I remember one night, just a year ago, my lola and I are having some serious life lessons conversation type, then she was back at it again with the usual comparison of my life and her younger years life. She’ll always tell me how her hometown had taught her to live in simplicity because it’s surroundings has all that it’s have to be thankful and appreciate life at it’s fullest. She was raised and lived in the beautiful island of Catanduanes, and it has been a childhood dream to step my feet on that God-breathed place.
Catanduanes is an island found in the southwest Luzon and considered as part of the Bicol region in the Philippines. It is known as the door of the country to different typhoons that may enter the country. Geographically speaking, the surroundings of Catanduanes can be classified as typhoon-proof because even if it is an island facing the Pacific Ocean it is covered and protected by long mountain ranges that will serve as the shield of our country to different strong typhoons. Inspite of this, you are going to fall in love with the island once you had arrived there.
Going to Catanduanes is a dream come true for me. I haven’t gone there ever since I was a child even if it is my mother’s birthplace, I was so unlucky back then because I have the travel sickness that I have just overcome going up. Thanks to the family reunion that made the province as a venue, we are able to gaze at it’s wonder, talk to some relatives and explore the root of our ancestors and the place they had been. The long drive, that I am definitely enjoying, is all worth it even if it a leg-numbing experience.
For our first day in Catanduanes, we had the opportunity to wander some of it’s hidden gem. We had gone to the capital town, Virac to buy some pasalubong, the province is known for it’s broom made from abaca, some other handcrated abaca stuffs and the very tasty Pili nuts. We also manage to gone through the port of Virac, my cousins tried to swam there. They are totally enjoying the freebies of the sea and waves.
After that we went to Luyang Cave, which is found along the highway of San Vicente. Unlike my first experience of caving, inside has a really guided trail, inside you can see different stalagmite and stalactite, sleeping fruit bats, water falling from the top, and some deep excavation. It was told that the cave had served as a hiding place during the time of war. Passing through the cave is like passing to the road upward. It was afterall an experience even if it is not that challenging. I am expecting for some crawling and rolling so sad for me.
In the afternoon, we had one of my favorite activity even if I am the clumsiest person ever created; trekking, river crossing, chasing waterfalls. We went to Hicming Falls. On our way there, we lost our way, no, we don’t know the way so we asked the locals where it was located and some answered as tricky directions that end us up on the top of the mountain, with very narrow road and very deep cliff; the road doesn’t have very secure railings. In the end of course we had found it through the help of some youngsters, there is a language barrier though, they are talking Bicol we aspeak Tagalog, but as Paolo Coelho said, let the language of nature speaks and we enjoy the solitude of Hicming Falls.
I always love the idea of trekking and chasing waterfalls. It’s can be compared to life because no matter what hardship you may encounter. You may slip while hiking you may be sprained but in the en you’ll find solemnity by gazing at the wonders of nature. The sound of water rushing from the mountain shouts tranquility.
For our second day, we had attended the grand family reunion with the clan of Ceballo, my lola’s roots. It is a total struggle because they feel like talking like aliens, they are talking Bicol and my cousins and I can’t understand a thing, as for me I understand some words, just words. Total nose bleed, I really should learn it soon cause I want to come back. We had manage to get to know some relatives. It feels like we are long lost.
The venue of the reunion is at Panganiban, Catanduanes, and we are staying at Virac. We need to travel three hours to get there. The jaunt is really enjoyable, you can see the awestruck beauty of the island. The road we are heading is surrounded by cliffs, and it feels like going up and descending from the mountain. We also see some rivers that has many palm trees and wide plains and rice fields.
Our last day is a total last because it’s beaching time. We checked in at one of the place’s finest beach famous of it’s white sand, Twin Rocks Resort. We are totally enjoying the dryson (dry season) in the country by having the what they called Vitamin Sea. We swam at the morning and at lunch time during low tide we had managed to explore some little islands by walking in the seashore, it just feels so sinful to walk or slipped in the fishes habitat. I’m too clumsy that is why I feel like committing a sin stepping unto coral reefs. I’m totally sorry. That is why I prefer the mountain side. The sea brings tranquility tho.
I realize that it also feels great to enjoy the sea and the island life. I am not fond of beaches and swimming activity because I’m a little bit scared of water. I know how to swim, but not enough for survival, just the swimming pool time of skills, and I am afraid to drown. In the sea when you fall there is nothing to keep you alive, nothing to hold on unlike in mountains you just need some survival skill. Some life hacks. This is my opinion.
This getaway is sobrang bitin because I want to get to know more of the island so I just promise myself that I need to go back there. I had to. That was the place my ancestors came from to begin with. Add the fact that, the place had many things to fall in love with.