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Day 1 - Exploring Albay
Day 2 - Whaleshark Interaction
Day 3 - Survivor Caramoan
Day 4 - Camsur Watersports Complex
Bicol Tour Itinerary
Bicol Tour Expenses

The following day, as much as I wanted the whaleshark interaction to start as early as 6am so we could still have time to catch a view of Mayon before lunch, I couldn't. This was due to the fact that ALL whaleshark boat tours were only given permission to set sail at 8am once the coastguard arrives. Sigh. Besides, the tourism department opened at 7:30am so that was the only time we could register.

To save money, we wanted to look for 3 more people to join our group. We were already 9 but a boat was only allowed to have a maximum of 7 people. So if we had 3 more people, we'd have at least 6 people in each boat to share costs.

However, because of the number of people lining up at the registration and the hassle of finding companions who were already there,  we decided to just hire 2 boats and have 4 people in one and 5 on the other. It was getting late anyway, almost 8:15am, and we hadn't even left yet. We also decided  to rent fins, as advised by our boatman because we would be racing with the butanding, as the whaleshark was locally known.

Before heading out, we were also required to watch a 10-minute video on the dos and don'ts when swimming with the whalesharks.

I was already armed with research on whaleshark interaction. Nothing could surprise me on this tour, or so I thought. I really didn't expect that nearly ALL of the tourists (including me) would be swimming as fast as they could to keep up with the butanding. For a single butanding sighting, maybe 10-15 tourists would swim over it even though the video stated that it should have been only 1 boat interaction per butanding.

Battle for the whalesharks!

I got struck by arms, fins and other body parts as I tried keeping up with more physically fit people than myself. I was truly thankful that our BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) would grab my hand each time we prepared jump in the water and pulled me along towards the whaleshark so I could have a fighting chance against all the other tourists to see these magnificent creatures.

And see them we did, all 7 meters of it. This gentle giant has many white spots on its back  which was mostly what we captured with our underwater camera because of the difficulty in maneuvering in the water. It's a fast swimmer so you really have to put effort in keeping up with it.

The whaleshark, locally known as the Butanding

A remora, attaching itself to the butanding

Still, the experience was spectacular and I wish I could see them up close in clearer water.

At around 11am, we were done with the tour and prepared to leave Vitton Resort to see if we could still catch Mayon unobstructed by clouds. We had a stopover in Jollibee for lunch before we headed for Daraga Church. We were out of luck because this time, only an inch of Mayon was visible. Though disappointed, we still went ahead and visited Cagsawa Ruins, the famous site usually seen in most Mayon postcards. It was once a church but was destroyed and buried when the volcano unleashed its fury in 1814. A cross was erected to commemorate those who sought sanctuary but still perished within its walls.
Daraga Church Bell Tower

Cagsawa Ruins, note the hidden Mayon behind it
 Next, we returned to Lignon Hill to see if the Japanese war tunnel was now accessible and to our delight, it was. So we crouched low and entered the tunnel, pausing on designated photo areas where life size, wooden, Japanese soldiers were stationed.

Daraga Church interior

A closer look

We had no other stops after this so we decided to drop by Tabaco mall to buy souveneirs. Charles wanted to see the "tabak", a knife made by locals from where the town got its name. Contrary to popular belief, the town did not get it's name from the word "Tabacco".

Daraga Church

Japanese Tunnel

Old Typewriter

By this time, it was getting dark so to wrap up the day, we decided to check in at our hotel in Casa Eugenia.

I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone planning to visit Albay. For Php 2200, we got a unit good for four people but the rooms inside were further separated for more privacy. Each room was airconditioned, had a closet and drawer. We also had a sala with electric fan where the cable tv was located, a kitchen, a refrigerator, a phone and a bathroom.

We also had free breakfast for 8 people (because we got 2 rooms) which I requested to turn into dinner instead because we would be leaving very early at 4am the next day. The dining room was one floor below our room and was quite elegant with uniformed waiters and a long table and even goblets. But then, it was also quite funny because our dinner was corned beef, eggs and orange juice.

Back in our room, I remembered that we still had our cooked sea snails. Judith gave these to us during our sea urchin tour and we had this cooked (boiled) at Vitton resort. Using toothpicks we got from the dining room, Charles showed me how to pick the snails from the shells and eat them. It tasted like crabs. He said that in La Union, they called it kalwit.

So that was the end of our second day in Albay.


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