Bicol: Continuing from where I left off in my earlier blog entry, Blue Sanctuary, my high school buddy J loved the bucolic country life and would often get away to it from urban Manila every so often. This time, however, she escaped back to Bicol from Canada where she’s based now.
We kicked off our journey to Maangas and Aguirangan islands, leaving her hometown Naga at 4:30 a.m. We rode a bus to Goa then a jeepney (picture an American military jeep of which the back had been lengthened thus passengers sit facing each other) to Sabang where boatmen-fishermen Billy Cuadro and son Victor picked us up.
It was a long boat ride to Presentacion where we dropped off her elder brother Angelo (fondly called Anjo) and his colleagues Aitzi and Bruno who are from a Spanish NGO and are monitoring their projects there. Anjo is the national supervisor.
After the brief stop, we were off to Maangas where Billy and his family live. They treated us to the freshest fish and free-range chicken (poor chicken! we actually saw it running around before it met its death) in coconut milk for lunch. After that, it was another ride, a short bus ride, across to Aguirangan island for a two-hour swim. The water was warm; the sun was hot and Mayon volcano was even visible.
“Wonderful boat ride back to Sabang (saw a tortoise and lots of jellyfish). Home by 8. Really a day full of graces,” wrote J towards the end of her e-mail.
“Indeed it was,” I said to myself, as I clicked send.
Photography by Joanna Llorin