Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 2: Start of the Tour de Sorsogon

Johari's Residence
Sawanga, Bacon District, Sorsgon
by lakwatserong tatay

After a rainy and tiring day in Albay. It is time to go to our original plan. After getting from one place to another. Two towns of Albay has been Xplored. The start of "Tour de Sorsogon" will gonna start, after our last stop for the 1st day of different adventure, "Daraga Church", we rushed to the van terminal of Daraga, where you could choose any trip to Bicol region. It was past 5pm when we arrived at the van terminal station.
Our van trip to Sorsogon
The trip usually last for 45 mins. from Albay to Sorsogon, but that time it took us 1 hr & half, I don't know what's the reason because on the time of our trip..i'm sleeping...hehehehe...

Thanks to Manong Driver for our long trip....
We arrived at city town of Sorsogon around 6pm, upon arriving we proceed in one of the groceries in town, to buy some goods and beverages...of course this is our 1st night socials....after buying our goods, we had a tricycle ride to Seabreeze Home Subd. to get our "Trike Mobile"....hehehehe..Johari will be our driver that night, of course, because he knew the road track to our final destination for the day. This is were our co-xplorer Johari born at Sawanga, Bacon District, Sorsogon. Our trike ride will last for almost 2 hours...hehehe....grabe...ang layo po niya....sabayan pa ng biyaheng gabi....super adventure..We arrived around 8 pm at Elquiero's Residence, the first thing we did upon arriving is to rest for few minutes and afterwards, our dinner was served....yahu!!!!! After resting and eating, few hours after, our 1st night socials...(we had a liquor that night courtesy of our newly promoted sup....Inaki....thanks!!!!!) I can't remember what the name of our liquor that night, but it is a mixture of Sprite, Apple / Strawberry Powdered Juice & of course, Ginebra Blue. you can see it below in the Sprite bottle...hehehe...

Jeson bakit ka galit?

Our drinking session last only for almost 2 hours, maybe because were all exhausted with our day activity and w/ a 2 hours trike ride....sleeping time!!!!!
peace !!!!!!!
 All of us wake up early to prepare our things, for our 2nd day adventure that compose of a halfday exploration of Paguriran Island and videoke session at Paguriran Island Beach Resort...

Xplorerboyz @ Jahari's house
Elquiero's Residence
 After having our breakfast and prefer some things, we proceed to our plan to go to Paguriran Island by foot, because on my estimation it is just less than 500 meters away from their house.
The pathway to Paguriran Island
 Upon walking to this pathway, we found out that this place is like a Elquiero's clan, because most of the residents of this block is relative our host xplorer....Johari....swerte namin...hehehe...upon approaching the end of this path, im really confused what happened to this jeepney.........hehehe !!!!!!...What do you think happened?
Kawawang jeep.....Bubong nalng ang natira!!!!!
So after get amazed and confused what really happened to this Jeepney...we proceed to Paguriran Island.......

Friday, September 17, 2010

Part 4: Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church

The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria
Daraga, Albay
by lakwatserong tatay

To end our 1st day trip on Albay, and before proceeding to Sorsogon city. We will not miss the chance to visit the crowning glory of religious architecture in the Province of Albay. This church was fortunately untouched by the lahar that leveled a good part of the Bicol's landscape. The Church of Our Lady of Gate Parish (more commonly known as "Daraga Church") is God’s oldest mansion in the province. Built mainly of volcanic rocks, it has survived a number of eruptions, including the one that entombed its next-town neighbor. This 18th century baroque structure stands on top of a hill, overlooking the sea and the majestic Mayon Volcano. The centuries-old church was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute by virtue of the declaration signed by National Museum Director, Corazon S. Alvina last October 29, 2007.
Nuestra Señora de la Porteria

Why "Daraga Church" is called The Church of Our Lady of the Gate?

