CamSur-Albay Road Trip 2014

Intro

I have been to Albay Province several times already but this road trip would be a big first for me. Primarily, because it is the first time that I'd be visiting it with my wife and daughter.

CamSur-Albay Road Trip 2014

Unlike most of my road trip adventures that require me to backpack and transfer vehicles numerous times, this adventure requires me to be a mere copilot to my dad. Well, the good part about being the copilot is that I'm simply in charge of the GPS and the sound system. I'm also at liberty to take pictures and nap anytime I want without worrying about the steering wheel. 

Here's our planned itinerary for our CamSur-Albay Road Trip.

My job on this road trip was not limited to just being a copilot though, I was also in charge of the itinerary. In fact, I prepared two itineraries months before the trip. The first one takes us to three provinces in the Bicol Region while the second itinerary focuses only on two. It was the second itinerary which I named CamSur - Albay Road Trip which we followed.

Though we'd visit only two provinces in the second itinerary, I made sure that we'd get to see as many destinations as possible. The first itinerary, on the other hand, included the province of Sorsogon but it would take us on a whirlwind tour of the three provinces. Although time is not the issue (we will be in Southern Luzon for 6 days) we still needed to be mindful of our schedules because my father also had other commitments to attend to in Albay.

Day 1: May 7, 2014

Bacoor City - Naga City

So how did our 6-day Camarines Sur - Albay Road Trip 2014 go? Check out my day to day account of the trip:

All ready and set to go! Left our house in Cavite at around 4AM

Our trip began very early in the morning. Since it's a weekday (Wednesday to be exact) we expect little traffic. True enough we were in the province of Quezon in just 3 hours. Normally it takes 4-5 hours to reach that province from our place. The trip went out well (with occasional rain showers though). We arrived in Naga City in the province of Camarines Sur in about 10 hours. 

My daughter seems to be enjoying the trip with her aunts.

Hello Naga City!!!

Our home for Day 1 - Naga Land Hotel

We drove straight to SM City Naga to have our delayed lunch at RaiRai Ken, then immediately proceeded to check in at Naga Land Hotel so that we could have time to rest and visit some places before it gets dark. 

Stopover at SM City Naga for lunch

Ordering our food at RaiRai Ken inside SM City Naga

Headed back to Naga Land Hotel for a noontime nap

After an hour's rest, my mom and aunt accompanied me to some destinations (actually churches and plazas) that are very near our hotel. We first visited Naga Metropolitan Cathedral with its very attractive Porta Mariae.

After the noon nap, we visited Porta Mariae

Naga Metropolitan Cathedral

My mom, aunt, and I explores Naga Metropolitan Cathedral

Plaza Quince Martires

Afterward, we passed by Plaza Barlin and took some pictures before heading to the San Francisco Church then finally to Plaza Quince Martires

Availed of the Starbucks Naga Tumbler for my collection



We went back to our hotel afterward but my wife and I took time to visit Starbucks Naga so that I could avail of the city tumbler that I've been collecting. Finally, we went back and called it a day in Naga Land Hotel.


Day 2: May 8, 2014

Naga City - Pasacao - Oas - Ligao - Camalig

After checking out from Naga Land Hotel, we visited the remaining churches in the city. (Yup there are plenty of churches in Naga. As a matter of fact, Naga City is also referred to as the Pilgrimage City of Naga.

Our first destination for the day - Penafrancia Basilica Minore

Our first stop is the Penafrancia Basilica Minore. Although it's not an old Spanish-era church, I still included it in the itinerary because it houses the famous image of the miraculous Our Lady of Penafrancia

Penafrancia Church and Shrine

After some prayers, wishes, and picture taking we headed to the Penafrancia Church and Shrine which is just around the corner. However, it was under renovation when we visited it so we gassed up and drove to our next destination.

Bye Naga City! Back on the road.

Pasacao- The Summer Capital of Camarines Sur

Pasacao Beach

From Naga City, it took us two hours to reach the town of Pasacao. Our goal was to visit (and swim) at Pasacao Beach. Initially, the beach was not on the itinerary but days before our trip it was shown in a tourism segment of a popular news show. My father became interested and we decided to check it out. However, when we were in Naga City, we almost passed the opportunity to visit Pasacao because we had to head back to the route going back to Manila, but my persistence to travel to Pasacao paid off. 

