On our third day in Naga, we decided to see Mayon Volcano in Daraga, Albay. This will be my second time seeing the perfect-coned volcano. We didn’t plan the trip, no itinerary or specific destinations. My father sees it as a road trip going through new roads constructed in the Bicol Region and stopping at whatever we see along the road.
BICOL ROAD TRIP
The road is along the coast which provides a view of the Pacific Ocean. Just near Albay, a view deck called Partido Riviera can be found. It offers a good view of the Pacific Ocean and Atulayan Island and the feeling of fresh wind coming from the sea. In addition, the weather was cloudy so it was really like a calm and windy day.
Nuestra Señora de Salvacion Church
Our first stop is the town of Joroan in Albay. The hometown of my paternal grandmother and the place where she and my grandfather met each other during a fiesta. Just a look at how romance happens years ago: My grandfather lives in San Jose, a town far from here and divided by the sea. He traveled by boat and when he met my grandmother, he decided to marry my grandmother. I don’t know if this is the whole story, but this concludes that there is Love at First Sight. 😉
Going back, the church is famous for the image of Nuestra Señora de Salvacion which is said to have brought miracles to the faithful. The church is centuries old and it is always visited by pilgrims.
Before leaving Joroan, we visited the coast. It is rocky and the waves and winds are strong. But, just by breathing the fresh air makes me want to stay more.
Saint Lawrence the Martyr Church
After our visit to Joroan, we tried to visit the hot springs in Tiwi Albay. Unfortunately, it is now close to the public. As we continued the drive, we saw an old-looking church in Tigbi, Albay, and decided to drop by and have a look. The church is called Saint Lawrence the Martyr Church, named after the patron saint of the poor. It houses the image of the same Nuestra Señora de Salvacion that we saw in Joroan. It was the same because years before, the original in Joroan was transferred here after the church got struck by a storm. The transfer was supposed to be for a short time but the people of Tigbi were attached to the image. The solution was to return the original to Joroan and a replica was to be placed here.
Just beside the church, there are stalls selling potteries, bayongs, paper sculptures, candles and more.
SAN JUAN BAUTISTA PARISH CHURCH
It was lunchtime when we arrived at the city of Tabaco. There lies the church of San Juan Bautista. But before we visit the church we ate our lunch in Graceland. A well-known restaurant in the Bicol Region. It’s like the Goldilocks of Bicol. They offer Bicolano delicacies, like the Pinangat and Bicol Express, and pastries. I recommend the Pinangat and the Bicol Express. 😉
After our scrumptious lunch, it is now time to check the church. It was built during the Spanish Colonization Era and is now considered as one of the Philippines’ National Cultural Treasures. One of its features is the bell tower, made of volcanic soils and stones. Just in front of the church is a plaza called Cristo Rei where a statue of Christ is located.
ST. GREGORY THE GREAT CATHEDRAL
As we are nearing Legazpi City, we are saddened by how the weather is showing. The rain started to pour and the mountains nearby, including the Mayon volcano, were covered by clouds. But still, we are hoping that we will get a clearing once we reach Daraga. Once we reach Legazpi City, we visited another church called St. Gregory the Great Cathedral. It is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It has undergone many reconstructions and renovations that’s why it looks new. We didn’t stay long because it was nearly dark. We prayed for a few minutes and left for Daraga.
CAGSAWA RUINS AND MAYON VOLCANO(?)
Before going to Cagsawa, we stopped at the Daraga Public Market to look for this certain longganisa that our relatives wanted to be brought to them. They don’t know the name, they just know that it is located in Albay. We asked meat sellers and butchers, but no one knows where to find this mysterious longganisa. We left intrigued by this meaty treat.
We still hoped that we can see Mayon, but rain clouds were everywhere. As soon as we arrived in the parking lot of the ruins, The rain started to pour strongly. We walked along the shed and hurried to the gates. We waited for a while until the rainfall weakens.
As what we have expected, there is no Mayon Volcano. Aliens took it away. Just kidding. 😛 It was completely covered by clouds/fog. What we can only see was the bell tower of Cagsawa Church. We got disappointed. We didn’t see our main objective, but nonetheless, we just told ourselves Mayon will stay there forever. The next time we return will see everything in its full beauty.
Our road trip turned into a Visita Iglesia and yes, it was a God-given trip of bonding and discovery. We have been to least-visited places that are hard to access and visited regularly by storms. We were also able to bond as a family with my relatives whom we seldom are with. In addition, I was able to discover the history of my roots regarding my grandparents. It’s like being back in time. We’ll surely be back and discover more of the Bicol Region.
The longganisa that I’ve mentioned before? It is called Guinobatan Longganisa. Located in the town of Guinobatan, also in Albay. After our stop at Cagsawa, I’ve searched the internet for longganisa in the Bicol Region and Guinobatan Longganisa appeared. (Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of it 🙂 )
Visita Iglesia – an ancient pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition to visit seven churches on the evening of Holy Thursday. – Wikipedia
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