Tag Archives: Bicol

Bicol’s Gastronomic Delights

It was already past 4PM when we finished all the uphill and downhill treks we did in Day 2 and we haven’t had our lunch yet. But we were so sweaty and dirty already that we asked Mang Ramil take us back to our place first before heading out to grab our linner (lunch and dinner 😛 ).

The charming exterior of Balay Cena Una in Daraga. It's located in a subdivision; so just ask around and you won't get lost.

The charming exterior of Balay Cena Una in Daraga. It’s located in a subdivision; so just ask around and you won’t get lost.

The interior is cozy and littered with antique memorabilia, adding vintage charm to the place.

The interior is cozy and littered with antique memorabilia, adding vintage charm to the place.

 

The food is slightly pricey than the usual restos in Bicol but it's worth it.

The food is slightly pricey than the usual restos in Bicol but it’s worth it.

 

Of course, there is always room for dessert. :)

Of course, there is always room for dessert. 🙂

With stomachs full, we have the renewed energy to stroll the streets again and at some point, we rode the jeep again in search of another dessert that is worth all the calories!

These are the ice cream flavors you should try at Colonial Grill: Tinutong, Sili and Pili.

These are the ice cream flavors you should try at Colonial Grill: Tinutong, Sili and Pili.

Tinutong Ice Cream is toasted rice and actually tastes like coffee (luvvv!). The pink ice cream is Sili (yep, chili!); it tastes sweet at first but as it goes down your throat, you’ll start to feel the chili kicking you from the inside. Awesome! (>_<) And then the Pili flavor which is the most ‘boring’ compared to the other two but just as delicious.

So when you go to Legazpi, don’t miss out on these restos and those that I’ve mentioned in my previous posts. 😉

 

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Exploring Bicol by Land: Day 2

I started this day feeling pissed upon knowing that the room that’s good for four people has breakfast that’s only good for two. How is that even possible? Rather than ruin my day over Pinehurst Suite’s poor service, I just asked Mang Ramil (the same trike driver we hired for our Legazpi City tour) to go to a fast food drive-thru so I can get some breakfast and eat it on-the-go.

From Legazpi, it’s a 30-minute ride to Bgy. Cotmon in Camalig, Albay for our first stop: Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave. It got its name from the word hoyop, which  means blow, because as soon as you get inside the cave, you will the feel soft winds blowing. If I remember it right, this cave has three floors but people are not allowed to go as far up because the openings are not as wide.

You can find interestingly-shaped rock formations, remains of people who once inhabited the cave hundreds of years ago.

You can find interestingly-shaped rock formations, remains of people who once inhabited the cave hundreds of years ago inside Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave.

Tip:

  • photo 2You are not allowed to go inside without a tour guide; for groups of 1-6 people, you will pay P300 for the tourist guide fee and P10 each for the entrance fee. So it really is cheaper if there’s more of you in a group.
  • You can buy raw crystals after your tour; I got mine for P50. I just thought it’s cute. 🙂

Not far from this cave is Calabidongan Cave or the Bat Cave. If you’re intent on exploring this cave, waterproof your gadgets and bring extra clothes as you will get really wet. Since we took the trike tour, the tourist guide suggested we leave our stuff behind; that’s when we hesitated. If we had a cab tour, it would be easy to just leave it lock it in. So, we let this one go.

Next destination: Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao. It’s almost an hour trike ride from Camalig to Ligao that it kind of lulls you to sleep.

Kawa-Kawa Hill

Kawa-Kawa Hill is also known as the hill without a hilltop; it looked like its hilltop has been scooped out making it seem like a giant cauldron.

It feels like we did our Lenten sacrifice several months too late. But the view at the top is well worth the sweat and achy legs.

It feels like we did our Lenten sacrifice several months too late. But the view at the top is well worth the sweat and achy legs.

The summer sun is making us feel its presence and it’s very much visible in the sweat patches on our backs. But on our way down the hill, it started to drizzle but it stopped in about five minutes. After we have caught our breaths, we headed back to our trike to go to our next stop.

Busay Falls in Malilipot is about an hour from Ligao. This time, I offered to be the trike backrider. That was a first! And it was fun. 🙂

Busay Falls has a total of 14 falls. This is the first as this one is at the base.

Busay Falls has a total of 14 falls. This is the first as this one is at the base.

We went as far as up the second falls but decided to stop there. The trail is kind of slippery since it drizzled earlier. See the interesting shape  of this falls?

We went as far as up the second falls but decided to stop there. The trail is kind of slippery since it drizzled earlier. See the interesting shape of this falls?

