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Bicol’s hidden natural, historical treasures await summer vacationers

by Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY — People tired of rat race and packing for summer vacations have good places to go in Bicol that offer discoveries of hidden natural and historical treasures.

Bicol, a beautiful region southeast of Manila is boundless in terms of natural and century-old man-made wonders distributed among its six provinces composed of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon.

It is a peninsula famous for its majestic mountains and volcanoes like Mount Mayon, Isarog and Bulusan.

Apart from hospitality that Bicolanos offer as a priceless present, the region also has a lot of “must visit” places for vacationers — hot springs in Sorsogon, water falls in Albay and Catanduanes and world class resorts making it the right destination for people who love to have a cool, relaxing and adventurous vacation.

From Manila or elsewhere out of the region, they could come directly to this city, the regional center of government, transportation, communication, commerce, hospital services and education.

The city is served by at least five commercial flights of leading domestic airlines daily and land trips are available 24/7 to and from almost all points of destination and origin.

Hotels, logging houses and restaurants for all classes are in here for vacationers to stay while enjoying the fantastic view of the famous Mayon Volcano, the world’s most perfect cone as they plot shorter routes to other parts of the region.

Shopping for provisions and later, take home commodities is not a problem in this city where giant department stores, food shops and souvenir stores abound.

From the city, the regional office of the Department of Tourism (DOT) could guide them where to go first and where to stay last to complete a once in a lifetime journey through the wilds, islands, deeps and heights of the region.

For those taking a luxurious option, the DOT says they could come and stay at the Misibis Bay Resort and Spa, a private tropical hideaway built on a pristine stretch of beach along the southern tip of Cagraray island in Bacacay, Albay.

This breathtaking, five-hectare island resort with lavishly furnished villas and world-class amenities could be reached via 45-minute scenic travel by land, 15-minutes by a private helicopter or 30 minutes by fast watercraft.

Vacationers can experience the diversity of Misibis Island where exquisite adventures arise from a treasure trove of infinite possibilities and discover Misibis Bay, the country’s leading luxury island playground.

Great things to do in Albay apart from getting up close with Mt. Mayon, according to DOT regional director Maria Ravanilla are cooling down at the waterfalls, exploring caves, feasting on the local cuisine, burying feet in the volcanic black sand beaches, hiking up Ligñon Hill, exploring the wild of off-shore islands, scuba diving and visiting century-old churches including the Cagsawa Ruins.

From here, Catanduanes, an island province in the Pacific Ocean could be an ideal destination for its virtually still untouched by development and ecological treasures that makes it a great vacation getaway.

The island is two and a half hours via ferry boats with regular daily trips from Tabaco City, 30 minutes away from this city.

Catanduanes boasts of Puraran Beach in the town of Baras which is the site of the so-called “Majestic” waves prized by surfers. The island also has yet-unspoiled white beaches all along its coastline, as well as diving spots for snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts, and cascading waterfalls farther inland.

It is paradise waiting to be discovered.

Another destination is Sorsogon, so as not to miss the chance of interacting with the “gentle giants of the ocean”, the butandings (whale sharks) of Donsol.

The month of May is the peak season for butanding interactions.

Staying in Donsol overnight at any of the dozens of resorts and lodging houses in town would also be exciting because of the natural attraction of fireflies while watching along the beach and river banks right off the sanctuary of whale sharks.

Down southeast of the province are clean beaches along the coastlines of the Pacific Ocean and San Bernardino Strait, the vast virgin forest within the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park that lies down the slopes of the restive Mt. Bulusan rimming the magnificent Bulusan Lake and the sprawling mangrove forest of Prieto Diaz town that serves as sanctuary of hundreds of bird species including migratory ones.

Along the way between these sites is Barcelona town, the home to the oldest church in the province built in 1874. The church was beautifully built out of corals that form its walls and the enchanting carvings on the coral façade make it a priceless relic.

