Bicol Homecoming

Bicol is one of the aggressive tourist destinations in the country today. The boost of Caramoan Peninsula, the CWC wakeboarding, the perfectly shaped cone Mt. Mayon, Sorsogon’s butanding encounter (whale shark) and the feast of Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia to name a few of the top spots in Bicol.

Hindi lahat nakakalam, but I lived in Bicol for three years, which is in Bula. The town of Bula is historically considered as one of the first four towns of Camarines Sur founded by the Spanish conquistadores when they set foot on the Bicol soil coming from the Visayas, 1576. Bula is approximately 25 kilometers southwest of Naga City.

The common source of living in Bula is through farming. Aside from mountains, I also love farms. Naalala ko pa nong nagbakasyon ako for three months, naligo kami sa ulan and pumunta kami sa bukiran! Ang saya!

Bula_Farm

But when I came back to Manila and had my studies here, we usually just visit Bicol once in a year. Usually it was during summer when our town fiesta is being held.

Since my Aunt needs to accompany my grandparents to Bicol, I asked her if I can come with them. She said yes as long as I can book a promo ticket. Good thing, an airline had a 50% off promo 1 month before the travel date. So I booked tickets for four and we’re set to visit home!

It was my first time to visit Bicol by plane, and the ride took only for an hour. It was more convenient compared to the usual 8 hour bus ride. And here’s how the Naga airport looked like from the grounds. Although the airport is named after Naga, it is actually located in the provincial capital, Pili.

Naga Airport

Our relatives were already waiting for us when we came out from the airport building. We asked for a service from our relatives since we had our grandparents with us and we had pieces of baggage. (TIP: There are tour/travel services outside the terminal (you can negotiate and ask for the rates) but if you’re on a budget and have your own itinerary, there are also tricycles out there that can take you to Pili or at the highway).

It took us an hour to get to our town. We passed by Pili then Bula. The road on our town is still the same or worse compared to the last time I’ve been here. It’s a rough road, so good luck kapag nasa jeep at trike ka, puro ka na alikabok! Para kaming nag 4×4 ride! 😉

Bula_Roughroad

When we got to our house, nandun na ung mga relatives namin waiting. There are new faces in the family and the old faces are still the same! Parang kailan lang! 😉

After hours of kwentuhan and kumustahan, me and my Tita decided to go to SM Naga to buy some grocery items and try the famous toasted siopao in Naga City (namiss daw nya!).

From Pili, there are jeeps bound to Naga City. Estimated travel time is 1 hour or less.

SM City Naga is located in CBD II, Brgy. Triangulo, Naga City, Camarines Sur, Philippines. It is the first SM Supermall in the Bicol Region. The mall opened the doors to the public last May 1, 2009. According to my cousin, it was the biggest provincial SM daw. SM City Naga is now one of the biggest landmarks in the City.

SM Naga City

Since we’re already bit tired and had no time to go elsewhere (pero wala naman kaming ginawa kundi bumiyahe), and the main branch for Naga Restaurant is still located at the downtown, we just had our snack here at SM. Good thing SM food court has a stall which sells toasted siopao (SM branch ng Naga Restaurant?). Naga Restaurant is famous for toasted siopao and mami, which my Aunt craved for.

SM Naga_Interior

Before it gets dark, we accomplished everything that we needed to do, ayun ay ang mag grocery lang! Hehehe! Before we left, I took a view of the fields and building from the SM parking area.

View from SM Naga Parking

We arrived home at 8:00 PM. On our way, traveling on the rough road of Bula, ang lamig sa daan, at scary because walang lights and puro fields pa on the both side of the road. And there are hearsay that there are kapre and white lady along the road. Buti na lang, wala kaming na encounter. By the way, thanks to the couple who gave us a ride since the last tricycle ride is already packed.

After we had our dinner, we went to Sagrada. It’s Sagrada’s week long fiesta clebration and there are local perya and Kantura at night. It was a tradition to have these during the celebration, and there’s also baylehan (sayawan) on the 3 nights until the date of Fiesta.

Perya. It’s fun and it’s cheap! Though it was cheap, I still set a limit on how much to spend.

The first thing that comes to my mind whenever I go to local perya is the color game. But there are kids surrounding the game area so we passed this one and just grabbed a seat and played bingo! The game is usual, there’s a set of patterns that need to be played, though there are no cards, but boards. The bingo cards are already written and set at the boards. You have no choice, kung san ka umupo, yun ang card mo. 🙂

Perya_Bingo

No luck in Bingo so we transferred to another game. I don’t know how it was called but the game is very enticing. You need to select a country on the boards and put your bet on it. Then someone will toss the ball at the center, and wherever country the ball stops and get steady wins. For every peso, the winning prize is PHP 20.00. My aunt is very lucky. She won numerous times, so humihingi na lang kami ng pantaya! 😉

Perya (1)

We took a glimpse on the game besides this one. There are no people playing so we tried it. It’s like the other one, but you’ll put your bet on the board with indicated number and a prize that you want. Then wherever number the light stops, that number wins.

Perya (2)

Again, we had no luck, so we’ve decided to check out the Kantura at the chapel as it was already past 9:00 PM, it should be starting by now.

Kantura. The only thing I knew about this before is, it was a tradition during local fiesta where the girls are formed in circle and singing in front of the chapel / church. The song is in Latin and they also switch places which I don’t know why.

