Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sorsogon: A trip to Donsol from Legazpi City and Encounter with the Butandings(Whale sharks)

I arrived at the terminal at around 515 am. I looked for the van for Donsol. I guess I was the first one to arrive. There were no Vans yet. After about 15 minutes, a van arrived. I asked what time would it depart and the driver said we had to wait until all seats are taken. Oh, oh..what a long wait. I guessed I was too early. I waited for another hour until another passenger arrived. It was already past 6 am in the morning. Another couple arrived and we decided to just split the fare so we could leave. They agreed. Luckily there were 5 more who arrived. Since it was too late already we told the driver that we should go. I just paid  Php 200 as my share for the fare. ( Actually transport cost to Donsol via a Van for hire is only 80 php ).

Travel time was about 2 1/2 hours. I catnapped within the travel since I had no proper sleep. We arrived in Donsol at almost 9 in the morning. I went directly to the Donsol Tourist Office and inquired if what time is the next boat for the Whaleshark tour. Fortunately there was one that would leave in 3 minutes. I asked how much would I pay. I was told it would cost me Php 1,800. There are already 2 couples waiting: One Japanese couple and another Australian couple and I would be the 5th passenger and we would go. So excited, I paid and changed clothes. 

A view of Mayon from the terminal

The whale shark guide directed me to a dive shop and told me to fit a pair of fins and mask and snorkel. I thought it was for free. But the lady asked me for P 450 pesos. I told them I brought my own snorkel and I would just pay for the fins. It cost Php 300. Well since its needed so I paid. We boarded the motor banca and fortunately after about 5 minutes we saw a couple of whale sharks. The tour guide would tell us every time to 'GET READY- (If we see some Butandings) and JUMP". We did it for several times. It was quite exhausting. I jumped to the water for only about 5 times and seeing 4-5 Butandings. I just relaxed on the banca while other passengers were enjoying swimming after the whale-sharks.


Albay: Legazpi City- Exploring Embarcadero and a Cheap Overnight Stay

After about 30 minutes of exploring the breath-taking view of the city from Lignon Hill, I asked the tryke driver to drop me to the nearest-affordable hotel. He took me to the Sampaguita Tourist Inn. It looks new outside because of the fresh paint. There was no available air-con room so I settled for the fan room. It was very cheap for Php 200.00.
( When I returned after dinner I saw this signage in the main door of the hotel. It looks disturbing for guests. When I checked the hotel it was freshly painted. It does not really look like a five star hotel but for Php 200 it was okay. Common bath room but with tv. )

After leaving my backpack, I freshened a bit , changed shirt and stroll to the Embarcadero. It was about 20 minutes walk from the hotel. Embarcadero is a shopping mall that is located in a reclaimed area near the port. There are plenty of specialty shops as well as restaurants. It also has a race-track for Go-karts as well as a Zip line.

I took my dinner in one of the restaurants before further exploring the city.

After dinner and strolling the mall, I walked to the nearby mall called NCCC. I bought some food for the early morning trip to Donsol  Sorsogon. I had no idea what time will be the first trip. I asked someone that it was better to go to the Bus  terminal and take the commuter van if you are on a budget, which I actually did. he said the van would leave the terminal at around 530 am.

Getting Ready for the Donsol trip the next morning

I just watched tv since I could not sleep properly.  The room was pretty hot even if it had a fan. I woke up at about 450 am and checked out the hotel. Got my backpack and took a tricycle to the Bus Terminal for Sorsogon.

Albay, Legazpi City: Views from Lignon Hill

From Daraga, Albay, we proceeded to Lignon Hill. Lignon is is actually near the airport. You get a better view of Mayon from the Hill top.

You have to pay entrance fee (environmental fee) of P 40 when you enter. There is a restaurant, a travel and tour booking office if you want to take an ATV within Mayon's crater (unfortunately I did not push through because of the weather- it was raining so hard for two days), a park good for jogging and simply walking.

Shortcut to to to the hill top.

This is an old tunnel used by the Japanese.

Albay, Daraga: Exploring Daraga Town and its Historical Church

Municipal Hall of  Daraga

 Our Lady of the Gate Church
Images of Famous Patron Saints


A view of Mayon from Daraga Church

Monday, May 14, 2012

Albay, Legazpi City: A tour at Cagsawa Ruins

Right from the Airport, I hired a tricycle to take me to the Cagsawa Ruins and Daraga Church. We agreed for P 400. Since it was already 4 in the afternoon, I wanted to maximize the places to see in  Legazpi City.
 The road in going to Cagsawa Ruins was under construction. An improvised bridge was temporarily used . People said it was damaged due to heavy rains.

After about 30 minutes of exploring the ruins, the tryke driver took me to Daraga Town which is about 20 minutes from the ruins.

A Trip to Legazpi City, Albay Province

Taking advantage of Cebu Pacific's Piso fare promo in January 2012, I booked Cebu to Legazpi City in Albay. Alhough we lived in Metro Manila for almost 10 years, I haven't had a chance to see the magnificent Mayon Volcano in Albay. With Cebu Pacific's Piso Fare promo I booked almost all its Cebu-hub destinations.

So one Saturday morning I went to Cebu early took a fastcraft from Tagbilaran City. Travel time from Cebu to Albay was almost one hour. Upon approaching the skies of Legazpi City, the weather suddenly changes. We encountered several disturbances. And finally we landed after about 15 minutes of hovering Legazpi skies.

The clouds were so dark as if it was going to rain. From the airport Mayon Volcano was not visible.