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Love notes on the road, part 1 of 2

Two lovers gaze from the viewdeck of a mall in Baguio, enjoying the scene.

Two lovers gaze from the viewdeck of a mall in Baguio, enjoying the scene.

I am tracing a good five years of travel with my amour around the country and in this two part series, I am featuring ten of those sojourns. Part 1 covers Baguio City, Cebu, Bohol, Surigao City and Bicol. Part 2

1Baguio City
The city of pines is always memorable. Countless times we’ve been here to spend a few days off from work, and from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, a break from the daily grind and tedium of the chaotic metropolis. Even if it rains. There must be something in the air, or the taste of strawberries or just the saunter along it’s roads and parks that makes coming here special.

Well, the mall of SM is SM but we enjoyed the al fresco dining and cafes. The viewdeck afforded us a stunning scenery of this fast changing city. Session Road at night is also interesting with the many habitués around and wares laid out on the ground. A day’s worth of going around the city and the various attractions were the first order in our early trips but nothing beats a leisurely stroll at Burnham Park especially during weekends. When it’s time to go back, strawberries, passion fruits, when available, as well as some items are favorite buys at the market.

Taming the Dragon in Cebu. A kite flyer holding tightly his beast just after it flew.

Taming the Dragon in Cebu. A kite flyer holding tightly his beast just after it flew. I just got my DSLR this time and we tested it out.

2Cebu
Who would forget this very special place where we first saw each other? I can always remember the glint in your eyes and the shyness of your voice. A year later, you admitted that it was love at first sight while I intimated that at the back of my head, I was saying “fresh.”

I was based in Mindanao and later in Makati while you were in this city. Despite the long distance, we always made it a point to see each other. Visits were always memorable particularly that one time where we did a road trip to the north of the province. The beach we went to in Daan Bantayan was just okay but we had it all to ourselves. If we weren’t going around the city and it’s surrounding environs, we were cuddled up under the sheets.

An anthropomorphic finial of Baclayon Church in Bohol.

An anthropomorphic finial decorating the belfry of Baclayon Church in Bohol.

3Bohol
We’ve always wanted to go to this island that one time, we spent a few days there. It was brief but enjoyable. We didn’t get to visit the Chocolate Hills since, separately, we’ve been there before but concentrated within the Tagbilaran area, Panglao and neighboring municipalities. The farthest we’ve been was the so called ” tarsier sanctuary” in Loboc which is nothing but an area built to accommodate tourists and vacationers and the hapless primates plucked from their natural environment to become scared attractions. Poor creatures.

Two heritage churches (Alburquerque and Baclayon) were in our list. We visited a house where calamay is prepared as well as been to a place they call a zoo that was more like a prison for various animals, caged and deprived of their liberty. But that afternoon at the beach somewhere in Panglao was just refreshing. The weather was beautiful, the waters still and inviting.

A girl bathes at the shallow waters at Mabua Pebble Beach, Surigao City. Smooth, round and flat stones provides a welcome surprise.

A girl bathes at the shallow waters at Mabua Pebble Beach, Surigao City. Smooth, round and flat stones provides a welcome surprise.

4Surigao City
We decided to spend a few days in Surigao City, a six hour bus trip from Cagayan de Oro. I already forgot the circumstances of that trip as it was a few years ago but we did had a good time. We opted to stay at this mid priced hotel where the sheets are white, the windows big.

Did you remember eating at one of the rows of barbecue stalls just like Larsian in Cebu and later strolled around the almost empty streets lighted by powerful sodium lamps? And, ah, that huge, concrete shoe at the children’s playground at the park where you posed for some shots.

If we had enough time, we could have gone to Siargao or Bucas Grande or Dinagat. Or even crossed the wooden footbridge connecting the two islands of Cantiasay and San Pedro. I’ve been to these places before and would have wanted to go back again.

Nevertheless, a few hours at Mabua Pebble Beach was something unexpected. What surprised and delighted us were the round and smooth pebbles and stones covering the shore. A welcome change! Not the usual sands, white or black. It’s a better and, should I say, more inviting strip than Batanes’s Valugan Bay.

A spectacular lava flow as Mt. Mayon erupts.

A spectacular lava flow as Mt. Mayon erupts.

5Bicol
Days before our trip, Mayon Volcano erupted, a mild one, and news bulletins enthralled us with the prospect of seeing those lava flows from the majestic mountain’s lip cascading down it’s slopes. What the heck, we should see this natural phenomenon that we decided to leave that weekend.

