Albay Myself. ‘Don’t Wanna Be Albay Myself Anymore…

Wala lang ‘yong title. Mema lang. Memakanta lang. Anyway, I just went back from my Albay trip in which I enjoyed a lot. I am too lazy to blog about my travel stories but Imma blog about this one—our adventures, gastronomic encounters and how the majestic Mayon Volcano caught our hearts.

Actually, I was supposed to go here last March 2015. I was about to celebrate my birthday there but something came up and I had to cancel my trip. But since I really, really, really wanted to see the Mayon, pinush ko talaga na makarating this year with my friend since high school and her 12-year old son (who is my inaanak). ‘Yong totoo, after my failed attempt to see the Mayon last year, twice ko siya napanaginipan. Kitang-kita ko siya habang naglalakad ako sa kalsada. And when I finally got to see her, she’s just what I’ve seen in my dream–perfect, beautiful, majestic.

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HOTEL

Hotel St. Ellis had been our home for four days. The hotel is nice, room is comfy and their service is great, however, ang pool nila “no pandaks allowed.” Pirming 5’6″ lang ang puwedeng mag-swimming doon. hehe. We have daily supplies of toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, ear buds, soap, bath gel, shampoo with conditioner and lotion na lahat iniuwi ko dahil hindi ko nagamit) and bottled water. Daily breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers are included in their service. Overall, I would rate Hotel St. Ellis 4 stars. Sorry, I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the hotel, especially the lobby at the resto.

 

FOOD

The first resto we tried was Bigg’s Diner. I loved their fried chicken. Basta kakaiba siya. Malasa. Parang pinaghalong Chickenjoy at Max’s chicken. Then we tried sipping on some Cake Frost na masarap sana kaso sobrang tamis. We went to buy some pili products at the Albay Pilinut where they sell export-quality pili products so expect it to be a little pricey than the other manufacturers’. May free taste ng Crispy Pili with Honey and with Butternut and Mazapan. All tasted good. We also tried to dine at Small Talk Café where we ordered Bicol Express pasta, Pili Basil pasta, I forgot the other one pasta and the Mayon Stuffed Pizza na sobrang sarap! Its stuffed with laing, bicol express and guinobotan longanisa. I consumed almost half of the pizza. Of course, hindi namin puwedeng kalimutang i-try ang Sili Ice Cream sa 1st Colonial Grill. Ay, hindi pala ako. ‘Yong kasama ko lang ang um-order kasi ang in-order ko was Pili Ice Cream which was yum. Tumikhim lang ako ng Sili Ice Cream and man, level 1 lang in-order ng kasama ko pero ang anghang na talaga. Lalo pa siguro kung level 3. Pero masarap. And the halo-halo in DJC Halo-Halo tasted really good! In fact, sabi naming bago kami umalis, kakain ulit kami kaso nakalimutan namin kaya hinayang na hinayang kami. Haha. Their bicol express is also yum! We did our pasalubong shopping at the Legazpi Grand Central Terminal. And dude, naka-over 2k yata ako sa shopping. Sulit naman. favorite ko yung Suspiros De Pili. Pramis! I’d buy a dozen of it when I come back!

 

