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Back In Manila After One Month In Bicol

My long and overdue vacation has finally ended days ago. I arrived in Manila last January 18th after a 13 – hour bus ride. I was so freaking busy that I just had time to write about this now. This has been the longest duration that I was home in Irosin, Sorsogon for vacation all my life. When I was working as an ordinary employee reporting in a physical office, I only have a maximum of three days leave at a given time and a total of 15 days a year. It was really hard to go home. This freedom of being location – independent and time flexible remote work wouldn’t be possible without my online fulltime job. I couldn’t be more grateful for this.     

I can actually just settle down there since I only need a laptop and Internet connection but there’s so much blogging events and  trips I am going to miss if I don’t base myself in Manila. The saddest is that, the longer I stay, the harder it is to leave.  You know talking about family concerns that I should not say online, I mean don’t we all have it?

Out of the one month I stayed, we didn’t have any Internet for three weeks. It was a pain in the ass for someone who works online. My brother who is also based in Manila for work,  went home for holiday too and bought an electric generator. Not only it was so expensive to buy galloons of gasoline, but it is so noisy too!  The internet shops in Irosin have very low quality of connection and even the pocket wifi made it very difficult for me to work there. In fact, the electricity just went back a few days when I am about to leave.  

BUT, this has been one of my most memorable visits to home in my life. I have finally met my  1-year old nephew, Martin and 6 – month old niece, Pauleen. They’re so cute, I’m a super proud Tita.  I also took this opportunity to see the nearby municipalities of my hometown and explore the whole Sorsogon province. It’s a pity though in my six years of travel blogging, I have been to thirty – plus provinces of the Philippines and able to blog about it but my own province and town I have not.       

Here’s a quick summary of short trips I made during my one – month stay in the Bicol province:

Mayon  Backpacker Hostel, Legazpi City

Legazpi City 
Typhoon Nona was raging that time so I didn’t have a chance to get out and see the tourist spots in Albay. I stayed in a backpacker hostel called Magayon Backpacker Hostel. I never even had a chance to see Mount Mayon that time. It was too cloudy. I met fellow backpackers from Europe, Australia and USA which I didn’t expect because as far I know,  the province of Albay is not yet within the backpacker route.

Click HERE my one night stay at Mayon Backpacker Hostel

Sorsogon Capitol Park, Sorsogon City

Sorsogon City
I posted a DIY walking tour of Sorsogon city. I lived here for two years and happy to see it once again after so many years.  I discovered a very good looking hotel in Sorsogon city, called Santa Clara Park.  I was totally blown away of the ambiance inside : there’s a lot of trees and well – manicured plants. The theme is Western. It is not a high – rise usual type of accommodation you can find in Sorsogon, but as a guest you are given an entire house when you stay there. I super recommend it, just that this is not for a backpacker’s budget.

 Click HERE my DIY walking tour to Sorsogon City

Casa Feliz, Juban, Sorsogon

Juban’s  Old Heritage Houses 
I have featured so much of old Philippine houses around the country, one thing I was able to tick off from my bucket list. Juban’s old houses located along the highway that connects Irosin, Bulan and Matnog to Sorsogon, Legazpi and Manila. I found not one but three other bahay na bato (stone houses) built during Spanish, American and Japanese colonization period. I am sad I was not able to go inside Casa Feliz, the most beautiful among those.

Click HERE My visit to Casa Feliz, One Of Juban's Old Heritage Houses

Dancalan Beach, Bulusan, Sorsogon

Dancalan Beach in Bulusan, Sorsogon
During the holiday season, it is a custom for my relatives living in Manila to go home to celebrate Christmas and New Year.  We went to Dancalan beach, where I remember so many childhood memories when my late dad would bring the whole family here. This is not as captivating as El Nido in Palawan or the Caramoan in Camarines Sur that I have visited too but I would always find myself coming back here because of  cherished moments spent with loved ones. Also what I am looking go visit again is the Miliga-biga beach, many hours away and found in Bulusan town. This place is enchanted, the waves are stronger and it is farther. I went here when I was in high school, almost got drowned and brought a number of rocks that you use when you scrub your body. That time there was no cottages so we’d change clothes at the back of trees.

