Monday, September 3, 2012

The Wonders of Albay

If you were given enough time to visit all the towns in Albay, these are the places I would recommend you to see.

Bacacay Beach - Bacacay, Albay

No need to go to Iceland or Hawaii to experience volcanic beaches and enjoy black sand. Just takes a short 45 minute ride from Legazpi City.

Viento de Mar Beach - Bacacay, Albay

How to get there:
  • From Legazpi City take any jeep or bus bound to Tabaco City. 
  • Tell the driver to drop you off at San Jose Junction in Malilipot.
  • Ride a trike and tell them that you want to go to Bacacay Beach. They will recommend beaches for you. The best beaches are in Brgy. Sogod. Trike fare depends on your haggling skills.

Black Sand @ Bacacay, Albay
(don't mind my feet, i know it looks awful! )

Vera Falls - Malinao, Albay

This falls is located at the foot of Mount Malinao.

Vera Falls in Malinao, Albay

Helpful Info:
  • Bring change of clothes and towel.
  • There is no restroom or changing room in the area but one can -improvise.
  • Bring your own food and water. Food and refreshments are not available.
  • There is no entrance fee but visitors are advised to check with the Barangay Captain to register and arrange for a local guide. (The road directions are easy to follow and the trek down the falls takes about 5-10 minutes only)

How to get there:
  • From Legazpi City take any jeep or bus bound to Tabaco City. 
  • Tell the driver to drop you off at the plaza near Tabaco City Hall.
  • Ride a habal-habal to Vera Falls. (Use your haggling skills to get a good price)

Busay Falls - Malilipot Albay

Main Falls at Busay in Malilipot, Albay

One of the highest waterfalls in the country descending in stages from a height of 250 meters cascading into seven small pools.

Entrance to Busay Falls

Helpful Info:
  • Malilipot Munical Hall is a good landmark for meet-up. It is situated along the highway and a few minutes of walk from the turn out.
  • Entrance fee is 10 pesos for adults and 5 pesos each for kids.
  • Small Nipa hut cottages are available for rent for 100 pesos
  • Parking is also available at the area (check photo below for rates)
  • An improvised grilling area is also available.
  • Although a guide is not necessary for experience hikers, it is advisable to get one if you will hike all the way to the 7th falls. Drop by at Malilipot Fire Station and look for Untos to help you find a guide.
Parking Rates at Busay Falls

How to get there:
  • From Legazpi City take any jeep or bus bound to Tabaco City. 
  • Tell the driver to drop you off at the turnout of Busay Falls located at the left side of the road heading to Legazpi or at Malilipot Municipal Hall if you missed the turnout.
  • Take a trike and tell them that you want to go to Busay Falls. Trike fare depends on your haggling skills.
Busay Falls turnout marker

I would recommend that you take a hike to the top of the falls first before taking a dip at the lowest pot from the falls. The hike can be extremely tiring and the trail is a bit steep. 

Our little explorer hiking to get to the top of the falls.

And if you feel real thirsty after hiking and swimming, you can take a drink of spring water. Super lamig! Refreshing!

Spring water from the falls. Refreshing.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bicolandia: An Invitation

I have never been to Bicol in my entire life. So when my husband was invited to be a ninong (godparent) to a friend's son in Albay, our immediate answer was, YES!

I started researching all the nice places to visit about 1st week of August. Did not really expect that there will be more sights in Albay aside from the Mayon Volcano and the Cagsawa Ruins. Other places to visit are Lignon Hill, Hoyop-hoyopan Cave, Calabidongan Cave, Bacacay Beaches, Busay Falls, Vera Falls, Mayon Resthouse and Pottery in Tiwi. 

My initial plan was to take the Mayon Limited of PNR to get there, but found out later on that the train is only up to Ligao, Albay. This means that we need to drop off at Ligao Station of PNR then transfer to a bus/van that will pass through 3 more cities, Guinobatan, Camalig and Daraga before getting to Legazpi City. 

Another thing about the Mayon Limited train is that trips are scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays which leaves 8:30PM at Tutuban. Not a possible option for us since the event we will be attending is on a Friday at 11am. In addition, this would be regular aircon seats, not reclining. I can just imagine my back and ass aching for the duration of the 10-12 hour trip to Legazpi.

Mayon Limited Deluxe

One of my husband's office mate suggested that we take the Bicol Express trip of PNR for comfort's sake. This is one of PNR's newly acquired surplus trains from Japan with Sleeper Coaches. The train leaves Tutuban Station 6:30PM every day. This route of PNR is up to Naga City only, which means we have to get off at PNR Naga Station then transfer to a van/bus bound to Legazpi at Naga Central Terminal. 

