Dear Santa Clause my biggest wish for 2013 is……………PART 1

Source Photo: Chaz11 Blogspot

Dear Santa Clause,

Since the world did not end on the 21st of December and if I could have my hearts wish, I would like to travel a little more for the year 2013.  I see a lot of travel bloggers who get paid for doing the thing they love most write and travel.  It would be nice if someone or a company can sponsor me to grant my wish.  Yes, I might be pushing the limit here but who knows. This wish list to Santa Dearest will be a series of posts as their will be other parts of the Philippines and other places overseas I would like to see as well.   

For this post, first stop is Bicol.

I listed 3 big tourist attractions in this post that I have not seen yet but there are lesser known places in Bicol that I, Jenny, needs to visit.

1)      Check out Caramoan Island and stay in Gotta Beach

Out of the 7000 islands in the Philippines, Caramoan is probably known for its international exposure.  Caramoan has been the favorite site for international franchise – Survivor. The place has hosted the Serbian, Israel, Bulgarian, Swedish, India and lastly, US Survivor versions. Popular tourist destinations are the Caramoan National Park, the Centro, and Gota Beach, and popular activities include diving, swimming, snorkeling and spelunking.

Please check them out for rates and travel info @: Caramoan Island

Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur, Philippines (Source Photo: Caramoanislands.com)

Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur (Source Photo: Caramoanislands.com) 

Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur, Philippines (Source Photo: Caramoanislands.com)

2)      Check out Misibis Bay Resort, Cagraray Island– the luxury island playground!

Misibis Bay is a private tropical hideaway built on a pristine stretch of beach along the southern tip of Cagraray Island in Bacacay, Albay. Misibis Bay Resort is a wonderful place to visit for its relaxing atmosphere, the surroundings looks so fantastic and beautiful, and a haven afar the crowded and polluted cities elsewhere. However, looking at the prices of foods, drinks and room rates are pretty steep compared to other similar places and 5-star hotels in the big cities, nonetheless, it still does not stop me from wishing to visit Misibis Bay Resort one day.

Please check them out for rates and travel info @: Misibis Bay

Misibis Bay Resort, Cagraray Island in Bacacay, Albay, Philippines (Source Photo: Xoprivate.com)

Misibis Bay Resort, Cagraray Island in Bacacay, Albay, Philippines (Source Photo: Xoprivate.com)

Misibis Bay Resort, Cagraray Island in Bacacay, Albay, Philippines (Source Photo: Xoprivate.com)

3)      Donsol, Sorsogon to see Butanding, Whale Shark

I visited Sorsogon once but only came there for a bit for my Pili Oil Blog but did not have the time to check Donsol out. 

When you are coming from Albay, it is one hour drive south of Sorsogon. Donsol is a host to one of the highest concentration of Whale Sharks in the world. These creatures have been frequenting the waters off Donsol, Sorsogon for many generations.

 Although Whale Sharks, or “Butanding” as they are locally known, are enormous in size and power, reaching lengths greater than 15 meters, they are remarkably gentle and docile enough that it is generally safe to swim among them. Swimming among the whale sharks is a captivating experience. Generally, the whale sharks at Donsol swim very close to the surface of the water. I am not a daring person but I don’t mind doing basic snorkeling in order to get closer to the gentle giant. My biggest wish!

The Lonely Planet Guidebook describes the Donsol experience as the “quintessential Philippine adventure.” The Time Magazine called swimming with whale sharks the “Best Animal Encounter in Asia,” in one of their issues in year 2004.

Donsol, Sorsogon, Philippines (Source Photo: Xoprivate.com)

Genie, in the bottle! Please grant all my wishes……….

Source Photo: Treasure Trove Blog

 

 

 

Where was I this weekend?

Mayon Volcano, Legaspi

Where was I this weekend?

Legaspi!

The trip was mainly for my second blog: Canarium The First Virgin Kernel but I did squeeze in some pleasure with this weekend trip. Engineer, Victor Goyena, or Bogg’s in short, invited me to attend the Albay Pili Industry Federation (APIF) mobile meeting in Daraga Legaspi. The meeting involved not just Pili Oil but all aspects of the Pili Industry.  I will post the details of the APIF meeting on a later date together with my 6 hectare Pili and fresh produce organic farm visit in Anislag Daraga.

