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Adventure in Bulusan Lake

Waking up early was not a routine of my son Cymon and my daughter Axl. But this morning was different ’cause they are coming with me. Destination: Bulusan Lake. Dubbed as the “Switzerland of the Orient”.

Boarded a jeep at the terminal near the Sorsogon Cathedral (Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral) to Irosin because there is no direct trip to Bulusan. It’s good that the jeepney left the terminal even we were only three adults and three children. But the jeep gets full by picking up passengers along the route. When we were at Irosin, there we feel bored while waiting for the jeep (to Bulusan) to get full of passengers. We waited I think thirty minutes. The driver of the jeep didn’t  showed up until his jeepney was full. Along the way, there were still passengers being picked up and hopped in, even clinging and standing at the steps of the jeep.  In the city, you could rarely see female hanging on the jeepney. But here in remote area, male, female, old or even young students have no choice ’cause there is only few jeep plying that route. And TAKE NOTE: the last trip  back to Irosin is 3pm. I was sitting beside my kids (I paid their sits). On my lap was my back pack. One woman offered, or requested to hold Axl on her lap. When we approached the road under construction (very rough road) I noticed Axl’s face was so pale. I thought she feels dizzy because of zigzagging and bouncing ride. When there was an empty sit, Axl took it. I was worried she might vomit. But she didn’t. Later When I asked her what she feels on that woman’s lap, she said the woman was holding her so tightly on her tummy.

When we arrived at Bulusan proper, I just bought two liters of mineral water then hired a tricycle to take us to the lake. Actually, the jeep we rode passed by the entrance going to the lake. But we didn’t dropped by there because the lake was 2.5km from the hi-way and there were no tricycle at the entrance going in. We agreed to the amount of 150 pesos for taking us there. He tied my inflatable kayak at the roof of his trike. There was no chance of taking pictures along the way because of the road condition.

Bulusan lake was now different compared to ten years ago when I first saw it. It is now frequently visited by tourists often by the family of OFW’s. There are now kayaks for rent. The entrance fee at the lake is only ten pesos. While the rental for kayak is 200 pesos per hour (or was it per half our?). I asked the fee collector, if it’s okay if I use my own kayak. He didn’t  got what I mean so I explained to him that we brought with us an inflatable kayak. Pointed to him the duffle bag beside my son. He explained to me that it’s okay but they will not be responsible if something happens to us in the lake. And I said I understood, and added that we brought our own PFD (personal floating device or life jackets). He asked a few more questions regarding my kayak. How much I purchased it, how and where etc. I think I was the first visitor who brought along kayak.

We took some souvenir photos and had our lunch. I prepared adobong manok as our baun. We were allowed to eat under the canopies of the trees at the foot of Virgin Mary grotto. After our lunch I started to inflate my Advanced Element kayak at the edge of the lake. As I was pumping the air, a man on his shorts, wearing t-shirt and a hat (similar to those scout rangers), and with a radio hanging on his hips approached us. “Sorry Sir pero next time wag na kayong magdadala niyan ha.” I was speechless to what I’ve heard. I just nodded voluntarily. But in my mind, i have a lot of scrambled words that I wished I could tell to this man. I want to tell him “you don’t want to bring us a kayak because you have kayaks for rent.” But instead, I continue inflating my boat. We need to hurry because we need to catch up the last trip going back to Irosin.

So there we are paddling in the Lake of Bulusan. Axl was in front, while Cymon in the middle. I paddled slowly towards the east. There were two motor boats at the lake. One was carrying a group of tourists, the other serves as a back-up. I snapped some photos from time to time. Finally we reached the other side of the lake. There was a pergola there. There is a hiking trail around the lake which I think I might try next time I come back without a kayak. After paddling and taking photos for an hour, we decided to go. There are no closed cottages by the lake but they allow campers overnight at the parking area. After I deflated the boat, we off to go. Unfortunately, we need to walk out of the lake area. No tricycles available. I told my kids, “it’s really more fun in the Philippines, but this is not funny anymore.” (Walking 2.5km with a back pack and a duffle bag on my shoulder.) My perspiration was dripping.

