Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Camarines Sur

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Photo by Camarines Sur Prov'l Gov't

Photo by Camarines Sur Prov'l Gov't
Across the middle of Bicolandia is Camarines Sur. Only 9 hours either by train or bus and an hour flight by plane, landing at Pili Airport.

The province is dominated by rich and fertile rice lands. Historically, it is the seat of the Roman Catholic religion during the Spanish period. Today, it remains the pilgrimage center made prominent by the Peñafrancia Festival held every September of the year in honor of the region’s patroness, Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

The focus of the celebration is at Naga City, a throbbing commercial center, called the heart of Bicol where the most of the major Catholic churches were erected. The image of Virgin Mary is housed at Basilica Minore, a palatial structure replicating the Gothic architecture.

Photo by Camarines Sur Prov'l Gov't
Thousands of devotees, pilgrims and visitors flock to this cathedral and along the river edges to witness Our Lady’s fluvial procession, the highlight of the festival, carried on a well decorated flotilla.

Camarines Sur is famous for the world’s smallest edible fish, locally known as tabios (scientific name Mistichttys) abundantly found in the serene waters of the scenic Lake Buhi. The other lake, Bato, is noted for its tilapia (scientific name Tilapia Nituka) production. Iriga City is known for the famous Tinagba festival – a harvest offering held every February 11.

HOW TO GET THERE

By Land

Naga City in Camarines Sur is accessible from Manila via the scenic Pan-Philippine Highway. Air-conditioned coaches plying the Manila to Naga route leave the Araneta Center at 30 minutes intervals starting at about 4 p.m. thru 9:30 p.m. daily. For tourists coming from the Ermita Center, another set of air-conditioned buses, can take you through the same route to Naga. For the weary business traveler, arrive in tip-top shape, sleep thru the whole length of the ten-hour trip and for the starving passenger dine in style, your choices are enormous – a piping hot porridge, the delectable Filipino chicken “adobo,” or the more cosmopolitan sandwiches. Which way you want it, the buses stop at designated restaurants that serve these kinds of food.

By Air

Naga City can also be reached by plane through the Pili airport. Philippine airlines and Asian Spirit for traveler eager to reach Camarines Sur faster.

Camarines Norte

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Calaguas Beach. Photo by Fuerte Camarines Norte

Calaguas Beach. Photo by Fuerte Camarines Norte
After cutting through the thick rainforest of Quezon province going south, Camarines Norte is the first Bicol province to be reached, about 300 kilometers from Manila.

Camarines Norte is blessed with a dense rainforest, habitat of numberless variety of wildlife. It used to be the home of a big group of Agtas (Negritos), the country’s early aborigines.

The Spanish colonization of Luzon in 1571 drive this peace-loving little people to move to higher levels of the woodland. Drawn by the rumor of immense deposit of gold found in Camarines Norte at the towns of Mambulao and Paracale, the Spaniards mastered in exploring the gold mining potential. Today, is stayed as a signature industry of the province.

More magical in Camarines Norte is the large unshaken pineapple plantation. Capitalizing on this viable product, the people formed an enchanting yearly celebration called Pineapple Festival every May to express their gratitude to this God-given bounty, making a powerful show of unity towards the prosperous industry. Travelers can easily purchase these sweet pineapple on stalls brightly arrayed along the Pan-Philippine Highway before entering the capital town of Daet.

Surfing at Bagasbas. Photo by Fuerte Camarines Norte
HOW TO GET THERE

By Land

Camarines Norte is about six hours drive from Manila through lush forests and picturesque seascapes. Leave Manila before dawn and eat a sumptuous breakfast of native dishes in nipa huts alon the highway. Drop by fruit vendors along the way and savor the place’s most delectable fruit – the piña. Before noon, you’ll be in Daet, the capital, in time for business or pleasure.

By Air

Camarines Norte can also be reached by air through the Pili Airport in Camarines Sur. From the airport you can take a bus or a cab to Daet via Naga City, Camarines Sur’s capital and home to Bicol’s Patroness – Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. (Courtesy Wow Bicol)

Catanduanes

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Lying east of Bicol mainland, Catanduanes is an island paradise in the Pacific, covering a total land area of 1,511.5 square meters.

Your visit to this island is more than just exploring its unspoiled beaches or enjoying surfing at Puraran Beach located on the northside. For acqua sport try scuba diving and sports fishing.

Catanduanes offers much more. It is rich in history, blending quaintly with the peaceful jutting mountains all over the island.

Adventures hike the twisting trails of Gigmoto and San Andres and enjoy the cool refreshing waterfalls, the religious visit to the ancient church of Bato and hike to the stone chapel a kilometer away where the first mass was believed to have been celebrated by the Spanish conquerors.

Island life is not as quiet as it seems. The capital town of Virac is irresistible for an oceanfront entertainment and arousing videoke bars. A hotel offers a breathtaking view of the entire island as its penthouse restaurant.

Resorts abound to accommodate leisure-seeking travelers, with a chain of picnic sheds and cottages over a well-manicured landscape, surrounded with lush greeneries.

HOW TO GET THERE

By Air

Catanduanes is served by Asian Spirit. This airline flies direct from Manila to and from Virac daily.