Anislag Daraga Organic Farm Visit

My first stop was A. BICHARA SILVERSCREENS ENTERTAINMENT CENTER to say hello to my dear cousin, Anna Marie. The Bichara Silverscreen is located in the heart of Downtown Legaspi.  The building has an art deco feel and the building showcases innovative interiors and state of the art technology for film viewing. If you are into the past, present and future Hollywood memorabilia,this is the place to go. So if you are around Legaspi, come visit The Silverscreen.

Me & my cousin

Embarcadero is also my usual hangout when I go to Legaspi.  The La Mia Tazza Coffee Shop and the native bazaar section are my favorites.

Me in Embarcadero

I also stopped by Red Continent Diner & Bar for drinks and to have dinner as well.  It is located in the third floor of The Silverscreen. If you are looking for Bicol, Indian, Mediterranian or Thai spicy cuisines and you are currently in Legaspi; then, head over to Red Continent Diner & Bar . You should also try the Pili Butterscotch shake. (Yummy and to die for!) I would like to thank the manager for the 25% discount on my tab.  I will surely be back.

Me in Red Continent Bar

Mayon Volcano view from Embarcadero Harbor Bay

More shots of the volcano….

Cagsawa Ruins

Me and my niece left for Daraga Legaspi to see Cagsawa Ruins earlier today.  Unfortunately, Mayon Volcano was covered with clouds so I was not able to have a good shot of the volcano.  Because of the extreme heat and humidity, we did not stay more than an hour in Cagsawa Ruins…

The church of Cagsawa was built after 1724 by Franciscan friars under Fray Francisco Blanco in the small town of Cagsawa. It was supposed to replace an earlier church built in 1636 that had been burned down by Dutch Pirates. It was destroyed during the most destructive eruption of the nearby Mayon Volcano in February 1, 1814. The eruption killed an estimated 1,200 people in the surrounding areas and buried the town of Cagsawa (among others) under several hundred million cubic meters of ash.

Click away!

Orchids of Mayon Volcano

A Wild Orchid 

We are all flowers in the garden of the world.
Some of us are daisys dainty and bright.
Some of us are poppys,with sweet contagious laughter.
If there was a flower for you,
Youd be a wild orchid,
So full of life,colors alive,
Sprinkled with scarlett and purple,
Explosions of colors racing through your petals.
I was walking in a garden,
Looking for a flower with a soul like yours,
A free spirit,so intense and vivid.
There were many flowers,
The tulips were always telling me to stand up straight
and not open up too much.
The violets were deep but when watered with love closed up.
The rose was too perfect in every aspect.
Then there was you so unique and wild.
A orchid with a soul different from them all
different to touch,to hold,to look at.
You took my wild colorful side,and let it live.
Set me free with your fire
I dream of finding you again,
discovering you again,
Theres far to many daisys in life.

Source Poem: Lanie Alexandria Costeas 3-18-92

Me and my niece ventured out in Cagsawa Ruins earlier today.  The last time I was there was 20 years ago..Back then, it was just Cagsawa Ruins and a guard house.  Now, all I saw was shops selling native abaca products and orchids along the backdrop of Cagsawa Ruins and Mayon Volcano.

The Cagsawa Ruins (also spelled as Kagsawa or Cagsaua) are the remnants of an 18th century Fransican Church, the Cagsawa church, built in 1724 and destroyed by the 1814 eruption of the Mayon Volcano.

Serenity Poem

Serenity

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep.”

– Robert Frost (1874 – 1963), U.S. poet

SERENITY
(Mt. Apo*, Davao, Philippines, 1979)

entranced by solace of the mountain,
lulled by verdant trees of tranquil twigs,
i sense cool mist embrace me
in the stillness of the leaves.

early birds sing morning anthem
as tapestry of sunrays in shifting shades
garnish the foliage…

enthralled, my woes flee as the fading fog –
respite from dullness of mundane routine.

amidst the suffocating serenity

i rest!

– between
recreation and occupation
is decision.

– between
vacation and vocation
is option.

