DARAGA CHURCH, MAYON VOLCANO, CAGSAWA RUINS, SOGOD BEACHES
2ND DAY : December 10, 2013 (Tuesday)
As i’ve mentioned in my previous write-up, we had an early day for the whale shark watching. It took half day to finish, and at the end of the activity, we received our certificates. Certificates claiming that we conquered the open sea and encountered the butandings. It was truly an amazing experience. One that goes to your memory bank and stays there forever. For even if we were not able to capture the actual moments we had with these gentle giants, the whole experience will stay in our minds and our hearts for as long as we live. It really happened, one Tuesday morning.
Upon checking out of Amor’s resort, we hit back the road, retracing the towns we passed by upon coming to Donsol. We were heading for the Daraga Church, the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria (Our Lady of the Gate), one of the oldest churches in the province.It was easily located since signs were conveniently placed all over the roads. Tucked along one of the busy streets in Daraga, the way to the church was uphill and narrow. A few turns and the vastness of the whole place and the church itself loomed over us.
We were overwhelmed looking on how big and old it was, when i chance upon the right side of the church, realizing that the mountain i was looking at already was the Mount Mayon herself.
I clicked some shots, but the real pics have to wait since we were going to a much more nearer location after. We went inside the church and paid our respects and prayed.
Few moments of peace, and we all went out to continue to our next tourist spot, the Cagsawa Ruins. But just few steps outside, the rain fell. Not quite strong yet, but small droplets making us run for Sitti’s safe roof. But how can we leave, if there was still some good shots to take especially when the rainbow was just so clearly making an appearance at the sky above us?! Well, we gladly let ourselves soaked for a little while, clicked the shots away, then off we went.
(there’s always a rainbow after the rain! :))
We then proceeded in finding the CAGSAWA RUINS. We will be forever thankful for the signs along the street since it saved us some time in locating the ruins. But still, the rain was pouring and we had to buy some time to wait for the sky to clear up, to be able to have good shots of the place, since this was very known for being one of the highlights in any itineraries here in Bicol. Indeed, it became one of the high points of our trip.
“The Cagsawa Ruins (also spelled as Kagsawa or Cagsaua) are the remnants of an 18th-century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church, built in 1724 and destroyed by the 1814 eruption of the Mayon Volcano. They are located in Barangay Busay, Cagsawa, in the municipality of Daraga, Albay, Philippines. The ruins are roughly 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) away from the summit of the Mayon Volcano.
It was destroyed during the most destructive eruption of the nearby Mayon Volcano in February 1, 1814. The eruption killed an estimated 1,200 people in the surrounding areas and buried the town of Cagsawa (among others) under several hundred million cubic metres of ash. Hundreds of inhabitants of the town of Cagsawa purportedly sought refuge in the church, but were also killed by either pyroclastic flows or lahar. Only the belfry and some parts of the convent survive today,though parts of the crumbling facade were still standing long after the 1814 eruption as attested by photographs. It is believed that the facade of the structure collapsed due to earthquakes in the 1950s.”
The sky suddenly cleared up, showing us the best spot to pose and pose and pose. Backdropping us was the majestic Mayon, in all her glory. One of the locals even commented that we were lucky to see Mount Mayon clearly. There were days, according to her, that clouds covered the whole mountain, hiding her perfect cone shape. We always have the blessings of the Lord, indeed.
And more photos…
Meanwhile, after dinner, we decided to look for resorts in a place called Bacacay, known for its black sand beaches. Actually, black sand beaches extends along the coast of Bacacay, Sto. Domingo and Tiwi in Albay. We chose Bacacay because of its proximity, and preferences of other bloggers. Here’s a pic for a sneak preview:
(brief trivia: Why black sands? It was because of the volcanic ash that came from Mt. Mayon. It was created from the millions of years of natural erosion of volcanic rock, which evolved from ground lava, then became into fine-textured sands. The black sand is usually a little grainy but surprisingly soft. Some people are saying the sand has therapeutic benefits. Well, there’s no harm in believing. )
Meanwhile, it took us time.. more more time, and lots and lots of laughters, before we found a place to sleep in. One, even drove us away but in the end, Kuya Kiko, the caretaker of the Tanchuling hotels, took us in. Along with his dogs, dozen of them, we had a peaceful sleep that night, making the sound of raindrops as our background music.
Ive realized one thing that night… God will not leave you nor forsake you. Even in the darkest times, He will provide. Day in day out, He provided us the good weather, the right people, the right place, the strength and courage to pursue what we went here for. To experience this God-given nature with friends who became more special and dear to me. Thanks Papa God for Pajluv, Benj and Bicol.