Some may ask why this church is called as the Church of Our Lady of the Gate? hmmmm.....I hope this could help...They said it starts from a simple Franciscan lay brother, Fray Luis de San Jose, who lived in the 18th century and worked in a Franciscan convent in Avila, Spain, as a gardener and porter. It's said that the Virgin Mary saved his life during a flood. After that he had a drawn image of our Virgin Mary and placed it at the convent's lobby. Many venerated this image since. After that, the convent's receiving area is called the "Spanish Porteria". This image of Virgin Mary is came to be called as "Nuestra Señora de la Porteria". When the Daraga Church was constructed, the Franciscan friars builders decided to name it after this image.

The Church Altar

The Church centre isle

The Choir Loft

The Confession Area

Daraga's Church History says this about the church: As mythical as the tale that the Daraga church was built by young maidens or Daraga is the common belief that it was built after and on account of the eruption of Mayon Volcano that buried the town of Cagsawa in 1814. The historical truth is that it began to be built more than 40 years earlier, in 1773 to be exact.

The Daraga Church was built by Franciscan missionaries in 1773 at the time that Daraga was just a barrio of Cagsawa. The catastrophic eruption of Mayon Volcano on February 1, 1814 destroyed Cagsawa, Budiao and three other towns and killed almost 2,000 people. Today, only the belfry of the old Cagsawa church remains as a mute testimony to Mayon’s treacherous wrath. Survivors of the 1814 eruption chose to relocate to Daraga.
In 1815, Daraga's government was formally organized with Venando Espiritu Salomon as the first appointed captain, a new town was born, the rest is history. Town of Daraga has grown to become a center of trade and commerce in the province of Albay.
Daraga Church National Museum Marker

Daraga Church Historic Marker

Daraga Church's Architecture

The design of this church is described as a blend of architectural styles of Renaissance Gothic and Mexican Baroque. Which results to an indigenous style that distinguishes it from other colonial churches here in our country. It's facade was made of volcanic stones. The church facade includes a four column, each with medallions at its core. Each medallions have images of the Evangelists.

This facade also features images of the Franciscan Saints, the coat of arms of the Franciscan Order, and of course, the image of Our Lady of the Gate. The church belfry has an octagonal column with images of the twelve apostles engraved on the sides of the angles. All of these were also made from volcanic stones.
Now as you go around inside, you can see some of our patron saints is been placed too.

Some of the Columns with the Saints within

One of the 4 Medallions

Daraga Church Belfry

Some of the Patron inside the church

"Our Lady of the Gate"

Daraga Church is a cultural and architectural treasure that is a priceless part of Albayano heritage. Today, the church is one of the most visited destinations in the province of Albay. The church is easily accessible from the city of Legazpi. Xplorerboyz were really lucky to have the chance to visit one of the treasures of Albay. Once again thanks to Johari.... to be continued.....

Xplorerboyz @ Daraga Church

Of course i must have my Solo... Brian "Lakwatserong Tatay"

Part 3: Cathedral of San Gregorio Magno

St. Gregory the Great in Legazpi, Albay
by lakwatserong tatay

After our late lunch at Bigg's Diners, Pacific Mall, our group headed to the Albay's Cathedral Church known as Cathedral of San Gregorio Magno, and actually that day, is the start of a 2 days Albay's District Fiesta, the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Gregory the Great (San Gregorio Magno), one of the greatest Pontiffs of the Catholic faith and one of only two Popes in history who was given the title “the great,” the other being St. Leo the Great. Where in our country, commemorative rites in honor of their patron will be held in Legazpi City, Albay; Majayjay, Laguna; Indang, Cavite; and Ginatilan, Cebu.

The Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The Cathedral of St. Gregory the Great, also called the Albay Cathedral, is the Episcopal Seat of the Diocese of Legazpi. The cathedral started as a wooden chapel built by early Spanish missionaries who moved into the town in the 1580s. It was damaged by American bombers and reconstruction went beyond 1951. The church was elevated to become a cathedral when the Episcopal See of the Diocese of Legaspi was established.

The Diocese of Legazpi comprises the civil province of Albay, a province with a population of almost 1.19 million, 97 per cent of which are Catholics. The current bishop of the Diocese of Legazpi is Bishop Joel Z. Baylon, who was canonically installed last December 10, 2009. He is the sixth bishop of Legazpi. For its titular patron it has Our Lady Mother of Salvation, and for its secondary patron St. Gregory the Great.

