Skip to main content

Exploring the Beauty of a City in Progress - Naga City, Bicol, Philippines

On November 26, 2011, me, my wife and two of our friends traveled by airplane to the eastern side of the country. It was only a one hour travel to reach Naga City in the province of Bicol, Philippines. At Cebu Pacific, our flight became so relaxing and the cloud’s beauty surrounding us 15,000 feet above truly bring us the excitement and amazement. At about 12 noon, we landed safely at Pili Airport in Naga City. From there onwards, it was all about exploring a city that is almost similar to the life in Manila but far more different in terms of the nature’s beauty, culture of people and varieties of tourist destinations.

On the Photos: Our Cebu Pacific Flight Highlights (Terminal to Terminal)












From Pili Airport, we rented a pedicab (bicycle with side car) going to the main highway where buses and jeepneys headed to Naga City proper are passing by. It was like reminiscing your childhood while riding on the pedicab and breathing the sweet air being exhaled by the plants and trees along the way. That was how Naga City welcomed us that day. We then take the bus going to the main city together with some passengers whom from their carriages and custumes can be distinguished as the true native "Bicolanos".

The bus runs too fast as if not only us are excited but also the whole of Naga community is also waiting to welcome another batch of tourists who will explore their very own holistic and lovely place. Naga City is home to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, Filipino catholic’s religious image symbolizing their strong faith and love for religious traditions. Our 30 minutes ride brought us to the main city terminal. It was our first time to taste Bicol express, a hot and spicy dish where Bicol is very famous about, right on the territory of the Bicolanos.

On the Photo: Naga City Main Terminal




We then rode on a tricycle, Philippines’ convenient and unique transport vehicle aside from the jeepney, going to Peñafrancia Basilica and National Shrine in barangay Balatas. This is where we discovered Bicol’s diocese subdivisions. After taking photos, we headed next to Naga’s most attractive spot, the public market. As a general information, public markets in the Philippines are the real trade venues of every town, city and province’s original products. And what’s also authentic to Naga and the whole of Bicol is the pili nut (from where Pili Airport could have been named after). Pack on different styles and jar sizes, this sweetened nut delicacy is what actually bring us here. And so we buy a lot of pili nuts at Naga public market.

For about an hour, we explored more the whole market and we observed that there are bread shops on almost every street corner. Bayong (handicraft bag), pancit bato (specialty noodle only made from barangay Bato in Naga) and lots of delicacies and authentic meals most of which are our first time to see (especially the toasted Siopao – this is delicious and weird) are what made our first day complete - and fully amazed.


On the Photos: Visit to Peñafrancia Basilica and National Shrine








On the Photos: Pili Nuts and Pancit Bato at Naga City Public Market








At about pass four o’clock in the afternoon, we then look for the best inn to relax. We luckily found Sampaguita Tourist Inn, one of the best and most affordable hostels in the city. We check in and we were so amazed with this view from the fourth floor where our chosen room was located. After two hours of rest, we then decided to take our dinner. We went to Naga Garden Restaurant, a mysterious restaurant along the road where we passed by earlier going to the inn. Dinner is served and that was simply our best meal ever at Naga City. I eat special mami, sizzling kinunot (white shark meat with chili) and of course another Bicol express recipe, the Laing. It was so memorable eating together in one of the Bicol’s finest restaurants in terms of authenticity of cuisines and hospitable welcome of the restaurant staffs.


On the Photo: Sampaguita Tourist Inn




On the Photo: Foods Serve at Naga Garden Restaurant




What made everything unusually funny was that on our airplane trip to Bicol, the Philippines Basketball Association’s (PBA) commissioner and staffs was there with us. I’m only seeing him on TV during PBA games and now he’s here about two seats away from me. I asked one of his crews about who are scheduled to play that day. He said that the Petron Blaze and the Meralco Bolts are scheduled to play in Naga City Coliseum that day. Basketball, basketball, basketball! Who would dare not to watch a live PBA game? And so immediately after our sizzling hot dinner, we wave our hands for a tricycle and request the driver to bring us to the basketball arena. For 100 pesos only, we happened to watch the best of Philippines basketball teams. Petron Blaze won by one point. It was an ouch for me as I’m a fan of Meralco’s Macmac Cardona. After the game, which was at around 9pm, we headed back to the inn. We spend the evening watching cable TV programs with some finger foods we bought from the public market.