Team Nicerio visits Pasacao Beach

We swam and had our lunch in one of the many privately owned huts that line up the beach. The good thing about Pasacao Beach is that it's not yet known to many and because of that, there are only a handful of tourists around.

Look who got tired swimming

After enjoying the sun, we headed back to the road and drove to the province of Albay. It was an hour or two past noon when we reached the province. There were plenty of road rehabilitation projects and road rerouting which caused our travel delays. It was on one of these road rerouting projects that we had a chance to visit a place that's not on the itinerary. 

Oas Church

Can you see the bats hanging inside the belfry of Oas Church?

The town of Oas is usually missed by tourists because a diversion road directs the traffic away from the town center. Who knew that the town of Oas boasts a beautiful Spanish Era church? Lucky for us the diversion road was under renovation and our bladders were begging us for a stopover. These events led us to our unplanned visit to Oas Church. The church has an eye-catching bell tower. I managed to get in the bell tower and to my horror, it was inhabited by hundreds of bats. We didn't stay long in Oas after a brief picture-taking we drove to our next stop which was Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao City.

One of the Stations of the Cross going up Kawa-Kawa Hill

One of the Stations of the Cross above the hill

Kawa-Kawa Hill "crater"

Before it got dark, my dad tried to squeeze in one last destination in our itinerary -Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao City. The place was quite hidden, even our trusted GPS proved useless in searching for the destination. To cut the long story short, we got lost but my perseverance paid off and after asking locals, we got back to the right track and eventually reached Kawa-Kawa Hill.


We climbed the "peakless" hill and walked around its crater following the Stations of the Cross with its (more than) life-size statues. After our mini hiking adventure, we had some local ice creams as a treat. 

Bought pinangat from Camalig's famous Let's Special Pinangat

Finally, we went back to the road and drove to my dad's hometown of Camalig. Before heading home, we bought Camalig's famed pinangat from Let's Special Pinangat

Day 3: May 9, 2014

Mayon 360


Since our laundry already piled up, the women of the family decided to take half the day washing clothes. I spent it taking care of my baby daughter and bonding with my grandmother. After having lunch we finally continued on our road trip. We did what I call Mayon 360

Laundry time.

Nicerio Residence in Camalig

Back on the road for our Mayon 360 trip


From Camalig, our goal is to go around Mayon Volcano with a stopover at Mayon Planetarium which is formerly known as Mayon Rest House in Tabaco City. It is located midway up Mayon Volcano and it offers a great view of Tabaco City and parts of Malinao. 

Team Nicerio visits Mayon Planetarium

Watched the tourism video of Tabaco City and a historical documentary of Mayon Volcano inside Mayon Planetarium

We spent some quality hours admiring the panoramic beauty from our vantage point. Before we left, we watched the tourism video of the City of Tabaco and some historical documentaries about Mayon Volcano.

Driving to Legazpi City

Next Stop - Embarcadero de Legazpi

Early diner at Bigg's

After a two-hour drive to Legazpi City, we finally arrived at the pride of Legazpi City which is the Embarcadero De Legazpi. We had our early dinner at Bigg's before driving home. Sadly, that dinner was the worst one that we had. Even worse than that of the Clover flavored chicken that I forgot to tell you about when we stayed in Naga City. Imagine, we had to wait for almost an hour for our stone-cold dead burgers... anyways we spent the night back in Camalig wishing we skipped dinner.



Day 4: May 10, 2014

Camalig - Daraga - Legazpi City

Probably the longest day in our 6-day adventure. We woke up early to try to ward off the negativity of what happened during the previous day. Everything seems fast-paced and the next thing I know was that we were on the road to Daraga

Ortega's Pilinut Candy (the best store for pasalubong)

Ella's wondering what those things are...

