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From the routine of everyday work life to the adventures and misadventures of exploring and traveling - this is how June and Lanie, the backpacking pinoy couple while away their dull moments.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Summer Getaway: Exploring Sorsogon

Our initial plan was to leave for Sorsogon on April 12, 2012, Wednesday, at 4AM.  I phoned Philtranco Bus Terminal the day before, April 11, but was told that there were no buses bound to Sorsogon in the morning. Apparently, their website was not updated. All trips to Sorsogon are scheduled in the afternoon and evening at 4PM and 8:30PM, respectively.  So as not to miss precious time in traveling, we decided to book for the 8:30PM trip, evening of that day.  Good thing we had packed up 2 days before our travel.


I was still at work at 5:30PM and had to rush home to get to my husband for it might take us almost 2 hours to get to Pasay terminal. I arrived at 7PM then we left at 7:30.

After harassing the cab driver to take us to Pasay in less than an hour, in God's grace we arrived 20 minutes before departure.  We even had time to take a quick dinner. Bus ticket to Sorsogon costs Php900/pax.

It really isn't very comfy to travel by bus on such long trips but it is advisable if you wanna be more convinced about the weather in your destination.  Advanced booking by plane doesn't guarantee a favorable weather, if you know what i mean.

We reached Naga the following day, April 12, at 5:30AM and we were in Sorsogon diversion road to Bacon District at 8:30AM.  We took a trike for Php350 in going to the resort.  This was actually a good deal since some drivers ask for Php450-Php600, especially if you ride from the city itself. The place is quite far from the main road. We passed by, I estimate, six barangays.  I saw some signages of other resorts like Pagol Beach but I knew I had a better place in mind... and that was our target.

We reached Paguriran Island Beach Resort in Brgy. Sawanga, Bacon District at 9:10AM.

Almost 13 hours of travel from Manila.  You might ask, "is it worth the trip?"....

Read on and see for yourself....  :)

Click images for a larger view
Pictures are what-you-see-is-what-you-get.  
I am not skilled in photo editing so these are really the actual stuff.  ;)

video


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3D2N Stay in Paguriran, Sawanga, Bacon District in Sorsogon

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Paguriran Island Lagoon as seen from 
Paguriran Beach Resort
At the sound of our trike, Stefan, the owner-manager of the resort immediately accommodated us.  He and his wife, Donna, manage the resort together with their caretakers.

It was a tiring trip but what awaited us was enough to take all the stress and weariness away. It was like we've been recharged as we beheld – awestruck – the magnificent Paguriran Beach.

We've been to other beaches - Anawangin, Subic, Batangas, Cavite, Bataan - but there was something about Paguriran that makes it different from those.  It was the clear waters and soft sand combined with the serenity of the place.


The Beach

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Aside from the fact that this paradise is far from reach, we were there on a Thursday so there were no other guests in the area even in the neighboring resorts, save for one couple who occupied the air conditioned room that we also thought of occupying as soon as they checked out.

While we waited for a little more than half an hour for the room to be available, we ordered breakfast (Php150.00) then took pictures.



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Mangroves by the pristine beach

I was happy to see mangroves growing by the beach.  It reminded me that nature will always have its way of protecting itself.

Mangroves are of different species that can tolerate a range of salinity conditions from brackish to pure seawater. They create an ecosystem which can be home for a wide variety of organisms.  To think that these mangoves can live in the seashore, which is an intertidal zone (above water at low tide and under water at high tide), they must've have a great tolerance for moisture and temperature, not to mention tolerance for a range of saline conditions, too.


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Do you know that mangroves also help in "filtering" heavy metal traces?  Mangrove roots provide slow water flow, which enhances sediment deposits under them.  Removal of mangroves disrupts the sediment formation resulting to metal contamination of seawater and eventually affects the other living organisms.

So the next time you see a mangrove, remember what they are going through and their big role in the ever-changing ecosystem.

Currently, there are on-going mangrove rehabilitation projects in the different regions and provinces in the country, which were affected by extensive clearing due to fishing activities.


Paguriran Beach Resort

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There are other neighboring resorts but the one with the most strategic location is Paguriran Beach Resort, which is right in front of the Paguriran Island Lagoon. Also, their shore is a lot finer than the others. Another thing about this resort is that they care about the environment.  They maintain cleanliness in their area. They despise the neighboring resorts and some local visitors from the other towns who leave litter and garbage along the coastline, which eventually gets swept into the sea.