On the Photo: PBA Game at Naga City Coliseum




Sunny morning greeted us on November 27, our second day on this Bicol tour. Naga City is in Camarines Sur, Philippines. If this is your first time to hear Camarines Sur, then this might be your first time to know CamSur Water Sports Complex or CWC. This man-made sports and recreational park is what made Camarines Sur as one of the most progressive provinces in the Philippines today. The province is also famous for the Caramoan Islands, Mount Isarog Hot Spring and Falls and the Peñafrancia Festival. We traveled there by bus, then by pedicab and then everything was a big WOW! They call it wakeboarding. This is where CWC is very well-known for. Foreigners are there with their wakeboards or simply surfing boards with a twist. Wake boarders hold a rope attach to a circular rope system similar to that of cable cars. From that setup is how they can manage to flip in the air and land in acrobatic fashion on the water. It was fun to watch them and there is an element of surprise on every acrobatic jumps. Looking around the whole park was like seeing Naga City’s beauty summary. However, as we are incomplete with swimming apparels, we decided to go back to Naga City after an hour.


On the Photo: A View of Naga City in the Morning




On the Photo: Naga City Church Ark




On the Photos: Best Shots of CamSur Water Sports Complex














After one hour stroll at SM City Naga, we buy our tickets at the main bus terminal. The Raymund bus departed at Naga City at around 3pm. We said goodbye to Naga City with good memories of that two days stay. It was a short vacation but lots of things have been accomplished. From the NAIA Terminal 3 airport, going to Naga City Coliseum, then CamSur Water Sports Complex and then on the major streets of the city (where there is Panganiban street – my family name), our trip is absolutely a success. After 9 hours of bus travel, we were back to our home at Cavite, Philippines.


On the Photo: SM City Naga




I actually asked that tour from the Creator who gave me lots of success this 2011. My blog site is like a window of many opportunities for me and its great that it was granted unto me. I prayed in Naga City that the year 2012 would be lots more of success for me (this was actually answered as I was able to find a work in Singapore by November 2012). I am about to open my self-proclaimed online business early next year. I named it Project Noriel Online Marketing Group. This is all about my other sides. This is me and my God. I went to Naga to give praise and ask guidance that if not totally a complete success, Project Noriel Noriel Online Mrketing Group would at least become another fulfillment of my dreams. Amazing things happened in Naga. What's more amazing is having a website created by me, owned by me and controlled by me. Naga City and Project Noriel are now both existing into my mind.


On the Photos: Naga's Beauty of Nature







About this Blog

Did you find Naga City a perfect spot to visit in the Philippines? You can find more exciting places to visit in this country by exploring more this blog site shared to you by Noriel Panganiban.

Thank you for reading this blog post about a place in the beautiful country Philippines. It is indeed a wonderful experience to visit Naga City - you can learn the other sides of the Filipinos. Visit our website for more information about blogging and also learn on how to delve with the new generation’s way of marketing and operating an online business. It’s Knowriel.com.

Comments

Most-Read Posts of the Month

“I Love Baguio City” - My Travel Story in the Summer Capital of the Philippines

The Strawberry Farm, Burnham Park, Mines View Park, the Mansion, Wright Park, Lourdes Grotto, and Session Road; these are among of the popular landmarks in the more commonly known “Summer Capital of the Philippines” – Baguio City. Why so? Well, the temperature here seldom exceeds 26 degree centigrade. During the cold season of December to February, the temperature falls down to even below 10 degree centigrade. The record low temperature was 6.3 degree and that was on January 18, 1961.

How to Travel to Baguio City?
Going to this cold city in the mountainous province of Benguet, Philippines is a six to seven hours travel by passenger utility bus from Manila. Starting from EDSA, traversing the NLEX, entering SCTEX, exiting the province of Tarlac and going through the neighbouring provinces of Pangasinan and La Union, and then exploring the zigzag road of either the Marcos Highway, the Kennon Road or the Naguilian Road, the coldest place in the Philippines will be reached. Baguio is about 2…

The Crisis We Need to Face as One Filipinos

The price of rice, vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish, among other Filipinos daily basic needs, keeps on rising. What is going on in the Philippines today?