Matnog town at the southern tip of Sorsogon that serves as the jumping board between Bicol and the Visayas is another paradise to discover being gifted with preserved nature, immaculate white to pinkish powdery sand beaches kissed by crystalline waters, uphill caves, fish and lobster farms, fish and marine turtle sanctuaries and an amazing view of sunrise and sunset.

The larger portion of the municipality’s mainland is rimmed by high mountains teeming with coconut palms and residual forests that offer a soothing feeling of relief from the air pollution in urban cities because of its lush green growth.

Accommodation and food in these areas are less expensive.

From Sorsogon, Ticao Island in Masbate province would be the best destination where sea diving in the Manta Ray Bowl down Ticao Pass off Fernando and San Jacinto towns is a once in a lifetime experience.

It will be an hour boat trip from Bulan town. Accommodations and good foods are available at beach resorts along the Pass.

From Ticao, access is easy to the Burias Island for a visit of the historic Claveria town that offers a lot of cultural experiences, beautiful sceneries, religious antiquity, superb cuisine and impressive hospitality.

The municipality locates an underground cave that can be reached through an underwater entrance called Boca Engaño where stone caskets with human remains believed to be more than 500 years of age exist and the San Isidro Beach that is being compared to the Miami Beach of Florida, USA and Cancun of Mexico.

Lacing the southern strip of Burias Island and spanning more than 10 kilometers of pure white sand and turquoise water and boasting of diverse marine ecosystem that houses endemic species of sea plants and animals, San Isidro Beach is more of a sanctuary for fairies and searching souls severely bruised and beaten by the intricacies of urban living.

For those introverts trying to avoid the din from bars and entertainment houses in the cities, the entire length occasionally interrupted by few thrusts which serve to decorate it for more effects, the beach is an enchanting paradise for the living coral reefs and crustaceans that outnumber the people residing alongside its shores.

Claveria could then be the last island hopping stop and daily boat trips across the Burias Pass to Pioduran town in Albay available to facilitate a return trip to the Bicol mainland.

The boat trip is about two hours and Pioduran is an hour and a half by land to this city or nearly three hours to the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CWC).

Located in Pili, Camarines Sur, CWC is the wake boarding playground of Bicol for those who are looking for real water sports adventure.

The place could be a take-off point to the Gota Village Resort in Caramoan town which is another world-class vacation and eco-tourism spot of Camarines Sur.

Indeed, completing this vacation island hopping in Bicol would show a vacationer that the region is a combination of the old and the new.

Old churches, untouched natural wonders, rich history and culture and the picture of modern Bicol never ceases to impress even as newly-built structures in support of its fast-pacing development takes place.

Come and experience the wonderful destinations in the region and feel the real meaning of vacation and relaxation.

It’s cool to be spending summer Bicol. (PNA)

DCT/LOR/DOC/cbd

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Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

Sorsogon Police Office bags major award in “Takbokasyon 2012”

By Marlon A. Loterte

SORSOGON CITY, April 9 (PIA) — Personnel of the Sorsogon Police Provincial Office has proven anew their agility and prowess, garnering the major award in two categories during the fun run activity dubbed as “VAMOS SEMINARIO: TAKBOKASYON 2012” held in Sorsogon City in March 31, 2012.

Topping the five-kilometer(km) fun run were PO2 Jayie Encinares, PO1 Geraldine Dave, and PO1 Kwencie Ann Fortuno, while PO1 Mariel Esquiros bagged the first place for the 10-km run.

Said fun run activity was sponsored by Batch 1987 Seminarians of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia Seminary in Sorsogon City.

Meanwhile, SPPO Provincial Director PSupt John CA Jambora said that SPPO personnel does not only excel in running but even in dancing competition where policewomen of SPPO also got the second place award in the Ballroom Dance Competition during the Women’s Night, a culminating activity of this year’s women’s month celebration with the theme: “Women Weathering Climate Change: Governance and Accountability Everyone’s Responsibility,” held at the Multi-Purpose Building at Camp Simeon Ola in Legazpi City last March 30, 2012.