Instead of taking a lunch break, we decided to finish our trike tour before grabbing one and Mang Ramil suggested we head to Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine.

As we traverse the road back to Legazpi, I chanced upon this little town and I thought it was hilarious. Imagine this sign: Hindi Elementary School, Hindi Police Station… hahaha 😀

Eh kung Barangay Hindi ito... anong barangay to? Hindi. Eh ano nga?! :D

Eh kung Barangay Hindi ito… anong barangay to? Hindi. Eh ano nga?! 😀

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As though all the hiking we did previously is not enough, we trekked again to the little chapel on top of Buraguis Hill, overlooking the city of Legazpi. Life-size stations of the cross are displayed as you make your way to the top.

The view from the little chapel on top of Buraguis Hill. The nice thing about Legazpi, Mt. Mayon is visible from almost everywhere and yet, one can't seem to get enough of it.

The view from the little chapel on top of Buraguis Hill. The nice thing about Legazpi, Mt. Mayon is visible from almost everywhere and yet, one can’t seem to get enough of it.

Tips:

These places are set very far apart from each other and you will save a lot of time if you’ll hire a trike for the day. Or a cab if you want to feel more relaxed. So if you want an honest trike/cab driver, either you ask the place where you’re staying to negotiate for you or ask Mang Cesar, the sili shaker we met at the Cagsawa Ruins.

Trike tour: P1200/3 = P400/pax (do give a tip, ok? 😉 )

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Exploring Bicol by Land: Day 1

So we arrived at the terminal before 6AM and a well-meaning cab driver offered to take us where we can take the jeep to our condotel. Of course in the process tried to sell us his tour services; but we had to decline because P3000 is just too steep.

I can’t remember the jeep we took but I think it’s Daraga-bound. The thing with Bicolanos, they are so nice! The driver even took time to check our map then told us that he’s indeed passing by that area. Even the passengers were so nice; without a trace of irritation that it took a few minutes before the jeep got moving on again.

It was a short trip from the terminal to the condotel and your landmark will be the De Vera Institute. From this landmark, Pinehurst Suites will be on your right. It’s almost unnoticeable so be on the lookout.

After taking our much needed bath, we headed out for our first real meal. At last.

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We opted for Bigg’s Diner because Small Talk Cafe was still closed then. It’s setting is like Johnny Rocket’s minus the sky-rocketing prices. Their resto at Old Albay, Legazpi City is like a 1950s American burger joint and so photo-op worthy. 🙂

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After the much needed breakfast, we walked from Bigg’s to the Cathedral of St. Gregory for our usual church-hopping. The heat was a little intense so we decided to hop off to our next destination: Cagsawa Ruins.

Tip:

From the cathedral, cross the street and ride the jeep bound for Camalig, Guinobatan or Polangui. These will all drop you off at the Cagsawa Junction. From there, you can opt to ride the trike or hike all the way up. Since the sun was fiery, trike it was. 

Cagsawa Ruins is a tourist magnet so brace yourself. Notice how Mayon Volcano managed to cover herself in the clouds. According to the locals, she is very shy and shows herself only to virgins. See Day 0 post. 'Nuff said.

Cagsawa Ruins is a tourist magnet so brace yourself. Notice how Mayon Volcano managed to cover herself in the clouds. According to the locals, she is very shy and shows herself only to virgins. Either that folklore is true or you can actually fool it with your looks. See Day 0 post. ‘Nuff said. 😀

It's the shake with a kick. Choose your flavor then Mang Cesar will add in chili essence. It's sweet then pulls a punch as it goes down your throat. Worth trying! Mang Cesar's not only a shaker, he got us a trusty trike driver to take us to our next destination.

It’s the shake with a kick. Choose your flavor then Mang Cesar will add in chili. It’s sweet then pulls a punch as it goes down your throat. Worth trying!
Mang Cesar’s not only a shaker, he got us a trusty trike driver to take us to our next destination.

So we rented the trike that Mang Cesar recommended. First stop: Daraga Church.

So we rented the trike that Mang Cesar recommended. First stop: Daraga Church.

The lime coating of the church is meant to preserve the church that has withstood destructive elements for more than 200 years.

The lime coating of the church is meant to preserve the church that has withstood destructive elements for more than 200 years. As usual, Mayon Volcano is hiding behind the clouds again.

Next stop: Lignon Hill. It's a tiring, steep climb from the base but it sure was worth it. Amazing view from the top! If Mang Ramil is right, the huge expanse of blue is Misibis Bay :)

Next stop: Lignon Hill. It’s a tiring, steep climb from the base but it sure was worth it. Amazing view from the top! If our trike driver, Mang Ramil is right, the huge expanse of blue is Misibis Bay. 🙂

After we have caught our breaths, next stop was Legazpi Port. I told you, Legazpi people are so lucky because this gorgeous gift of nature is visible almost everywhere.