Bicol Express Sleeper Coaches

After thorough deliberation of what method of transport we should take, we decided to take the Legazpi bound bus. Reason being, the PNR Bicol Express Train fare is 650php, then the bus/van bound to Legazpi costs roughly 200php. That would total the same amount of money we will pay for fare via bus bound directly to Legazpi City.

Here are the contact numbers of the buses bound to Legazpi City:

Cagsawa Tours
Phone Number: 913.1514 / 439.3787
Bus Type: Royal Class 2x2; 850php fare

Penafrancia Bus
Phone Number: 913.1528 / 480.3050
Bus Type: Aircon 2x2; 800php fare / Benz Solo; 900php fare

Isarog Bus
Phone Number: 913.3551
Bus Type: Aircon 2x2; 800php fare / Lazy-boy Seats; 1100php fare

Phone Number: 913.7127
I have planned the places we will be visiting ahead of time. The following were our (supposed) itineraries for our three day (technically 2 day) weekend in Albay.

Day 2: Bacacay - Malilipot - Tiwi - Malinao
  • Bacacay Black Sand Beaches
  • Busay Falls in Malilipot, Albay
  • Experience Pottery in Tiwi, Albay 
  • Eat DJC's Famous Halo-halo
  • Vera Falls in Malinao, Albay
Day 3: Daraga - Camalig - Legazpi City
  • Lignon Hill in Daraga, Albay
  • Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga, Albay
  • Hoyop-hoyopan Cave in Camalig, Albay
  • Calabidongan Cave in Camalig, Albay
  • Embarcadero de Legazpi 
I set up the itineraries in such a way that we visit towns next to each other, to save time and maximize each day. It is ideal to visit the eastern coastal towns Bacacay - Malilipot - Tiwi - Malinao in succeeding order. All 4 towns can be reached by taking any jeep or bus bound to Tabaco City.

Our friend Jason and his wife, especially his mother-in law was gracious enough to let us couchsurf in their home for 2 more days, we did not incur any cost on lodging. However, I took note of some budget pension houses incase we decide to extend our stay. Here are some of them which are listed in Byahero Philippine Travel Portal.
  • Aeroville Tropical Resort, at Brgy. EM, has cottages, restaurant, a swimming pool and training hall.
  • Albert’s Inn, a lodging house along Elizondo St., Sabang, has non-aircon rooms (PPhP150-300). Tel: 214-3245.
  • Anvil Bed and Breakfast - Quezon Ave., Oro Site-Magallanes
  • Arimbay Shell Inn, along Legaspi-Sto. Domingo Rd., Arimbay, has aircon rooms with bath (standard, family, suite, PhP1,100-2,000).  Tel: 820-0954 and  482-0387.
  • Azupre Resort - Padang
  • Carlos Hometel Bed and Breakfast, a pension house along Penaranda Ext., Rawis, has aircon rooms with bath (single, double, triple, PhP750-1,350).  Tel: 482-0738.
  • Catalina Boarding House - Rizal St. (tel: 480-7841)
  • Casa Avelina Apartelle (lodging house) -Pag-Asa Drive, Pag-Asa, Rawis (tel: 820-5097)
  • Catalina's Lodging House, at 96 Peñaranda corner Rizal St., has non-aircon rooms with or without bath.  Tel: 480-7211.
  • Corner Place Hometel, at Lakandula Drive cor. Barriada Rd., Gogon, has aircon rooms with bath (VIP, de luxe, PhP1,000-1,500).  Tel: 480-5821.
  • Dreams Inn Café - F. Imperial St., Kapantwan (tel: 820-0885)
  • Galoso’s Lodging House - Narra Drive, Pag-Asa, Rawis (tel: 820-5008 and 482-0193)
  • Great Pacific Tourist Inn, along Rizal St., has non-aircon single/double rooms with common bath, non-aircon single rooms with bath and TV and aircon single/double rooms with bath and TV (PhP475-600).  Tel: 820-6348.
  • Greenwood Inn ((lodging house) - Legaspi-Sto. Domingo Rd., Arimbay
  • Josam Lodging House, a lodging house along Rizal St., Cabagnan East, has aircon (PhP450) aand non-aircon (PhP200) rooms.  Tel: 820-1780.
  • JR Lodging House, a lodging house along the Legaspi-Puro Rd., Binanuahan East, has non-aircon rooms (PhP200-25). Tel: 480-5261.
  • King’s Lodge (lodging house) - Peñaranda St.
  • Legaspi Lodging House (lodging house) - Mabini St.,  Brgy. Rawis (tel: 2-2257)
  • Legazpi Pension (pension house) - Legaspi-Sto. Domingo Rd., Brgy. Rawis
  • Lita’s Lodging House, a lodging house at Rizal cor. Mons. S. Reyes St., Cabugao, has aircon (de luxe, PhP620) and non-arcon single/double (economy, PhP150-250) rooms.  Tel: 481-1123.
  • Micka’s Inn, along Kap F. Aquende Drive, Kawit-East Washington, has aircon (PhP500-600) and non-aircon (PhP200-300) rooms. Tel: 481-4900.
  • Mila’s Lodge - Rizal St.
  • Nueva Villa Home Lodge & Conference Center (pension house) - Balading, Pawa (tel: 820-0880),
  • Peking Lodge, along Magallanes St., has non-aircon rooms with or without bath and aircon rooms with bath.  Tel: 2-3198.
  • Rawis Pension House, a pension house along Penaranda Ext., Brgy. Rawis, has aircon single/double rooms (PhP200-400).  Tel: 820-1702),
  • RELC Dormitory, at the Regional Center Site in Rawis, has aircon dorms (PhP1,500-3,500).  Tel: 820-8418.
  • Reynaldo’s Lodging House, along Kap Aquende Drive, Cruzada, has non-aircon (PhP400) and aircon (de luxe, family, PhP600-900) rooms.  Tel: 481-0290.
  • Rex Lodging House, a lodging house at Peñaranda cor. Aguinaldo Sts., Pigacale, within the Port District, has non-aircon rooms (PhP275) and aircon rooms with bath (PhP580). Tel: 480-7101 and 820-4613.
  • Salvador Manor de Legaspi - Kap Aquende Drive, Cruzada
  • Shirman Lodging House, a lodging house along Peñaranda St., PNR-Penaranda, has aircon single/double/triple rooms (PhP270-600).  Tel: 214-5219.    
  • Tropical Gardens Apartelle, a pension house at Pag-Asa, Rawis, has family rooms. Tel: 820-3663 and 482046.
  • Villa Consuelo Pension House, along Penaranda St. in Brgy. Bonot, has aircon rooms with TV (PhP600).  Tel: 820-3813.
  • Vine Café Inn, at 481 Peñaranda St., Bonot, has aircon (PhP600-1,000) and non-aircon (PhP300-450) rooms.  Tel: 480-8041 and 214-3029.      
  • Vista Al Mayon Pensionne, a pension house along Kap F. Aquende Drive (the road going to the airport from Albay District), Bagumabayan, has aircon rooms with bath (de luxe, matrimonial, family, executive, PhP1,450-2,100) and a swimming pool.  Tel: 820-5814  and 481-0308. 
  • Xandra Lodging House, a pension house along Peñaranda St., Oro Site-Magallanes, has non-aircon rooms with or without bath (PhP270-450),  aircon rooms with bath (PhP600-900) and a restaurant. Tel: 820-4808, 8217598 and 4813309.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Proven Lakwatsera