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TOUR

We took the car rental service of Tourrific Travel where we met Kuya George, our driver. He drove us around Albay. Umpisa pa lang ng tour naghe-hello na si Mayon na sobrang ganda at akala mo kaylapit! Sabi ko, heto na ‘yon, eh. Heto na ‘yong panaginip ko. Nagkatotoo na. Our first destination was at the Legazpi Boulevard. Then we headed to the Lignon Hill Park where we got the closer view of Mayon. We were at awe na agad. Little did we know, as the tour continues, palapit kami nang palapit sa bulkan (yes, spoiler ito). We just took a glimpse of the Japanese Tunnel façade as we’re not interested to enter. We already entered one in Baguio two years ago and we found nothing interesting–walang singkit na mumu eh–hehe, so we chose not to enter that one. Next destination was at the Cagsawa Ruins. Napuntahan ko rin sa wakas. I always see that place in postcards and textbooks. Ang ganda pala ng place na ‘yon sa personal. We proceeded to see the Daraga Curch which I found fascinating. Sabi ni Kuya George na-retoke na raw ‘yon at dati mas maganda ‘yon. Then next stop was at Camalig where we entered a cave called Hoyop-hoyopan Cave. Buti na lang patag ang cave. Anyone can just easily walk and explore the cave na puno ng stalagmites at stalactites na mukhang atat na atat mag-meet. We noticed some interesting and funny shapes inside the cave. I won’t spoil them. Basta you have to see them yourself. We proceeded to Kawa-Kawa Hill. So, okay, I admit I’m old already. Di ko na kineri ang umakyat sa elevated cemented pavement paakyat ng hill. Eh jusko 1000+ meters daw. Mukhang maganda sana sa itaas kaso hanggang 5th station lang inabot namin. Sumuko na kami haha. So, we proceeded to our next destination which is the Mayon Resthouse/ Skyline and we were literally at the Mayon’s body! So from there, makikita lang daw namin ay ‘yong upper part ng Mayon kasi nasa katawan na niya kami, eh. Kaso, ewan ko ba bigla yatang nahiya si Mayon at nagtago sa ulap. Pero tyinaga naming maghintay na magpakita siya until we saw her. Tanaw na tanaw ko ang crater niya. May red lines sa tabi ng crater na akala mo nag-iinit na siya. Little did we know naka-alert level 1 na pala during that time! Ha-ha! Super lamig doon, ang sarap tumambay. We then went down the Mayon to go to Tobaco Church na akala ng friend ko sinunog kasi ang itim. Galing pala sa Mayon ang ginamit doon kaya maitim, hehe. Then we went to Busay Falls and we were disappointed kasi hindi na kami pinapasok sa 2nd to 7th falls. Hanggang 1st falls lang kami nakapunta. Kasi it was 4pm already and it would take some time to reach the other falls. Kaya nagpunta na lang kami agad sa Black Sand Beach sa Bacacay. Bago umuwi, dumaan muna kami sa Sto. Domingo Chuch. It’s a quaint little church na mukhang under renovation that time. Okay, before I forgot, somewhere during our trip, si Kuya George idinaan kami sa isang tulay na kapag dumaan ka raw, kailangang pigilin mo ang paghinga mo mula sa pagpasok sa tulay hanggang sa paglabas while making a wish. Matutupad daw at totoo daw ‘yon kasi marami na daw nag-testify at maging siya, nagkatotoo ang wish niya. Pinatulan namin ng friend ko haha! Wala namAng mawawala. Kuya George was a good driver. Sayang nga lang at hindi namin nakuha ang number niya. Hindi tuloy namin siya masisisi kapag hindi natupad ang wish namin haha.

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ADVENTURE

We woke up late the next morning after the tour so we started our ATV adventure past 10am. So we drove the ATV for more than two hours under the scorching heat of the sun. Kaya umitim tuloy ako. Buti na lang hindi ako nagka-sunburn. Thanks to my sunblock spray. We took the service of Majestic ATV Adventure and their guides were good but I do not really recommend them for a few reasons–first, we rented 3 atvs. 1 of them broke down and 1’s engine stopped for a few times. Second, we were expecting we’d have a lot of pictures taken by our guides during our ATV ride pero wala gaano. But despite that, we enjoyed our ATV adventure. Noong una medyo takot pa kami kaya nagsama kami ng 2 guides pero after a few minutes, we were driving like racers hahaha! Ang saya! Sobra! Short trail lang dapat ang ia-avail namin pero buti na lang umiral ang adventurous sides namin at tinarget namin bigla hanggang Lava Wall! For 1,850 pesos we were able to get to the helepad sorrounded by lava rocks and it was probably the closest spot where people could enjoy the panoramic view of the volcano. Bonus pa ang view of the dagat below. 360 degree of spectacular view! Medyo disappointed lang nang kaunti kasi naman nagtago na naman si Daragang Magayon sa ulap. Sayang. And that is why I think I will come back. Yes, I will come back. I will come back for the Mayon Stuffed Pizza from Small Talk Cafe, the Halo-halo from DJC and Bicol Express and this ATV adventure, sasagarin ko hanggang sa paa ni Mayon. Hahaha!

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Overall, this trip was super worth it . I will see you again, Daragang Magayon and please…  please, when I do, let me see you upclose. Don’t hide behind the clouds again.

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