I was lying peacefully on my bed one day when Kap suddenly jumped me and said: Sweetheart may long weekend palang darating, tara punta tayong Mayon. @_@
View from our room: Mayon, also known as Mount Mayon or Mayon Volcano, is an active stratovolcano in the province of Albay in Bicol Region on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Mayon is renowned as the “perfect cone” because of its symmetric conical shape.
He proceeded to tell me: Magugustuhan ng mga bata yun. Mag-ATV tayo saka whale watching. Tapos kain tayo ng Bicol Express. Masaya yun.
He told me all about our trip in detail.. except for one thing. One VERY IMPORTANT thing. The travel time.
In my head.. Mayon. Taal. Hmmnnn, parehong bulkan, so malamang magkalapit lang yon, 3 hours maximum. So I nodded my approval. Kap sold me on the idea the moment he said “the kids will love it”. Alam nyo naman ang Goppets motto, anything & everything for our kids. ;)
And so we hurriedly packed & got ready for our trip the next day -yes, agad agad. It was in the morning of our deparure that I found out it will take TEN FREAKIN’ HOURS to get to Mayon. Provided walang traffic ok. More if there’s a jam. And we’re talking about a 4-day holiday so err’body prolly also got it into their heads to go out of town.
My solution? “Stopover nalang tayo sa Baguio Honey para hindi sobrang haba ng byahe.” My normally unsarcastic Bae goes: HAHAHAHA sige mommy punta tayong Baguio 22 hours. Apparently, Baguio is North & Mayon (Bicol) is South. Trololol. So I don’t know my geography, shoot me. :P
Caught the what-we-thought was a descending pink moon, but was apparentlly an ascending orange sun pala hahaha. Obviously we don’t know the difference between the sun & the moon. Pinagtalunan pa naming dalawa sa kotse yan. Just goes to show you, WE. KNOW. NOTHING. !!! ;))
😎: Sweetheart dali pikchuran mo yung buwan, pababa na.
👸🏻: Ha? Buwan ba yan? 6 am na ah. Hindi ba araw yan?
😎: Hindi Sweetheart, buwan yan sigurado ako, pababa na dali kunan mo ng litrato.
👸🏻: Click (after 5 minutes, umakyat sya) Nyeta naman Honey. Ikaw at ako nalang ang gising sa kotse naglolokohan pa tayo eh.
Hay naku Kap my Kap, life is a riot with you in it. Kalurkey.
Anyhoo, nanjan na yan, may magagawa pa ba ako? Left the house at 4am Friday morning. Made a stopover once to eat, then went on our merry way.
Stopover at a turo-turo, Eleanor’s Seafood Restaurant, somewhere in Region 5 (Camsur). Our first meal of the day featuring PA-GE (stingray) in the middle beside the squid. Some sorta grainy, tastes like catfish. Mej. My first & last, lol. Kinunot is a spicy appetizer which ingredients include sting ray meat.
12 hours. That’s how long it took us to get to Mayon, ok? TWELVE HOURS in a cramped SUV. (It’s SO time to get a van) Waze is a liar!! @_@
Good thing my Bae is now a decent driver (wag na nating pagusapan ang parking, lol). So Kap, my baby boo & my babyson took turns at the wheel. Kap took the first leg, Bae the middle part, and Babyson the last. 4 hours each, laking tulong. We were all able to nap albeit sporadically coz the kids’ driving kept Kap awake.
Yung isa (boy) kaskasero kaya ramdam namin lahat ng lubak. Yung isa naman (girl) mahilig mag-overtake, kaya KAPIIIIT bayaaan, hay. #stresssachest So Kap & I grew several white hairs in the course of our 12-hour drive, gawd!
We passed by Cagsawa Ruins on our way to the Hotel. Might as well check one off our list. Sili Ice Cream, let’s do this!
The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of a 16th-century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church. It was built in 1587 but was burned down by the pillaging Dutch in 1636. However, it was reconstructed again in 1724 by Fr. Francisco Blanco. Behind it is the majestic Mayon Volcano, which was hiding behind clouds, boo!
The Sili Ice Cream comes in 3 levels. Level 1 has a ticklish kick of spice sliding down your throat and can be eaten by children -and Kap na duwag sa maanghang hehe. Level 2 has a tickling turned pinching sensation, while Level 3 which is for the brave & mighty (like me!) has a great big kick of spice –yung tipong luluha ka! When in Bicol & on an adventure, live it up & go for Level 3! ;)
First introduced by the homegrown restaurant 1st Colonial Grill in 2004, the sili ice cream, which major ingredients include “siling labuyo” and coconut milk, has become a hit among locals and tourists. Other kakaibang flavors followed suit. Kap like the tinutongan ice cream.
In fairness kay Kap, hindi man kami sa pricey Misibis Bay naka-billet, maganda naman yung nakuha nyang hotel this time around at The Oriental in Legazpi City. I would have lost it if upon arrival eh kadirs pa ang accommodation. I have to give it to Kap, slowly but surely, he is learning the ways of a wise husband. ;))
The Oriental is probably one of the nicest hotels in Legazpi, Albay. <3 At only 7.5k/night for a regular room or 8.5k for one with a view of Mayon -buffet breakfast included, super affordable & such a pleasant surprise after a grueling roadtrip. Kap got 2 rooms so may honeymoon kaganapan kami, lol. ;P
My favorite travel buddies. ;)) Thank you Honey for our Bicol adventure. We love you! :-*
Hello Mayon, I finally saw you up close & personal What a sight to behold from our room’s balcony. You did good my Kap! May premyo ka.. EXTRA RICE good for 6 months hehe.
