Backpacking Across Bicol

10:33 PM

March is here!
Time to make those summer lovin’ plans!!!

And here's an idea: backpack across the bicol region.
That’s what four of us – Raffy, JM, EM, and I did in the summer of last year. (and was later joined by Raffy's sister Marija and her boyfriend Gino)

Quoting Jeremy Clarkson of UK’s Topgear, “we were ambitious and for the first time, successful!” Ambitious we were for wanting to do so much in a week and on a budget no less.

Left Manila Sunday night on board the Philtranco deluxe bus bound for Legaspi. (Recliner seats are the way to go!)

recliner seats on the bus!

Woke up at Legaspi Central Terminal. Took a two-hour long jam-packed jeepney ride to Donsol. Lady Luck was on our side when a group failed to show up and thus were bumped up to the first batch of boats off for butanding-watching. Lady luck was certainly smiling on us when we were able to spot one within fifteen minutes. Got to swim with four more.

morning traffic

trying to spot a butanding
a butanding or a whale shark to you, mr. english

After which headed back to Legaspi, with Marie and Frederick from Sweden, whom we introduced to Jollibee Chickenjoy and Champ. Took the jeepney to Cagsawa, where Mt. Mayon hid under the clouds and refused to show us her lovely form. Hopped on an ordinary bus to CWC, Cam Sur, got there before sundown, and tried wakeboarding but failed miserably.

cagsawa church's bell tower

roadside eats: greasy maruja

we tried. oh, we tried. but only JM succeeded.

At breakfast, met Raffy’s blockmate Kat, her sister, and Kat’s big aussie boyfriend. Took the jeepney to Sabang port to get on board the Bangka to Caramoan. Once on land, rode a tryc and a multi-cab to La Playa beach resort where we stayed for the night.

fields flank the national highway

my seatmate and his sister


pulling in some from the sea

Early start at six in the morning, went island-hopping. Had the best breakfast in the world on the shores of Matukad beach. But as we were leaving Lahus, the second island, my camera got a good dunking when i lost my balance and fell into the water. (had to leave it to dry for an entire day)

breakfast  with a view

Raffy just can't help himself
Left Caramoan for Talisay before noon, and got the chance to meet a gorgeous German volunteer, living in Lucena, and his cute friend. From Talisay port, hopped on a van to Naga. On the way, we picked up Raffy’s sister Marija. Had lunch at [local fastfood chain?] Graceland, SM Naga and then caught an ordinary bus to Daet.

The supposed two-hour bus ride stretched to four because the crappy bus had to stop for every Juan de la Cruz standing roadside. Was warmly welcomed and served a hearty supper at JM’s grandma’s house and delish dessert at his tita’s Ksarap! Then went off to Bagasbas beach to slug down a few bottles of beer.

trying my best to actually look presentable.. but obviously failing.

Braved the turbulent sea for Calaguas Island with the awesome Lukban clan. And boy was it worth it! Think Boracay circa 1990. Beach Paradise. Oh and Gino, Marija’s boyfriend, finally managed to get to Daet that night. 

self-flagellating penitents on the street on maundy thursday morning

passing the hours on the boat

surf and sand of calaguas island

Tried to catch the waves at Bagasbas Beach. Explored Daet on foot. Watched the Good Friday procession. Got to see the Lukbans's beloved tres marias.

JM at bagasbas

the Lukban's tres marias, part of good friday procession

Left for Manila at 8:00 am. Arrived at Philtranco Pasay station at 4:30pm. Changed to the deluxe bus with recliners to get to Cubao.

back on the very same bus we started this awesome journey with!

*some images by raffy vicente

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