Legazpi Commuters Guide

It’s easy to go around Legazpi City. There are road landmarks and malls that serve as drop-off and pick-up points. There are alternative routes, too, to skip the main roads which can have heavy traffic.

Let’s start with the battle pylon of Legazpi on the city rotonda.  You can get to any point in Albay from there.

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Jeepneys pass around that landmark, from Quezon Av., or the road between LCC Mall and 7-Eleven, to Graceland (a Bicol food chain), St. Raphael Church, Albay Doctors Hospital and all the way to Ayala Mall.

Quezon Avenue is the road between LCC Mall and 7-Eleven.

 

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Quezon Ave. is also where all jeepneys converge for the rotonda road, including Embarcadero-bound. So you can wait for jeepneys there, too.

Embarcadero-bound jeepneys go straight ahead, past DBP Bank and National Food Authority and turn right for the Seawall Park road. Jeepneys with the following routes also take the same road: Camalig, Ligao, Guinobatan, Polangui, Rawis and Arimbay.

 

 

While jeepneys with these routes: terminal/Tahao Road/Gaisano/Pacific Mall, Daraga and Loop 1 and Loop 2, turn left across DBP Bank. It will stop at LCC Mall’s parking area to pick passengers.

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Across is the parking area, where the photo below is a few steps away.

 

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Acess that alley from BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands).

 

FROM AYALA MALL TO TERMINAL

From Ayala Mall going terminal, look for L. Los Banos Ave. The mall’s south entrance/exit point is facing this road. Walk across and wait for terminal-bound jeepneys.

 

 

FROM AYALA MALL TO DARAGA

For Daraga-bound jeepneys, wait outside the mall’s main entry and exit point.

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FROM AYALA MALL TO PACIFIC MALL ON FOOT

Pacific/Gaisano Mall is accessible via Ayala Mall. Walk past that main entrance and turn right, or this side of the mall, for Imperial St.

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Walk past Hong and 101 shopping mall. Cross the road from that Jollibee icon.

 

Continue walking ahead until you reach Pacific Mall, where terminal and Daraga-bound jeepneys pass in front of the mall.

 

 

FROM PACIFIC MALL TO TERMINAL ON FOOT

Walk straight past the mall. Enter the Landco extension road from this corner to walk to the terminal.

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Walk straight ahead until you see the board pointing to the terminal.Turn right and follow the covered walkway.

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Continue to walk straight ahead. You’ll reach first the jeepney terminal for inter-city routes (e.g. Tabaco, Bacacay), then Save More (a convenience store), bus terminal and, lastly, the UV terminal.

 

 

 

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PPUR, Sumlang Lake and Canigao Island: 3 Rare Case Examples of LGU-Managed Ecotourism Sites in PH

 

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FLOATING SALA. Now these bamboo rafts have all-rattan furniture sets. Photo courtesy of Ely Cuela.

 

“Maliit lang pala ang Sumlang Lake.”  (I didn’t know it is a small lake.)

Was that a disappointment? I’d like to ask my companion. Without the Mayon Volcano on sight, it looked like an irrigation source for the nearby rice plants. It sits in the middle of a residential area, too.

But still, there was striking about it.

 

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SUNSET AT SUMLANG LAKE. Photo courtesy of Laurie Gucilatar.

 

Rattan furniture adorned bamboo rafts. They were tastefully done, inviting you to indulge in bamboo rafting in style.

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Then and Now

 

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ARTSY. New installations at the vicinity of the lake. Photo courtesy of Laurie Gucilatar.

 

 

Before there were paved walkways, iron fence, knitted rattan swings and canopies, there were bamboo seats and handrails first. Then came the barrels recycled to chairs for cottages, and now the artsy outdoor sets and installations replaced them.

There is now an entrance fee, too. With the LGU on the helm of this initiative, it is easy to see its management similarities with the Puerto Princesa Underground River.

 

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INTO THE UNDERGROUND RIVER. Photo courtesy by Salve Canale.

