Hotels

F2M Tower (Legazpi City, Albay)

Hello there! I’m glad to be back after almost three months of no activity here in my blog. It made me a bit sad and guilty at the same time that I have neglected my blog for that long but I’ve been busy and had some things that required my attention. One thing is for sure, I have made it a point to visit other people’s blogs and read a bit before I go to bed every night so that I still feel in the loop although my own blog has been a bit forlorn lately due to my lack of post haha.

Anyway, I just would like to share with you guys that we have taken yet another trip to Albay and Sorsogon City last week, which happened to be a holiday here in the PH (Holy Week). We’ve been doing this since I’ve moved to Naga City about five years ago to see my parents in Sorsogon. I wish we had a car so we could have taken a lot of detour and see places off the beaten path. That would have made a lot of stories for some worthwhile blog posts. But since we had to take a commuter van (UV Express), we couldn’t do this.  What I can do however, is to share with you our hotel experience during our stay at F2M Tower in Legazpi, Albay.

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The lobby at F2M Tower

When we arrived at Legazpi City Terminal, we just walked for a few minutes and after asking around where F2M Tower was, we finally found it beside Pacific Mall (Gaisano). Check in was a breeze since their staff knew right away who we were and did not even ask for a copy of the confirmation booking. I like it when hotels are efficient and their staff are polite and competent.

When we opened the door to our room, the air felt so fresh and it smelled really nice, like you know right away the room is clean. Yoy and Julienne liked it a lot.  F2M has only 6 rooms that they rent out and I was told by Jho (the staff who checked us in) that their concept is that of a condotel. So there are no staff to cater to your needs after their office closes, but it doesn’t matter when it is located in the heart of Legazpi. Whatever you need, you can just buy from the mall that is just a few steps away.

The bed was really nice and white. The sheets smelled and felt fresh (Ok, I’ve been saying that a lot lol). F2M TOWER LEGAZPI CITYDSC00317

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The faces she makes these days!

Now, let’s  check out the bathroom. It’s real clean too (almost immaculate in my opinion). It was a pleasant surprise how everything was thought of and furnished. There were towels available, hot/cold shower worked, there was a soap dispenser and a hair dryer. F2M TOWER LEGAZPI CITY 3DSC00312DSC00313DSC00315

There was also a water heater, utensils and a mini refrigerator inside the room.DSC00320

I liked the mirror of the closet’s sliding door so I took a selfie (Gaaaaahh!). Not posting this on Facebook, just here.DSC00299DSC00301

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In the evening, Yoy and I had one  bottle of beer each over a plate of sisig that we bought near 101 Mall while the little girl enjoyed her Vitamilk (don’t worry she’s not drunk in this picture, just tired lol)

Over all, I liked it. It was the cleanest budget hotel we’ve stayed in in Legazpi City. And to better get your money’s worth, try online booking for promos and to get discounts.

Summer is here and a lot of people are going on out of town trips. I hope you will find this post useful! =)

 

 

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Places to See

AMAZING CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN LIGAO CITY, ALBAY

Hi everyone!

I have always wanted to see the much talked about Christmas lights and displays in Ligao City. The Ligaoeños, I hear, take their yearly Christmas displays rather seriously. And it pays off, since Ligao has always been featured on both local and national television this time of the year.

So, I thought it was really lucky that my co-workers and I got to go on a side trip to Ligao after our Christmas Party in our regional office in Legazpi City last Friday. It was almost 8:00 PM when we got there, and at first, we hesitated since we did not really know which way to go. It was our first time to go to the centro of Ligao but it did not take long for us to find the church and the lights display was so easy to find that we didn’t even need to ask for directions. All we needed to do was to “follow the light(s)” hehe. So by this time, I was already very excited and I haven’t felt that way about Christmas in a while, or maybe I just got excited to find new material for my blog? Hmm.