We waited at the highway for more than hour before the last jeep came. There was a resort beside the main entrance of the lake but there was no available room for overnight. The caretaker said, she still needs to clean it ’cause the owner had just left last night. If there was only a vacant room, we could spend our night there. Hoping, that would be available rooms next time….

The lake

kids enjoying the boat ride

@ the other side of the lake (east side).

 

for rent

the lake

@ Irosin, waiting for the jeep to Bulusan.

 

Having our lunch at the foot of the grotto.

Getting ready

Out of the lake…

Next destination???

 

 

Resort near the main entrance of the lake

Bonus picture: the Bulusan volcano taken by my son from the jeepney.

 

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Rompeolas Memories

I didn’t know that the correct name of our town’s port is Rompeolas until the cyber era came. We used to call it “Rimpyolas” before. Anyways, Rompeolas nowadays is very appealing. It is now a constant destination to locals aside from the Capitol Park. A good choice for the joggers and brisk walkers. In the previous administration, the local leader beautify it by adding an area for gazebos and a bay walk. Later, the new official added a break water. This break water was not yet finished when I took my vacation in the summer of 2010. With this break water, I think it will be a good place for boating or kayaking inside the ‘mini-marina’. In fact I saw a bamboo raft (balsa) when I went there.

Rompeolas at night, taken from the break water.

The two major  commodities being docked on that port  are beer and cement.

Rompeolas before sunrise, taken from the break water.

In the 80’s, it was used as the dump site of Sorsogon (municipal at that time). There were also lot of squatters near the dump site. There were no lights along the stretch of the pier. But because of that, it was a good dating place for lovers including me. Me and my barkada together with our partners caught dating there by our kuyas during simbang gabi. Instead of attending the mass at Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, we were there at Rompeolas having our “simbang tabi”. (My wife doesn’t know this story so please don’t tell her. Or else there will be an interroagation . hehehe)

We also used to fish there with “tapon-tapon” style. Instead of using a rod, it was just a nylon rolled to the can of sardines or to a piece of bamboo. But the catch was not inspiring. Kadalasan parangan lang ang nahuhuli. There was also a time that me together with the boy from the neighborhood (a name of Nimrod Plantado) went there to fish. We climbed into one of the out rigger boat (baroto) which  was tied at the pier. When the owner of the boat came, he was mad at us for intruding in his boat. He untied the boat from the pier and let the boat float in the middle of the water.
But I know that it will not take us far ‘coz it was still anchored. But the boy with me was panicking already. Since I already know how to swim, I took him back at the pier when the owner left again.

But there was a night that my father took me there and we fished together. There was not big catch but it was one of the best bonding moments with him.

Rompeolas @ sunrise

Rompeolas viewed from the bell tower of Sts. Peter & Paul Cathedral


Alcaraz Farm

I was inspired by their hard work. When I was young, I used to come here during summer or weekend. All they have at that time were dozens of chickens and bountiful of corn in which we cook can full and take it to suba where we swim.

During my vacation in april 2010, I’ve visited my Auntie (first cousin of my mother) who was just a few kilometers from the city center of Sorsogon (Bgy. Cabid-an). During my childhood days, I used to come here especially during harvest time of their corn. During those days, ‘di pa gaanong develop ang lugar nila. Her children developed the area as they grow old. Hindi nagkakalayo sa edad ko ang mga anak nya that’s why we are closed to each other. I’m so thankful that I bring along my camera when I visited her. (she had already poor vision due to catarata.) Here are the pictures taken from their place which I want to share with you.

“The fruit of their labor.”

They open this during high tide to let the brackish water in. But of course there is a net so that their cultured bangus will not swim out.

Ang sarap seguro dito mag siesta.

Balsang Kawayan