 

Whereas most “funding for biodiversity conservation was routed through NGOs,” the Puerto Princesa Underground River Management had been creative and innovative in this aspect. This is according to a report by contributing writers Ma. Dulce M. Cacha and Julian Caldecott to this book: Decentralization and Biodiversity Conservation (A World Bank Symposium) edited by Ernst Lutz and Julian Oliver Caldecott.

Moreover, said authors report that “under the DFNS program, which provided 9.7 million,” activities beyond simple site protection became possible. These include the following:

  • resource protection
  • law enforcement
  • community organizing
  • visitor management
  • infrastructure development and maintenance and
  • research and restoration.

 

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MAGAYON. Simple leisures made more fun with this view of Mayon Volcano.

 

In Barangay Sumlang in Camalig, Albay, village chief Felipe Napa, Jr. brought in his rattan furniture business to make bamboo rafting a leisurely affair. The landowner allowed it for use, and private investors provided new developments for a profit share, one of the bamboo raft operators told us. In Puerto Princesa, collected fund went to a trust fund. Its management board comprised of the city mayor, DENR representatives, NGOs and tribal groups.

Both owes its “operational flexibility and increased capability to invest” to a decentralized management, where the LGU has the central role.

Biodiversity Conservation

Interest alone in the park’s management is not enough. There’s a need for interest in conservation, too, through monitoring. One LGU-managed tourism site that seems to be on this track is Canigao Island.

 

Canigao Island. Photo courtesy of Josie and Bodjie Dayawon.
SWIMMING AREA IN CANIGAO. Photo courtesy of Bodjie and Josie Dayawon.

 

Found in Matalom, Leyte, this pristine paradise is home to a marine sanctuary.  The colorful tropical fish and lush coral gardens speak of its rich marine biodiversity.

During offseason, the sanctuary’s management temporarily closed it for rehabilitation. For instance, last year the Matalom LGU and Canigao management made it unavailable for the first two weeks in July. During that time they prohibited these activities: docking, swimming, fishing and other marine-related activities within 10 meters from its shoreline.

This 2017, the management will hold it on July 1-15.

Sold at Canigao Island. Photo courtesy of Josie and Bodjie Dayawon.

As to the extent of monitoring, we have yet to know. In PPUR, monitoring includes the habitat in the forest areas and underwater, economic activities at the site, visitorship and other activities and phenomenon that can affect the property’s universal value.

Research

Research is also integral to a successful conservation of biodiversity.

In the 2015 report on the state of conservation of PPUR, there are a monthly bat counting and monitoring of roosting sites in the PPUR cave. Sea turtle conservation was initiated too.

 

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ANCIENT TREES. Photo courtesy of Salve Canale.

 

Overall, ”it has been noted that the park biological baseline data were outdated,” a finding mentioned as a conservation issue, along with climate change and public/household waste water.

PPUR, Sumlang Lake and Canigao Islet are successful examples of tourism developments under the LGU management. However, Cacha and Caldecott wrote that lack of conservation interest can be counterproductive in the management of a protected area.

The aforementioned editors also noted that decentralization may or not work. Rather, the answer is to “find an appropriate degree of decentralization of certain management functions” for the promotion of conservation, community and enterprise development.

 

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HEART SHAPE. Photo courtesy of Salve Canale.

 

Simply put, a successful decentralization management is a case to case basis. And as the two contributors put it: The PPUR is a rare example of decentralized management where LGU has a leading role. Now there are a few that are following its footsteps.

 

 

 

 

References:

State of Conservation Report (2015) Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Prepared by: Park Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park Management
With the support of: Philippines National Commission for UNESCO

Decentralization and Biodiversity Conservation ( A World Bank Symposium) Edited by Ernst Lutz and Julian Oliver Caldecott. Quoted section by writing contributors Ma. Dulce M. Cacha and Julian Caldecott

 

3 Ways to extract Joy from Your Material Purchases

There was this joke that says: Money can’t buy happiness, but it is more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.

Truth, right?

So if you are into collecting all things material, don’t feel guilty. As long as you buy to use it in more meaningful ways than showing off, possessions can bring real happiness too. Just like when you spend on activities over possessions.

Luxurious shops know that, too.

