Butandings of Donsol

April 29th, 2005 | 2 Comments

The former sleepy town of Donsol, Sorsogon has awakened into a major tourist destination as it plays host to the seasonal migration of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, that gathers in its warm, plankton rich waters. The whale shark interaction is both an experience and an eye opener: its size just amazes and its behavior baffles the uninitiated especially if one learns for the first time that it feeds on plankton, not the ravenous and man-eating fish that films have been portraying.

For us, the experience was just exhilarating. Never mind that we were able to have this for free, thanx to the kind customer care officers who vouched for us, especially that the company sponsored the succeding week’s butanding festival, and the rich feast of seafoods later.

A photo of the whale shark dwarfing the diver at the Donsol tourist office where one can register and avail of the services. What makes this tourism endeavor commendable is that it involved and benefited the local community of fishermen who, in earlier times, fished and butchered these gentle giants for the shark fin trade for export that was in great demand in chinese restaurants here and abroad especially in Taiwan.

Colleagues trying out and renting the snorkelling equipment that is used to better see up close the whale sharks.

Costing around P2,700.oo (around $50) and a registration fee of P100.00, a group can avail of one motorized banca and these watchers, spotters and guides.

Getting into position for that close up interaction with whale sharks.

What we saw that day was just a baby whale shark but it was enough for me to shout with exhilaration as the fish passed under our boat. It was fast and elusive.

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Bicol churches, 2

April 28th, 2005 | 3 Comments

While visiting these churches one afternoon, I was amused that in Tiwi, Bacacay, Malilipot and Tabaco had weddings rites being held.

Tiwi Church, Albay

Malinao Church, Albay

Malilipot Church, Albay

Bacacay Church, Albay

Sto. Domingo Church, Albay

Daraga Church, Albay which is made of volcanic rocks. Located at a hill, this elevated place offers great views of Mt. Mayon.

Bicol churches, 1

April 27th, 2005 | No Comments

Home to devout Catholics, Bicol is rich in monuments and structures to the Catholic faith. Dating to the Spanish era, these are usually made of corals and some in bricks. I have always been fascinated with old churches and being in Bicol is an opportunity to visit and enjoy these houses of God.

While touring though, I can’t help but feel sad too that people just don’t value much their catholic cultural heritage. Old churches are refurbished, its facade coated with a layer of cement. Whole altars are replaced. To them, old is not beautiful.

The Naga City Cathedral

Legazpi City Cathedral

Barcelona Church, Sorsogon. Touted as one of the wel preserved church in Bicol, I was quiet disappointed when I entered the church with its new interior decorated with not so old stained glass.

Camalig Church, Albay

Tabaco Church, Albay. The belfry is one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen.

Bicol trip

April 24th, 2005 | 2 Comments

Bicol, home to delicious cuisine flavored with generous amounts of chili and gata (coconut extract), spanish era churches, majestic mountains, forests, lakes and seas, is home to a hardy, resilient and friendly people.

The welcome arch reads “Welcome to Bicolandia along the border of Quezon and Camarines Norte.

The stalls of Naga City that opens well into the night sells different kinds of peanut cooking from sugared, fried, steamed as well as other food knicknacks that are good paired with bottles of beer and liquor.

Early morning, and joggers circle the driveway around the spacious Penafrancia Basilica, the seat and home of INA, the mother of Christ, that is venerated deeply in these region, a testament to the Bicolano’s devoutness.

Man selling young coconuts along the road at the side of the Legazpi City rotunda, early morning. Grated, mature coconuts are extracted for its gata, a major component that flavors Bicol cuisine from the tasty pinangat, Bicol express, and a host of other dishes.

A lone tiger at the Albay Wildlife Park that houses a few but interesting animals from around the country (seldom seen) as well as the world.

An obligatory visit to the Cagsawa ruins near Legazpi City. Famed for her perfect cone, Mt. Mayon enlivens the Bicol landscape and her majestic sight makes one forget her fiery temper. The Cagsawa Ruins, is a grim reminder of the region’s most active volcano’s other side.

These children along the road to the Mayon Resthouse wave to passing visitors. However, don’t be fooled by their seeming hospitality, the’yre waiting for loose change. Bicol, while the land is beautiful, is also one of the country’s poorest.

Mt. Mayon – Daragang Magayon

April 23rd, 2005 | No Comments

Series 5 has already been started a few days ago at binary silver. This series shows nine different views of Mt. Mayon: From the vantage point at Daraga Albay, Mayon Resthouse, at the city, as well as the obligatory Cagsawa Ruins.

Related posts:

Long drive
Enjoying Bicol
Legazpi City, Albay
Morning flight

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