We parked inside the compound of Saint Stephen Promartyr Parish Church. This is what the church looks like at this time.Christmas Lights in Ligao City 2017 1

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And just outside the church is the 54 meters tall Christmas tree made from blue LED lights with a star on top. It’s kinda hard to take a photo of the whole tree though because some guys just stood around it (really closely) even when they’re obviously not having their picture taken. Anyway, the tree was amazing!christmas lights in ligao city 2017_8

Then we went to their plaza which is adorned by hundreds of star-shaped lanterns locally called parol in the Philippines. It was such an amazing sight to see. Just three colors- dark blue, sky blue and purple.christmas lights in ligao city 2017_4

Isn’t it weird how a bunch of lanterns lighting up the dark night can stir up some feelings of child-like excitement and wonder? Things one may have forgotten in his quest for a better shot at the future by slaving away infront of the computer meeting deadlines, and being oblivious to the rest of the world. Such a toxic life can be a real pain in the ass in the long run because time flies and we will not live forever.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” So the lanterns were there to remind me I should live a little, or live more.chritmas lights in ligao city 2017_11

A little trivia, do you know that the Christmas tree and the star lanterns were hand-made by jail inmates in Ligao? It’s good that they have used their talents for a good cause. Their work is not too shabby, by the way.christmas lights in ligao city 2017_6christmas lights in ligao city_16

When we were there, a lot of people were in the plaza to watch “Patiribayan sa Ligao” which was a singing contest. Everywhere, the smell of popcorn, barbeque and hotcakes was very inviting but I kept thinking if only there was somewhere I could get a cup of coffee. I didn’t get my cuppa though because we already had to leave.christmas lights in ligao city 2017_9

The people of Ligao must be very proud for coming up with such a great way to put their place in the map, so to speak, by making sure that the festive mood of the holidays can be felt by everyone who visits. It sure is something to look forward to every year. Christmas is only a few days away, I hope you all are excited and feeling the Christmas spirit already!

 

 

Resorts

Dos Montes Natural Hillside Spring Resort (Malilipot, Albay)

There are a lot of good resorts to visit in Albay for families and friends looking to have fun in the water. One of them  is located very near along the National Highway in Barangay 1 Poblacion in the town of Malilipot. It is called Dos Montes Natural Hillside Spring Resort. As the name suggests, you can expect to find free flowing mineral-rich spring water which guarantees that the water is always fresh and cool. The resort has swimming pools both for adults and for kids as well as water slides for guests to enjoy.294945_449622468387997_2014583293_n526266_449620331721544_413612671_n536502_449622551721322_302164530_n

Some of their cottages are situated on the elevated reinforced hillside to give a great relaxing view of the whole resort as well as of the lush greens surrounding it. Just prepare your ears for the possible onslaught of videoke machines though, apparently we can’t have fun anymore without them. Lol.576563_449625481721029_1435118569_n546141_449622361721341_1862355388_n156591_3180686844913_1008543855_n

Their charges and fees are very affordable for P90.00 entrance fee for day swimming both for kids and adults and P100.00 for night swimming. For complete information on fees and the rates of their cottages click Fees and Cottage Rates.

Places to See

Daraga Church (Daraga, Albay)

Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish Church, really more known simply as Daraga Church, is a Roman Catholic Church in the municipality of Daraga, Albay, Philippines. The church was built by the Franciscans in 1772 under the patronage of the Our Lady of the Gate.

For the locals, Daraga Church is the go-to place of worship every Sunday wherein the breathtaking overlooking view of Mayon Vulcano has become but a normal sight. In fact, it only ever draws the usual ohhhs and ahhhs of amazement from visitors, being that it has always been there and the locals have gotten used to it by now, like an ever present, father figure watching over his brood.

However, on a particularly good day when the sun, the light, the clouds and the bluest sky have all conspired with each other to give you just a glimpse of that magical view, it honestly does have the power to make you catch your breath.daraga church 2view from daraga church

I remember years ago, there was much discussion on the radio as well as between everyone who cared to have an opinion that they were totally against the move of applying white paint over the facade of the church. Everyone thought the church looked regal and classic enough on its natural state, just gray and no paint on the outside. Some even said that the unpainted church showed so much character, that it was all the better showing off its age than pretending to be contemporary. However, it still ended up being painted on with white and people were outraged for a while. It took a few days (maybe weeks) but people got over it eventually.582513_447627698587474_1157023064_n

To this day, Daraga Church remains to be one of the must-see places when visiting the Bicol Region, especially the province of Albay. It has also been featured in some local films, one of the most recent was She’s Dating the Gangster wherein Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo (Filipino actors) had a scene shot inside the church.

