From wet Legazpi to catching the ferry in Matnog

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A lady of the cloth, taking her comfy front seat at a van terminal bound for Bulan, Sorsogon.

theLOOP map_bicol.gif I was already tired and sleepless when I arrived in Daraga, Albay at around 0700H. And God, it was a rather drab morning and wet with the slow but constant drizzle. Nevertheless, I dragged myself to a waiting tricycle before catching a jeepney to Legazpi City where I had a quick breakfast.

This was not the first time that I have been in the city in this kind of weather. But when it’s like this, not seeing Mt. Mayon is depressing. I mean, come on, the only thing that a visitor expects to see here is the majestic cone. But unexpectedly, just before my ride left for Bulan in Sorsogon, the mountain beauty peeked through the clouds, faintly. Its almost indiscernible outline rising into the sky like a bride looking through her veil. For a brief few seconds I was mesmerized before she hid again. Maybe she knew my predicament and consoled me with her appearance? It was enough for me though to see her and have her image cloaked with clouds etched in my mind.

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Things loaded at the back of the van, it was a few more minutes before the vehicle finally sped its way out of Legazpi.

I was a bit apprehensive that if I will take the bus directly for Matnog in Sorsogon, I might not be able to stick to my schedule that I opted to take the passenger van or vhire, as it’s popularly known, bound for Bulan. Its terminal is within the Legazpi Central Terminal just located a few meters from where the buses are. Like anywhere else, the vans only go when it is full. I waited for around 30 minutes when the full capacity of 10 was reached, packed like sardines for the two and a half hour trip across scenic vistas.

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A common sight in passenger terminals: overpriced foodstuffs tended by an always bored saleslady.

I can’t help but notice the food stalls located at one side of the terminal. As usual, the stuff on sale is overpriced consisting mostly of bottled drinks, junk food and biscuits that gathered a fine layer of dust tended by a bored salesperson. But one thing that caught my attention was that these stalls are almost all the same from Luzon down to Mindanao.

While sitting inside the van waiting for it to fill with passengers, men were gravitating towards us selling knives, bolos and scissors, which might indicate a thriving industry in this parts. Women on the other hand were bringing baskets of Chinese fruit imports (or more like dump?) like oranges and apples that are available all year round.

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The long and expensive ride from Bulan to the port in Matnog, Sorsogon.

The Sorsogon countryside is just amazing! Just imagine the volcanic mountains, especially active Mt. Bulusan, perfectly framed with rice paddies or when within the vicinity of Juban and Irosin, a geology enthusiast will easily be captivated when passing through the valley bordered with mountains. Not many know this but this region is an ancient caldera! I was just full of imagination thinking how it would have looked like and how tall this volcano might have been eons ago. Unfortunately, as I was in the middle part of the van, I wasn’t able to take any photos but instead, did mental notes on what to do next time I am in this area.

Bulan is where one can get on a boat bound for Masbate but since I’m bound for Allen in Samar, I went down at a junction just before entering the town proper. There are really three options at this point: wait for a bus, wait for a van or hire a tricycle to take you to the pier. I took the latter and when I asked how much it will cost me, I was quoted P150! Now, its always advisable to negotiate which I did. We finally agreed for P120. I guess, its still possible to have it lower than that but I was pressed for time.

The route road to the pier is well paved and well maintained and not too many vehicles ply this route. While the tricycle was taking its time, a much faster bus just overtook us. Now, if only I had waited for a few more minutes at the junction. Luckily, when I arrived at the pier, I was just at the nick of time when the ferry sounded its final call.

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Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications.

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces.

I’m open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

12 Comments

  1. nina
    February 25, 2008 @ 23:27

    What a timely post.. I just got back from Legaspi! And yes, it was raining, and Mt. Mayon was hiding again. Pfft.

    I’ve seen her several times before though. When I was growing up, we always take the overnight bus from Manila to Bulusan. Mt. Mayon would usually be the first thing we’d see upon waking up 😀

  2. Sidney
    February 26, 2008 @ 9:05

    “I was quoted P150” I guess you start to look like a foreign tourist ! 😉

    I hate the trip with the “van” from Legazpi to Sorsogon. My wife is from Sorsogon and I go there regularly. The road is dangerous and the drivers madmen. I always think it will be my last trip on earth. A crash with a bus coming from the opposite direction is very probable. This thought just spoils the trip. I wonder how many people died on that road already !

  3. The roro in Matnog, Sorsogon » langyaw
    March 1, 2008 @ 11:32

    […] and I was just at the nick of time that I arrived at the pier after a long journey. I was still able to catch the roro ferry in Matnog, Sorsogon bound for Allen, Samar and was […]

  4. The Islander
    March 14, 2008 @ 14:44

    boss do you have any idea where to drop in Camarines Sur if i will go to Nabua coming from the south? Like, if i will travel from Surigao thru RORO transport.

  5. estan
    March 14, 2008 @ 15:02

    bai, its just before Naga City. Maagian jud na nimo through the poblacion.

  6. The Islander
    March 14, 2008 @ 15:14

    ah so maagian ra diay. layo ba ang nabua going to albay?

    situation man gud is.. our host is in Nabua and we want to tour around the Mayon volcano. and looking at the map, murag layo an camsur to albay.

    thanks.

  7. estan
    March 14, 2008 @ 15:26

    bai, Nabua is just a few minutes from Naga City. Its around, if I’m not mistaken, 2 or 3 hours by bus siguro kung pa Albay. Okay ra na kaayo kay di layo. Very accessible ra gihapon. Don’t you have plans of going to Caramoan? hehehe, its one of the just discovered paradise in Bicol but quite far.

  8. The Islander
    March 14, 2008 @ 15:30

    i’d love going anywhere. ang problema lang is resources. someday…

  9. beerboy
    June 12, 2008 @ 10:20

    Hello. Does anyone have the RORO schedule from Bulan to Masbate and Masbate to Cebu?

    Thanks. 🙂

  10. joan
    February 19, 2009 @ 20:14

    Hello, may I know how or if there is route for Cebu from Legazpi thru Philtranco, Bachelor or ferry? thanks ayo sa reply

  11. batchang
    May 31, 2010 @ 18:37

    any sugestions how travel from cebu to naga city, bicol by land,roro?? thanks

  12. estan
    June 2, 2010 @ 14:29

    batchang, travel to Ormoc – Tacloban – Allen (Samar) then take ferry to Matnog. You can ride all the way to Naga City

    You can also check Ceres Liner’s trips to Masbate via roro from Bogo and from Masbate you have several options to travel via roro, fastcraft or motorized banca to Pilar then from there, bus/jeep to Naga.

Tell me what you think