(c) 1979 Chito L. Aguilar

——————————————————————————————————–
* Mt. Apo, the “Grandfather” of Philippine peaks, is the highest mountain 
in the country.  Rising 2,954 meters, it straddles Davao del Sur and North Cotabato 
in Mindanao.  Mt. Apo is home to the endangered Philippine monkey-eating eagle.

______________________________________________________

1st blogger and follower I met in person. Serendipitous indeed. He is a published poet and the Director of DTI Trading of Legaspi. His book of poems is called Shifting Shades and in-betweens “Reflections@50”…All his poems can be found on his blog Shifting Shades.

I did not post a picture of Mt Apo but instead post a picture of Mt Mayon since we met in Legaspi trading office..The picture of Mt Mayon was taken earlier today in Embarcadero Harbor in Legaspi Albay and the picture of us was taken yesterday while checking the Magayon Festival.

Magayon Festival with Giant Creatures

More pictures of the festival.  Enjoy!

Magayon Festival – Day 1 Checking on Bicol Trade Products

We feasted on bright and native colors earlier today at Magayon Festival in Legaspi Albay.  Me and my niece left for Naga about 9 am and did not get to Albay till a little after noon time. After settling down in the backpackers inn; we both grabbed some lunch at Biggs Diners in Pacific Mall and headed straight to the festival.

Magayon (Beautiful) festival is a month-long festivity this year. The festival main objective is to provide fun and excitement but also another opportunity to promote and enhance trade and tourism efforts for Albay, thus helping Provincial Government bring to fulfillment the socio-economic development and progress in Albay and the rest of the country. The month long festival will end on May 10, 2012.

Legazpi City, Albay is one of the Bicol Region’s top tourist destinations. It is where the Mayon Volcano, one of the Philippines’ most famous volcanoes is located. It is also a convenient embarkation point to other tourist destinations in the region such as the Cagsawa Ruins, the upscale resort of Misibis, Donsol, the site of one of the world’s largest annual migration of whale sharks and the white sand beaches of Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

Other places to go to and sights to visit include:

  • The Albay Park and Wildlife – This is a picnic grove and a park combined. It also serves as the home to 347 animals of 75 species.
  • Liberty Bell – Installed in 1945 by the American liberation forces at the Penaranda park, in front of Albay Provincial Capitol. It is made from bronze.
  • Japanese Tunnel – Used as an arsenal during the second World War, it measures 40 meters long and around 7 feet deep.
  • Magayon Art Gallery – Found at the lobby of the Albay Provincial Capitol and serves as the avenue for artists to show off their visual creations
  • Legazpi City Museum – Showcases the heritage and culture of the city. It is currently the only public museum in the Bicol Region.
  • Bicol Heritage Park – Located inside the Camp General Simeon Ola Headquarters. This is where you can find the statue of General Simeon A. Ola.
  • Ligñon Hill – Located behind Albay Park and Wildlife. One of the best places to view Mayon Volcano and Legazpi City is the Lignon Hill (also spelled as Ligñon Hill and pronounced as /li-NYON/). This 143-meter high cinder-cone hill located 11 kilometers southeast of the volcano’s summit is the highest location in the city’s downtown area and towers over the adjacent Legazpi Airport. A long and winding road crawls up the sides of Lignon Hill where there is an observation station constructed on top. This is where the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has a permanent station to observe Mayon.
  • Kapuntukan Hill (also known as the Sleeping Lion Hill) – This is the place to visit if you wish to have a view of the Legazpi Port District and the Albay Gulf.
  • Embarcadero – A major waterfront development in Legazpi that will become a destination for both local and international tourists alike. The masterplan maximizes the uniqueness of the location – the site fronts the main harbour of Legazpi with views to the Mount Mayon Volcano. Embarcadero comprises retail, restaurants, markets, a major civic space and landmark lighthouse, with a future waterfront hotel and spa. Embarcadero will “activate” the waterfront creating an attractive and vibrant focus for the city’s leisure and lifestyle activities. Embarcadero will function as a waterfront promenade, with theatrical lighting and performance spaces creating a lively, family friendly environment during the day and at night.

Legaspi and Tourism Source Article: Wikipedia, Magayon Festival