by Danny Tariman
We had been hitting many wonderful places in the Bicol region in these past 4 days. I am enjoying the drive, thanks to our very dependable Isuzu Crosswind. We’ve been to Caramoan Islands, had explored Sorsogon, rediscovered Legaspi City with its perfect cone – the Mayon Volcano. I am a bit tired, but definitely enjoying the experience. I really love driving long-distance out-of-town trips.
Our final leg is a quick tour of Naga City in Camarines Sur and a brief stop in Daet, Camarines Norte.
We left Legaspi City en-route for Naga City, late in the afternoon. It’s been a lazy drive; plenty of cars and buses along the way. When we reached Camalig, we bought the famous pinangat (taro leaves slow cooked in coconut cream). It was great that the dish is offered frozen! We can bring some more as present to friends.
We also had a brief stop in Bato, Camarines Sur near the railroad crossing, where the popular Pancit Bato came from. This type of noodles is sun-dried. My wife bought some just enough for a family meal so we can try this local dish.
We reached Naga City at about 8 o’clock in the evening. After checking-in at the hotel, we started exploring the place. We went to the city public square and see what’s going on. Aside from a monument in the middle, there is an array of vendors selling various stuff – from pork barbecue to peanuts to fruits, from souvenir items, to massage service. After few minutes of strolling the area, we took our dinner at a local restaurant and then had our rest.
Naga City is the home to Our Lady of Peñafrancia – a famous icon of the Blessed Mother, which is known to be miraculous. We visited the 3 major churches in the city – the Naga Cathedral, the Shrine of Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and the Minor Basilica where the image of Our Lady of Peñafrancia kept. It was like a thanksgiving visits to the churches as we wrap-up our Bicol Road Trip.
We also passed Ateneo de Naga where my wife had finished her college. Of course, my son took photos of himself in front of the Ateneo gate being an Atenean also – he graduated from Ateneo de Manila.
After our lunch, we returned to Maharlika Highway en-route to Manila via Daet, Camarines Norte. My daughter took the steering wheel during our drive to Daet. – just a portion of the highway, For about 30 minutes, she drove our car as I need to rest too. We passed by the Bicol National Park – a restricted forest area. The road in the area is zigzag – caution: drivers.
We reached Daet at about 2pm. We dropped by St John Church. I visited this church in the late 90’s and it is so different now. I like its former ‘antique look’. After few minutes of communing with the Lord in thanksgiving and prayer, we drove to Bagasbas Beach. We passed the busiest road in the city – right in front of a market!
The beach is a vast mass of land. I can imagine on high tide, one can walk towards the middle of the sea without the fear of getting drowned! It is so wide and almost flat. The wind is so refreshing and the cool, you’d like to inhale for more! We had some fun photos here.
On our return to the main highway, we stopped at the public market and bought some items. Wow, the stuff are very, very cheap! We bought coconut and fruits. Oh yes, the Daet pineapple is a unique variety. It is elongated and slim, and even if it is still green, when you chop it and eat, it is so sweet, you can even eat the core!
Finally, we drove back to Manila. My wife had to drive the car for me for almost an hour. I have to sleep. I am so tired by now, after almost 5 days of driving.
It was a truly wonderful experience touring the Bicol region. Give it a try!