The long night trip by bus to Legazpi, Albay in Bicol was the only choice we had because of the short time. When we arrived in the morning, still sleepy and tired, we were a bit worried that the weather disturbance Henry, hovering over our heads, would make it impossible for us to see what we came for.

Alas, whole day of Saturday and Sunday, we were greeted with cloudy skies and drizzles. Despite this, we occupied ourselves with visits to Daraga Church and the Cagsawa Ruins during a lull in the rain. But it was our trip to Sto. Domingo, in search of a good vantage point of the volcano, that led us to Bigaa, upon the advice of the jeepney driver that we got to chat with in the afternoon.

That night, we positioned and hoped that we will get a good chance to photograph the spectacle. Your silent prayers may have worked as in a brief moment, the drizzle stopped, the clouds parted and lo and behold, we gawked at one of nature’s wonders. A few minutes of exposing a few images, the show ended when the rain clouds descended again, the lady hid, and it started to rain.

Part 2

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.

13 Comments

  1. Sidney
    February 16, 2009 @ 6:02

    Memorable travels that must bind you together even more… superb images.

  2. The Islander
    February 16, 2009 @ 10:57

    wow!

    great account of travels once again.

    first, i love that sm baguio’s terrace. it is great and romantic.
    second, never noticed that thing in baclayon church’s belfry. too far to notice.
    third, bucas grande and siargao is a good treat. heard of some recent developments in bucas grande where you can actually canoe na daw in its calm waters. and glad you liked mabua pebble beach too. and that hotel you mentioned, is it the one facing the sea?

  3. Marnie
    February 16, 2009 @ 11:00

    Love the photos, Estan! 🙂

  4. dong ho
    February 16, 2009 @ 20:30

    memories like that will never die. matched with those photos, it’ll be priceless.

  5. rayts
    February 18, 2009 @ 18:52

    this is sweet. going down memory lane with the person you treasured the most, in places with traces of your footprints. i enjoyed tagging along. 😉

  6. Love notes on the road, part 2 of 2 | langyaw
    February 20, 2009 @ 22:42

    […] with my amour around the country and in this two part series, I am featuring ten of those sojourns. Part 1 | Part 2 covers Davao City, Romblon, Quezon, Sagada and, finally, […]

  7. Jen
    February 23, 2009 @ 1:01

    Brilliant and vibrant photos! I love the one of the kite flyer! x

  8. Gwyn
    February 24, 2009 @ 0:42

    nice photos! i love surigao, too. 😀

  9. estan
    February 27, 2009 @ 14:10

    @islander, I’m not sure sa hotel. forgot it already kay dugay dugay na jud to. mura di man guro. would you want some bedroom, ahem, shots? hahaha…

    @all thanx for the comments 🙂

  10. Cornelia
    April 1, 2009 @ 10:05

    Baguio City is my favorite city, I love the cool atmosphere but traffic is getting the way, however I still love the place. Going to the highest point elevation in Mt. Data where motorcycle riders frequented is like heaven to me.

    Bicol, places I remember visiting were churches in Naga and Iriga. I and my travel barkada specifically wanted to see the grandeur of Mayon Volcano and visit Cagsawa Ruins but unfortunately we never got off from the bus to Cagsawa since it was raining so hard that afternoon of May 2008 in Legaspi, Albay but later we got the chance to see the Majestic view of Mayon after the rain but too late to stop the bus since we head home to Iriga.

    Cebu City…this place will always be memorable for me, this is where i first tasted the “puso” with pork barbeque and I love their tikoy from Fortuna, I also learned that the bread na biak-na bato is called elorde.

    Still go to see Bohol this April 7-8, 2009.

    How about a feature on Bantayan?

  11. estan
    April 1, 2009 @ 12:56

    cornelia, thanx for the comment. I still have to go up Mt. Data in Mt. Province but I’ve passed it before during a trip to Sagada and Banaue.

    Bantayan? I have some images but until I have sufficient photos for a series, I will feature it here.

  12. Langyaw in 2009 | langyaw
    December 31, 2009 @ 18:13

    […] than featuring my home province, I’ve also included a travel valentine special as well as offered a photo ebook, In Transit and my first e-magazine, 10 Things to Do This Summer. […]

  13. » No more swan rides in Baguio | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    April 18, 2011 @ 23:15

    […] no going back to that city of memories with you, I guess. Its the end of the road for both of us. Seven years. Seven long years of tears […]

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