Road Trip to Bicol Region Philippines (Dec. 26 to 30, 2008)

Our Mode of Transportation: Toyota Revo. (SUV)
Other Options: by Bus from the terminals in Cubao or by Plane from NAIA.
Recommended: Fly there and rent a car when you get there.

Season I Went: Winter
Recommended Season: Spring/Post Holidays (not too hot and almost no chance of rain)

My brother and I left Pasig City at around 930pm the night of the 26th. We stopped by a gas station in Minasag, Bicol at around 400am to take a power nap. (MILEAGE: 308km)

We made it to Daet just in time for breakfast. We took a quick detour to Bagasbas Beach and had Lugaw and Chicken Mami for breakfast. How was the food? It was good, just perfect for our empty bellies! Of course I grew up accustomed to the food so excuse my lack of excitement. (MILEAGE: 355km)

Breakfast by the Bagasbas Beach

The next stop was Pili, home of the tasty Pili Nuts. We picked up my friend Fanny and her cousin (Lyra) and nieces (Inna&Ichi) and nephew (Kingloy). (MILEAGE: 485km) Good thing we brought the big car. Haha. The kids were all very cute and funny and ate a lot more than we did. I must say, if you find yourself disappointed at Bicol, they will definitely make up for it! We then drove back north to Naga City to have lunch at Red Platter. It's supposed to be famous, and it was full when we ate there, but I didn't think it had anything special to offer. I don't even remember what I had. The best I can say is, it's not a bad option if your stomach is shouting at you!

The day ended south with a drive to Legaspi City. This time it was only my brother, Fanny, Lyra and I; it was raining. We spent the night in Sampaguita Tourist Inn. Costing less than $20 per night, it's acceptable if you're not picky. The room was clean and they were able to provide fresh towels as you need them. There is a small convenience store in the lobby, but it doesn't stay open very late. This is my case doesn't make it very convenient. (MILEAGE: 485km)

The group got up at 7ooam and headed further south to Donsol. (MILEAGE: 723km) Their main attraction is the sighting of an endangered specie native to that region, the whale shark or butanding. It is a government ran tourist attraction. It costs PhP 1000 for a boat to take you to the middle of the Philippine Sea and swim with the whale shark (that is if you can spot them and catch them); and another PhP 150 if you want to rent a snorkel. It was still raining. We spent about 2 hours at sea, spotted only 2, and each one disappeared within a second. Guys, its all about timing.

After this disappointment, we faced another one in our return to Legazpi City. Next in our list is the visit to Mt. Mayon. It is known for its perfect shaped cone and the Cagsawa Ruins that makes it not just an attraction but a historical land mark. It is unfortunate however that the rain kept us from seeing its full beauty. We only saw the bottom of the volcano. At the end of the day we returned to the hotel and kicked it with a bottle of wine and a game of Pusoy Dos, which I just found out is also called Big Two.

Cagsawa Ruins. Mt. Mayon is behind it, hiding in the clouds.

This brings us to the final day of the trip. We returned to Pili to pick up the kids and then drove to Mt. Isarog. The sun is finally shining, but Mt. Mayon is still hiding. We hiked the dormant volcano, our destination: the Malabsay Falls. It is gorgeous and roaring with power and my pictures do not do it justice. After a few hours in the mountain our hosts brought us to the CWC or CamSur Watersports Complex. After an amazing one-on-one with mother nature, why would you take anyone do something like this? Hmmm. I do appreciate their time, but come on. Nothing can beat a tiring hike topped with a beautiful waterfall. Get it right! ;)

Malabsay Falls atop Mt. Isarog

We ended our trip with Sinigang sa Buko and Crablets for dinner and a short nap and headed back north to the city. The sinigang was sweet, a nice twist from the usually sour soup that I love. And the crablets were crunchy and a little salty, just like the way I like it!

Disclaimer: Prices mentioned are from 2 years ago. The economy may have caused the prices to go down or up.

Blabbering :)

I'm adapting a format. Why? Make it less wordy and more informative. Yes? Yes!

So what the hell have I been up to? I just got back from Jamaica. I done a boat load of "I've never done that before" type of stuff this year.

I've done quite a bit this year and I should make a list so I can write about all them before the information gets too outdated... But... I am starting my masters in about a week... So... I don't think that's happening.

Happy Holidays Champs!