I think that same question is your question too.

During my elementary days, I used to sing a song about rice and a part of the song goes like this...

Bawat butil ng bigas na mailigpit... Ligaya rin natin kapag nagigigpit... Kumain ka ng husto at magtipid...
(Every grain of rice that is consumed... Our happiness when we are on crisis... Eat well and be thrifty...)
I can feel it and I am not numb to not see how the Filipinos are perishing to this crisis of the time. Rice, which our very own country produced, is so expensive that the lower class Filipino citizens can no longer afford to buy them. But if one cannot understand how rising global oil prices affects the inflation rate in the country, then to the simplest way, this blog will attempt to explain why importation of NFA rice is not enough to feed our hungry stomach, comfort our achi…

That “Smaller But Stronger Bonsai” Within Us

The average Filipino height, of ages 18 and above, for male is 5 feet 4 inches while for female it is 5 feet flat.

One weekend, I happened to be in this exhibit of bonsai trees in the nearby shopping mall in my place. The event was titled “The Living Art of Bonsai”. The art of bonsai making is truly marvelous. Seeing these alive small trees is an amazing wonder, and so I can’t keep myself but take photos of them in every angle possible. From these experience is where I’ve seen a strong resemblance of a bonsai tree’s life to the life of the common Filipinos, hence this post.

First, have a look on some of the wonderful photos of bonsai I captured.






Filipinos Features that Matters
This blog is about the story of the Filipino people, about us being smaller in terms of height and size compared to our neighboring countries and the rest of the world, and our resilience to adversities despite of that. If you’re not a Filipino, you may have a friend, colleague or neighbor who’s a Filipino and it co…

"Business as Usual" as the Filipinos Define It (Vulcanizing Shop, Sari-Sari Store, Bakery) – Part 1

I asked the shop owner about these old unused tires on what are they doing with it. The Vulcanizing shop owners says, “Oh, someone will pick up those tires and pay us 5 or 10 pesos each. Sometimes they just take it for free”.


Vulcanizing Shop - A Classic Example of Filipino Business
You’ve most probably seen and been into a local, typical vulcanizing shop like this one in the photo. The business concept is very simple. Here’s a customer with his flat or deflated tire and the vulcanizing boy will repair it using a rubber compound patch, a heating tool, and an air pump. If it’s a regular car or van tire, repairing one may only take 10 minutes the cost of which is around 30 to 60 pesos. If it’s a tire from a truck or bus, it could be around 30 minutes and the repair would cost the vehicle owner around 100 to 150 pesos.

Here’s the thing. A shop like this one could potentially earn a revenue of 1000 up to 2000 per day just by repairing a flat tire. Why? Well, with thousands of vehicles like j…

How Filipinos are Loosing their True Identity

What happens to the Filipinos foods?

Haven’t you noticed, foreign foods are invading the Philippines by storm? International restaurants serving foreign cuisines are everywhere. Culinary arts, the way Filipinos look at it, is just becoming a trendy topic. Chefs, food blogger, culinary experts, food architect - goodness, are they soon to replace the simple “kusinero” and “kusinera” words that best describes our real identity as Filipinos in terms of cooking?




Globalization shapes the future of the country, particularly the food landscape. There is nothing wrong with innovation. I’d been a waiter for quite some time in a popular catering business and if its about food preparation, I’m really impressed with the way our cooks and kitchen staffs do it. Those garnishing, decorative artwork, and plating styles, they really add beauty to the foods we serve. Even an authentic Filipino food, they make a twist making it lovely and attractive to the hungry eyes.

Those terms like “buffet”, “a la ca…

Who are These OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Why are They the Modern Heroes of the Philippines

At the turn of the millennium, the Philippine government launches this campaign program calling the overseas Filipino workers or OFWs as “Mga Bagong Bayani ng Bayan” (Modern Heroes of the Nation). From then onwards, different organizations established programs giving awards and recognitions to selected OFWs who did a remarkable contribution or action to their family, friends, work or in general, to the country.