I was born with itchy feet.

No, I don’t have alipunga (athlete’s foot, or should I say athlete’s feet?  hehehe). I just have this constant urge of going around. I am restless if I was asked to stay in one place.

That’s exactly the reason why my hubby can’t rely on me when we agree to meet someplace. Naiinip ako agad sa isang lugar, I always tend to roam around to pass the time. To me it seems forever, waiting for someone particularly at a place I don’t really enjoy.

Scenario: Meet Up at Timezone Megamall 6PM (conversation via SMS)

Hubby: Wer na u? Palabas na ako ng opisina.
Me: Dito lang me sa Timezone. Antayin kita. *kiss*

6:15PM @ Timezone Megamall

Hubby: Asan ka dito? Kala ko ba Timezone ka?
Me: Tagal mo e. Dito na ako sa Forever21, window shopping.
Hubby: WTF?! Labo mo kausap. Bumalik ka nga dito! Lint*k!

I have been like that since I was a child. Well, not really to the point where I make my kalaro (playmates) crazy finding where I am.  I just believe that time was given for us to learn. It should be spent to explore and discover something new.

At a young age, about 8 or 9 (i guess), I was already leading my girlfriends in exploring the wild jungles of Novaliches with our bikes. Mindanao Avenue then was a huge field where goats loiter all afternoon. hahaha. Until it was developed into that accident prone road which gave us the opportunity to ride our bikes up to Sauyo, Bagbag even Bayan.

When I was about 5th or 6th grade, the St. James – SM North route was already plying Mindanao Avenue. Dito ako natuto maging total lakwatsera ng SM North Edsa. Don’t worry, we never cut class, we go there after classes end.

High School. Lakwatsa pa rin. This time, I explored the bustling streets of Manila. Lahat ata ng biyahe ng jeep passing Dapitan nasakyan ko. Everytime I hail a jeepney, I have no concrete plans of where to go. Bahala na si Batman, libot na lang kung saan pupulutin.

I still do the same until now. Just for fun. Just for the thrill of it. I am still living in Quezon City but I take bus rides going to Sta. Maria, Bulacan or San Jose del Monte just for the heck of it.

I still want to explore places and discover something new. I will continue my journey wherever my feet takes me.