After we have caught our breaths, next stop was Legazpi Port. I told you, the locals are so lucky to see this gorgeous gift of nature from almost anywhere.

By this time (around 4PM), we finally gave in to the calling of our tummies and we asked Mang Ramil to take us back to our place so we can freshen up before we have our lunch/dinner at Smalll Talk Café.

Reasonable price. Good portions. Nice ambiance.   This places gets pretty packed so try going here off peak hours.

Reasonable price. Good portions. Nice ambiance. This places gets pretty packed so try going here off peak hours.

We capped the night off at the quaint La Mia Tazza, which is right across Small Talk Cafe.

We capped the night off at the quaint La Mia Tazza along Old Albay Street, right across Small Talk Cafe. Do try their Pili Tazzino. It has generous bits of pili so it’s like coffee with a crunch!

Tips:

While it is so much cheaper to commute around Legazpi via jeep, we took Mang Cesar’s advise to hire a trike instead because we don’t have the luxury of time. And he’s right; the tourist places are set far apart and we would’ve lost precious time waiting for a ride before heading to the next.

  • Jeep fare from condo to Old Albay Street (Bigg’s): P8.00
  • Jeep fare from Old Albay to Cagsawa: P8.00
  • Trike from Cagsawa Junction to the ruins: P20 (I think)
  • Hired trike: P250 + P50 tip: P300 (100/pax)
  • Lunch/dinner/coffee: P250+

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Exploring Bicol by Land: Day 0

Super delayed post on my Bicol adventure… so here goes! 🙂

Two gal pals and I challenged ourselves to take Bicol hardcore on the last week of April. By bus. It’s actually doable given that we did the same with our Ilocos adventure. It’s a 10-hour journey from Manila so it’s best to travel at night to maximize your trip. I was thinking of taking the PNR train ride but it has not resumed operations so bus it was.

We took the 8:30PM bus to Legazpi from the Araneta Cubao Terminal, which was once Rustan’s. Back then, my sister and I will pass through this shopping mecca for the rich just so we’ll be “amoy-mayaman”. It has that distinct shashall  whiff that Ali Mall or SM lacks.  But today, it lost its grandeur when the Ali Mall bus terminal was transferred here as that site is now being developed as a prime residential community.

Sorry I got sidetracked 🙂 We took the Cagsawa Bus Tours for its good feedback from both Trip Advisor and Girl Talk forums.

Details:

Fare: P850 (one-way)    

ETD Manila: 8:30PM  |  Two stopovers of 15-20 minutes each  |   ETA Legazpi: 5:30-6:00AM

Tips:

  • Book your ticket at least three days before your planned trip (I bought ours a week ahead) to make sure you don’t waste precious time. Don’t put yourself through unnecessary hassle. 😉
  • Cagsawa Bus is as good as the feedback on forums but if you want to be socially connected during that 10-hour ride without relying on tres gapang technology, I mean 3G, take the Alps bus; they have WiFi onboard.
  • If you’re a light eater, just bring a sandwich and water before boarding the bus. I felt so ripped off with the cup of instant coffee for P25 at the stopovers.  

Apart from my annoying seatmate who keeps switching on her side as though she was on a bed and not on a bus seat; and the boisterously excited teens in front of my gal pals, the journey to Bicol was uneventful.

And when Mayon Volcano finally came into view, around 5AM you can distinguish the tourists from the locals. Even I can’t hide my amazement at how beautiful it was.  Post cards and photos doesn’t give justice to the magnificence of this gift of nature. From the bus terminal and in most places around Legazpi City, the gorgeous Mayon Volcano is visible. Made me realize how fortunate the locals are to wake up to this beauty every single day.

The good thing is, the condotel where were staying has a fabulous view of Mayon Volcano from the hallway.

We wake up to this gift of nature for two days. Sweet!

We wake up to this gift of nature for two days. Sweet!

So will I recommend Pinehurst Suites? Check the details below.

  • Location: Superb! It’s easy to commute if you stay here as jeeps traverse this road.
  • Security: Thumbs up! As soon as they verified your reservation, you’ll be asked to scan your forefinger  on their biometrics scanner installed at the gate.Very safe indeed. You can just come and go as you please.
  • Room: Superb! The room is spacious and I love the bathroom too!
  • Service: SUCKS! The worst part was breakfast. You can read my review of Pinehurst Suites here. Check the commenter Rowena B., that’s me. 😉 

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