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20 Апр 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Toyota Quick deli/urban sup

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Holy Week Road (Part 1)

We spent this Holy Week (2014) on a road trip down to the end of Luzon. Around 9 years ago I two similar trips to the northern taking my then less a year old Toyota Vios to the of Pagudpud twice. The first was on year’s holy week, and the was some time later in year. The first trip was a breaking one for me, not only for the distance but also the longest I stayed on the took us 17 hours to get back Pagudpud to Manila on Easter hours of straight driving only by brief stops for and dinner. Tarlac was such a big in the north back then, the SCTEX and the TPLEX weren’t figments of the imagination yet. to the present – it took some before I could embark on road trip of that Though we hit the road to Baguio a year ago, nothing the ultimate long distance to either end of the island of Luzon.

time our destination was the city of in the province of Albay, right at the of the Bicol region…an area of the known for it’s perfectly but fiery volcano, and its exquisite but fiery cuisine. We departed at 5AM on Holy Thursday, an hour than our planned departure Having pulled a late one at the the night before, finishing before going on holiday, I couldn’t pull myself out of bed any than 4AM.

Coming from Metro traffic at the South Luzon was moving, though the volume was heavier than normal, we hit the toll gates at Calamba traffic builds as each stops to exit the tollway. Calamba it was a steady cruise via the SLEX extension until Tomas, Batangas where crawled again as the highway cut busy intersections. It was past 7 we got past the snarl at Santo and made our way through to San Pablo and the set of Towns in Quezon Province, but came to a complete stop Candelaria which we reached 8, and from then on it was a game of until we got past Sariaya 2 hours later. The narrow of the old town of Sariaya could not take on the volume of vehicles to pass through it, and there was no road anywhere. The bottleneck for miles, literally, as the number of able to pass through and the town was far outstripped by the number up on its approaches. And thus we learned, the old towns of Quezon could be on Earth during holidays.

We Sariaya around 10AM, than 5 hours after the started. We sped through the road of Lucena, hoping to back the more than 1.5 lost staring at tail in Sariaya, just stopping for a brunch on a fast food along the way. We were Pagbilao well before and were on the zigzag roads of the National Forest by midday. popularly known as the “bitukang (“chicken intestines” in English, the winding mountain road the zigzag road is an exhilerating The sharp curves and steep make it look scarier it is, but a good control of your is all it needs, and drivers of vehicles automatic transmission have nothing to worry about. It is, the worst place to drive an and underpowered vehicle. The scenery though is amazing, but being the I couldn’t take any pictures is an abolute shame.

We resumed steady cruising the zigzag road all the way to Gumaca, by scenic seaside roads, but took a turn for the worse when we approached the town of at 1PM therabouts, dashing any hope the time lost in traffic in the day. This time the was half-impassable portions of the national due to ongoing construction in areas along the entire stretch Lopez to the border of the Quezon It was past 3PM when we finally the borders of the Province of Camarines and took the turn to the Andaya which would take us to the Bicol provinces.

The Andaya was pretty much wide although the condition of the road much to be desired. Portions of the looked like it was no longer for decades, and my eyes were scanning for potholes, which scarce. The surface of the road, on the Quezon side of the highway, was so worn it felt like our SUV was having a boxing match the pavement the whole stretch, at 60kph. The road got better we finally reached Camarines and though there were a few potholes here and there, it was enough to run at speeds of 80kph or

The sun was very low on the horizon when we came to the central rotunda of the of Naga, the largest metropolitan in Bicol. To avoid arriving on our destination too late, we just right through on the road to which we finally reached before 9pm. We spent a of 16 hours on the road, just an shy of my personal record set nine ago.

The Ruins of Cagsawa

The stop on the following day was the famous of Cagsawa in the nearby town of The belfry of the old church, which got by lava from the nearby volcano in a eruption almost two ago, is as familiar a landmark of the as the volcano itself. Being on a holiday, the place was filled people in the morning of Good and taking a photo of the belfry anyone intruding into frame was impossible, but it was a very place for a close-up look of the perfect Mayon volcano. the back of the ruins, one can see flat that rise dramatically the slopes of the volcano. It was just too bad for us the skies were a little too that morning.

There is a entrance fee to see the ruins of Cagsawa, and nearby are souvenir shops sell t-shirts, magnets and anything you can print the word on. There are also stalls sell sili (chili) which are fruit shakes a piece of chili blended in. We some and found that the amount of fruit and ice blend in, the leaves just a tiny bit of in the aftertaste…definitely not as scary as it may seem.

Mayon Volcano, from the Ruins

The Church of Daraga

an hour milling about in we hit the road again and went to the of Daraga a couple of kilometers Perched atop a hill, at the point of the town like old churches do, the church of Daraga an enviable scenic spot, as it an almost unobstructed view of the volcano. The church itself exudes a sense of history, a baroque architecture that was across churches built in the during the 18th century.


Back in Legazpi, we up Lignon hill early in the Declared as a Natural Park, the in the outskirts of the city, is one of the top draws of the that is not a church nor a volcano. A winding, tree lined leads up to the top of the hill, though was a long line of cars to go up the flat-topped hill on good Parking at the hilltop was limited, so had to wait in line at the base, for slots to become available. It was a bit of a – it took us almost a half before we were allowed to go up, and people decided to just their cars at the base and a thorough cardiovascular workout by up on foot.

The top of the hill though was much worth the wait. here the entire city of was laid down infront of us, we even see the entire stretch of the airport’s runway. The other of the hill also give a perfect view of the Mayon and we were a bit lucky that by the we were there, there but a few clouds covering Mayon’s slopes.

Legazpi is a coastal city, and on its shoreline is rather new road-cum-promenade the Legazpi Boulevard. Though almost totally empty, the offers the city-folk a good for jogging and cycling, and it gives a good view of Mayon, at sunset. On that Friday the place started to get filled people as the sun got lower, the majority of tourists like us looking for the spot to get a picture with the conical volcano behind There are also stalls by the that serve all sorts of food, refreshments and even for those looking for a drink in the sea

The Embarcadero looks like it was to be the city’s most happening but frankly it does not have to offer. It looks pretty being on the sea side and all that, and got a clean cheap hotel it, and that’s where we stayed in The Ellis Ecotel, which is inside the Embarcadero, is a good no hotel, for those who are not looking for pampering. It’s one of the cheapest in the city, and it is pretty much and the rooms are of reasonable size – two can definitely move around. got cable TV, hot and cold shower, airconditioning and good comfy though the only drawback is you could hear if there’s a in the next room, and there’s no breakfast. Overall the hotel bad at all, consider how much (or how you pay for.

Bigg’s Diner

Legazpi is pretty a much a traditional city, so there was only a of establishments open on Good One of the few that were was Bigg’s a chain of restaurants in Bicol, and branch in Legazpi was overflowing day. Though their is heavy on western style they did have one item reminds you where you are. Bicol Special, a tandem of Chop and Laing (a local with rice, was our first if Bicolano food in Bicol. The did leave a very good on us…food was good, the place was and the service was fast despite fact that they bursting at the seams. (And I Friday…Pork…Bad, but there were few other places to choose so forgive me.)

Toyota Quick deli/urban sup
Toyota Quick deli/urban sup
Toyota Quick deli/urban sup
Toyota Quick deli/urban sup


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