๐Ÿ”Ÿ Ten years went by and….

Edna De Lara, a woman who left her hometown to explore the urban zone named Manila – for betterment and for greener pasture. She conquered the way of living in the metro for ten years now, finished her bachelor degree and builds her own family. But now her great fight is to go back to the place where she grew. 

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


 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.
Otherwise you can take CUBAO-EDSA to VIRAC PIER options are

  • 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
If you have a lot of baggage, it is more convenient to take buses that are bound to VIRAC to avoid multiple transfer of your baggage. Because   those buses will go directly to Virac pier via ferry boat and the travel time is around 41/2 hours (that is if you choose Tabaco to Virac pier).

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.


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”.


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.

Showing Gratitude to the Department of Tourism Marinduque.

My primary reason why I left my co-travelers ahead of time  it’s because I need to catch the office hour of Department of Tourism (DOT) Marinduque. DOT office will be closed every weekend, since our “Marinduque Challenge” starts on Friday - I need to arrive early.

How to go to the office of Department of tourism Marinduque ?

From Balanacan Port – Just to manage your expectation,  DOT office in Balanacan Port is no longer operating. So you have to ride a jeep that will pass through the Municipality of Boac (bound to Gasan or Buenavista). The fare from Balanacan to Boac town proper is only PHP50 and the travel time is most likely 30-45minutes. Since the Provincial Capitol is situated in a barangay next to the town proper, therefore the fare is PHP60. Just instruct the driver to drop you off at the gate of Capitol. The office of DOT is in the building located behind the Huge Capitol Building. From Capitol going back to Boac town proper is PHP10 via tricycle.

Primary purposes why you need to go to DOT?

1.      You need to secure a MAP- DOT Marinduque can provide you the copy of it for free.
2.      To know the legit fare heights in every destination. This is important information esp. if you are only commuting in your entire travel.
3.      Awareness towards the danger zone of the province to avoid misadventures.
4.      To get information on what to do, where to go, stay and what to eat... Even if you’re already and equipped with the information from online media and print, it would be better if the data is coming from the DOT – more reliable.

When I arrived at the office, they were very accommodating to me. The personnel at the front desk brought me to the second floor where the right person entertained me. They gave me all the information which is essential for me to enjoy the entire travel.

Thank you so much

Dindo Asuncion
Provincial Tourism Officer, OIC

Joven M. Lilles

Pie Hirondo and Marrisa Ricana


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