Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Majestic Mayon

I was not feeling very well recently but I had to go on official travel to Legazpi City. It's my first time to the city and the first thing I wanted to see was the majestic Mayon Volcano. I asked to be seated on the last row, window side of the PAL flight so I could get an unobstructed view. It was an early morning flight and Mayon showed its beauty. It turned out to be my last sighting of the volcano. After landing and in the two days I was in the city, clouds veiled the beautiful volcano from dawn till dusk. In contrast, my officemates who traveled there after me were shown its full glory almost the whole duration of their travel. They chide me with what they say the locals said - if it's your first time in Legazpi and you get to see Mayon, it means you're kind-hearted. I tell them I got to see it early on while on the plane.

I always try to observe the local culture in all places I visit. I noticed that Legazpi is a very clean city and the people are not snooty at all. At the airport, I met a friend who is now a doctor and reproduction health expert. He said his group is targeting the males in their population control campaign. The area, he said, has a low population control penetration. I remember the reports, when the volcano was threatening another eruption and people had to be evacuated, that couples often made excuses to return to their houses so they can have conjugal time. This place known for hot and spicy food really has a hot population. Gabriel Garcia Marquez could write another magical realist novel "Love in the time of volcanic eruption".

As I expected, the food was hot and spicy. I had dinner at Sibid-sibid. It's a great seafood house and many dishes are based in gata (coconut milk). I was not feeling very well and thankfully the spicy-hot food helped unclog the stuffy nostrils. Their version of the tuna Bicol Express was a unique experience.

Then a very friendly tricycle driver, noticing the backpack and my unfamiliarity with the city, asked me if I had seen the sights. I told him not yet but I intend to. He said Legazpi has many beautiful sights in the day and also at night. Anticipating what he was up to, I told him I'm not interested but he continued to describe to me his girls and the corresponding prices. Still, no dice.

After just brief glimpses of the marvelous Mayon and just few samplings of the local fare, Mayon deserves another visit. I will be back.

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