Bicol Pt. 2: Eco Park, Waterfalls & Lagoons

January 23, 2016
Here's the second part of my travel diary for Bicol. If you haven't read the first part yet, you can find it here!
We were quite unlucky with the weather the following days; wherever we went, the sky always promised gloom and doom. We had to reshuffle our to-do list because of this, crossing out some of the plans we'd made and came up with new ones to make the most out of our stay. Still tired and hungover from yesterday's adventures, most of day 2 was spent quietly on the road. From this I learned that you can't underestimate what wonder a road trip in Albay can do you. Even in the cold and damp weather, the two-hour drive from Legazpi City to the island of Cagraray was such a treat itself! All blues, greens and clean breeze, none of us could stay inside the car anymore when we saw an old shed that held an incredible view of the sea!
Scenes at the waiting shed

The Cagraray Eco-Park was the first destination. Despite it drizzling, we managed to explore a couple of the park's man-made attractions on foot. The amphitheater will greet you hello right away at the entrance. Impressively built in structure, which, I thought was slightly reminiscent of the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, I assumed it was the park's main attraction. Hundreds of feet away from the water, we could hear it crashing onto the shore so clearly, creating the beautiful white noise that only the sea can create. Immediately, you'd appreciate the masterful engineering and well-thought-of techniques used to build it.

Before the rain began to pour completely, we were able to drop by two other sites: a charming little hanging bridge and; the Stella Mariz church, which is just one of the prettiest churches I've ever seen in the Philippines! Situated on a cliff, you can get an outstanding, serene view of the sea from its front yard!

Stella Mariz church & the hanging bridge

Honestly, the more places we went, the harder it was for me to ignore how most of them were deserted. Maybe my friends and I had that piece of luck on our side that got us having those places all to ourselves, but it's more likely that we were just the only stupid ones in town to go out adventuring during a crazy weather. The Busay Falls of Malilipot happens to be a popular destination for the locals and is usually filled with people on regular days. But, because there truly ain't no rest for the wicked -- not when the water is cold and the wind is chilly -- this small bit of luxury was all ours to enjoy.

The morning of our last full day in Bicol announced sunshine and a perfect day trip to Bacon, Sorsogon. The temperature hadn't improved much, but seeing Mr. Gold back on the sky was enough to make us feel recharged and hopeful for a promising end to our outdoor adventures.

The Paguriran Island certainly did not disappoint. It took us about a good two-and-a-half hours to get there, but the beach, the lagoon, and the fact that there was, yet again, no other human being on the island but us, proved worthy of the long and rough drive. This tiny island, which is made up of mostly rocks and shallow water, gave way for me to unleash my inner monkey for the nth time on this trip, and for my mates to channel their inner Little Mermaid and strike killer poses on the reef! Here you can enjoy both the comfort of snorkelling with small pishies in clear, aquamarine water, as well as diving from tens of feet above water. Be careful with the rocks whichever activity you choose to do though -- most of them are terribly sharp!

 So there you have it -- our series of adventures in the regional Bicol which I hope you can find yourself going on in the near future! If you want to view the photos in full and for more that didn't make it here, you can check them out on my portfolio right here.

School has resumed this month and, already, I can sense that things are about to get crazy, but something tells me that I'm flying to another beautiful part of the Philippines again very, very soon!

Meek x

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