Bulusan Lake, Sorsogon

Bulusan Lake in Bulusan Sorsogon                                    
On our way to Dancalan beach, we dropped by to Bulusan Lake. It is slowly getting recognized by fellow travel bloggers and happy to know that. It was not in the most beautiful state when we went there since the typhoon just happened. I saw some floating restaurants are being constructed. We wanted to see the hanging bridge but we were told it will take us about an hour to get there. Kayaking, boat – riding and trekking are the things that you can do in Bulusan Lake.

Click HERE My Boat-riding with the family At Bulusan Lake, Sorsogon

Irosin, the rice granary of Sorsogon
Unlike other municipalities of Sorsogon, Irosin is landlocked. There is no ocean here -  what we have are rice fields and hot springs. The most famous is the San Benon Hot Spring , the water is somewhat in the middle of warm to hot that you can stay for hours without getting cold. The warm water is said to come from Mount Bulusan.  I’ve been here so many times and I even brought my college classmates before from Legazpi many years back. I will be posting a separate write up of places to see in Irosin soon. 

Here in the Philippines, we eat rice three times a day. My most recent visit exposed me a bit of growing rice right in a piece of land of mom whom she inherited from her late father, our grandpa who is a farmer. She is now growing rice plants herself and it is located in the national highway of sitio Tulay in Barangay Bagsangan. What is there right now is a small nipa hut she built where she spends most of her time with a sari - sari store while she takes care of the rice stalks.   

The land is quite bigger that I suggest putting up a backpacker hostel or an inn there because it is a national road that leads commuters and travellers from Manila to Leyte. It is a road connecting Luzon to the Visayas region. She’d always tell me how many times a lot of tired passengers and drivers of ten wheeler trucks are asking her if they can stay for a few hours to sleep or rest. 

Her sister’s share of land just next to hers is also planning to put up a resort soon actually so I see that one day, that place will be a good source of income.  I asked her the steps of planting the rice up to harvesting but I got lost, there’s so much I need to know. When I come back I will make a detailed write up of how to plant a rice.

This is it for now. I will also be writing a separate entry of complete tourist spots of Sorsogon province since I haven’t personally seen it all.  I actually never thought that my stay is long enough until I visited The Podium mall in Ortigas, out of nothing the lady guard asked me where I have been. This is actually my favourite hangout especially at night when I find it too boring to work at home or at coffee shops. The wifi here is strong and free. There are couches at the second floor where I find myself sitting so many times. I save a few hundred pesos just by doing my work here compared to going to expensive coffe shops. There are hundreds of people going in this mall each day, she may have seen me so frequent that she asked me this.          


  1. Smiles all round, nice picture. :)

    So, while we are waiting for more news, let's guess who is who. Left to right:

    Cousin, Cousin, (Maria's Mum), (Maria), Maria's Sister. As guessed by:

    Maria's #1 Fan in London

  2. You made laugh here! These are all my sisters. We're a total of 8. I am the eldest. From left, her name is Issa (youngest), Joy (4th), my mom and Lola (7th).

    We're a big family :) How is your upcoming trip to Philippines now? Any update?

  3. 8, Wow ! I knew that you had a couple of brothers and one sister, so I though that there were 4 of you, but the other 4 are a surprise !

    Trip is still on track. Did receive the email which I send last night UK tim ? I had one or two problems trying to send it, and it seems to have gone though, but I am not 100% sure. When I checked this morning I through at first I had entirely lost the email and would have to retype it.

  4. meant to say "....Did you receive ..."

  5. Yes, we're a big family as I said.

    I did got your email :) I will reply tonight or so as I am too swamped with so many online tasks right now. I'm also doing a bit of research for the answers of some of your questions you thrown to me.