A day in Donsol

Donsol Travel Blog

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It was 4 am when the sound of the beeping alarms woke us up. I was kinda anticipating myself jumping up with fright should the other occupant in the room decided to crawl on my face, my hands or my legs in the middle of the night.

But no it didn't, it left us to sleep in peace.

The room wasn't exceptionally cold but chilly enough with a comfortable temperature to sleep in. 4 hours of sleep. That's all we had before having to drag ourselves out from bed.

We decided to shower at the same time, just to save time. Btw, before you proceed to think of anything else, we didn't have a toilet in the room, only common showers to share with other people down in the hallway and yes, male and female toilet are differentiated.

Thank god for hot water.

By 5 in the morning, we were already in the taxi making our way to Manila's International airport. When we arrived, this is when the "process" of boarding a flight gets complicated. You see, unlike AirAsia that allows you to only present your passport in order to get your boarding pass, these Filipinos decided to create more job opportunities by making the passengers running here and there just to get to the gate.

Allow me to elaborate:

Step 1:
Go to PAL (Philippines Airlines) office to print out your booking receipt. The office is just outside the terminal.

Step 2:
Show the guards your receipt, enter the airport.

Step 3:
Queue very long to get your boarding pass. That was also the first time I ever heard and saw someone bringing a roaster into the airport. Go Filipinos.

Step 4:
Receive boarding pass. Make way to pay terminal fees (who the fuck charges terminal fees anyway if you want to promote tourism into the country?!)

Step 5:
Go through security; check bags and let the officer "touch" you all over (well you know what I mean)

Step 6:
Finally make peace with the tedious process and wait for the time to come to board the plane.

So there, no point complaining. Just follow through the process and you're good to go. By 6.40 in the morning, we were on our way to...

Yes, this was our destination to see the whaleshark as blogged earlier. Donsol, is located in the Province of Sorsogon in the Bicol Region of the island of Luzon, Philippines.

This is also where the significant Mayon Volcano (still active btw) can be found.

I know, it looks amazing isn't it?

From the airport, we had to take a van for another 1.5 hours ride into the small town of Donsol.

Nah, another syok sendiri pic

With the way these people drive here, it's no wonder every car has a shrine or amulet to protect themselves

From the jam packed city of Manila to this kampung scene. Indeed, what a change of environment and scenery in just... less than 6 hours.

Taken on the bridge while driving across the only bridge connecting the small village where we were heading to the city

As usual, Miss Pee-A-Lot has to look for a place to ease herself upon arrival. Here, they call it COMFORT room (where you ease yourself) or CR for short.

A hut outside one of the resort

Well, loads of them actually...

This is the kind of boat they take you out for whaleshark sighting.

So we arrived early, managed to book our spots for whaleshark sighting and we went for it. Just like that, very impromptu, on the spot decision. That was indeed our initial plan. The experience has been blogged here.

When we came back, it was a little too late to make it out of there. The last flight was at 2.45pm and it was 12 by the time we got back. No point rushing another 1.5 hours to the airport not knowing if we can make it out from the place at all. So we decided to spend the night there.

Our accommodation?

1400 peso, came with air cond but NO WATER HEATER. The other places cost like 1800 or 1900 and this is the cheapest we can get. Well... we could deal without the hot water part, or so we thought... and beggars can't be choosers (almost running out of cash by now -_-")

For lunch, we sampled some local delicacies at nearby cafeteria.

I think this is pork

This is beans cooked with pieces of fish, didn't like it at all :S

Bittergourd, normal, nothing fancy

Downed it with nothing but a good dose of local beer. San Miguel Light is yummy!

After lunch, we took a stroll around the village. People here are VERY VERY friendly and helpful.

Their tricycle taxi, very fun sitting in it!

Lonely Planet, what we'd do without you!

2 kids were spotted playing outside their house. They were so shy (coz they were running around without their pants)

Took the tricycle taxi on a bumpy road ride to visit a chapel at the top of the hill.

Very much bumpy indeed!

The chapel was built on top of the hill, we were told that it was about 100 steps up and down but from the brochure, it mentioned 300 steps.

Long road ahead, what a way to sweat on a sunny hot afternoon.

This is The Grotto Chapel

The locals came here for mass every week.

We walked a little further up

And took pictures with coconut tree

Ok, end of tour, walked another 300 steps or less up and down the hill, got into our tricycle and rode back to the guesthouse where we spent another hour catching up with sleep in our hot stuffy room with no fan or aircond (there was a power outage or something till like 4 something -_-, almost got roasted in the room)

At 6 in the evening, we went back to the beach. Don't you just love the colors of this picture? See the shining spot in the sky? Bf said it was Venus. It didn't flicker so it had to be a planet instead of a star.

We went on a boat to a romantic sighting at night. Can you guess what we did?

We came back to shore with STARVED, and we hit the supposedly best place to dine in Donsol, goes by the name BARacuda. This is THE place to go for the freshest seafood, I kid you not. Even though we were running low on cash, the amount of money spent here was worth every penny of it.

Caiperena, famous Brazilian drink. Too strong for me, I like the one bf made better

And the food was just AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. Since we arrived late, there's nothing much they can make for us but the owner was good enough to make something simple and filling for us.

Spaghetti, even though it's tossed with the simplest ingredients like olive oil, basil, with loads of fresh tomatoes and superb Parmesan cheese, it was very good.

The highlight of the night was definitely this. The best prawns we've had in a very very long time, the best I ever tasted in my life for sure (not exaggerating) It's just TOO GOOD, in fact, it was heavenly! The prawns were huge, fat, juicy and sweet to the bite.

Oh, I'd give anything just to go back here to taste it again!

We made friends with the owner, Juliet. She was the friendliest person we met in our whole entire stay there. Too bad we can't chat for too long for we had an early day to start so we (or more like only me) took a picture with her and her son, Julian. He's the cutest, smartest, brightest 2 year old I've met. I promised her I'll blog about her restaurant too. So here's to the best prawns I've had in my life Juliet and her awesome place and food. In fact, I think I'm gonna go email Juliet and ask her to read my blog after I publish this.

It was definitely the absolute perfect way to end our day in Donsol. We went to bed all tired and worn out from the day's activities, happy and contented with our achievements. We've been pretty lucky so far and we wondered if we will run out of luck soon. Slept the night away, feeling pretty much optimistic about the next day.

Yes it was another EARLY EARLY next morning for us.

A couple more shots of Mayon Volcano standing grand. It takes 2 days to hike up to the peak but sadly, time was not something we had to spare in Donsol.

I guess it's all about compromise, whether or not we're willing to sacrifice sleep for the sake of traveling. Of course!

The only problem was, we had so many backup plans that we were spoilt for choices of where to go. So many islands but so little time...le sigh. In the end, we bought the first flight out from Donsol.

With tickets in our hands, fingers crossed, determined to make the best out of everything and prayed for the best, we were soon on our way to paradise ...

mc_taz says:
I met Juliet too. Shes very friendly. But starved me to death when i went there for dinner as there are many costumer. You are lucky you got the chance to see Mt. Mayon in all its glory. It was covered with clouds when I passed by Legaspi.
Posted on: Apr 16, 2011
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