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Paguriran Beach during high tide

By 10AM we had for ourselves the Paguriran Beach Resort, and the entire beach for that matter. We rested for a while and took a dip in the cool, crystal clear waters.

We were supposed to just spend the night there and explore Matnog the following day but then my better half and I agreed to spend the next 2 days in the resort. Towns in Sorsogon are scattered quite far apart and with just 4 days, including travel time, we thought those days won't be enough especially if you're both a traveler and a rest-seeker at the same time.

And so we lazily spent 3 days and 2 nights in Paguriran. With the fresh food, tempting waters and blissfully tranquil area, who could blame us? ;)


The Lagoon
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Walking our way to Paguriran Island Lagoon
Water is just chest-deep during high tide


The Paguriran Island Lagoon is just a walking distance from the resort and just chest-deep during high tide and ankle-deep when it's low tide.

Sadly, our digicam got soaked in the seawater. The reason why we got a few pics of the inside of the lagoon.

Limestones can be seen through the clear waters. Aqua shoes are a necessity in this site to keep your toes away from cuts and bruises.
Farther inside the lagoon is an 18 ft drop where diving and snorkeling would be fun for beginners where they won't worry about the current.



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Inside the island lagoon

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Stefan, the owner-manager of the resort

During our visit there in the afternoon of our 1st and 2nd day of stay, we spent some time clearing the area of trash left by other visitors.  It's just so sad that most of these people are locals of Sorsogon. I guess it's true that we humans have a tendency to take for granted those wonderful things that are within our reach.  Stefan, the resort owner mentioned that Bantay Dagat keep watch in the area. I'm just not sure how frequent they do the rounds or if they do regular cleanup of the sea and lagoon.  But then again, this is supposedly not the sole responsibility of the Bantay Dagat.  Everyone who goes there is accountable.



Evenings in Paguriran are spent in silence, save for a few moments when you hear the sound of radio or television. Most of the time you'd appreciate the scuttling sounds made by the creepy crawlies of the night.  We spent the evening lying on the shore, stargazing.  The night sky was perfect at that time for the moon was on its waning phase which made the star studded sky more beautiful, as if thousands of diamonds were scattered against an ebony silk. Fireflies were also fluttering across mangrove trees, making it an even more memorable moment to savor.

It was on Saturday, April 14, noontime, when we went to Sorsogon City.  It was then when other visitors were starting to arrive. We asked Stefan to summon a trike.  The cost of trip from Paguriran to the city was Php400.

A few more stuff: Sunset, Food Trip, and other Views

Made a few more friends...
These dogs are really sweet and friendly. They would even be willing to escort you as you stroll the beach.

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The beach during low tide
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Hanging out by the shore 














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Sunset view of Mayon 
Volcano's silhouette
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Waiting for the sunset














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Critters of the night

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    Final Destination  :)               Death Row   :D                            

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Beach front of the neighboring 
resort during low tide

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Mayon Volcano at early morning 
as seen from Paguriran

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The beach on Saturday morning 
when visitors started to arrive; 
mostly were locals

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Trickles of water flowing 
toward the ocean
Nature really has its own 

way of organizing itself

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Beach front of Paguriran 
Beach Resort during low tide





Itinerary Recap
April 12, Thursday
09:10   Arrived at Paguriran Beach Resort after 12.5 hours of travel from Manila via Philtranco Bus
10:00  Check-in and breakfast at the resort
11:30  Explored Paguriran Island Lagoon
12:30  Lunch
13:00  Went swimming
15:00  Lazily spent the afternoon by the shore

Travel and Meal Expenses
Philtranco Bus from Pasay to Sorsogon Diversion Road to Bacon District:   Php900/pax, 12.5 hrs
Sorsogon Diversion Road to Brgy Sawanga, Bacon via trike:   Php350/ride, 30 mins   
Breakfast for 2:  Php150
Sumptuous Dinner for 2:  Php300

April 13, Friday
Meal Expenses
Breakfast for 2:  Php150
Seafood for Lunch:  Php300
Dinner: Php250

April 14, Saturday
Meal Expenses
Brunch for 2: Excess dinner and seafood from the other day so basically, we saved a few pesos.  ;)
3D2N accommodation at the resort:  Php5,000
12:00  left for Sorsogon City via trike: Php400



Side Trip to Legazpi City, Albay

Upon arrival in Sorsogon City at 12:45PM, we stopped at a souvenir and pasalubong shop to buy pili nuts for our family and friends back home then left for Legazpi, Albay. Travel time from Sorsogon to Legazpi via van ranged from 45 minutes to 1 hour for Php85 each.