The Bellfry towering over the land

The Cathedral view from its spacious plaza on the other side
Below are some of the pictures of the statue you can found around the church. Please bare with the other pictures shot...hehehe... Specially the figure of St. Gregory the Great in full pontifical vestments holding a papal cross, with triple crown or tiara and pallium.

St. Gregory the Great

The old baptismal font

There are also two saints placed in front of the church. Saint Raphael and Saint Peter.

St. Raphael's Statue

St. Peter's Statue

The St. Gregory the Great Cathedral is one of the most prominent landmarks in the Old Albay District of Legazpi. It is located near the Peñaranda Park, Albay Provincial Capitol and the Legazpi City Hall. It is easily accessible from all points of the city.

Legaspi City Hall

xplorers infront of Cathedral San Gregorio Magno
Even though it was bit raining that day, we continued our trip, and our next destination is one of the centuries-old church declared by National Cultural Treasure of our country " The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria also known as Church of Daraga, Albay.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Part 2: One of Bicol's Pride in Fastfood Chain "Bigg's Diner"

Bigg's Diner in Pacific Mall, Legazpi
by lakwatserong tatay

After a delayed trip from Manila, our host xplorerboy Johari is telling us, the famous fast-food chain in Bicol region. It is not just like the Jollibee, Mcdonald's and Greenwich fast food chain's where you can always find in our different part of our county. Johari told us that you must not miss the chicken of this food chain. So after few hours of waiting, we arrived at Legazpi Airport later afternoon, we were all hungry and we hurried to Pacific Mall where is the nearest branch of Bigg's Diner located. Upon arriving to Legazpi we were welcomed and blessed by short medyo wet kami nung kumain...hehehe.....All of us were excited to try the Bicol's Pride when it comes to food we Pacific Mall....
Bigg's Diner @ Pacific Mall
A bit history of Bigg's....
Bigg’s Diner is the biggest fast-food chain in the Bicol region, although they rightfully claim that they serve good food and not fast food. The restaurant, however, has not always been known by the name it has today. And while they may now be considered as the most successful fast- food chain in the Bicol Region, the Bicolano restaurant started small.
The fast-food chain traces its roots to the Mang Donald’s burger stand that opened in 1983. It was an instant hit among Naguenos, both because of its tasty burgers and its catchy name. However, it was the same catchy name that forced the burger stand to cease its operation due to legal suits. In 1984, the owners of Mang Donald’s conceptualized Nalds, this time catering to the city folks who would rather have goto's and dinuguan than burgers and other American food fares. Like Mang Donald’s, Nalds was a hit. When 1990 came, the creative minds of the Nalds’ owners again came up with a new concept, a restaurant that offers a fun dining experience with services nearing fast-food criteria in quickness. And like their previous ventures, the new concept was again embraced whole-heartedly by Naguenos.
From Carl’s Diner, the name again changed in 1994 to Bigg’s Diner. From 1996 onwards, the restaurant started to expand outside Naga City and with their retro-inspired diner ambience, and maybe most of the oldies will really like it, specially if you're an Elvis Presley fanatic......Servings are also bigger than other restaurants but at an equally affordable price. Must try products are their bestselling Crispy Chicken and uniquely blended Rock and Roll Iced Tea. Bigg Taste You Can Afford. Today, the fast-food chain has various branches in the neighboring municipalities and provinces. But through all these changes and expansions, the quality and taste of the food they offer remained the same.

Inside the Bigg's Diner, Pacific Mall
Bigg's Diner experience
At last all of us, were really excited to try eat and dine in Bigg's, even Johari missed some of his favorites. As we line up on cashier's counter we can't decide what to choose from, but of course as per johari's advice we must try their chicken......and wow....the chicken really taste great and and i really like its crispiness...sarap!!!!!...hehehe....actually i've ordered for my self a chicken bigg deal meal that reminds me of bunch of lunch of shakey's, but if i will compare it...i really must go with the chicken of Bigg's....hehehe...masarap promise!!!!... all of us ordered a bigg deal meal except for johari who ordered a daing na bangus w/ pinangat that of the bicol's finest....hehehe...and when it comes to it's is really short swak sa budget....marami ka mapagpipilian!!!!

