I was born and nurtured in the Island of Catanduanes. Catanduanes is one of the beautiful provinces in Bicol - where I spend my childhood and teenage life. It was full of memories, good or bad. And those things made me a better person nowadays. Those experiences helped me to become stronger - enough to face reality of life.
I am tough enough to get along with every aggravating circumstances that life offers within, but just like any other individuals, as you go along with your journey of life your footsteps leads you to different places that offers different experiences, countless learning, remarkable memories, numerous faces and various people that are perhaps an acquaintance, possibly friends/best friends or maybe just a colleague.
As I spent my college days here in the Metro, there’s a lot of pleasure time seemed like it passes too fast .I can still remember those days where I always visualizing going back to my hometown but plans are just plans if you never do it.
Not surprisingly, one morning that I rise up from my bed and ended up realizing “ I’ve been too many places, meeting countless faces, collecting innumerable memories but I still feel this emptiness from within my inner self”. This made me decides to travel back to my origin. The Hometown wherein the roots of “me” as a person lays. Then I started counting years that leads to decade then I told myself my that plans should now be imposed “I’ll go on a vacation to Catanduanes”
“The FRACAS of TRAVELING BACK TO MY HOMETOWN”
There are two options of trip going to Catanduanes one is by airplane or you can take the bus. If you choose to ride the plane, be ready with at least Php 3,000 to Php5000 for fare as it varies depending on the season, when its peak season tickets reservation is not that easy because Airplane Company that flies to Virac airport do not offer daily flight. I would recommend checking the website first for flight schedules.
Moreover, another option is travelling via bus from CUBAO-EDSA to TABACO PIER here you have options:
- EXETAB D (AC 2x2) 7:00AM fare is 800
- EXETAB A (AC 2x2) 6:00PM
- EXETAB C fare is 800
- (EXPRESS 2x2) 7:00PM fare is 800.
- ECOCAT A (NON AC 2x3) 3:30PM fare is 565,
- EXECAT A (AC 2x2) 4:00PM fare is 825,
- EXECAT B (AC 2x2) 5:00PM fare is 825
Another option is via Tabaco to Calolbon pier which is just 2-3hrs sea travel. From there, the bus will travel to Virac Bus Terminal for about 20 mins. From bus terminal vans are available.
THE HOME TOWN:
It takes 3 hours to reach my hometown PANGANIBAN, CATANDUANES from Virac Bus Terminal.
I can’t explain the excitement deep within from the moment I step my feet on the ground.
“I’m finally home” I shouted.
The feeling of belongingness is glorifying bliss. “There is no place like home”. I arrived home at about 9:30pm. After a long trip, I felt hunger – my mother prepared “native chicken tinola”.
THE FOODS OF ORAGON CULTURE
Meanwhile, Aside from pili nuts Bicol region is known for its jalapenos or simply siling labuyo . Bicolanos (term for locals in Bicol) are associated with spicy foods that are generally spicier that gives local cuisines distinct identity compared to other regions.
Local Cuisines also linked with heavy used of coconut milk and chili peppers: Bicol express- Pork cooked in coconut milk, a little shrimp paste and lots of chili peppers. Since Bicol region is situated along the typhoon belt, so locals opted to plant coconut trees because its more resilient, can bend and sway with the strong wind…. just like the resilience of their people in difficult times.
In the Philippines dishes are named after the cooking method. “Ginata” or “ginataang” means to cook in coconut milk. In fact, almost all vegetables in Bicol are cooked in coconut milk. The very famous vegetable from the region is “gabi” or taro leaves which hanged upside to dry before being used.
Accdg to locals, it is not advisable to stir the dish while cooking because the final output will give an itchy sensation to the mouth. Non Bicolanos used the term “Laing” loosely referring to gabi or taro leaves cooked in coconut milk.
The locals are very particular about the variations of the term
- Laing - gabi leaves coocked in coconut milk, with shrimp paste or dried fish.
- Tilmok- gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk with fish meat or crab meat.
- Pinangat – layered gabi leaves cooked in coconut milk with bangot (meaning “sahog” or sometimes minced pork).This place is also known for abaca product and copras.
Aside from foods products Bicol Region is also known for beautiful beaches & breath taking views, not to mention the world famous Mayon Volcano .Truly this province has a lot and lots to offer at this could be one of the highly recommended places for travel.
After ten years of living in an urban zone, now I am indulging the limited vacation in the place where my real “ME” was nurtured. But I have to face the reality, after this vacation – I need to step out again in this place and go back to the reality of Manila where I’m currently working.
Edna De Lara is a 35 year old strong woman and a mom of 12 years old boy, who believes that travelling, is a way for you to escape the stressful work. She works in a BPO company every weekdays and she still allocates her weekend to travel (sans laundry and house cleaning). She finished Bachelor of Science in Business Administration major in Management at New Era University QC. “I travel for soulsearching” she said.