We checked-in at Reynaldo's Travel Lodge located in Washington Drive.  Rate is at Php900/night.  The rooms there are cozy, air-conditioned, and they also have Cable TV.  The couple who owns and manages the lodge were very nice. We rested for a while then set off for Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga.

Cagsawa Ruins

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Mayon Volcano embraced by clouds
One of the things I love the most in traveling is commuting.  You get to talk to people (even just to ask for directions), know places by names, and the thrill, of course.  =)
From Reynaldo's we rode a jeepney bound to the city proper (Php8) then another jeepney headed to Guinobatan (Php10). You may also take those headed to Ligao or Camalig. We dropped off at the corner of another road which goes to Cagsawa Ruins.  It is just about 500 meters from the main road so you can actually choose to walk your way there.

In our case, with the sun striking its heat at us, we thought it's better to take a trike (Php10). From the travel fare, you can guess that this tourist spot is just a few-minute ride from where we stayed.


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Cagsawa Church's belfry

The 18-century old Spanish baroque Cagsaua church is a Franciscan church built in 1724 and was destroyed during the devastating Mayon Volcano eruption in 1814, where more than a thousand people died. Being just 11 kms away from the volcano's summit, the church facade was destroyed, leaving only the belfry.

Cagsawa Ruins is now the site of Cagsawa branch of National Museum of the Philippines. I just wish tour guides there would focus on interacting with tourists to discuss the Cagsawa history and facts instead of doing trick shots.




Our Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Albay

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Our Lady of the Gate Parish
Before heading back to Reynaldo's, we visited Daraga Church, also known as Our Lady of the Gate Parish.  This baroque architecture was constructed in 1773 on top of Sta. Maria Hill in Brgy. San Roque, municipality of Daraga.

Uphill path to Daraga Church is along the way to Cagsawa Ruins.  So, to go there from Cagsawa we rode a jeep headed back to the city proper and asked the driver to drop us off at Sta. Maria Hill.  We still had to walk our way up, though.

The front side of the church is spacious as well as the parking area at the side. This provides the churchgoers a great view of Mayon Volcano. After paying our respect, we called it a day and headed back to Reynaldo's at 5:30PM. We dined at Pares King, just a few meters from the lodge.


Ligñon Hill

We woke up early the following day (Sunday) and went to Ligñon Hill. Trike fare is Php20. We had to walk our way up the hill since trikes were not allowed before 9AM.

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At the entrance of Ligñon Hill



They charge an entrance fee of Php20 for locals and a higher rate for foreign travelers (Php40, I think). There are two ways to climb the hill:  through the easier concrete road, and by following the "kapit-tuko" trail. The latter is a bit scary since you really have to hold on for dear life on bamboo ladder, making your way up through the muddy and slippery hillside.  We chose the former.  :)





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Bottled water or Gatorade is a must in hiking.
It was tiring to walk uphill and so we had to stop from time to time to take a rest and to take pictures as well.  The concrete road runs spiral up the hill which provides tourists a chance to see Mt. Mayon and Legazpi City from one side and around.  Ligñon Hill stands at approximately 511 ft.  Upon reaching the top, we savored the view of Mayon Volcano, Albay Gulf, and Legazpi City.






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Legazpi City Airport runway
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Mt. Mayon, viewed halfway up the hill
















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Yellow Cosmos growing by the hillside
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Wild Pinto Plants, a.k.a. Yellow Peanuts








Ligñon Hill is actually an extinct volcano. It also has an underground tunnel wherein the Japs hid their arsenals during World War II. Presently, as a tourist attraction, there are a number of activities you can do at Ligñon Hill. You may try their zipline, 160 meters above the ground and 100 meters long. Quite short, I know. Other activities here are wall climbing, horeseback riding, rapelling, and Paint Ball. There are also diners and souvenir shops at the hilltop. The Hill is closed to vehicles from 5AM – 9AM since they are promoting the hill as a jogging or brisk walking place.              

