Thursday, January 3, 2013

Kwentong Kaladkarin #50: Spicy Legazpi - Of Authentic Bicol Express, Healthy Lungs and Damaged Livers

Da Where: Legazpi, Albay, Philippines
Da When: September 27-29, 2012
Da Who: me and first-time travel buddies from work, Red and Meis :)

What I found weird when I told some folks I'm off to Legazpi, was the question "Why?" I wanted to ask back, why not?

After all, it's home to one of the Philippine's stunning landscapes, the majestic Mayon Volcano. Seeing it up close would be a once-in-a-lifetime chance, especially for someone who does not hail from the Bicol region.

A timid Mayon greeting my arrival

Also, it was a chance for me to explore a new place on my own since I initially booked a flight for one. But a few days before the scheduled weekend trip, a delightful surprise came in the form of two more plane ticket booking for Red and Meis, colleagues from work. I tell you, having them tag along is tantamount to reaching Mayon's summit! ;D

Early Saturday morning after work found us at the NAIA Terminal 3. We grabbed a quick Burger King breakfast before I headed out to my boarding gate. I'd be flying via Cebu Pacific an hour earlier than their Airphil Express flight.

As soon as the pilot announced our descent to Legazpi, I started craning my neck to get a view from the tiny plane window and I was not disappointed. Mayon greeted me as we taxied on the runway!

I had about an hour to kill before their plane lands so I started going through the list of hotels and inns we can stay in for the weekend while reveling in the fresh air of the airport waiting area. You see, this was a no-itinerary trip and yes, it included no room reservations too. If I couldn't find any, then we'd be sleeping on the streets of Legazpi. :D

Luckily, after a few phone calls, we found a hotel that was within our budget and decided to proceed there. One tip - most hotels are only a couple blocks from the airport so better take a metered taxi and pay the exact fare. Or if you booked early, they usually have free airport transfer they can schedule. We were duped by a private car and charged for PhP150.00/trip when it would only have cost about PhP60.00 if metered. Not to mention his car AC was not working! Argh!

Upon checking in, we freshened up and headed to Embarcadero for lunch. This was one of the few places I managed to scrounge on the internet for 'where-to-go-what-to-see' lists. I was expecting to find rows and rows of restaurants but it was more of an open-air mall set on a seaside boulevard.

Kids playing in the breezy sea-front area of Embarcadero
A view of a cloud-covered Mayon from Embarcadero
Pavilions lined with food stalls
The boulevard from Embarcadero, with Mayon (still shy) in the background
We ended up eating at Bigg's Diner, which I missed so much since the last time I was in one was on our CamSur trip in 2011. Of course, we didn't miss the baby back ribs, salisbury steak and the fried chicken. I think we polished off a meal for 7 people. LOL! :D

Nom, nom!
Parang dinaanan ng bagyo. :D

We then strolled around the mall and enjoyed the scenery from the coffee place we hanged out at. Red and Meis were getting antsy as the whole city has a no-smoking-in-public-places ordinance and it's strictly enforced for several years now.

While I lingered on my amazingly-addictive pili nut frappucino, they squeezed into the mall's tiny smoking cell and huffed and puffed their way. Smoke-free's yay for me and nay for my travel buddies. Ooops! Seems like I picked the wrong place to bring these two. :D

Pili Nut Frappucino from La Mia Tazza Coffee
Inhale-your-own-smoke areas. LOL! :D
We returned to the hotel for a nap since we haven't slept straight from work Friday night. By the time we woke up, it was nearing dusk. Still feeling full from our Bigg's gluttony session, we decided to take dip in the pool and have some drinks to while the night away. We practically had the pool all to ourselves as the hotel didn't seem to be fully-booked for that weekend.

Private resort? :D
Lovely pool, all for us.
Of course, since we're in Albay, how can we refuse the Bicol Express dish inviting us from the hotel's menu card? We also ordered chicharong bulaklak and calamares to take away the sting of the Bicol Express' red-hot spices. I felt my mouth burn! :D We had to down several San Mig Light beer and cocktail mixes to wash all the 'pampabata' dishes we enjoyed. ;D I swear, they serve the best frozen red margarita!

I think I had like 3 of these... Or so. ;P

It was a great end to a great day in a new place. Charging up for tomorrow's adventures! ;D

1 comment:

  1. helpful entries. hope we can here from you soon. more articles.. -)))