Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bicol Express Trip

Another national site had been conquered. One down from the checklist of my dream destinations.

This trip to the Bicolandia has been one of my exciting experimental adventure. From the rather costly connecting flight to Naga City which is our point of destination, I came to plot a more exciting one... using the combo trip --sea, air, and land-- ala Amazing Race in a slow-mo mode. Looking at the possible options in going to Bicol, the combo transport emerged as the most economical.

We left Surigao 7pm via Cokaliong Shipping Lines and arrived in Cebu 6:00 in the morning. Though I want to take the fast craft stationed in Pier 3 to cross us to Mactan Island where the Mactan Cebu International Airport is located, a friend happened to fetch a guest at the Cebu Port so we just hitched a ride.

From Mactan Cebu, we boarded the Cebu Pacific Air flight to Legaspi City. Approaching the Legaspi Airport was rather a wonderful experience, with the amazing aerial view of Mayon Volcano greeting as we get near.

From the airport we rode a tricycle to Jollibee where we had our lunch. Thereafter, rode a jeepney plying the Guinobatan route right across the street fronting Jollibee towards Cagsawa Ruins in Barangay Busay. Heading to Cagsawa was rather an easy trip. From any point in the downtown, one just have to take the P10.00 Guinobatan, Camalig, and Polangui jeepneys which usually passes by Cagsawa junction at the right side of the higway. From the crossing, one has the option to either rode a tricycle down right to the ruins of Cagsawa or walk the 2 kilometers stretch. And we chose to walk to experience the dust from the dried lava.

The souvenir shops lined up at the roadside hinted that the site is getting close. True enough, we were there in not more than 10 minutes.

Cagsawa Ruins appear like a graveyard to me, with the big crosses from behind the remnants of the Cagsawa Church. Everything is like a reminder of the disaster caused by the eruption of Mayon Volcano. But still the captivating beauty of Mayon with its almost perfect cone gives a picturesque landscape.

But then, catching its breathtaking full and clear view without the clouds clinging around its peak needs right timing. Since we arrived in the afternoon, we waited for many hours with anticipation for the clouds to spare the full view of Mayon. The resident tour guides and photographers who are mostly youngsters said the best time to catch Mayon's clear view is at 7am. These youngsters who sold postcard photos also offers free assistance to the tourists on how to play camera tricks to catch a fun photo with the view.

After having enough of the sight, we bought souvenir items, some are cheaply priced like the T-shirts, but some are also unreasonably priced like the keychains. Then we went back to the downtown to proceed to our next destination: Naga City.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Marvelous Magpopongko

The lagoon is totally immersed under the swift currents during high tide making it impossible for swimming.

The crystal clear waters of the lagoon bordered by the nature-designed edges of the flat floor of the reef makes the natural pool. This amazing lagoon is worthy of the long wait for the low tide. Emerald as it appears, nobody can resist its tempting call for a swim.

On the background is the Magpopongko Rock Formation and scenic view of big waves crashing into the pacific end of the reef's flat floor. Closer and face to face look of the big waves is possible but one should take caution of the unpredictable tides that brings swift currents.

Undergoing developments when we were there sometime in April this year was the construction of the cottage overlooking the sea with around 6 rooms and a pathway passing through a cavern that leads to the lagoon. Before, the lagoon is only accessible during low tide through the emptied shore. Now, the local municipal government has made a dramatic pathway leading to the lagoon.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Caridad Beach, Pilar, Siargao Island

While the other parts of Siargao Islands are now commercialized, there are still some areas that remained untapped. One of them the Caridad Beach in the small barangay of Caridad in the town of Pilar. It is around 15 minutes ride from Pacifico Beach in the neighboring San Isidro municipality and 7 to 10 minutes from Magpopongko Beach which also belongs to the town of Pilar.

The beach sprawled with a stretch of fine white sand is bounded on both edges with a line of limestone formations grown with coconut trees making its blue water shallow and enticing for swimming.
Being afar from the well-known and frequented beaches around the island, Caridad Beach is unoccupied and spared from the public, with only the residents near the shore seen enjoying the exclusivity of the beach.
Everything is perfect in Caridad Beach. The sand, the sun, the skies, and the seas. The place which can be described in cool blue is very picturesque. Im sure every photographer would love to catch its refreshing environment.
The residents within the area are also amiable and cozy. Some of them are still living in the basics. Their abodes are built in indigenous materials and their children utilizes a piece of wornout tires cut in halves for playing see-saw.
Their lives are so simple, yet happy you can see it in their faces.