Monday, February 04, 2008

Beauty Unnamed at Isarog's Foot

Drive a straight four and a half kilometers from the city's center, hike and stroll down a narrow trail surrounded by grass and moss forest at the upper level of barangay Panicuason, you will find your self awed by this striking work of nature. The hot springs of Mt. Isarog.

It is easy to locate as it nestles right below the Bicol Hydro Plant. Void of the conventional out-of-town bustle, a short trip pays off in a glorious state of relaxation, in both hot and cold springs with temperature ranging from 17 to 39 degree celsius. As you enter, you will be greeted by wild flora species and trees literally hanging above your head. Natural spring water from the Inarihan River flows through large swimming pools of varying warmth, this is indeed nature's spa. You can't help but marvel inside this cove blessed with an ample amount of sunlight to soothe and heal one's tangled nerves. It is worth trading a day's compensation to experience this place on earth.

A beauty unknown with a name that confuses many (from Bicol Hydro to Panicuason Hot Springs to Agua something),how to call the place really does not matter anymore. I just hope there's a store in the resort where one can buy some food stuffs and souvenirs. And though I can think of the place as one of the city's safest tourist haven, it surely will not hurt if visitors can be assured of the presence of trained life guards or rescue personnel. Overnight stays can be an added attraction too.

Last Saturday was a revelation, we drived there for a bath and found out a growing number of visitors. Hmmmmnnnn. Councilor John Bongat, who chairs the City Council Committe on Tourism, was one of the familiar faces. Talking about tourism promotion with a personal touch. A friend from Manila cannot help but admire the beauty of the place. A bunch of Koreans and UNC's Raquel Baldoza and her grandchildren from Thailand, were also hanging around the place for the weekend.

Not much has been said about this natural wonder. A lazy paradise at the foot of the mountain, so inviting, and secluded from the rest of the world. In a city of concrete jungle frenzied twenty four seven, not many among us have noticed a place worth the drive just a few minutes away from home. This is Naga on the far side. A proud place that the city can promote, and a proof that we can offer more than statues and brick walls.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Traffic SNAFU

Several strong measures to improve the traffic flow in Naga have been implemented. Backed up by equally strong, if not stringent, city ordinances that dreams of-- with the word dream emphasized, improving in the slightest degree the traffic situation in the city. These, complemented by an equally capable traffic enforcement team from the ranks of the Public Safety Office and the Naga PNP personnel, one could surmise its a smooth ride towards any point of destination within Naga. But wait....

Everyday I travel from my house in Del Rosario to the pedicab station in BMC going to the office and yes it takes me approximately one hour to make it. This is situation normal. Don't ask how much time it would take to reach one's workplace or the Central Business District 1, during fiesta time or the christmas season. It usually takes forever.

But on the brighter side of it, long rides give me enough time to observe the situation. A familiarization tour of Naga's trafficflow gets me preoccupied, pretty much about excuses to make up for showing late on a client meeting. I watch in desperation the jeepneys scurrying for passengers in what i would call mid-road terminals (in front of Villa Grande homes, SSS building, and Immaculate Conception Church) of the delrosario-concepcion-centro route. Are jeepneys supposed to pick up passengers unloaded from buses at the middle of the road? Do enforcers take their early pancit bato breakfast for this situation to go unnoticed? Do I have to consider having breakfast at home before going to the office or be ready for the onset of hyperacidity and/or stomach ulcer?

Questions... questions... questions... One thing is clear as vivid no holds barred violations of these streetcalawags, traffic enforcement in the city needs to be taken seriously. And I mean, a cultural assimmilation, if not a miracle, of disciplined and sustainable traffic management of sort must happen, in a pace that matches the city's hurried march towards development.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Songs of a City

I wake up with the sun rising gloriously behind the lush shoulder of Mt. Isarog. At about 1500 meters away from Bgy. Del Rosario where my Mom and I live, the "hunchback" mountain view is a wonderful sight to behold during early mornings. It refreshes the soul as one's vision is slowly guided towards the summit where the mightiest yet the gentlest power resides. Seeing a mountain, I lift my hand and trace its contours imaginatively and realize everything leads to HIM.

From HIM, a brand new day is born. This is a kind of day where May's flowers are in bloom. You will dizzy your eyes counting and smelling the differently shaded plants on Mom's garden. Varied yet beautiful. I reunite myself with nature and admire the fruit of our summer's labor. Had I spent the days of summer in lazy slumber, none of these beauty will be here.

A female voice calls downstairs. The familiar scent fills the cold breezy air. I look down the terrace and greets Tia Melay standing at the gate with a nigo (a native basket) of freshly baked rice pudding on her head topped with crisped coco strips. My breakfast.

Two hours more and it's another hectic day at the office. I hurry for my meal or I might not be able to catch my favorite padyak driver who diligently drives by the house at 7 am to bring me to the highway where jeepneys are stationed for a route towards the centro.

An urban creature like myself now living in a remote barangay at the outskirt of the city requires more everyday, and late night, sacrifices. Those when I count, are but cheapstakes for a fresh grab of a nice morning.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Moments Captured at Magtabid Long Beach Resort, Pasacao, Metro Naga

A Place Worth The While in Metro Naga

I went to Pasacao for a break away from work last April 7, Friday. Together with a friend, we were fortunate to be received by the Sariana family (Thanks to Mang Boy and Chloe, his registered nurse daughter who manages the Magtabid Long Beach Resort for the warm accommodation in a comfy native cabin by the shore). I can see tangible acomplishments of the local government that has been laying the groundwork for a serious tourism promotion. I was informed by Emy Velasco of the Metro Naga Development Council on how things are going in Pasacao and how this small town has managed to sustainably preserve its natural endowments through multi-stakeholder participation.

Chloe Sariana, beach resort manager of Magtabid Long Beach Resort is on to some serious work as they prepare for the upcoming Daraw sa Pasacao Summer Festival 2006. Activities are all lined up for the occasion including the Machos and Beauties Body Expose/Nunca de Olvidare , a body-painting contest that is scheduled on April 21, 2006 2 p.m. at Magtabid Long Beach Resort. A trade fare of Bicol native handicrafts and delicacies starts on April 14 and will last til the 21st. For infos related to these activities, you may call (054) 513-9496 or mobile phone number (0919) 7983- 807.

I am publishing some photos on a separate post taken at Magtabid Long Beach Resort (the cleanest and most panoramic beachside resort, as my early morning evaluation would prove), hoping it would entice more tourists and visitors to come to Pasacao this summer and experience a place worth the while.