Bigg's Deal w/ extra rice....
Definitely if i'll go back to Bicol region, ill gonna visit again this food chain to eat and dine in again...and again, infact before we depart Legazpi, we had our lunch again at Bigg's Diner Pacific Mall, that time we tried their different meals, for me and johari, tried the combo meal crispy chicken, jayson tried the crispy chicken (a 2 pcs. chicken meal), regie tried their extreme burger.Xplorerboyz @ Bigg's

Combo Meal Crispy Chicken
So whenever your in Bicol region, and having a vacation, i will really recommend to you, to try to eat in Bigg's Diner. As their wall lighted mount displays saying..."Bigg taste you can afford" & "I love the taste of Biggs".
Thanks to johari's encouragement to try to eat at Bigg's. We will really definitely miss it's chicken's taste. I do really hope that they could open a branch here in Manila....

If you want to experience, what we had experience dining at Bigg's. Simply click this link to check out, Bigg's Diner site.
Bigg's Diner: The Biggest Food Chain in the Bicol Region (

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 1: The start of our 5 Days Backpack Adventures

Part1: A Rainy Day Departure
by lakwatserong tatay

This is the 1st time that my so called group of "xplorerboyz" will be complete, it's been a long time since i'll did to travel far. I remember upon booking this activity way back April of this year, once again thanks to Cebu Pacific's promos...hehehehe....we were all excited, because we're all new to this placed even though one of the xplorerboyz "johari originated in Sorsogon one of our destination...The "Tour de Sorsogon"...hehehehe...He said that, this is the 1st time he will do this adventure...a 5 days of adventure....within the Province of Legazpi & Sorsogon, getting around to some of the tourist spots, and using our "Trike Mobile"...hehehe...So enough for the story...lets proceed.....
At last, after months and days of waiting, the time has come, to begin our 5 days of backpack adventures. It was thursday, our flight to Legazpi, Albay scheduled (1235 pm / Sept. 2, 2010 via Cebu Pacific Flight no. 5J - 327). We meet at office @ D' Fort, Taguig and went to NAIA Terminal 3. We arrived at NAIA Terminal 3, earlier to proper check-in short...excited po kami...hehehe....and all of us where 1st timers to this we were really excited...hehehe...

The daily view of check- in process in Cebu Pacific NAIA Terminal 3

We check-in exactly 2 hours prior to its departure. After we see in the monitor that the Legazpi flight is starting to accept check-in proper....hehehe..excited talaga...Of course, if your a newbie to the place, what you will do? of opps....Below are some of our photo shots activities....hehehe...Actually we have so many shots within the airport...hehehe...just what i have said..we were all 1st timers....

"xplorerboyz" on photo sessions....hehehehe !!!!!

see....even our boarding tickets had a photo opps too !!!!!

After doing check-in procedures...we proceed to boarding and waiting area...we another photo sessions happen. Upon paying the terminal fee and gone thru to airport security...There is this gallery which is made thru efforts of Cebu Pacific i dont know if they called this as "Airscapes", i've forgot to takenote of the name of the photographer...hehehe...but all of his shots where really nice...different places and tourist spots of our country is been placed for this gallery.

of course photo sessions again....

We exactly boarded on time, but personally on my own experience riding Cebu Pacific flights, there is always a conflict...hehehe..and i have already told my group about this. It was raining that time while waiting to board on the plane. Of course, while waiting photo opps is always present. Below are some of the shots while were waiting, go to onboard and experienced traffic airway opps inside the plane...hehehe....

Our plane ride to Legazpi, Albay

Photo opps on on Waiting area Gate 120

Luckily upon waiting to board our plane. The rain stops so it was really comfort for us, incase this is the 1st time i will ride a plane wet....hehehe....We have to walk in the airport ground to ride our plane. As you can see below of course yours truly will not miss this opportunity...