Ten contestants from different Provincial and City Police Offices of the Police Regional Office V (PRO5) were bested by the women of SPPO during the said dance competition.

Likewise, on March 26-30 members of the SWAT TEAM of Sorsogon Police Provincial Office got the second place during the SWAT competition and Hand Gun Classification Marksmanship Test at the PRO5 Grandstand in Villa Hermosa, Daraga, Albay and in Brgy. Padang, Legaspi City. (MAL/BAR/PCI NFMarquez-PPO-PIA 5, Sorsogon)

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

Joint venture of LGU Sorsogon City with LKY Dev’t. Corp. to create 500 jobs

Sorsogon Shopping Center and tricycle grand terminal Project nearing completion. PHOTO COURTESY OF ENGR. PURISIMO A. PROSPEROSO, JR.

By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/3-April-2012) – The agreement and understanding of LGU Sorsogon City with LKY Development Corporation is expected to create five hundred jobs for Sorsoganons.
It will materialize after the completion and full occupancy of the renovated Sorsogon Shopping Center now in its finishing stage of construction and the on-going Sorsogon Bay City project. The projects are hubs for fast food chains, drugstores, supermart, gas station and the Bay City will host condotels and marinas offering the view of the sunset of Sorsogon Bay. Both offer commercial leasing spaces.
The renovation of the old shopping center became one of the focal points during the first term of Mayor Leovic Dioneda, to attract and create job opportunities, doubled-up by the investment of Wilbert Lee, Chief Executive Officer of LKY Development Corporation, the biggest construction concern in Sorsogon, who foot the bill for the renovation.
When the project was tossed to the Sorsogon Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Wilbert Lee took the opportunity and the challenge to prove that Sorsogon City is a good investment area, thus a roadmap for domestic investors was created.
LKY Sorsogon Bay City project to host integrated bus, jeepney and van terminal at Barangay Balogo, Sorsogon City. PHOTO COURTESY OF ENGR. PURISIMO A. PROSPEROSO, JR.

This is not the first time that LKY took a giant step, back in the late eighties, the construction firm responded to the offer of then Municipality of Sorsogon when it built a commercial building in a government lot fronting the public market, then another foothold when the diocesan leadership offered the development of the back portion of the cathedral lot which now stands as a landmark in the city proper.
This time, the response of Lee’s firm was a class act for Sorsogon City. It was a silent statement that private-public partnership can design, build and offer new landscape for business opportunities.
It started way back in 2009 during Dioneda’s first term, when the third city council was challenged by him to come-up with a resolution to attract investors for built-operate, built-lease, and built transfer scheme offering safety nets for investors.
LKY responded with a grand proposal not only to boost Sorsogon economy but put on record that the traffic problem of the city center be corrected. Thus the renovated Sorsogon Shopping Center when completed will host the tricycle integrated terminal and the Sorsogon Bay City project at Barangay Balogo will house the integrated bus, jeepney and van terminal. Rolling up its sleeves when the projects were given the green lights, LKY never look back. It was committed and it was proving to all that it is not lost in Sorsogon after all.
Both Mayor Dioneda and Wilbert Lee of LKY are sort of visionaries, they have the knack of what can be done and how can it be done. Dioneda created an investment climate, Lee responded in ways never imagined by Sorsoganons.
Simultaneously starting the project created employment to skilled workers and tap the labor force not only of the city but from the other towns of the province. Masons, carpenters, plumbers, welders, pipe fitters, steel fabricators and many more who for sometimes were not employed are now having a week pay to look-up. At its peak LKY was employing close to three hundred workers in the two projects pumping a large sum of money in the local economy. This was an indirect contribution of the construction firm in prime-pumping the local economy. The construction lessened the number of employment seekers at city hall.
The two projects are now the center piece of construction in the city. It’s because, Mayor Dioneda made a big difference and LKY of Wilbert Lee nurtured the big difference. BicolToday.com

Filed under: Sorsogon News Updates

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