At Havaianas stores, they have a DIY section where shoppers can mix and match for a personalized flip-flop. This happens annually for their “Make your own Havaianas” event.

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Screengrab from Laura Lehmann’s Instagram account.

According to Penguins with People Problems author Mary Laura Philpott, creativity is one way to enhance the experience-value of your purchase. To quote:

When you buy a top-of-the-line Italian cappuccino machine, turn it into a multi-sensory experience: pour enough cappuccinos to fill a bathtub, then get into it and soak. Listen to the foam fizz as the minuscule bubbles burst against your shins like tiny waves upon a human shore. This must be how Earth feels.

Okay that was a bit exaggerated, but she nailed it.

Travel is also on her list of ways to extract happiness from material things we buy. Why, wouldn’t it make you feel great to travel light and still in style? Heck, just thinking of the space you’ll save by getting rid of pairs of footwear is already happiness. Thanks to your dual-function flip-flops!

Her point:

Travel creates a bank of positive memories upon which you can draw at any time. Fly your $425 sunglasses to Central America and show them the Equator. Look around at the local citizens through your shaded lenses, holding their gaze and mentally trading places with them. How do you look in your new glasses as you survey yourself through their eyes? Fantastic, probably. You’ll never forget that.

Lastly, give or share it like what Soleil, a Havaianas store in Ayala Malls in Legazpi, did during its launching. Giving can make us feel good inside, and we don’t need science to prove it. We know and feel it, especially when we are sincere.

Thank you, Soleil, for having bloggers during the event.

As well as for making this traveler’s feet comfortable amidst the sharp rock she was stepping on. It’s a happy coincidence, too, that she can match it with one of her favorite travel accessories: shawl!

 

Soleil photos courtesy of Ginoel and Alan of http://dropdeaddapper.com/

Adventure and Luxury at Misibis Bay

 

Finding a top-notch resort like Misibis Bay in Albay is only fitting for the province’s rapidly developing economy. With an international airport currently underway, infrastructure and businesses surely have to keep up with the pace.

This luxury resort in Cagraray Island in Bacacay is themed with modern buildings and choice villas with expansive glass windows and pools set across the wide property. Going around is easy with golf carts ferrying around the resort.

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A 3-day and 2-night-stay at the resort comes with complimentary activities, such as  non-motorized water sports and city tour. For the more adventurous guests, activities like ATV ride to the hilltop, jet skiing, Hobie cat sailing, and basic diving can be arranged. The resort made these possible with enough water equipment and a breakwater in place.

The resort has several romantic settings which according to Ira, the resort’s assistant guest relations manager, have been used as venues for proposals and weddings. There is Sula Channel for sunset cruising or 5 Views for a mini cocktails setup with Mayon Volcano as an alluring background. There is also the amphitheater with a view of the overlooking islands and the resort’s church nearby.

Options like private lunch on a secluded island or at the beach entail a VIP treatment. Fresh grilled seafood, wine, vegetable salad and baked desserts are prepared by a designated cook. These can be spiced up with spicy Bicol dishes made delectable with coconut milk.

At the end of the day, guests have luxurious rooms to recharge, complete with entertainment and dining sets, a mini-bar and adjacent pool, if not a private pool.

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For a good one-hour drive from Legazpi, guests can find Misibis Bay an ideal retreat  choice – close to nature, away from the crowds yet a world-class service and facilities are within reach.

These and the contagious comforting familiarity that exists from one staff to another extend to guests the welcoming warmth that Bicolanos won’t hesitate to show to a tourist.

Accentuate your home with punchy vintage inspired pieces. Bringing an old world flair to a modern building can take a bland flat from boring to WOW.

7 Awesome Things to do in Misibis Bay

 

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ATV ride to the hilltop

 

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Mini cocktails setup for group. It’s a romantic date for couples.

 

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Private lunch at Luyang beach

 

 

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Go snorkeling and diving like it’s your first time

 

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Whether it’s a cruise at mid-day or sunset, with a group or a loved one, it’s your call

 

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Make use of the complimentary tour

 

 

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They’re awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluvial Parade for Albay’s Patroness

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Every year Albay holds a maritime procession for the patroness of the province, Our Lady of Salvation, in honor of her feast day, August 15.