Yours truly in NAIA Terminal 3 Airport ground...

Most of the passangers is ready for our take off, seat belts were on, but many of us, including our group is wandering why we were still on the airport grounds, and there were also other planes alined...after staying in the ground for more than hour the pilot announced it was due to an airway congestion...hay!!! ang kala ko wala na what we have opps of course inside the plane.

"lakwatserong tatay" & "d eagle"

At last after waiting for our turn to flew off....It is nice to have some shots while in the air...seeing some of the ground sites while you were up in the sky and of course, who will miss a shot of Mt. Mayon before you will ascend to Legazpi Airport, but sad to say.....Mayon Volcano is shy to us that time because it is too cloudy on its upper part...sayang!!!!!! This actually my 1st time to see Mayon Volcano upclose....huhuhuhu!!!!!

Few minutes after our plane departed on NAIA Terminal 3

The Shy Mayon Volcano before we ascend to Legazpi Airport

Of course, if you're new to a place specially like airports, what you will do? So sessions started again...hehehehe...I found that the airport at the foot of Mayon Volcano in Legazpi City servicing not just the province of Albay but the entire Bicol Region. It's in this airport where tourists wishing to commune with Donsol, Sorsogon's pride (Whale Shark aka Butanding). And some outdoor enthusiast wishes to climb Mt. Bulusan and get amazed with the beauty of Lake Bulusan of Bulusan , Sorsogon.

"xplorerboyz in action"...hehehehe...

Legazpi Airport arrival entrance

Legazpi Airport Departure Area

Our plane ride within the view of Majestic Mayon Volcano

It is such an opportunity seeing Mayon Volcano upclose and do really hope to climb it too.....

Here is our 1st Day Itinerary for our 5 Days Backpack Adventures:

1030 ETA NAIA terminal 3
1130 Check-in process
1205 Scheduled Boarding Process
1325 ETD to Legazpi Airport (delayed departure due to airport runway congestion)
1415 ETA Legazpi Airport
1435 ETA Pacific Mall Legazpi, Albay (Late lunch "Biggs Diner")
1545 ETA San Gregorio de Magno Church, Old Albay District of Legazpi near Peñaranda Park, Legazpi Capitol
1615 ETA Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church, Daraga, Albay
1650 ETD to Sorsogon City via GTExpress vans.
1750 ETA Sorsogon, Sorsogon City
1815 ETA See Breeze Home Subd. (our resident’s host house (1st stop)
1830 ETD to Sawanga, Bacon District,Sorsogon
2015 ETA Johari’s Place (Narra St., Purok 7, Sawanga, Bacon District, Sorsogon)

Total expenses (1st Day):

Tricycle to Pacific Mall from Legazpi airport (P20/person)
Jeep to Peñaranda Park (P7)
Jeep to Daraga, Albay from Peñaranda Park (P7)
GTExpress to Sorsogon (P60)
Tricycle to Sea Breeze (P10/person)
Full tank of Trike Mobile (P100/person)

Legazpi Airport Information:

Flights to Legazpi from Manila are offered by Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Airphil Express, and Zest Air with airline offices inside the airport compound. (You could choose any from this airline which offers the cheapest flight rates to Legazpi).

Legazpi Airport to your preferred destinations:

There are no taxis in Legazpi, only tricycle that can be hired for P50.00 to P 60.00 per trip to bus and van terminals where you can ride and choose between vans and buses to the Albay towns like Nabua, Tiwi, Sorsogon City, Naga City (Camarines Sur) and also back to Manila via land transportation.

Contact Information of Albays Tourism Office:

Albay Tourism Bldg., Albay Astrodome Complex,
Capt. F. Aquende Drive, Legazpi City, 4500 Albay, Philippines
Tel: +63 (52) 820 6314/16
Fax: +63 (52) 820 6315
e-mail: website:

Regional Office 5
DOT Building, regional Offices Site,
Rawis, Legazpi City 4500
Tels: +63 (52) 820 3664 +63 (52) 482 0811
+63 (52) 482 0812
+63 (52) 482 0712


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