Although it is home to one of the Philippines’ most recognizable landmarks, Bicol still has way too many secrets. This island in Albay is one, despite being next-door neighbors with the ritzy Cagraray Island, home to Misibis Bay. We’re talking about Pinamuntugan, an hour’s boat ride from the town of Bacacay in Albay. Our stay on this island was short, sweet, and (relatively) cheap, since there’s really nothing to do here—dolce far niente, ladies and gentlemen.
It was barely 6 AM and we were already running an hour late from our self-imposed call time. Luckily, we were in the province—in fact, we were in the middle of nowhere, in a small hot spring resort surrounded by dense mountains and tall coconut trees in Irosin, Sorsogon. There was no pesky tour guide to fault us for not waking up according to a printed, three-page Excel document, and our trike driver looked like he had just woken up too.
All five of us settled groggily in the tricycle, Owen and I choosing to sit behind the driver—a decision we regretted as soon as the trike picked up speed and the early morning chill assaulted us face on.
It turns out, as the tricycle made its way past the shady entrance to Bulusan National Park, our timing was just perfect. Before us was Bulusan Lake, its water reflecting the trees and the blue sky with its big, fat, white clouds, so vivid it looked like a rippling mirror. It was so picture-perfect it didn’t seem real.
The opaque waters became real enough, however, when we started pedaling our way across the lake. Our companions had been gone for about 15 minutes when Owen and I decided to follow, partly because we were worried why they hadn’t reappeared on the other side yet.
It turns out the part not visible from the dock was way bigger, and that there are tables on this part for picnics. We wished we had brought food with us on the way, since without anything (not even water), we didn’t get to linger long enough, which was a shame because the shady area was perfect for eating and then dozing off and then eating again.
But it was a sunny day, the air was cool, we were with friends we can race against on the placid waters (which we did), so the food (or lack thereof) was barely an issue, if at all.
But the lake is barely just a tourist attraction for picnics and kayaking. Rather more importantly, it is a source of food for local people, who can be seen laying down their nets at various parts of the lake in the early morning. Local kids also swim in it without so much as a life vest, and right then we knew that the fun we were having was nothing compared to theirs.
Small, quiet, uncomplicated–well, at least on the surface. That’s how Donsol in Sorsogon province seemed. Coconut trees rose above the concrete, and small fenced resorts lined up the coast, which, to anyone who didn’t know better, could easily look unremarkable.
Continue reading “Photos: 24 hours in Donsol”
We’ve been asked a few times how to get to Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon so we decided to be magnanimous (!) and write this travel guide.
Or you could look at it this way: we just have so much time on our hands to spoil.
Subic Beach is found at Calintaan Island in the town of Matnog in Sorsogon province, which is in the Bicol region. If you can’t picture it yet, we’re providing a map here too.
Continue reading “Tips for your trips: Subic Beach, Calintaan Island, Matnog, Sorsogon”
After a while, the excitement for traveling wanes a little bit, just like anything else.
Feeling too lazy to wake up earlier than usual.
Choosing to be on Instagram rather than be out there (oh but there’s free WiFi!).
Not going on certain legs of the trip for no apparent reason.
But Calintaan Island in Matnog, Sorsogon changed all that.
Continue reading “Matnog, Sorsogon: The Surprises of Subic Beach”
Our first agenda when we checked in for our Manila-Legazpi flight was to ask for a window seat on the left side of the plane. Why?
Grand welcome ba kamo? CHECK!
Continue reading “Bicol’s Mayon Volcano is stunning from any angle!”
We’ve just come from a six-day road trip to Bicol, arriving in Legazpi City before we headed further south to the tip of Luzon in Matnog, Sorsogon. We traveled with three of our friends, so that made us a (loud) party of five for an entire week. Dealing with a week’s worth of photos and thoughts isn’t easy, so we’re dishing in this video as a teaser first! ENJOY! ;)
Continue reading “VIDEO: Beautiful Bicol”
“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.” ~Rachel Carson
Continue reading “Life’s a Beach: Calaguas”
We know—it’s chilly and it’s always raining in the afternoon. We didn’t forget we’re in the middle of November.
But this—NOW—is the best time to start planning your summer trips because tickets are most likely cheaper (we checked). This early though we want to apologize for this incomplete list (El Nido, for one, is glaringly absent—we promise to go there in the very near future). Be that as it may, all these are worth spending some of your Christmas bonuses for. Here’s to a splashing cool summer for all of us!
Continue reading “Beachin’ in the Philippines: Time to get those summer plans rolling!”