia Rizal Wind Farm.
Pililia Rizal Wind Farm
One of the guards at the entrance point led us to an overlooking platform where a structure, still in the finishing touches, looks to be the information center. There are infographic boards there about Pililia and the wind farm. One interesting fact on why Pililia was chosen as the site for these wind turbines – these hills have a natural wind corridor with a monthly average of 36kmh windspeed passing through the hill and heightens during Amihan (north-east winds) season from October to March. Each of these turbines generate 2 MW of electricity with the wind farm collectively generating about 54 MW electricity. In estimate, this Pililia Rizal Wind Farm is able to generate 150 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity annualy. With Manila’s average household consumption of 200–300 kwh every month, the wind farm can power an estimate of 66,000 households continuously.
Aside from the benefits of this renewable energy, the installation of these wind turbines marked Pililia Rizal on the tourism map. Bangui in Ilocos Norte made a big name because of this and I won’t be surprised if the same thing happens here. It’s not by the beach but the hills and the view of the lake makes it a unique attraction. I found the hills ideal for bikes and even trail runs, I guess, with the many motorbiking groups and cyclers have the same idea as we encountered droves of them. We stayed there for the sunset and wasn’t disappointed with the afternoon light. Being close to Manila, I might find myself going back here once in a while to catch some fresh air while admiring the wind turbines of Pililia Rizal Wind Farm.
How to Go There
Pililia Rizal is about 55km away from Metro Manila. Here’s a couple of ways to go there.
- Drive your way to Manila East Road passing by the towns of Taytay, Angono, Binangonan, Cardona, Morong, Baras and Tanay before Pililla.
- When you pass by Villa Lorenzo Resort on your left, you are near the fork on the road. The right leads to Jala-jala. Take the left road heading to Mabitac, Famy and Real. There’s also a Pililia Rizal Wind Farm sign that’s hard to miss.
- After the lookout point of Laguna Lake high up the road, the first entrance should be on your left.
Commuting to Sampaloc
- Make your way to Tanay Public Market in Sampaloc. There are FX and Vans plying the route from Starmall, Mandaluyong and Araneta Center, Cubao. Fare is around Php 70.
- From Tanay Public Market, hire a tricycle to take you to the Pililia Rizal Wind Farm. At the moment, tricycles charge Php 300 one-way per tryke exclusive of waiting time. It is best to negotiate a round-trip cost as there are no tricycles available to hire at the wind farm.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.