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Places to See

Magayon Art Gallery (Albay Provincial Capitol)

When in Albay, make sure to visit the Magayon Art Gallery, located at the lobby of Albay Provincial Capitol Building, which serves as the avenue for local artists to show off their visual creations. It is especially fun to go there during Magayon Festival because of the many activities like the parade of huge folklore characters made of paper mache, parade featuring the different  festivals of the different towns, pageants, trade fairs and beer plaza. However, since the festival was just held last month (May 2017), I think it will be something to look forward to next year.

The Capitol Grounds555335_447606448589599_1233813034_n392494_447606468589597_272496225_n

Magayon Art GAllery

 

549421_447606805256230_1172652317_n575242_447606835256227_1981817209_n579723_447606928589551_2068803416_n So, I was being dorky and found some ways to make this painting more interesting I think using just the format tools (effects) of MS PowerPoint:normal

Glow Edgesglow edges

Plastic Wrapplastic wrap

Cut Outcut out

I have been to the GSIS Museo ng Sining in Pasay City and have seen paintings of Fernando Amorsolo and Juan Luna’s “Parisian Life” up close, but I found myself just as impressed by the works of our local artists in Bicol. So, if ever you’re in the area, I recommend you give the Magayon Art Gallery a visit. Thanks for stopping by!

Places to See

KAWAKAWA NATURAL PARK (LIGAO, ALBAY)

The beginning of the rainy season can now be felt here in Bicol, even though the heat is still the same as if summer is not quite ready to leave just yet. The rain falls every now and then, at the most unexpected times, as if to mourn the death of our soldiers who fought hard in battle to keep the peace and to protect the innocent in Marawi. God bless them. And as the country is torn and heartbroken over the war waged by the terrorists against the government and its people, I myself don’t feel the enthusiasm to urge people to travel and have a fun time just now.

However, I would like to introduce a place that is great for introspection. A peaceful place that can be a solace for troubled minds. In this time of turmoil for my country, we need to find that peace within ourselves, to extend our hands to God for comfort. Below are the photos of my visit to Kawakawa Natural Park in Ligao, Albay some years ago. It is a place I can think of that made me feel so near to God before, even though God is really within us all in the first place.

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“Welcome to this famous hill without a hilltop” the marker says. The locals have told us that Kawakawa Hill is so named because the shape of its crater  is easily likened to a “kawa” or a wok being used for cooking.

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Every summer is the right time to visit to witness hundreds of sunflowers while in bloom. Unfortunately, when friends and I went there they have just harvested the flowers a few days ago, which then left us with only a few blooms to enjoy.543242_447582698591974_1930491131_n554638_447581715258739_103050721_n536653_447583481925229_1140660211_n

The view from the top was so relaxing that I can easily see myself retiring and living in such a place. There is something about being in a high place that is uplifting to the spirits as well. I remember instantly feeling better.576365_447581998592044_1393260001_n562627_447582368592007_1719302356_n542362_447584278591816_778806875_n525787_447582041925373_1550998116_n

KawaKawa Park is not hard to find. There are markers along Maharlika Highway in Ligao, Albay that points to the direction of the park which is located in Tuburan. So whether you come from Legazpi or from Manila, it is very accessible. The entrance fee happens to be P10.00 only. Also, the locals are quite helpful and friendly so there should be no reason to get lost.

Places to See

Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga, Albay

Cagsawa Ruins are what remains of  a 17th century church built by the Franciscans. It is considered as one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in the province of Albay.

According to history, last February 1, 1814, Mount Mayon (famous for its perfect cone), began its most violent and deadly eruption in recorded history wherein the church was destroyed and thousands of inhabitants were killed. The bell tower miraculously survived and over time, it has developed into a top destination for tourists and locals alike for the beautiful view of the Mayon Vulcano in the background. And so history goes, although that is not why many people visit nowadays. For the most part, people go there to have their picture taken with the vulcano and the belfry of the old Cagsawa church as the backdrop. Lol. I mean, nothing wrong with that. And I was definitely no exception (Mt. Mayon and I have tons of photos together!). I guess that is pretty much all you can do when you visit anyway (if you’re not into shopping for pili nuts and handicrafts). 48082_452951188055125_1578136340_n

The place can be so charming, especially when the weather is right.

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Those are just some of the photos taken while touring some friends from Manila.