Bicol Trip 2010: Day 2

We had gotten several instructions on how to get to Cam Sur. King’s instructions was the clearest one we had (plus, I wrote it down). So we went to the terminal beside Pacific Mall (near the SM Savemore, which IMO should be SM Savepoint, like in RPGs) and boarded a van for Naga. We were just in time for the last three seats. Fee for the full trip is P150 per person, but since we were getting off at Pili, it was only P130. Just tell the driver to let you off at the CWC crossing.

The trip is roughly two hours, about half of which I spent sleeping. It was rather uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind it much. The driver let us off the crossing, and we took a trike to the CamSur Watersports Complex. It’s inside a compound that’s houses several government agencies, although much of the area is being developed into several resorts.

We decided on signing up for half day use of the cable park. Since it won’t open until 10 AM, we had roughly two hours to kill. We did so by taking beginner lessons on wakeboarding at Winch Park.

Ideally, we were told that first timers should go knee boarding before trying wakeboarding. This is so that you’ll have an idea on how to balance yourself on the board, as kneeboarding doesn’t really require much effort compared to wakeboarding. Since the park is closed, we opted for wakeboarding basics.

Feeling athletic
I consider myself a fairly athletic person, having taken up taekwondo and archery in the past. Still, prefer less strenuous sports, and although I do like to swim but I’m quite intimidated by water. First thing I asked was “Are there life jackets?” then “How deep is the water?”

Let me just say that it is not a fun experience when you lose your balance and hit the water… at first. After a while, it just gets frustrating because you see everyone (your brother, mostly) crossing the water easily after one or two falls. Still, the moment where I was able to complete a round was really exhilarating. Sure, I wasn’t fully standing, and maybe I still had some issues with how to properly balance myself, but it was so worth it. After a while I was also able to try standing up slightly, then making a turn.

I also realized that I was able to start off with no problems when the operator suddenly ran the machine while I was still chatting with the instructor. Better because I wasn’t tense with expectation?

Miks started on the cable park earlier. He was able to complete one round by the time we got there. Nez immediately tried kneeboarding, while I decided to pass it up in favor of catching my breath. Around this time, other guests were arriving, including several Australians who seemed to be wakeboard enthusiasts, judging by their equipment and physique. Thank God for shades, because I couldn’t stop ogling at them.

The half day rent on the cable park includes free use of the swimming pool, which we took advantage of while waiting for our food orders.


Food tripping again
We didn’t have breakfast so I was truly starving by the time noon rolled in. CWC had its own restaurant, which was pretty much the only place you can get food from inside the compound. Price-wise, most dishes fell below the P200 line. I had an order of Filipino breakfast (tapsilog) and a side dish of hakaw. Miks had this ground pork dish (the name escapes me) while Nez had some sort of rice toppings. Oddly enough no one thought to take photos of the food, probably because we were so hungry.

I wanted to take home CWC’s menu which was shaped like a wakeboard. Miks and I asked if we could get it, and they said no. Too bad.

For dessert, we had banana split, which didn’t really stand out. The menu described it as four scoops with pili nut toppings. It was only three scoops with no pili nuts. There’s a cherry though. Later on we ordered laing pizza and it was good! The laing was well made so it didn’t overpower the tastebuds. Oddly enough, it mixed well with the cheese. Definitely well recommended!

On to Naga
We spent the remaining hours cleaning up, then took the shuttle to Naga. Our original plan was to go back to Legaspi after lunch, but Nez wanted to go to Naga, after seeing signs for the 300th anniversary of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

I have heard of it before, thanks to various relatives and a friend’s mother who is from Naga. While I’m not a religious person, I still think it warrants a visit, so I was game. When we got to Naga, we were confused about where to go. The trike driver who took us to CWC said that we should go to the Basilica where the Ina (as Our Lady of Peñafrancia is fondly called by her devotees) is housed. She will be transferred to the Cathedral the week after (note: it’s the week of September 13 to 17), before heading back to the Basilica. We again took a trike.

There were not many people at the Basilica, although there were a lot of construction going on outside, probably in preparation for the celebration in the coming days. Outside the church is a tarpaulin board where you can write your wishes or prayers. Nez, Miks and I all noted down our prayers. Mine was for my family.

The Basilica is fairly new. By this, I mean it wasn’t as old as Daraga church or some of the older churches we saw along the way. Still, it was pretty impressive. There were huge stained glass works of the various stations of the cross, letting the light flow from outside and casting a colorful glow in the church. The altar is big, reminding me of the church in Dumaguete. At the very top of the altar is the image of Ina. There is an entrance in the side of the altar to a prayer/devotion area, where you can touch the image through a small cubby hole while saying a prayer. We were lucky to get there before anyone else, so there were no lines.

As I said earlier, I am not a religious person. In fact, you can even say I’m somewhat skeptic of the Catholic Church, even though I am Catholic. Still, there was something about the place, and the devotion of the people there that touched me, and I couldn’t help but cry while I was there.

We went around a bit, with Nez going to the souvenir shop to get something for her grandma and offer a mass for her siblings, who are taking the bar.

We headed back to SM to look for a Starbucks so she can get a mug for her sister. Tip: there is no Starbucks in SM Naga, but there is one along the road to the Basilica. It’s right next to Yellow Cab, which is across a gas station in an intersection. I don’t know the name of the street.

The trip back to Legaspi took roughly two hours, again most of which I spent sleeping. Back in Legaspi, we decided on a quick dinner at McDonald’s (yes, we eventually gave in), then walked back to our hotel.

A funny thing happened while we were walking. A
lady behind me asked “Saan yung Tanchuling Hotel?” Apparently, she was also a visitor in Legaspi like us. Nez and Miks were ready to reply that they didn’t know, but I quickly answered with the directions. How did I know? we passed it several times before and I often retain information like that.

We all crashed pretty quickly after we arrived at the hotel. Our bodies were starting to hurt from the wakeboarding, and Nez told me that she had to get some cold canned drinks to put on her aching muscles. I doubted that we’d get up early the next day to get to Bacacay.

I still haven’t sent my postcards.

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