* Legaspi: Home of natural wonders

Gestart door Kano, dinsdag 15 februari 2011, 13:29:14

Vorige topic - Volgende topic



Manila Bulletin February 15, 2011

Bicol beckons. So, when the Philippine Network of Environmental Journalists invited me to join the trip to Albay with several provincial and Manila-based reporters, I immediately accepted the offer.

I had to fly all the way from Davao to Manila and then to Legaspi for the three-day gathering, whose main objective was to explore the Albay experience in championing climate change under the leadership of Governor Joey S. Salceda.

After all, the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has named Gov. Salceda as "Senior Champion" of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

It was under Gov. Salceda's administration that the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Office came into existence. It was created primarily to serve as the technical and administrative arm of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council due to the geographic and geologic location of the province highly vulnerable to various types of natural hazards like typhoons, flood, mud/debris flows, storm surges, tsunami, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. As a result, the objective of "zero casualty" was attained.

I learned so many things about what Gov. Salceda is doing for his constituents. He is one of a kind. If only there are eight governors like him in the country, the Philippines will never be the same again. For instance, his mantra on climate change actions and reactions are being directed at reducing poverty.

"Adaptation begins with disaster risk management," Gov. Salceda pointed out. "Mitigation is integral to environment protection. All four (climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, environmental protection and climate change mitigation) must reduce poverty."

During my three-day stay in Legaspi (we were billeted at Hotel Veniza, just five minutes away from the airport), I also learned so many things about the beauty of the city. For instance, I came to know that Albay's regional center was named after Miguel López de Legazpi, the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Philippine islands in 1565, and whose family name came from Legazpi, a town in Guipuzcoa, Spain.

One of its majestic attractions is Mayon Volcano. Also known as Mount Mayon, it is considered the world's "perfect cone" because of its almost symmetrically conical shape. Local folklore calls it Bulkang Magayon, after the legendary heroine Daragang Magayon (Bicol words for "beautiful lady").

In 2008, Mount Mayon was included among the New Seven Wonders of Nature. Unfortunately, it did not make the cut to the Top 25 finalists, giving way to Puerto Princesa's Subterranean River.

Mount Mayon is one of the country's active volcanoes. It has erupted several times. But the most memorable eruption was in 1814, which devastated the surrounding communities. Some 1,200 people sought sanctuary in the nearby Cagsawa Church, thinking that they would be saved from the fury of Mayon volcano. All of them died.

Only the Cagsawa church belfry remains today. Cagsawa Ruins Park — as it is now known and managed by the Daraga municipal government — is one of the most visited places in the area. Entrance fee is only P10 per person. At the entrance of the park, you will find a wide variety of souvenir shops and stalls which showcase native products and handicrafts. A wide selection of T-shirts with native scenes and designs are also available.

Cagsawa Ruins Park is approximately eight kilometers away from the Legaspi central business district. Folklore states that originally Cagsawa was derived from the word "kag" meaning owner and "sawa" meaning python. Kagsawa could also mean excesses or too much.

If Cagsawa Ruins Park is too far for you to visit, then you may opt to go to the Lignon Hill, located behind Albay Park and Wildlife. The hill is also one of the best places to view Mount Mayon and is the first tourist attraction that is accessible from the airport.

On top of the hill is an observatory operated by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which we had the opportunity of visiting as part of our tour. "Long and winding roads are carved for the locals to get an astounding view of the city and entire countryside plus a great view of Mount Mayon," wrote Ives Domopoy, who was born in Albay. "Climbing the hill for half an hour is worth it with all the awesome views that beckon from this vantage point."
The hill stands 156 meter (511 feet) tall. Its summit offers a breathtaking 360 degree view of the City of Legazpi, the deep blue Albay Gulf, nearby towns and islands, and of course the majestic Mayon Volcano.

On our last night, we had our dinner at The Embarcadero, the city's newest attraction. Also dubbed as the "The Sunwest Wharf," it is a world-class waterfront promenade located at the harbor area of the city near the fascinating Kapuntukan Hill (Sleeping Lion).

Embarcadero comprises retail, restaurants, markets, a major civic space and landmark lighthouse, with a future waterfront hotel and spa. Embarcadero will "activate" the waterfront creating an attractive and vibrant focus for the city's leisure and lifestyle activities.

Other places of interest in Legazpi, which we failed to visit include the Japanese Tunnel (which was used as an arsenal during   World War II; it measures 40 meters long and around 7 feet deep), Magayon Art Gallery (at the lobby of the Albay Provincial Capitol), Legazpi City Museum (the only public museum in the Bicol region), and Bicol Heritage Park (where you can find the statue of General Simeon A. Ola).

Legaspi is also a convenient embarkation point to other tourist destinations in the region such as the upscale resort of Misibis, Donsol (the site of one of the world's largest annual migration of whale sharks), and the white sand beaches of Sorsogon and Catanduanes.

For pasalubong, don't forget to buy pili nuts and T-shirts (with the words oragon, which means "one with guts and creativity"). Try also native delicacies like inasal na sira (grilled fish) and Bicol Express, a spicy dish with coconut cream.

Legaspi City can be reached by air. With a runway of 2,280 meters, Legaspi Airport is capable of handling international aircrafts. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific has 3 flights each daily from Manila. Cebu Pacific's third flight route is Manila-Legaspi-Cebu.

Legaspi can also be reached through land transport (by bus) from Manila in about 10 hours, two hours less if the new Andaya Highway route is taken. More than 10 bus companies operate daily transport to and from Manila to Legaspi.

Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/304410/legaspi-home-of-natural-wonders
Daar waar de regenboog eindigt daar zal ik nooit komen totdat ik daar ooit zal zijn