I woke up early as I have to catch the boat going to Catanauan, Quezon. The beautiful family I am staying with were already up and I saw fire coming from the small outside kitchen they have. They are already heating water for coffee. I found more coffee packs inside my backpack so I gave them all the remaining 3-in-1s I have. We had coffee and bread before I finally said good-bye. It was a sad one as I really wanted to stay and to learn more of copra farming. I asked if I could take a photo of their family so I won’t forget them. They are shy because they said they haven’t took a bath yet. It’s okay as I didn’t took a bath too. People won’t be able to smell us in the photo anyway. As I left I saw their little girl playing with the goat and I found it weird but that was her toy, that was her place- the farm and I appreciated the simple joys of those living off the grid, those who live life as simple as possible. I hope many would see and experience that the raw living in provincial too.
Ronron trekked down with me to the boarding area to Quezon, the Mongpong strait was rarely flat but this time of the year the ride was smooth. Summer is the perfect time to explore the Philippines because the seas are calmer. It only took me an hour and I saw the boat already navigating the wide river of Catanauan, Quezon Province, small stilt houses began to dot the river banks and I was perked up with the sight. I did a short stop-over to Gumaca to meet some friends before I headed out to Naga City. Gumaca’s old church is undeniably beautiful too. It was actually the oldest church in Tayabas, Quezon’s former name. I also checked out their plaza and the huge garrison called Fort San Diego near the bay. I believe this town has been heavily raided during the Moro slave trade during the 18th century.
Anyway, I wanted to thank the beautiful sisters Aggy and Jasmine for the lunch at Kapitbahay before I took a bus to what I call “The Land of Silis and Coconut Milk” actually it is better to say it in my local tongue, “Sa Lupain ng mga Sili’t Gata.”
The bus ride took five hours and I wasn’t able to sleep because if the bad roads in Camarines Norte and Sur, they were times that the words “are we there yet?” ran through my head. Imagine I have been on the road for the a month already yet I still have this impatience of getting to the destination and not enjoying the journey. Or maybe because was looking forward for the special accommodation that Avenue Plaza Hotel prepared for me. They contacted me while I was still preparing this personal journey and told me that they are willing to accommodate me for a night in their luxurious hotel in the heart of Magsaysay Ave, one of the busiest street in Naga.
I showed up at the front door- battered, tired, dirty and smelly because of no bath for the past 36 hours. I was given a card key to my de luxe room and offered a refreshing pink lemonade. I saw the room and it was heaven- clean white sheets, dimmed lights, cool headboard, fast wifi connection, hot shower, fresh towels and a view of the pool below. From a simple sahig (wooden floor) to a classy hotel room, what a contrast of experience in less than 24 hours?
Heavenly feeling at Avenue Plaza Hotel, Naga City
I didn’t eat lunch and was contended with the fruits served beside my bed. At night, friends in Naga City invited me for some coffee and chitchats. I really wanted to spend more time with Apple, Allison and Sheryl but my body was longing for that soft bed at Avenue Plaza so I went back and snoozed off. ZZZzzz…
Route: Mongpong Islang – Catanauan, Quezon, – Gumaca – Naga City
Expenses for Today: Php543
100- mompong to catanauan (passenger boat)
10- tricycle to terminal
90- catanauan to gumaca (local non-AC bus)
335- gumaca to naga (AC Bus)
8- naga to avenue plaza hotel (jeepney)