Summer 2015: An Unexpectedly Wonderful Bicolandia Adventure

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Calaguas in Camarines Norte was originally the first island of choice, then we’ll do a side trip to Albay, but the schedule unexpectedly and abruptly changed due to the approaching typhoon named Chedeng. All of a sudden we have to change itineraries and had to start with our land trip first since the coast guard won’t allow any sea vessel to travel. We’re almost totally frustrated with the thought that we can’t have that long awaited summer outing at the beach. Not to mention our friend Maine’s goal to roll on the sand haha! Still we wanted to experience summer at a beach in Bicol, and we’re bent and decided to go to any beach for that matter now!

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Well, the typhoon did came with a little rain shower for only a few hours, then the weather became friendlier and skies became clearer , and we saw a ray of light and a glimpse of hope that maybe we could still go to Calaguas. But that little hope came crumbling down when the boatman contacted us saying that they’re still not allowed to travel to the island. With such frustrating news we hurriedly crammed to search the internet where we could go to asap. We thought “Oh no this can’t be!” we couldn’t surrender now! We checked the weather forecasts, asked people, and googled to find a place safe enough for an island adventure or a beach to frolic to.

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And guess what, our determination paid off, we never expected that our trip would actually be more thrilling and adventurous even if itineraries changed and the places to go to were unplanned. Seemed like lady luck was on our side, and because of typhoon Chedeng, it led us to explore a more exciting place like the surprisingly wide sand bar in the middle of the sea, and the famous idyllic limestone isles and white beaches of Caramoan! So here are some of the places we’ve been to in our unexpectedly wonderful trip in Bicolandia!. 🙂

MEETING DARAGANG MAGAYON

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The world famous perfect cone shaped Mayon Volcano, and the ruins of Cagsaua church in Daraga, Albay. Bicolano folklore tells of a lady named Daragang Magayon (Beautiful Maiden) and her prince Ulap ( Cloud) whose love story ended tragically. She then became the beautiful volcano, and the cloud which most of the time encircles her is her protective prince.

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Maku the dachshund feeling like a tourist haha!

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BACACAY SAND BAR

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located at the nearby Misibis bay and in between the islands of  Rapu Rapu and Batan. This wonderful natural wonder in the middle of the sea looks just like an enchanted mound of pristine wide white sand island that appears when the tide is low. And just like most magical adventures we also experienced a nerve wracking, stomach churning and heart pounding experience on a bumpy boat ride on an almost angry sea with billowing big waves. Well that was due to the gusts of wind owing to the weather at that time of course, but as we got near the sand bar the waves became surprisingly calm.

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BUSAY FALLS

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To wash off the salt water from our sand bar adventure we went to this falls which is just the first of seven. It was the easiest to go to since there’s no need to go on a long trek unlike the next falls where we failed to go to since the path leading to it are beside a ravine, narrow, steep, and slippery due to the rain. Some locals even warned us that it would be hard and dangerous to climb. So we just washed and dipped in the stream for just a short while.

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DJC HALO HALO 

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Our search for something hot ended with something cold but sweet.. and yummy! Okay so this is not exactly where we planned to go to at Tiwi Albay. That municipality had long been famous for its rich in sulfur hot springs, and that’s what we’re lookin’ for. Unfortunately, we didn’t google enough to learn that the area had long been turned into a Geothermal plant, and what was left are public resorts with swimming pools. So we just decided to drop by a place which I was told is now famous in Tiwi and was highly recommended by a Bicolana friend of mine.. the DJC Halo Halo! Which ironicaly also has a branch near the place where we are staying haha! Anyway, the Halo Halo was just so delicious with lots of creamy leche flan and guess what.. cheese! Wow it gave us that much needed comfort after a long tiring day. Yumminess!

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CARAMOAN

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It was good news when some resorts in Caramoan told us that they could offer island hoppings since the islands are near the main land and is reachable in minutes only. But since there are still no trips by sea from Sabang port to Caramoan due to the coast guard’s restriction and weather warning during that time, we had to go by land, and that’s where our adventure to that faraway town bounded by the sea and mountains began.

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I’ve heard of that place years ago when it was on the news that its the place where foreign franchises of the international tv show Survivor have held their island challenges. Aside from that, magazines featured Caramoan which boasted several breathtaking virgin islands with limestone cliffs, unusual rocky formations and cream to white sand pockets of secret beaches much like the ones in Palawan. But due to the influx of tourists through the years the supposed to be secret beaches became hidden no longer anymore. But still it’s beauty never cease to lure and amaze both local and foreign tourists. In my travel bucket list, it was actually my first tourist spot of choice in Bicol since I’ve been to that province and have already seen most of the famous landmarks a number of times but not Caramoan. Mainly because unlike most of the accessible tourist destinations, Caramoan is somewhat hard to reach since one would either take an almost 2 hour boat ride which could be bumpy at times depending on the weather, or go on a very long land trip through the mountains that would last for about 4 hours from Naga, Camarines Sur’s capital city. The latter was our only option and we took the challenge of that long land trip which lasted for 5 hours from our place in Legazpi City, Albay. It was literally a long drive up and down through several mountains on narrow winding roads and cliffs that made me grip tight to my seat each time we make a turn on a sharp curve. Though I got a bit nervous with the trip, the breathtaking view of the lush green verdant forests and mountains helped to ease my tension. And as we arrived in the town and drove to the beach in the resort’s tourist cart, and the minute I caught sight of the islands I immediately marvelled at their magnificence at a distance looking truly captivating, exotically beautiful, welcoming and seducing us for an island hopping adventure, yahoo!

I realised by then that the painfully long hours seated in a van, the almost discouraging weather,and the totally unplanned itineraries are all worth it. To be with old and new friends who all share the fun, laughter, and the passion for travel in any condition was definitely, undeniably worth it after all.. 🙂 

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Playing Survivor haha!

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More Photos!

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What to do on a bumpy boat ride? Well more and groupies haha!

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The rowdy bunch, oh and it’s everyday breakfast for us even at dinner time haha!

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Our mandatory jump shots!. 🙂

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Thank you to the following:

KL Van Rentals ~ awesome road trip made possible!.Two thumbs up to Randell for driving safely and smoothly:)
contact person: Ms. Grace Bamba Asis
contact # 0915-3605741
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KL-VAN-Rental/812119818875360?fref=ts

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The Central Discovery Hotel ~ for our Caramoan island tour
contact # 0919 993 3593
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Central-Discovery-Hotel/235118150010296?fref=ts
Website: http://caramoandiscovery.com/

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Mayon Backpackers Hostel ~ nice accomodation, clean, friendly staff, homey feel!. 🙂
contact # +63(52) 7422613 (Landline) / 09055186076 (mobile)
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MayonBackpackers?fref=ts
Website: https://mayonbackpackers.wordpress.com/

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MY SITES/CONTACT:
LOOKBOOK: http://lookbook.nu/unedalgabre
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/uned.algabre
INSTAGRAM: unedalgabre
contact me: u.algabre@yahoo.com

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