Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mayon Volcano Adventure

We went to explore the volcano the next day. We hopped on our rented ATV to reach the Lava Rock Wall. It's so cool to be riding on one. It's bumpy & just an adventure itself. The wall is a part of the recent eruption, good thing it stopped and froze half way if not it would definitely wipe out villages.

 We hiked up the Lava wall which seemed to be more than 5 storeys high. It's a steep climb. Once we reach the top, we saw a vast ocean of volcanic rocks in different sizes. From afar and from photos, we may think it's pure molten Lava but up close it's made up of millions of rocks. It's a river of rocks flowing out of the mouth of the volcano. At the right side of the volcano, we can see a portion with rocks still steaming hot. According to the guide it will take 3 years till it's safe to visit that sight.
The cool thing we did was ride a zip line from the Lava Wall to the base. It was just a make shift zip line but it looked sound. On our way back we took the path which seemed like a dried out river bed. I can imagine that it was where the flash floods from the volcano passed through.

Before heading back we passed by Albay Park & Wildife and was able to watch how a Python eats it' prey.  That night we had dinner at Colonial Grill and sampled their famous Chili Ice Cream. It instantly became my favorite. It taste creamy and rich but the spice comes trailing down your throat.

Colonial Grill Chili Ice Cream

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ligñon Hill & Sto. Domingo Black Sand Beach

 On our second day, we woke up early for a walk up to Ligñon Hill. The night before it rained so hard that it felt like a typhoon. Good thing we were blessed with a sunny weather that day. The hill lies beside the airport. It's a good place to view the volcano. The road going up is very steep, good for a morning cardio. 

Ligñon Hill
On our way up we passed by vendors selling native delicacies. We tried Binut-ong. sticky rice wrapped in Banana Leaves. At the top, there are commercial areas with small food stalls and seats where people can hang out. I even tried the zip line which seems to be rickety. We spend our morning, relaxing up there.

Mayon Volcano


  That afternoon, we went to Sto. Domingo to check the black sand beaches. We stayed at Mt. Mayon Spring Resort. It has a big pool and is just along the beach. The pool water is from the free flowing spring water from the volcano. Before taking a dip, we strolled along the black sand beach. There are several kids skim boarding.

Sto. Domingo Black Sand Beach

Mt. Mayon Spring Resort
On our way back to the city we wanted to eat at Waway's Restaurant. We were clueless on it's location but good thing the jeepney passed through it. They offer authentic Bicolano dishes. We tried their Lainf & Bicol Express. But to my taste it wasn't all that spicy.


Bicol Express

Friday, December 3, 2010

Around Mayon Volcano

  I always wanted to go to Legaspi to see Mt. Mayon with my own eyes. Ever since I was a kid I see it in books and postcards. Mayon is derived from the word "Magayon" meaning "beautiful". It's known for its perfect cone like Mt. Fuji in Japan. When we arrived at the airport we were greeted by the majestic volcano. I've never thought that it's that big.

On our first day, we rented a car to take us around Albay. Our first stop was at the Typhoon Reming Memorial at Padang, Legaspi. Super Typhoon wreaked havoc in Bicol in 2006, there was a flash flood, sludge and big rocks sweeping away thousands of homes. It was a nightmare. As the guide told us it was really difficult to get the bodies buried under those rocks. Before there were houses in the area now it just a plane full of greenery and volcanic rocks.

We drove to Busay Falls, it started to drizzle and the sky was pretty dark. Busay Falls is tucked inside the green lush forest. It holds a strong gush of water in a particular angle. It's only a few steps from the entry point where we paid the lot owner a fee. 

At lunch time, we opted to eat at Graceland. The famous fast food restaurant offering Bicolano dishes like Bicol Express and Pinangat.

After which, our guide took us to Mt. Mayon view deck in Tabaco which is 300 meters from the mouth of the volcano. We drove through the winding road going up and passed by Abaca farms.But sadly we can not see it due to the clouds. Abacas where hung along the fences.  You know in Bicol the weather is unpredictable, sometimes it is sunny but they are known as a region which receives a rain. We can only see the valley and it was so windy a little bird had a hard time flying. Tabaco is also known for their knives,scissors and Bolos, any sharp object I guess. :)

On the road going to Camalig, we passed by a vendor selling native snacks. We sampled some, Pilipit, which is made out of fried rice flour batter and rolled in white sugar. The other one is fried Cassava balls. It's pretty cheap & filling. When we reached Camalig, we tasted Pinangat for which the town is known for. Pinangat is made of crab meat & pork filling, wrapped with layers of Taro Leaves and cooked in Coconut Oil. Bicol Region is known for the use of coconut milk and hot chili peppers.


Camalig Pinangat

We went to Daraga, to visit Our Lady of the Gate Church which was undergoing restoration. The church was built during the 1700's. We also visited the Ruins of Cagsawa Church. The old church was destroyed during the volcanic eruption in  February ,1814. What is left are the rubble of the belfry. Kids at the park offered services to take our photos is in quirky way. To help them out we did take their offer and we came up with cool posses.

 In a day we almost rode the whole area surrounding Mt. Mayon. We've learned that such beauty can create so much devastation.