But when I researched online (which really gave me a hard time), I’ve learned that on some parts of Bicol, it was called Dotoc.

Kantura (1)

“Dotoc is a devotional practice for the veneration of the Holy Cross. The performance involves the singing of a text by women cantors called paradotoc, who journey as pilgrims to the Holy Land to visit the Holy Cross. The text has various forms with varying narratives and manner of performance.  The performances are produced or sponsored by the entire community who contribute money, time, and effort for them.

The performance venue is both outdoors and indoors, using the whole street leading to the chapel, the chapel itself, going towards the chapel. The place are bedecked with flowers and festoons, and sometimes with plants and shrubs of different kinds. The decorations are different each night of the novenario.” – bicolarts.blog.friendster.com
Kantura (2)

And by reading that context, the word cantors made me realized why the tradition has been called Kantura. Cantor is the Latin word for singer while Cantus could be Kantura. Cantus in European countries is an activity organised by Belgian, Dutch, French, Baltic and Afrikaans student organisations and fraternities. A cantus mainly involves singing traditional songs and drinking beer. It is governed by strict traditional rules.

Kantura (3)

It’s good that despite of the modern culture and living that we had, there are still such place that maintains and nourishes the culture and traditions from the past. I hope this culture and values will be continued and kept for new generations to come.

After the Kantura, we went home then slept early, as we have a day tour activity the next day! 😉

The Sunrise. What I usually anticipates in places that I’ve been to is to capture the sunrise and sunset. So how’s the sunrise? Simply beautiful. A new beautiful day!

Bula_Sunrise (1)

A view like this feels like I’m on a Nescafe coffee commercial. 🙂

Mount Mayon from afar can also be seen from our house. And that’s where we’re going to today!

Bula_Sunrise (2)

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15 Responses

  1. jojie says:

    tnx poh sa mga images and photos…para marami namn ang makakita ng ganda sa bicol…lalo na sa sagrada upper every fiesta…kc lagi aqng nandon pag may 22g2gan ng kantura,,

  2. jojie says:

    tnx poh sa mga images and photos…para marami namn ang makakita ng ganda sa bicol…lalo na sa sagrada upper every fiesta…kc lagi aqng nandon pag may 22g2gan ng kantura,,

  3. marxtermind says:

    @Kura, thanks! Balik ako ng Bula this May! Hehehe! 😉

  4. marxtermind says:

    @Kura, thanks! Balik ako ng Bula this May! Hehehe! 😉

  5. I agree with jeff.. prang painting nga yung last.. Ang galing mo. minsan talaga kailangan isakripisyo ang magandang tulog para ganyang kagandang view. worth it! =) Namiss ko ang perya. Hobby ko din yan dati nung bata pa ko. bago yung drop ball ah – yung flags. Dati rati kulay lang yun e.

    meron akong tito na taga diyan e sa Bula. Guamos yung mga apelyido nila.

  6. I agree with jeff.. prang painting nga yung last.. Ang galing mo. minsan talaga kailangan isakripisyo ang magandang tulog para ganyang kagandang view. worth it! =) Namiss ko ang perya. Hobby ko din yan dati nung bata pa ko. bago yung drop ball ah – yung flags. Dati rati kulay lang yun e.

    meron akong tito na taga diyan e sa Bula. Guamos yung mga apelyido nila.

  7. marxtermind says:

    @Jeffz, Thanks, inagahan ko talaga gising para makuha yan! Hehehe!

    @Chyng, Hindi naman, kasi last time yung mga kumanta may asawa na eh…

    @thepinaysolobackpacker, yup I lived in Bicol for 3 years, taga dun kasi Mama ko and my lola (From Father side) is sa Donsol naman! 😉

  8. marxtermind says:

    @Jeffz, Thanks, inagahan ko talaga gising para makuha yan! Hehehe!

    @Chyng, Hindi naman, kasi last time yung mga kumanta may asawa na eh…

    @thepinaysolobackpacker, yup I lived in Bicol for 3 years, taga dun kasi Mama ko and my lola (From Father side) is sa Donsol naman! 😉

  9. wow! taga Bicol ka din pala? 🙂
    kakatuwa yung Kantura, yun ang isa sa mga events na nakaka miss sa Bicol ata ang perya! panalo! madalas ako maglaro ng ganyan date. ang ganda nung huling photo w Mayon sa likod.
    can;t tell you how much I love this post. I always like reading homecoming posts lalo na pag sa probinsya ang topic at sa Bicol.:)

  10. Chyng says:

    ang galing ng tradition. gusto ko din makaexperience nyan. parang inaalay yung mga dalagita sa church? parang pagpapari..

  11. Chyng says:

    ang galing ng tradition. gusto ko din makaexperience nyan. parang inaalay yung mga dalagita sa church? parang pagpapari..

  12. JeffZ says:

    I've always loved the farm life.. yan ang gusto kong ipundar when I retire.. 🙂

    nice shot of cloud formation and the last shot.. whoah.. parang painting lang.. what a sunset view 😀

  13. JeffZ says:

    I've always loved the farm life.. yan ang gusto kong ipundar when I retire.. 🙂

    nice shot of cloud formation and the last shot.. whoah.. parang painting lang.. what a sunset view 😀

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