Here’s a one-minute video. Watch it in HD! :)
Early this year, I was able to visit Naga City in Bicol (southern tip of Luzon). What a way to start the year, right? First week of 2017, lakwatsa agad! Good job! We were actually invited for a wedding but since it was our first time, well at least for Darel and I (haha! we were with his sister), we decided to go there ahead of schedule and explore a bit. Maybe you’ve seen my IG stories back then and saw how fun it was to get lost and just allow where our instincts would take us. In case you missed it, don’t worry ‘cos I’m about to share the full story of our Naga trip.
The initial plan was to explore the surrounding islets of San Pascual, Burias Island, and on top of the list are the islands of Tinalisayan and Sombrero.
We tried to contact resorts and guides few days before the trip but unfortunately, we were unable to reach all the contact numbers we found in San Pascual. Just a little back story, a strong typhoon hit the Bicol area late last year so we thought maybe the cell sites were greatly affected. Having no choice but to skip the beautiful islets, we decided to go for Calaguas Island which is on the northern side of Naga.
A bit farther than San Pascual, but we really wanted a good salt, sand and sea for this trip so we didn’t care. Hahaha. The day before our flight, we’re all set for our Calaguas side trip. We’ve talked to the resort (Waling Eco Village is the place to be in the island if you’re not into camping. I was so convinced by the photos and reviews I found for the resort. HUHU. Will definitely plan again. SPOILER: No content about Waling Eco Village in this post because.. read on) and the boatman and everything’s all good. We were so excited! But that night, we got a text from the resort informing us that the coastguards were not allowing any boats to travel because of the unpredictable weather. Probably still a post-typhoon thing. What a real heart-breaker.
SO GUESS WHAT? We officially have no plans on what to do for 2 days and our flight is in less than 12 hours!
I was awake when the plane was about to land. I love it when planes land at daytime. I feel like I’m seeing everything on a scaled version. Haha. Architecture blood kicking in. Anyway, I’m aware of the typhoon that hit Bicol last December but I didn’t know it was that bad. As the plane started to descend, I saw uprooted trees, ripped off roofs and to summarize it all, it was such a devastating scene. The ride from the airport to the place where we’ll be staying at gave us even a close-up view of how strong typhoon ‘Nina’ was. I can just imagine the nightmare Bicolanos had to endure during the surge of strong winds plus the heavy rain. I feel sorry for the affected families. I hope everything’s in good condition now months after the calamity. Btw, in case you’re wondering, the wedding pushed thru despite the situation. And it was beautiful! Yay!
At 7am (010517), we were already in Naga. Yep. Still got no plans. We stayed in Domer Residencias on the whole duration of this trip btw. Breakfast. Checked-in. We were so bummed by the thought that we got nothing on our itinerary. We’re almost ready to turn off our excitement but thank God for friends, we were able to borrow a car! Cars can take you anywhere right?? Before lunch time, we’re already on the road on search for White Pebble Beach Resort (high fiving Google and Waze) – the best beach Naga City itself offers. We decided to have lunch on a typical bus stop-over except that it was about 5x more eerie than your usual idea of a provincial road. Imagine seeing a roof of a gas station ripped off plus more uprooted trees, and fallen electric posts, and few people on this part of the route. Good thing we found some comfort on Mik-Mik. Hahaha. In case you’re wondering what the heck is Mik-Mik, it’s actually a sweetened milk powder where you need to use a straw that comes with it so you can enjoy eating it. It’s the best experience ever! 90’s kid represent!
At around almost 1:30 in the afternoon, we’re already on the off road part of the route (on the mountain actually) and were slowly greeted by this upsetting view:
We decided to go on and filled our hopes up by expecting that at the end of this long, sad and muddy road, there’s a calm sea waiting for us. BUT, the road was not just sad. It was depressing, and frustrating.. and okay it was kind of funny. Haha. You see, we have a sedan type and just when Waze told us that we’re only about 1 to 2kms away from the place, the muddy road just keeps getting thicker up to the point that we can no longer pass thru. Waze: “Surprise!”
Believe me, we did everything we can to pass thru every difficult turn just to reach that 1 to 2kms-away state. We even had these options: 1) drive back and find a house where we can temporarily park the car and hitch a ride maybe from a motorcycle because yes, there are some residents in that mountain 2) walk a few meters and hope that Waze is telling a lie and that the beach is only a few meters away, and just park the car where the road would still be passable — because we can take turns in swimming, sun-bathing and still look after the car right?? Hahahaha!
And because we are some kind of crazy human beings, we decided to go for the second option. Ate Dane and I decided to walk and just see what we can get out of doing that. Strolling around that mountain and in the middle of the spoiled plants and trees, I really don’t know what we were thinking that time. Hahaha! After a few minutes, we saw a house and some people, and we told them our dilemma. Sadly, they can’t offer us any help. They’re probably thinking, who are these 2 ladies colorfully dressed with muddy feet in the middle of the mountain??
And so we decided to go back and drove off thinking, “It’s only 3 in the afternoon, we can still find a beach somewhere.” And off we went. We decided to take the road near the ocean (We’re still in Pasacao I guess?) hoping we can find a good spot where we can take a dip, even for just a few minutes. So with the help of G-maps and a few questions to the locals, we managed to find a strip of small resorts. Yay! Imagine us asking, “Pwede po ba maligo?” Hahaha! We didn’t want to pay for a whole “daytrip” since it’s almost 4pm and we plan to leave by 5:30pm. Took us quite a while to find one who’s easy to deal with. And guess what, they even offered an island hopping!! Time check: 4pm. We said yes immediately, taking only with us the essentials – a plastic of Mik-mik, our phones, a bottle of water, and that’s it. We didn’t even bother to get towels. Hahaha.
About 10-15 mins later, we found ourselves in Daruanak Island. It’s a small island which offers a very cold, yet very clear and calm water. No fine sand but it has beautiful pebbles. We quickly got off the boat and enjoyed the place. And it’s almost sunset! (Enjoy the photos!)
The next day (010617), we decided to go wakeboarding. But first, breakfast! The Bicolano cuisine is known for the prominent use of chili peppers and gata that’s why I was a bit disappointed when we ran out of time to try their ice cream! But I’ll be back, promise!
Despite the typhoon aftermath, CWC was operational but some of their facilities were undergoing repairs. Probably the reason why there weren’t a lot of people when we got there. We even managed to have the beginner’s course all to ourselves! It was my first time to wakeboard and I did it!
At around 5pm we decided to leave and headed straight to Panicuason Hot Springs. Another place we just saw on the internet. Getting there wasn’t easy though because the route involved driving on a 2 lane road, with bent power posts and power lines dangling on the road. What a way to relax after hours of wakeboarding! Sorry, no photos. It was already dark when we got there.
The following day (010717) was Marcus and Laiza’s wedding. Sharing to you some photos.
Exploring Naga didn’t go the way it was originally planned but I’m still thankful for the kind of adventure we experienced. Til we meet again, Bicol! Still got to scratch off “Calaguas” from the bucket list. Haha. What’s your most memorable Bicol trip?