It’s been 2 years when I traveled down south and it was my first ever travel experience to set foot in Bicol Region and I can’t tell how happy I am though there is not much difference with other provinces that I’ve been into but there’s something reminds me of this trip that wanting me to go back again and again.
The reason why I am so excited to go as far as the Bicol Region is that I wanted to see the place maybe because I had this so-called blood connection and that you know that you belong and had the feeling of live there once or you are the re-incarnated for a mission or for a greater purpose just like in the movies, books or novels.
My grandmother is a native of Lucena City as my father would tell me but he had never got a chance to take us there and as a kid you wanted to see how the place look like or wanted to get to know your relatives there.
Sad to say when we traveled to Iriga City back and forth it was night-time so I never see the place but all darkness if not I’m sleeping on the bus because of 10 hours travel time from Manila to Bicol and vice-versa.
The real story that I wanted to tell you is our journey to Iriga City, Camarines Sur where my first ever mountaineering club (O’dd TrEE) joined the Tabang Asog Project which means Help Asog through Read-Along & School Outreach, Community Service, Medical and Dental Mission, as well as a Tree Planting and Clean-up drive in Mt. Asog also known as Mt. Iriga.
A little history of Mt. Asog and why it is called “Tabang”.
Mt. Asog, also known as Mt. Iriga, is an old volcano in the Bicol Region. Although it is outshine by the world-famous Mt. Mayon to the south and the higher, grander Mt. Isarog to the north, it possesses its own charms.
For one, the views at the peaks (yes, plural) are breathtaking, offering a view of Mt. Mayon, Mt. Malinao, at Mt. Masaraga on the south; and even a distant Catanduanes southeast. Knife-edged slopes characterize the contour of this mountain, especially in the Buhi side.
Mt. Asog has a colorful history. It was name after an ancient datu (chieftain) of the Agtas named Asog, who reigned over the region. Sometimes it is also called Mt. Sumagang, which means “Mountain of the Rising Sun“.
A climb to Mt. Asog is usually combined with a Mt. Isarog expedition; this maximizes a mountaineering trip to the Bicol region. From Naga, you can take a bus to Iriga City. Transport options vary depending on the trail you will take.
The Ilian trail requires just a tricycle/jeep ride to the jump-off where you may go ahead to the town of Buhi for the alternative trail via Brgy. Cabatuan. Both trails are suitable although the latter is a more extensive exploration, using the Esplana campsite as a ‘base’, from which you can explore the Dead Crater on the first day and the summit on the next.
On your way down, you can use Brgy. Santiago which is closer to Iriga City; or Brgy. San Roque in Buhi.
Me setting foot off to Bicol Region for the first time is unforgettable one and hope that I can go back and visit the famous perfect cone shape Mt. Mayon Volcano of Legazpi City, Albay.
As I said earlier, this blog is about my first journey to the Bicol Region home of Bicol Express. Destination, Iriga City, Camarines Sur where we joined the biggest gathering of mountaineers, hiking enthusiasts, outdoor addicts etc that I ever joined so far.
I like the idea that we are helping through community services while traveling different places that’s why I made sure that I was able to join the said event.
I wanted others to understand why being on the outback is awesome and the life of a backpacker is great.
Trivia: Iriga City is also the home town of Philippine’s one and only Superstar, my mom’s all time favorite “Nora Aunor”.
For complete stories of our journey click here.
Resources: Wikimapia and http://silentpal.wordpress.com Photo Credits: Bebeboi Uzi, AB and Dingdong.
- Remembering Tabang Asog Project in Iriga City, Camarines Sur (silentpal.wordpress.com)