My father was scheduled to attend a pre-reunion meeting with some of his classmates at Bicol University but before we reached the university we had a stopover at Ortega's Pilinut Candy. The women of the group had a great time buying pasalubong. On the other hand, I had a great time taking pictures of my daughter.
After what seemed like forever, we continued on our way, but this time it was my plan that was fulfilled. I begged my dad if we could pass by Daraga Church since we were still early for his meeting and he obliged. We admired the beautiful view of Mayon Volcano from the vicinity of the historical church. After several minutes of praying and exploring the old church, we headed back to the road to reach our intended destination.

Bicol University

Bicol University was just a few kilometers away from the church and we reached it still quite early (despite the side trips) for the scheduled meeting of my dad. It took my dad several hours reconnecting with his high school pals so we took the opportunity to tour the campus. I had some quality time with my daughter running around the wide field and checking out the century-old tree. 

Exploring Bicol University grounds

Lunch at 1st Colonial Grill

Tinapa Rice

1st Colonial Grill's famed Chili Ice Cream

Finally, after several hours chatting with his former classmates, my dad decided to invite his classmates out for lunch. We then drove to the 1st Colonial Grill which is just beside the university. I have heard of the restaurant before and I was very eager to try out their famous chili ice cream and tinapa rice. To my amazement, they also offer other unique flavored ice cream like taro, Bailey's, pili nut, and others that we also tasted.

Cagsawa Church Ruins

Souvenir shopping near Cagsawa Ruins

My sister Aya and daughter Ella in Galeria de Cagsawa

Our day didn't end there, after the hearty lunch, we headed off to Albay's most famous landmark -Cagsawa Church Ruins. We didn't just enjoy the view, we also enjoyed shopping for pasalubong and souvenirs. While everybody was busy buying stuff, my sister and I went out to check Galeria De Cagsawa which is also in the vicinity. Although it's small and requires an entrance fee, it is still worth visiting because of the numerous paintings and vintage photographs you could find (and buy) inside.

Great, it's like blowing a birthday candle 

We were planning to go on an ATV ride to the volcano but, time did not permit us, so we just spent the remaining time taking pictures of the famous Mayon Volcano (and it was fun!).

Checked in at Avia Inn

After a tiring day touring the town of Daraga, we decided to check-in at Avia Inn which is also in Daraga. We had to rest early because our 5th day in Albay would be the busiest.



Day 5: May 11, 2014

Dad's 1st Grand Reunion

Today my dad will be attending the 1st Grand Reunion in his elementary school. I was asked by his former classmates to be in charge of the photography for their group (which I obliged). My parents and I went to dad's school in Baligang Elementary School in Brgy. Baligang in Camalig, Albay very early. We left my wife, sister, and aunt in Avia Inn so that they could have a longer rest (or have their own adventure).

My dad (rightmost) with his former elementary school teachers and classmates.

We spent half the day attending the said activity. It was fun to see my dad having fun with his former classmates. I got the chance to meet some of his teachers too. After the scheduled activities, we went to visit some of dad's relatives who also reside in Brgy. Baligang. Afterward, we went back to dad's house to get our stuff before heading back to Avia Inn.
While we were busy, I later found out that my wife, sister, and aunt went back to 1st Colonial Grill to try the other dishes that we missed out on. My parents and I, on the other hand, went to Camalig Church instead. We got back to Avia Inn late in the afternoon and started to load all our stuff to the car so that we could drive home as early as possible. 

Day 6: May 12, 2014

Road Back Home

Finally, after 6 days in Southern Luzon, it's time to go back home. We checked out of Avia Inn very early in the morning. We decided to have our breakfast in a famous Filipino fast food restaurant in Ligao City.
However, we arrived quite early and the fast-food crew was still preparing to start the day so my sister and I went on a little walk. We reached the nearby St. Stephen Protomartyr Church which is also called Ligao Church and decided to have a little pilgrimage in it.

Lunch at Gumaca City Coast Restaurant

After admiring the old church, we went back and had our breakfast. We then continued on our way enjoying the view along the way. We stopped at Gumaca for or lunch at Gumaca City Coast Restaurant.

Gumaca Fish Statue

An accident along Maharlika Highway

One of the best views around


Then as like any adventure, we ended our road trip with a long drive back home. See you on our next adventure!

Comments

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