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Activities offered at Ligñon Hill
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Ligñon hilltop with diners and souvenir shops
















Albay Park and Wildlife

We went to Albay Park and Wildlife right after visiting Ligñon Hill. The park is just by the hillside, making Ligñon Hill the backdrop of the park.  Entrance fee is Php20 each.

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Ligñon Hill at the far side of the park















Most animals in captivity, I suppose, were rescued judging by their present conditions:  eagles that have one blind eye, sheep - yes, sheep - that was limping, and wounded and scarred civet are among them.

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By the way, just a trivia, it is NOT TRUE that ostriches bury their heads in the sand. They can sense predators from far away with their acute eyesight and hearing. They are known as one of the fastest animals on land. So when they sense danger, they can easily run away from it or if cornered, they can fight with their powerful kicks and deadly head slamming.  Another defense mechanism that they're capable of is camouflage, or sort of.  When they see danger, they flop to the ground and remain still, with their head and neck flat on the ground. Because their head and neck are lightly colored, they blend in with the color of the soil.

From a distance, they look like small mounds of land. This makes them look like they buried their head in the sand, because only the body is visible and maybe the cause of the popular belief that they bury their head in the sand when threatened and scared.


It was funny that some of these animals know, by instinct or curiosity, how to pose for pictures.  Seems like tourists visit them quite often.

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An eagle giving 3 different poses when I took his picture

It was said that the park cares for 347 animals belonging to 75 species.  Unfortunately, we only saw a few of them.  Maybe we hadn't explored the whole area.

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The park was clean and the hillside view was nice.  But then, some of the cages need attention and cleaning for they looked like they'd been ignored for weeks. I also noticed that they lack posted facts and information about the animals:  Common Name, Scientific Name, where they are commonly found or region of origin, estimated population of specie, conservation, etc.  I believe this will help educate the people going there.


We went back to the lodge by noontime after we had our lunch. We still had time to take a nap since our trip back home was scheduled at 4PM. Ride back to Manila via Raymond Bus is at Php700 each.


Itinerary Recap
April 14, Saturday
14:00  Checked-in at Reynaldo's Travel Lodge along Washington Drive in Legazpi
15:00  Cagsawa Ruins
16:30  Our Lady of the Gate Parish in Daraga, Albay
17:30  Back at the lodge

Travel and Meal Expenses


Reynaldo's Lodge to Cagsawa Ruins:  Php8 to city proper via PUJ then another PUJ bound to Guinobatan at Php10
Cagsawa Ruins entrance fee:  Php10
Cagsawa Ruins to Our Lady of the Gate Parish:  PUJ bound to Legazpi city proper at Php8
Our Lady of the Gate Parish to Reynaldo's Lodge:  Php8 to city proper via PUJ then another PUJ bound to Reynaldo's Lodge at Php8

There are a lot of choices for dining. Meal per pax ranges from Php75 to Php150
April 15, Sunday
07:30  Ligñon Hill
11:00  Albay Park and Wildlife
16:00  Departure from Legazpi City Bus Terminal to Manila 

Travel Expense
Reynaldo's Lodge to Ligñon Hill:  Php20 via trike
Ligñon Hill entrance fee:  Php20 each
Albay Park and Wildlife entrance fee:  Php20 each
Albay Park and Wildlife back to the lodge:  Php20 via trike
Reynaldo's Lodge to Bus Terminal:  Php50
Bus fare to Manila via Raymond Bus:  Php700 each


Bicol region is just one of the many places of interest here in our country and it has lot to offer, and I mean A LOT.  From natural spring waters to beaches to forest and mountain ranges.  4D3N is not enough to cover them all. Definitely, another round of Bicol travel is in our list.


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Take nothing but pictures...
    Leave nothing but footprints...
         Kill nothing but time....





Backpacking Pinoy Couple 2012




9 comments:

  1. great place to relax and unwind...

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  2. very serene place

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  3. Great work, kids! AWAAAAAAARD!

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  4. The Philippines is really a great country! So many cool places to go to. Thanks for this post!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Thank you for visiting our blog. It's our pleasure to share our country's beauty. :)

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  5. This will be our family's itinerary for 2014 summer gate away... thanks for this post!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Thank you for visiting our blog. :)

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