Hidden Gems of Legaspi

Hidden Gems of Legaspi
by Danny Tariman

I had been to the City of Legaspi several times already. Yes, you read it right, several!

But there is always something new that the city offers for my past few visits.

An unobstructed view of the "perfect cone", the Mayon.
An unobstructed view of the “perfect cone”, the Mayon, from Legaspi Boulevard

The last time I visited the place, I was with about 25 relatives in a convoy of 5 cars.

This time, September of 2015, I was with 20! Again all relatives – cousins, nieces & nephews, with in-laws – from my maternal lineage. We went to Legaspi to “celebrate life”, and to thank the Lord for giving us an uncle who had been instrumental to the unity of the clan, and who almost always organized family reunions since I was a little boy.

On a tight window for tour, we discovered “little known gems” of Legaspi City.

Early in the morning, we went to this new Legaspi Boulevard by the sea. This gave us an excellent unobstructed view of the almost perfect cone mountain, the Mayon Volcano. From the Embarcadero Mall, we went straight ahead to this seaside road, which not only offers a fantastic view of the Mayon, but also a refreshing view of the sea fronting the city.

In the middle of the boulevard is a wharf-like structure that extends to the sea. At the start of this protruding road is the big signage “LEGASPI”. Wow, we took our turns to get a photo at this spot. With the letters as foreground, and the Mayon as the backdrop, who wouldn’t recognize that you are in Bicol?

The new Legaspi Boulevard: perfect for photo shoots.
The new Legaspi Boulevard: perfect for photo shoots.

From the boulevard, we drove to a steep ascent to Lingon Hill. Another breathtaking view of Mayon from another perspective. This also gave us opportunity to get a grand perspective of the city. Yes, it looks grand, viewing the city from a high stand point. I have a separate blog on this, “Rediscovering Legaspi and Mayon”.

Lingon Hills overlooking the city and the Legaspi Airport
Lingon Hills overlooking the city and the Legaspi Airport

Our next stop was another “gem” – the Daraga Church. It is a centuries-old church that sits atop a hill. According to history, this was built by Franciscan Order in 1773. Wow, this is almost 250 years old! The baroque-style church is typical of old churches in the Philippines. The facade is clearly made of stone, awashed with whitish color which is said to have been painted using lime. From the Daraga market, the church was a short ascending drive. There are some small souvenir shops in front of the church.

A new discovery for me -- the Daraga Church.
A new discovery for me — the Daraga Church.

If you want quality Bicol sweets and specialty products, Albay Pili Store is the place to go. Situated near the St Gregory Cathedral in Old Albay, Legaspi, this place offers a variety of pilinuts: from crispy, to sugar-coated candies, to candy bars and others. I had noted that the walls of this store – which looks like an ancestral houses renovated to fit a small store – a number of photos of TV and movie personalities! I was told, celebrities go to this place to buy Bicol sweets.

I had been to Cagsawa Ruins many times. But I was surprised this time of the new attraction to this otherwise ‘old’ place – the Patio Cagsawa. Indeed a refreshing addition to the “photo-tired” bell-tower ruins of Cagsawa. The place is a lot better now, the parking and the souvenir shops are well, or rather better, organized this time.

My cousins -- all male -- at Patio Cagsawa
My cousins — all male — at Patio Cagsawa

I will not compete this story without mentioning the very nice and homey accommodation of the Third and Sean’s Place located in the center of the city. It is an ancestral house turned into a hotel. Being an ancestral house, it is a fusion of contemporary and antique design. The room we had has a large bathroom, with a big jacuzzi inside! It has a big fully-furnished kitchen and a large dining hall which we were able to use. It feels like home; we were attended to by the owners themselves. So you would think it was expensive? It is not. Check this out at 0942-286-9866 you look for Nitz, or call 0947-957-8756 or 052-4814427 and speak to Karen.

Indeed, it is more fun in Legaspi!

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An all-female relatives at Patio Cagsawa
Another side of Lingon Hills with Mayon at the background
Another side of Lingon Hills with Mayon at the background
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Believe, Receive!

Believe, Receive!
by Danny Tariman

“Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

We had planned to climb Mt Daraitan one weekend. We researched on what to prepare and readied everything we need for the trek.

My family is excited to go back to the trails and climb a mountain. And this time, it is near the city, just about 70kms away.

However as early as 2 weeks before our climb, three tropical storms were spotted near the country. One after the other. It was raining hard for many days. In fact, there were floods and land slides (due soil erosion) in many provinces. Classes were suspended in the provinces and well as in the Metro.

We prayed for our trek. We prayed that the LORD will blow the rain away from our paths, that the LORD will grant us dry, “trekable” trails when we climb the mountain.

But the storm continued. Even just days before our trek, the rains kept pouring. Hard and heavy.

We continued to lift up to the LORD our prayer for a good weather for the weekend we will climb.

We checked the weather forecast for the day of our climb. The predictions were gloomy – some forecasts predicted rains, some cloudy.

We persisted in our prayers. Every family prayer time, we prayed for good weather. We believe God can make this possible despite the 3 storms spotted near the country,

We recalled how the LORD answered a similar prayer when we trekked Mt Pulag. It was also raining days before our scheduled climb. In fact, our trek organizer informed us that the mountain administrator had closed the area for trekking due to rains. But praise God in His goodness, the sun dried the paths, so that on the weekend we climbed, it was dry, and the administrators opened it up for trekkers.

We believe that the LORD can make it happen again.

Not so surprising because we anticipated God’s favor, we found the road and the trail dry. There was no trace of rain when we climbed Mt Daraitan.

As the Bible says, “believe and receive” (Mark 11:24)

We believed, and we received the answer to our prayers. Praise and thanks be to God!

Healed! An Answered Prayer

Healed! An Answered Prayer
by Danny Tariman

“Yes, I will restore you to health. I will heal your wounds. I, the LORD, affirm it!” (Jer 30:17)

For a few months, a good friend and cousin “Parekuy”, had been complaining of shortness of breath and frequent attacks of sudden weakening or fainting. He was diagnosed by medical doctors that his heart is ill, and that he needs heart-bypass operation.

The news triggered worries and anxieties, not only to his immediate family, but to his ‘extended family’ – and this includes us.

The family offered prayers for him, and invoke the Name of Jesus to bring healing upon him and that the Lord will provide for his needs for an expensive heart operation.

Last Thursday, he went “through the knife”. A team of heart surgeons performed quadruple bypass operation on him for almost 8 long hours! His wife had been updating me every now and then. We continued to storm the heavens with our prayers.

“I am the one who gives them reason to celebrate…” says the LORD, “and I will heal them.” (Isaiah 59:19)

Finally, at about half-past 4 in the afternoon, his operation was completed. It was a success! Praise be to God! He was immediately wheeled to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Heart Center for recovery and close monitoring.

Prayers were continually offered, while his family waited outside the ICU. And again, praise the Lord! His recovery was quick, he was transferred from ICU to a regular room last Sunday afternoon. His recuperation was impressive; he is able to talk and is in his full senses!

“I was sick and you took care of me… and you visited me… I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me. “(Matthew 25:36, 45)

My family visited him the Sunday evening following his surgery. We were very surprised! He can chat with us, can smile, and even crack some jokes! He had even eaten bread with us! Wow, we really thank the Lord for his speedy recovery!

Thank You LORD for hearing our prayers – for the successful heart operation and for the fast recovery, and for healing too!