Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From Ilocandia to Bicolandia

Immediately after the celebration of Christ the King, our mountaineering group headed by Bishop Sergio Utleg traveled from Ilocos Norte to Sorsogon to do a climb at Mount Bulusan. We rode a rented van and departed at 9pm with Dante Mabanag, Amelia Corpuz, Ike Castillo, Joel Faizan with Paz mechanic cum driver.

We arrived 6am in Manila and picked up Butch Estavillo and Dr. Tina Ancheta who came from Isabela. We took our breakfast at a fastfood and continued our trip. We passed by Laguna, Quezon where we took snack of young coconut, then we had lunch in Camarines Sur and reached Daraga, Albay where we picked up a friend of the bishop to lead our way to San Mateo Resort in Irosin, Sorsogon. It was a very long trip that took us nearly 24 hours on the road.

Bicol region or Bicolandia is located in the southern part of the Luzon Island. It is the seat of the diocese of Nueva Caceres of the Catholic religion. It is composed of several provinces. Sorsogon is one of them. It is the home of the popular pili nut. Its name originated from sosogon meaning to follow a trail, river or a route. When Spaniard conquistadores reached this peninsula of Bicol, they asked a native of the name of the place. Not understanding the Castillan language, he answered sosogon and pointed the direction of up-river. This province is a former part of Albay and became independent in 1894.

We were being served with sumptuous dinner. It consisted of Bicol’s specialty laing, pork sinigang, grilled fish, and native bananas. Then we plunged into the hot spring. It was a great treat after that gruelling road trip.

We had a restful night at the resort. Then in the morning, we started our day with a hearty breakfast and packed our things as we headed to visit the lovely Lake Bulusan. We proceeded to our jump off point at Barangay San Roque. It was there where we started a great adventure.

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