Sunday, December 16, 2007

Idyllic Bicol

I have to admit, I know almost nothing about the Bicol Region except the cone-shaped Mayon, Cagsawa ruins and the little town (or is it city?) of Iriga where Nora Aunor supposedly used to sell bottled water to train commuters. Hehe.

My mom was a huge Nora Aunor fan back when Vilma Santos was just a trying-hard celebrity, always on her heels to try duplicating the brown superstar's successes. Fast forward to the new millennium and Ms. Santos has re-invented herself into a well-respected and even more popular politician, as well as a durable actress, and La Aunor has morphed into a legendary celebrity whose best days have passed 3 decades ago! And guess what? Camarines Sur has transformed itself into a tourist destination for watersports-savvy individuals - better refered to as CamSur!

Well-maintained roads on the way to the peak of Mount Mayon.

The "almost" symmetrical" cone of Mayon Volcano, the Philippines' most active volcano, and Philippines' version of Japan's Fiji.

A park at the Mayon Shrine.

Serene beach in Bicol: dark but fine sand, and very clear water. this floating kubo cost below PhP500, imagine that!

Provincial Capitol of either Camarines Norte or Sur. Take your pick. LOL

My vivid recollection on visiting the place was the travel on a van, halfway up the Mayon. There was a shrine and cemetery midway to the top. Due to its altitude (which should be around 4,000 ft, since the whole volcano stands 8,000 ft above the gulf - and 15 km. northwest of Legaspi City), the climate gets cold in mid-afternoon. The shrine boasts of an austere park that quickly reminds one of the peaks in Mines View Park, without the crazy crowd. The way home is also memorable, with children and adults waving their hands to bypassing vehicles hoping for "alms" which isn't a respectable tradition to follow, if you ask me.

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