Yet again, this trip started with a random conversation, an innocent invitation–basically just another excuse to travel. What do kaladkarins (kaladkarin= drag; personified) do? We say yes, most, if not all, the time!
And so we found ourselves catching the last trip to Daet one night, without any specific itinerary in mind. We know we have someone in the place, and we’ll take it from there.
Travelers have an imperative itch to just go. Where and how– doesn’t really matter much.



The Batcave

Yellow Hacienda de Epino

Imagine eating a banana after a home-cooked meal picked fresh from its branches– that’s how organic it has been the entire stay in this house in Paracale. It breathes nature, fresh, basic. A retreat. A mini shutdown. That freezing cold water after an intense badminton set.

Terminal
Cubao Philtranco | Superlines

A 12-hour seating marathon to Talobatib, Labo, Camarines Norte imposes that you go at night just so you can sleep the whole trip away.

We arrived at sunrise and headed directly to an undiscovered beach that might just pass as the next Calaguas.

Places Only in Camarines Norte

Pulang Daga

Pulang Daga– “red soil” in their local vernacular; named after the red earth that naturally comes out after mining the mountain for gold


Sinagtala

The pool water in Sinagtala Park is from the running river, the facilities though are privately maintained.

We should start labeling our places in Filipino, don’t you think?

This is the river where we bathed just like the Maria Claras of the olden times. Water current was strong, cold, and rushing. We took advantage of the free “natural” massage as we sat on the submerged boulders.

The Experience 

Kabihug Tribe Ritual

We were told that the Kabihugs gathered to perform a ritual for a tribesman’s death that day. They do the same for other momentous events between lives and deaths. The older people formed a circle, chanted in prayer, drank, smoked, and sang some more. I didn’t understand a word, but the culture and traditions were still so palpable in this group despite open exposure to non-tribal guests like us. 
I went to Bicol without a clue that I’ll be checking a bucket list item to immerse in a tribe just like that. Spontaneity and surprises– keep us alive and in check.

An old woman passed out after the hardcore gin-drinking part of the ritual. It’s expected they say. It happens.
Young Kabihugs in a tricycle– Culture and Technology

The Ride

Carabao ride

Riding a carabao is one very reachable thing to do that I haven’t done. When opportunity came, I definitely did not shy away! I wanted for the life of experience to be on the most hardworking animal’s back! or cart if you must.
It was a rough and slow transport, and pitiful to see the mammal, without a pinch of complain, drag us to the mountain. It was conscience-striking, consciousness-changing, yes.

Gold Mining Boat

It’s thought-provoking what happens on this boat. There’s what looks like a make-shift mining machine that processes the gold that they get from the underwater. There were big values that I heard–assuming trading numbers. Then there were more questions in my mind that came after, summarized in W’s.

Going back to the provinces, other than the solace a long trip brings, is a metaphor to going back to origins and roots. Life is basic, simple, uncorrupted. People are genuine, unmasked.

This is certainly one reason why I continue on this travelthon. Going places is a real life reminder. We live not to make a living. We make a living to make our life.

Make sure to remind yourself that whenever you travel.