Food tripping in Legazpi
One of the exciting parts of a road trip is tasting the local cuisine. Some of the restaurants we visited were Sibid Sibid restaurant, 1st Colonial Grill (home of the sili ice-cream), Bob Marlin restaurant, and DJC Halo-Halo & Snack Inn.
Topping our food list were Bicolano favorites like laing or pinangat (gabi leaves simmered in coconut cream and served with siling labuyo), Tilmok (mixed coconut meat and the crab meat wrapped in banana leaves and steamed), and Bicol Express (pork cooked in coconut milk with hot chili).
We enjoyed 1st Colonial Grill’s Tinutungang Manok (chicken stewed in coconut cream), Tinapa Rice, and exotic ice-cream flavors like sili, pili and calamansi.
We tried the famous halo-halo in the area. Unlike the typical halo-halo, DJC halo-halo is served with a generous serving of cheese on top.
Our group had our fill of Bicol’s finest seafood including prawns, crabs, squid, shellfish and variety of fish.
Friends who reside in Legazpi also invited my family and friends to have dinner at their lovely home. They prepared a delicious feast on our last evening in Legazpi.
Visiting Bicol tourist spots
Our Bicol trip is not complete without visiting popular tourist attractions. We went to Daraga Church, Cagsawa Ruins and Ligñon Hill.
Swimming with the Butanding in Donsol, Sorsogon
One of the highlights of our trip was the Whale Shark Interaction Tour in Donsol, Sorsogon.
After a short briefing and orientation, we boarded a small boat. Our group was divided into two boats. Each boat was accompanied by four guides composed of one boat master (driver), one spotter, one BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer), and one assistant.
Unlike in Oslob, Cebu were whale sharks are fed to lure them closer to waiting boats, the Butanding Encounter in Donsol, Sorsogon allows the whale sharks to swim naturally.
We swam with different sizes of whale sharks. The biggest one we saw must have been close to the size of a school bus.
My friend was so overwhelmed by the sight of the huge mouth coming towards her that she quickly returned to the surface. A butanding’s enormous mouth is lined with thousands of tiny teeth, which it surprisingly doesn’t use for chewing or biting. It feeds almost exclusively on plankton and, thus, harmless to humans.
Swimming with the gentle giants of the sea was an unforgettable experience… something that we ticked off from our bucket list.
Island hopping in Caramoan
It was another long drive from Legazpi to Caramoan. We were supposed to stay for two days and one night but we decided to extend our stay to three days and two nights.
Caramoan Islands is located at the far eastern end of Camarines Sur in Bicol region. We explored several beautiful islands with white sands and stunning limestone formations; frolicked at the Manlawi sandbar; discovered starfish in shallow waters; and swam in pristine waters.
Part of the tour was visiting Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, Mother of Peace Grotto. It was a journey of 524 steps (530 if landing is included) that leads to the 26-foot image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Aside from the usual souvenir t-shirts, native wallets, keychains, and refrigerator magnets, we also bought Bicol goodies like pili nuts, pili bars, pili tarts, peanut brittle candies, assorted dried fish, frozen Bicol Express, and frozen laing. Others bought baskets, native place mats and woven trays.
Offering prayers to Our Lady of Peñafrancia
We went to The Peñafrancia Minor Basilica or the Minor Basilica of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia located at the outskirts of Naga City to pray for a safe journey home.
It’s a beautiful church with huge colorful stained glass windows. We took the stairs behind the altar leading to the image of the miraculous Our Lady of Peñafrancia. We had the opportunity to touch her veil and offer prayers.
Photos by author.
Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a mom to a charming boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.