This month’s TRAVEL has been quite the experience for me. Unlike many others, this is the first time I’ve booked a ticket less than a week before our scheduled flight. Oh, little did I know this is just the beginning of all the spontaneity I’d be facing this week!
BICOL has long since been my second home, where I spent countless summers shopping at the local mall, cooking for my relatives and yes of course, eating. But I wanted this time around to be different.
Spending too much time in the metropolis just, kills. I wasn’t a shriveled prune yet from all the hustle and bustle of the city, but my soul just wanted to feel alive again. Free of routines, free of rules and free of all the rushing. I sought to find peace, to find – something.
All set and packed with a last minute plane ticket, a pair of rubber shoes, a hand-drawn map of our itinerary and a head full of hopes, we boarded the plane and on to Legazpi we go!
A sketch of our itinerary (not drawn to scale)
Quitinday Hills, Camalig Albay
Upon reaching the hills, there was quite a drizzle causing the soil to be quite a challenge to walk on, especially this being an uphill climb. The weather wasn’t ideal (of course, this was expected travelling during low-season), but the view was spectacular nonetheless. The view was most beautiful upon reaching the first hill.
For the brief moments spent atop Quitinday Hills, I breathed more than just fresh air. Within me came an overwhelming sense of awe for all the beauty I didn’t know I’ve been missing out on for so long. Looking at the 360 degree embrace of nature, there was no better feeling but to know that there’s so much more just waiting to be seen.
Sumlang Lake, Camalig, Albay
After a quick lunch at one of the best places for PINANGAT (A native dish made from Gabi Leaves and Coconut Milk), we headed on to Sumlang Lake. Pleased that the rain stopped and Mt. Mayon finally came out to say hello.
I believe it’s just beautiful how the land and the sky meet to form such a sight.
Cagsawa Ruins, Albay
We headed on towards the ever-so famous tourist destination in Bicol, the Cagsawa Ruins. Just imagine how much history this site holds!
From where I stand : CAGSAWA GROUNDS
Okay I guess I have to explain why the photo below was one of my favorites (aside from Mayon photobombing quite nicely).
Mayon ATV Experience
I am an introvert, shy, reserved and I often keep my opinions to myself (whether or not I believe it will win the argument). I was brought up that way, and I guess it came to mold the person I am now. I believe time is gold, and would never spare a second to be idle. I work from 7:30am to 8pm these days. Thus, I can be quite the control freak when it comes to planning, wanting everything ironed out, neat, tidy and on-the-dot. Sometimes I can shift from happy to angry in a snap, yes, the little things can unsettle me in ways. I am uptight, never bending my own rules and being an INFJ – I’m a downright walking contradiction. (Read more about personality traits here: INFJ PERSONALITY)
I started out scared as hell as I’ve never been lucky when it comes to vehicles (I crashed a car once, and it’s traumatizing). But ten minutes later, I revved up the engine wanting to go faster! (P.S. I was trying so hard not to overtake our guide).
Kidding aside, this short trip made me find myself. By “finding oneself” I mean to say: to know oneself better, to find one’s strengths and weaknesses and to love oneself a little more. This was the first time in a long time when I actually let loose and go wild.
I knew this trip was definitely unlike any other. With no final schedules of our own, driving on unknown roads, battling the moody weather and facing full uncertainty, it added to the thrill of what the journey brings.
Vera Falls, Malinao, Albay
The journey to Vera Falls was quite an adventure! The road reached a dead end, where the bridges were destroyed by the recent floods in Malinao. The locals were so kind to volunteer to get us to Vera Falls. I felt a rush of excitement as we hitched a ride with them on their motorbike up the lofty hills and through the quiet town.
It took less than thirty minutes to reach the falls, and behold the roar of the water came to welcome us to one of the hidden gems in Bicol.
You know when you’re happy, when it’s not your lips that do the smiling, but your heart. Being happy is rare for me, but that’s what I felt as I sat there. Enjoying a dip in the cool water, smelling the freshness of nature, listening to the joyful chirping of the birds, and watching the violent cascade of the water.
Nature truly holds a cure for the city-living, it heals all the senses and revitalizes the mind. It shows us how simple life should be, and how difficult we all choose to make it.
In this Bicol adventure, I found a piece of myself. One where I learned to embrace the uncertain, let loose and live one day at a time.
I’ve been reading through “Steal Like an Artist” (Austin Kleon) this February, and came across an enlightening tip for creatives. Here’s an excerpt that inspired me to get up and go.
RULE # 8 : GEOGRAPHY IS NO LONGER OUR MASTER
“At some point when you can do it, you have too leave home… Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings.”
“You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend time in another land, among people that do things different than you.Travel makes the world look new, and when the world look new, our brains work harder.”
“It helps to live around interesting people, and not necessarily people who do what you do. You have to find a place that feeds you – creatively, socially, spiritually and literally.”
“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” -Jonah Lehrer