There’s nothing like going to an unfamiliar place and having a local take you around. We’ve been to Legazpi City and neighboring towns (see the posts from that trip) and never got to visit the places that Alex went to last week. We just spent so much time getting lost and getting pissed. Alex was luckier this time.
Last summer, Alex asked permission to spend Holy Week in Bicol. Her schoolmate and friend, Chesca, who hails from Legazpi City, was spending Holy Week there and invited her to come along. We didn’t know Chesca at the time except for a few casual hellos when we saw her at their school. That changed after the summer. Over the next twelve months, Chesca, along with other schoolmates, would spend several weekends at our house here in the suburb. And we got to know her — all of them, in fact — quite well. When Alex asked permission to go to Bicol with Chesca this summer, we said yes.
Alex, Chesca and their friend, Ardy, traveled by car. SUV, actually — Manila to Bicol is a twelve-hour drive and too punishing for a car meant for city driving. They travelled all of Wednesday, spent the next three days sightseeing and drove back to Manila on Sunday.
These are the photos from the trip. They were taken by Alex, Chesca and Ardy. THANK YOU, you three, for allowing me to publish them here.
No, there are no photos from the first day because they just slept for most of the twelve-hour drive. I think they only woke up when it was time to eat.
Day 2: Subic Beach, Matnog, Sorsogon
Alex can’t remember how long the drive from Legazpi City to Matnog took. She just said, “Long.” Legazpi City is in the province of Albay while Matnog is in Sorsogon.
From Matnog, they took a boat to Subic Beach in Calintaan Island.
Now, that is my idea of a beach. Not Boracay which is too commercialized and too crowded.
Ardy, Chesca and Alex.
So, they spent all of Thursday at the beach. And took more photos on the boat ride back to Matnog.
No, the boat didn’t go inside the caves.
On page 2: Cagsawa and Ligñon Hill
Day 3: Cagsawa and Ligñon Hill
When we went to Albay a couple of years ago, in all the days that we were there, there was never a moment when the top of Mayon Volcano was not covered with clouds.
When I downloaded the photos from Alex’s memory card, I didn’t know whether to gape in awe or bang my head on my keyboard in envy. Most of the Mayon photos had NO CLOUDS hovering over the top.
Chesca shot the beautiful photo above. I asked Alex if she took similar photos — Cagsawa Bell tower with Mayon Volcano in the background — she said no, she didn’t want to take any more Cagsawa photos. I think that means she took enough when we were there a few summers ago.
Ardy took the photos above and below. For some reason, these two photos make me shiver. Beauty, death, disaster.
That’s Chesca and Ardy. It was Ardy’s first trip to Bicol.
From Cagsawa, the trio went to Ligñon Hill.
They walked up the hill.
And Ardy took fantastic sunset photos from Ligñon Hill with Mayon Volcano in silhouette.
On page three, Botong Twin Falls, Bacon-Manito Geothermal Production Field and the EDC Butterfly Garden.
Day 4: Botong Twin Falls, Bacon-Manito Geothermal Production Field and the EDC Butterfly Garden
The following photos were taken at the Bacon-Manito Geothermal Production Field.
Now, the deers.
And the butterflies. Although I already knew the answer, I asked Alex who took the photos of the caterpillars and the cocoon. She said she did — among the three of them, she’s the only one who takes photos of things like that.
I’ve seen a lot of caterpillars in my life but not a cocoon this beautiful.
On page four, riding and trekking to Mayon Volcano.
Day 5: Riding to Mayon Volcano in all-terrain vehicles and descending via zip line
Now this has got to be the most exciting thing that they did.
So, they drove these all-terrain vehicles to go to Mayon Volcano. I always wanted one of these.
They reached a point when they could only proceed by foot.
And they ascended to that area where the ground was covered with nothing but volcanic rocks.
And they posed.
And posed some more.
When it was time to go descend, Alex couldn’t. She has a problem with heights. Yes, like me. Going up was easy because she didn’t have to look down. But walking down the volcano was another story.
So, they went down via zip line.
Read the expression on Alex’s face. It’s clear enough how much she loves heights.
Again, thank you Ardy David, Chesca Gonzalez and Alex for the beautiful photos.