On the third Saturday of August, devotees and pilgrims from all over Albay take part in the celebration to pay homage to the miraculous image of Our Lady of Salvation. It is highlighted by a concelebrated Mass which is often held at Sugod, a fishing village in Tiwi, before continuing on with the procession.

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The procession starts in Brgy. Joroan where the shrine of Our Lady of Salvation is located. The image is carried by a well-decorated trawl boat and followed by an entourage of equally colorful pump boats. It passes through the coastal barangays of Tiwi, including Bariis, Matalibong, Sugod, Bolo and Baybay, and vice versa.

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On the last Saturday of August, devotees from all over the Bicol region will visit the shrine for Peregrinacion sa Magagahon. After midnight, they would walk in the procession from the St. Lawrence Church of Tiwi to the Diocesan Shrine in Joroan.

The nine-kilometer distance between the two churches is a sacrifice pilgrims make for that day, which they consider a special day of veneration. This flock of devotees to the shrine extends until September.

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Incidentally, these events have become a part of the Coron Festival in Tiwi. Coron is a local word for potteries or clay pot, the very same product made out of pottery, the town’s major source of income. Events for this year include street dancing presentation, Tiwi Product Exhibit and Padyak Race.

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In the next month, Naga will hold its annual fluvial procession for Our Lady of Penafrancia, the highlight event of the city’s Penafrancia Festival.

Simple ways to make travels more memorable (Part 1)

Travel is an investment in experience. If you think it’s expensive, try doing the suggestions below. They will not require you to spend much to make your travel experiences memorable and one-of-a-kind.

1. Do something new. Bring the spirit of gift-giving this Holiday Season to your next destination by exchanging gifts. Having ‘Monito-Monita’ will not only make the travel experience more fun but also unique.

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Kurangon islet in Tiwi, Albay

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 For more pictures of the islet and related story

2. Participate in a local activity, especially when tourists are encouraged. It’s already entertaining to see a group of local pre-teens performing a cultural dance, with costumes, harmonious moves and all. But joining the fun is an entirely different thing. It will make you feel welcome and one with the locals without you doing anything but accept a simple invitation to dance.

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Children dancing Tinikling at Loboc River, Bohol

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3. Go back to the basics. Forget about your gadgets for a while to enjoy nature by biking, walking or playing with kids. It will not only reward your physical health but also your mental and emotional well-being. You’ll even wonder why you get invigorated instead of feeling exhausted after exerting a lot of energy.

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This used to be planted with rice, corn and other root crops. But now it’s a wide, open field, perfect for biking, flying kites or walking while enjoying nature. (Tiwi, Albay)
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The two famous, not to mention equally beautiful,  mountains in Albay are also visible in this area. What a picturesque view they make.

4. Try learning something new. You don’t have to be adventurous to try learning new things when you travel. A good dose of curiosity and openness is enough to make you see the people around you and their way of life, and want to try it yourself. When you start noticing their culture, you’ll be interested in the language they speak, the songs they sing, the story behind those timid smiles, how they make a living, and so on. In this respect, travel becomes no longer about you.

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Philippine Ceramics at Putsan, Tiwi, Albay

5. Visit a place that is not a part of your itinerary. Sometimes unintended side trips make you “see” more of a place and its people than most of the suggested places in your itinerary.  These brief excursions you’ll make off the main route will allow you to see more locals, walk alongside with them and have a glimpse of their everyday life. The things you’ll see (and experience) in these places may be ugly and alarming and not to your liking. In other instances beautiful and awe-inspiring. In short, if you want to add an element of unpredictability to your travel go wander.

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Mangcawayan  is the village opposite Mahabang Buhangin. You’ll never know how poor the village is until you visit it.
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Mahabang Buhangin, one of the main islands in Calaguas group of islands
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Delightful surprise. I wasn’t aware of this lagoon (Twin Lagoons) in Coron, Palawan until our boatman brought us here.
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A secret cove that isn’t usually part of the island hopping packages in Caramoan. Thanks to our boatman for bringing us here to snorkel before we get back to the mainland.