Tag Archives: Bicol

My 26th Year in Travel

I know it’s already five months overdue but still, I would like to write a personal post about my 26th year, highlighting the travels I’ve had and the people I met along the way.

Sunset at Liwliwa

Contrary to my 25th year’s travels which were mainly as a solo backpacker or with a travel buddy, 2013-2014 was more of a group travel kind for me. It’s also during this span of time that I’ve met several important people in my life — from CouchSurfing acquaintances to really great friends, and from total strangers to favorite companions and partners in crime. And yes, ’twas also late last year that I met someone whom I’m looking forward to have more travels and adventures with.

Continue reading My 26th Year in Travel

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Majestic Mayon Volcano from Different Angles

I realized that during my “Bicolandia Exploration”, my first solo backpacking trip in the Philippines in late March 2011, I have taken several photos of the majestic Mayon Volcano (Mt. Mayon) at different angles and locations.

Of course, the first photos of Mt. Mayon that I took were at the famed Cagsaua Ruins.

Mayon Volcano and Cagsawa Ruins
Mayon Volcano and Cagsawa Ruins

On that day, the majestic Mayon decided not to show herself to me. No matter how much I pleaded.

Mayon Volcano and Cagsawa Ruins - Clouds
It was a cloudy day and Mayon shied away!

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this myth or folklore that the Mayon only shows herself to people she likes. Of course, my Japanese boss will not hear of it but hey, that’s what people believe in!

Mayon Volcano and Cagsawa Ruins - Paddy Fields
Paddy fields at the foot of the volcano. I wonder how the rice grow with the quality of the soil…hmmm

My first encounter with Mt. Mayon was in Grade 6 (long time ago!) as part of a field-trip-cum-retreat at Acquinas University, a Diocesan school, in Legazpi. I could still remembered how I fumbled with the instamatic film camera when sitting out in the soccer/football field, “she showed herself” to us!

Mayon Volcano Lignon Hill
Mayon Volcano from the Lignon Hill viewing deck

So, you could probably just imagine my frustration when, even after climbing Lignon Hill, Mt. Mayon still hid from me! Ugh.

Mayon Volcano Lignon Hill View Deck
trying to be creative

I mean, WHY?! It was a bright sunny day. No threat whatsoever of raining. Or typhoons. And yet, the Mayon volcano still wouldn’t let me behold her in her full majesty!

Mayon Volcano Lignon Hill - Zipline
Photo taken while ziplining (flying fox) at Lignon Hill. Warning: Kids, only “professional buwis-buhay travelers” can do this. Do not try at home!

Neither did she reveal her beauty while I went ziplining at Lignon Hill nor when I did a short trek at the lava flow/ash floored area. Even with the effort!!!

Mayon Volcano - Ash Trek
Getting nearer but not clearer at the lava flow/ash trek area

I know, I probably sound like a disgruntled customer right now but when you have a DSLR and a digital camera in place of a slow and manual film one, you kinda hope for the best shot possible!

It was only after four days, when I was heading back to Legazpi from a great beach time in Tikling Island at Matnog, Sorsogon that Mayon decided to show up! And I was on a moving bus!!!

Mayon Volcano from Bulan Bus
I had to suddenly move to the back of the bus to take this shot of the Mayon! Effort!

I mean, cmon! The bus was moving and I didn’t know yet how long it will take until we stop at the terminal. Or if Mt. Mayon would still be clear and “picture-perfect” by that time! So, hard as it was, I snapped away without thinking much about composition, lighting, creatives, etc.! That was the moment and I had to capture it!

Mayon Volcano from Bulan Crater close-up
Mt. Mayon’s crater used to be of a perfect cone shape. Even with a little deformation, it’s still beautiful! The “steam” looks hot and dangerous though!

I even managed to take a photo of the crater, once said to have been perfect—which is also why Mt. Mayon, an active volcano, is among the most famous in the Philippines and the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Mayon Volcano Terminal
Waiting at the terminal for your ride while reveling at Mt. Mayon isn’t so bad, is it?!

Luckily, when I got off at the central bus and shuttle van terminal in Legazpi, she was still waiting for me to get my shot—and have it done right! Capturing the different images of Mayon volcano and seeing it from different angles was definitely one of the highlights of my first backpacking trip!

Bonding with Butanding (teaser!)

I am writing this quick post (as I have to do my freelance writing gig, ASAP!) to have a break on the airport series coz I’m about to do another one on arriving at NAIA Terminal 2 (which will make this blog a Philippine Airports promotion page). So this one now is on my 2-hour bonding with the Butandings (local name for Whale Shark) of Donsol, Sorsogon during my solo trip to explore Bicol and the rest of Region V in March 29 to April 2 (more on this next time, ok?!).

The Butanding says Hello! (sorry for the bad pic or light or whatever. but imagine how close I was to actually accidentally (since I can't see what's in the display screen) get this one. well, at this distance, CRAZY CLOSE I dare say!

I needed to consume my vacation leaves since they are not convertible by the end of the Japanese Fiscal Year (March 31). I initially wanted to conquer Sagada. But I had a field work just the week before to Banaue. Ok, I know these are two totally different places. But hey! It’s both cold. So I wanted to try something different. And well, the whale sharks or also referred to as gentle giants (the ones I saw were like two jeepneys long or something; and they’re like just passing through, seemingly mindless of you messing with their turf!). Continue reading Bonding with Butanding (teaser!)