My Bicol Sojourn 2

Several days into my Ligao, Bicol sojourn, we managed an outing or two.  My hosts/friends would have liked me to come to Bicol at the Feast of Our Lady of Penafrancia when there is much more to see and experience.  I know I’ll love all that local lore and colorful celebrating but hesitates at braving the peak time crowd.    

My friends’ cousins took time out to drive us over to Kawakawa Hill, in California Village, Barangay Tuburan, so called because of a giant amphitheater-like crater on top, looking much like a kawa (cauldron). It’s a 230 meter hill and 500 meter hike up the sides: steep and narrow in places, a two to three laner in some.

It is a spiritual journey too, as your goal is to complete The Way of the Cross - all stations strategically placed so you could catch your breath, somehow do penance, and invoke the heavens in one go.   The clean, nippy air carried a whiff of pineapples.  Naturally I tracked it down to the source.  There are plantings so all that expanse and rich soil don't go to waste and keep it from eroding.  You can buy fresh picked fruit too.  All that bounty and a view of  Mt. Masaraga or a peek at Mayon Volcano cloaked in clouds and mist - there is a God!

You also get to marvel at the artistry and detail in the statuary that depicts scenes from Jesus life, death and resurrection.  There was a refreshment hut at the very top, where I met the man who made the free people’s park possible (my friend’s uncle).

The year I was there, final changes and improvements were still being done.  I didn’t get to take pictures of every thing. I imagine it is even more imposing and impressive now. 

It was closer to sunset when we completed the hike.  
We took our time, had to make stops on account of the baby and the elevation.  The air is thinner up there, the view literally breathtaking but definitely no cursing of achy muscles and creaky joints.

We made our way down in almost record time, trying to outrun the dusk.  There were lights along the path but we were hungry and needed to get back to the house for dinner.  We were rushing to the car too, where a box of my friend’s cousin’s famous home made brownies awaits – our just rewards! Yummy!

The next day we drove to the Embarcadero de Legazpi, a "lifestyle hub" built next to the breakwater and the port.  A lighthouse crowns the then being constructed shopping mall and grounds and that about sums up my tour of the place – a marker that says come back when we’re up to our full potential. 

We drove to Avenue Plaza and hotel to check out party venues for the baby’s birthday (it is errand day in the city for my friends, too).  There was a TCB (The Coffee Bean) where I had ginger green tea, with real ginger in it.  Not bad for nursing a cold – my sinusitis acted up since I had my head in the clouds at Kawakawa the day before; it was hot out when we went to Embarcadero and lunch at my other friend’s Japanese restaurant; then rainy by the time we made it to CWC (CamSur Water Sports Complex).  Some celebrities and water sports enthusiasts (I recognized some of them)  were about so I refused to make a spectacle of my clumsy self at the cable.  Besides, I have smacked and slapped my body enough times in the water at Lago de Oro in Batangas when it first opened and rammed into another’s Jet Ski in Boracay – scar on my leg to boot.  I will try (most) everything once.
P.S.  It will be Holy Week soon.  Make it to Kawakawa and all the other places I went to if you find yourself in Bicol and update me if you wish haha.  Lots more to discover I’m sure, if you take the time to explore and go further than I have.  

There was another Way of The Cross hill trek I made before, except it was on a privately owned retreat in Batangas. It was all endemic gardens, paved stone pathways, old wood rails and bridges, rock fountains, casitas and rest huts. Really beautifully tended sanctuary.  I should be so blessed ; )


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