OFW ka ba?Bakit?Eh kasi dating mo pa lang, mayaman ka na. Boom! 
(Are you an OFW? Why? Because with just the way look, it seems that you’re rich. Boom!)

My Cousin Dado as an OFW in South Korea 

At present, OFWs around the world are estimated to be around 12 – 14 million. This is approximately 10 – 12 percent of the Philippines total population. These OFWs are distributed on many countries all over the globe majority of whom are in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore, Hongkong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Italy. Immigrant workers in the United States, Australia and Eu…

The Divisoria Malls - Defining Shopping in the Philippines

They call it the 168 Mall. It is one of the busiest places in the Philippines during shopping days like Christmas season when longing for enjoyment and relaxation is on the air once again. From Cavite, my home place, going to Divisoria, it will take you about an hour travel under normal traffic flow.

What is in this place? Well, Divisoria is the Bargain Shopping Capital of the Philippines. This is where wholesale and retail prices make shoppers say “WOW!” on delight. Visiting this place will definitely give you a realization about shopping on a different dimension. Find out why on the next paragraphs.

On the Photo: The Popular 168 Mall in Divisoria, Manila, Philippines


Divisoria is located in Binondo, Manila. It is accessible via Quiapo(where the famous Black Nazarene of Quiapo Church is) thru Recto Avenue and via Lawton near Manila City Hall. Divisoria has been there since the early 90’s. As it is near the North Harbour, Manila’s main seaport, the freshest and cheapest products usuall…

Junk Collectors

Several months ago, when I was about to enter the public market near my place, I saw this old woman more or less in her early 60’s checking something on the garbage cans. That was really my first impression. I tried to observe what she’s doing for a few seconds more and I then realized she was after these empty and used plastic bottles. At first, I thought she was just looking for something she might have lost or maybe she’s looking for scrapped foods. But she’s not. The old lady looks clean and not like a scavenger. She’s just a typical person we’re seeing around. After a few moments, I approached the lady and told her,

“Nay, heto po ang konti (pera), pandagdag sa kita ninyo”.
(Auntie, here’s something (small amount), you can add to your income.)

And the old lady replied with a smile,

“Naku, salamat anak.”
(Oh, thank you son.)
Then, I proceeded with my market activity that day. From that time on, whenever I go to the market, I always hope that I will still see her, and give her a small am…

What We Filipinos Believe In

Weeks before I arrive on writing this post, I came across this person popularly known as “The Son of Hamas”. Hamas is an Islamist Group in the Middle East. Many regards them as terrorists but on their own rights and beliefs, they exists to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel, from Israeli occupation. Before he’s a leader of Hamas. He quitted and now he’s into writing and public speaking taking his personal stand against the extremism done by his former organization Hamas and his campaign for better peace in the region in light of political correctness. You can search about him online - Mosab Hassan Yousef. Hamas’ beliefs, in Mosab’s point of view, is wrong.
The connection I want to imply in this piece of writing is this:

A belief, once it has been engraved in the people’s mind, is difficult to change, that it sometimes takes force (and time) for someone in authority to change it.



In the Filipino people’s mind, for example, that belief that Catholicism is the religion that wou…

“Pasalubong” – What Makes this Filipino Word Very Special?

Probably next to the beauty of a tourism spot, if it’s about the real reasons for traveling there, is our search for the best “pasalubong”. It’s the tagalog word for “gift” or “souvenir” and it can be anything from foods, toys, clothes, handicraft, furniture, soaps, wearables, or household items. It’s practically anything, big or small, cheap or expensive, edible or not. And for as long as that special item was bought somewhere else and then given to someone as an act of love and kindness – the true purpose has been served.


A simple gesture of “Salamat po” (Thank you) for sharing that pasalubong is enough to make you feel the love and kindness back. There is the best pasalubong for kids, for grandmas and grandpas, for a favorite grandson, for a close neighbor or friend, for the workmates, for the boss, for a former enemy, for a religious brother, and even for a complete stranger. Yes, indeed!

Well, “pasalubong” is actually different from a gift for birthday, wedding, or special gatherin…