By Land

Air Conditioned buses (Philtranco and Tawtrasco) travel direct from Manila to Virac daily. Other air-conditioned buses can take you from Manila to the Port of Tabaco where a ferry boat can take you across to Virac, Catanduanes.

Scheduled trips leave the Araneta Center in Cubao and in Pedro Gil St., in Malate, Manila daily.

By Sea

For the more adventurous tourist and sightseeing travelers, Virac is the best reached throuh the sea.

Two shipping lines – San Pablo Shippin Lines and Star Ferry – set asail from the Port of the Tabaco to Viract/San Andres daily. (Coutesy Wow Bicol)

Masbate

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Like an Indian arrowhead, Masbate lies almost at the center of the Philippine archipelago with its tip pointing towards the north of Asia Gulf extending towards the China sea.
The island province sprawls with verdant rolling hills and green landscape and rich aquatic reserve.

The wild wild west comes alive in the island every year. Every May, the country’s local cowboys flock to the capital town of Masbate to display their power over untamed cattles during its festival called Rodeo Filipino. In this international fair, the arena burst with fun and excitement and shouting.

Masbate is a flourishing island-province. Its three islands (Ticao, Burias and Masbate) are bounded with clean and fine beaches. Its sea waters abound with exotic fishes, corals and many other marine life.

Its mainland takes pride of underground rivers, unexplored caves and green landscape.
Masbate’s seaport can accommodate large vessels plying the island of Luzon and Mindanao.

HOW TO GET THERE

By Air

Air Philippines flies to Masbate from Manila daily.

By Land

Masbate can be reached from Legazpi City by land to the Port of Pilar in the adjacent Province of Sorsogon. From there, motorized boats can take you on a three-hour ride to the Port of Masbate.

Sorsogon

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Butanding or whaleshark interaction in Donsol, Sorsogon. DOT Photo

Butanding or whaleshark interaction in Donsol, Sorsogon. DOT Photo
Located at the southern tip of Luzon, the provice is the gateway to the south of the Philippines via the town of Matnog where the ferry terminal is found.

Nature has showered the province with unexplored and pristine tourist attractions, boost by mountain lake cradled below Mt. Bulusan, rising at 2000 feet above sea level.

Awed by the wild vegetation around it, the succulent environment of the forest and the idyllic mixture of the wildlife’s enchanting aura, foreign tourists have compared it with the cool and enthralling country of Switzerland, naming it “Switzerland of the Orient.”

Sorsogon is blessed with rich reserved of aquatic resources. It is the major supplier of fish food all over the mainland. By twist of fate, an amazing discovery of grandest scale surfaced.

The world’s largest fish-whale shark (scientific name is Rhicodon Typus) locally known as butanding shelters near the shores of the towns of Donsol and Pilar.

HOW TO GET THERE
By Land
Sorsogon is accessible from Manila and the Visayas via the Pan-Philippine Highway. Air conditioned coaches plying the Manila to Samar and Leyte routes in the Visayas islands can take these air-conditioned coaches across the San Bernardino Strait from Allen/San Isidro to the Matnog in Sorsogon.
By Sea
Sorsogon is also accessible via the Manila-Cebu-Masbate-Pilar/Bulan route. Luxury ships from Manila can take you on a cruise from Manila to the Port of Cebu. From Cebu another ship can take you on a 12-hour trip to the Port of Cebu. And from Masbate, a motorized boat can take you on another three-hour ride to the rustic town of Pilar/Bulan in Sorsogon.
By Air
This southernmost province of Luzon is accessible by plane through the Legazpi City Airport. From here you can take a cab and go direct to Sorsogon or a “tricycle” that can take you to the city proper where buses queue for passengers going to Sorsogon. (Courtesy Wow Bicol)

Hotels – Resorts

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Carolina’s Hotel and Restaurant
Magsaysay St., Cogon, Sorsogon City
Philippines
Reservations: +63 921-396-0852

 

Fritz Homestay
Your homey tourist inn offers you:

Affordable ROOM RATES and Package Tours:
Whaleshark Interaction
Beach Hopping

Sorsogon City, Philippines
Reservations: +63 921-396-0852

 

Wek’s Place Hotel
Balogo, Sorsogon City
Tel/Mobile No.

Guns, Goons, and Gold

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By Alex Tizon
Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
Knight Fellow, International Center for Journalists

MASBATE: This is supposed to be the geographic center of the Philippines, but it’s also one of the wildest and poorest places in this poor and unruly nation. Here I met widows of murder victims, with fish-less fisherfolk and destitute gold miners. I also met a governor who is nice enough, but may need to get more acquainted with her own province.

Travel Agency

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ESF TRAVEL and TOURS
Magsaysay St., Sorsogon City
Tel/Fax No.
Mobile No.
E-mail:

Resto – Bars

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MANGO GRILL
Magsaysay St., Sorsogon City
Tel. Nos.
Mobile No.
E-mail:

Shortcomings of mining concession noted

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DIGOS CITY — Foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines, Inc., operator of the Tampakan copper-gold project, is nailing a wedge between community groups and should not be allowed to proceed with the venture, an environmental investigative team from civil society claimed after a two-day mission.