Home is where you are. <3 Preferably somewhere nice though hehe.
Since it was already 4pm when we got to our destination & 5pm when we finally got settled in our rooms, all we can do for the rest of the day was have dinner, then rest to condition our body for the next full day ahead.
So so happy with Balai Cena Una, a beautifully restored Spanish-colonial ancestral home that served famous & traditional Bicol dishes. I’m glad Irene told me about this place & recommended it for our first night. <3
Balai Cena Una
F. Lotivio St. Bgy. Bagumbayan, Daraga, Albay (63917) 827 9520 ; (052) 435 4338
Balay Cena Una, or sinaunang bahay (old house) is a 300-year old spanish-style restored ancestral home turned into a restaurant. Built on March 2, 1702 by the great, great grandmother of the late Antonio Loveria. The house, located along F. Lotivio, Bagumbayan, Daraga, Albay has withstood carpet bombings by the American liberation forces, and the deadly typhoons that often visits the Bicol region. It is one of five houses that survived the war, after every house and well known structures were leveled to the ground in Daraga. Our server even pointed out bullet holes on the windows & doorway on our way out, indicating an exchange of gunfires between Japanese soldiers and the liberating forces.
Its present owners, Filipino husband-and-wife team Sheldon and Med Villanueva, have transformed the place into a world-class restaurant any tourist visiting the place would certainly enjoy. We most certainly did! <3
Any tourist coming to the Bicol region will enjoy visiting this old house as it serves international cuisine by executive chef Bert Clemena who has trained as a chef in France. No wonder we super enjoyed our meal, world-class naman pala ang Pinoy chef! ;)
Balay Cena Una has an extensive intercontinental cuisine without forgetting its roots: the presence of sili, pili and gata in most dishes. Of course being in Bicol, we chose to go native & ordered all things Bicolano. :)
Wild Fern Salad 125 php (x2). The crunchy Pako is available year-round and we enjoyed the light, refreshing, and zesty taste of our appetizer. It may not look it coz of the quality of my yellow photo, lol, but this was definitely a winner. \m/
One of our many favorites at Balai Cena Una, the (R) Lumpiang Tinapa 130 php. Crepe wrapper stuffed with smoked fish (tinapa) & deep-fried until crunchy & golden brown. Also in the photo: (L) Pasta Cena Una 195 php. This pinangat pasta is lemony and nutty, with layers of flavors, including that of anchovies and smoked fish. And Pasta Ratatouille 195 php. A vegetarian pasta topped with Herbes de Provence and the extra virgin olive oil. I love how attention to detail was given to the Mayon-shaped rice (R). :)
(L) Cena Una Marinated Boneless Chicken 190 php. Marinated in lemon juice overnight with Balai Cena Una’s own spices, and then grilled for that juicy taste. The sauce is a reduction of the marinade with wine, and fresh garden herbs are also added. (R) Bicol Express 215 php. A bicolano specialty stew made from siling mahaba, coconut milk, shrimp paste, onion, pork, and garlic. Fiery & tasty just the way I like it. <3 (R) Beef Pepper Steak 290 php. Beef generously sprinkled with coarsely ground black pepper, sauteed in butter, and served with sauce made from pan drippings, stock wine and cream flavored with brandy.
(L) Chicken/Pork Adobo in Rosemary 215 php. Exclusive from Cena Una, this version has additional secret ingredients that make it taste more like a local dish. Kuha ang panlasang pinoy but wth a twist sure to enjoyed by visiting foreigners too. (R) Pork Cordon Bleu 230 php. One of Balai Cena’s specialties, soft and tender cut of pork oozing with melted cheese and the aroma of smoked ham and herbs. (R) Tanigue 245 php. We always order up a feast, don’t we? We are such foodies, haha.
I’m impressed that even though it’s a famous tourist spot in Albay, Balay Cena Una managed to make the price points reasonable & affordable. Even Kap was happy & said we will definitely go back the next time we visit Bicol. Basta please lang, by plane na sa susunod ok!
Since we only had 3 days to spend in Bicol & 2 of those already included the drive back & forth, we made it to dessert at DJC Halo-Halo before closing time even though we were stuffed beyond belief from a very heavy dinner. No regrets though, possibly the yummiest halo-halo I’ve ever tasted, no kidding.
DJC Halo-Halo. Address: Landco Business Park, Barangay Bitano, Legazpi City, 4500 Albay, Philippines Phone: +63 52 480 6868 Only 90 php for a special/supreme halo-halo! What’s not to love?
The cheesiest, yummiest halo-halo I’ve ever tasted in my life, zomg! <3 I am highly recommending this place to you.
And that’s it for our first day in Albay. Up next, Day 2 and our Sorsogon Adventure with the famous butandings! ;)