I like to do self-imposed quests and collect certain items when I travel. One of the personal challenges or sidequests I’ve been trying to complete is to visit all the destinations featured on the back of our Philippine currency. The current set of banknotes issued by the Central Bank of the Philippines features Philippine landmarks and tourist destinations, which are considered the most valuable treasures of our nation. As of November 2017, I’ve collected photos of the landmarks in five out of the six possible locations.
GOAL: Take photos of Philippine banknotes at the landmarks featured on the bill STATUS: 5/6 collected
I’ve gone to Naga City from Manila and back countless times. I lived there growing up and still go back home several times a year. Most times I just hop on an overnight bus without a second thought. I rode the PNR Bicol Express train when it was still running. I’ve gone there by plane. My family and I used to take long car trips there and back several times for holidays.
But last Christmas was different. It was my first time to drive a motorcycle all the way there.
The Oriental Hotel in Legazpi offers one of the best views of Mayon Volcano, the cityscape and the waters of Albay Gulf. This elegant and modern hotel located at the top of Taysan Hill, Sto. Niño, is not a place I would normally get to stay in if I was on my own for a budget backpacking trip. It’s the finest hotel in the Bicol region and the first all-season resort for leisure and business travelers, so I was very grateful for our luxurious two nights here for our Bicol tour. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up to this kind of view?
The hotel has its own dining area called Jasmine located at the ground floor lobby, which serves Bicol Cuisine with an Oriental twist, which I got a chance to try the during coverage of the Magayon Festival last year. We got our specially prepared Bigg’s breakfast of hashbrowns, bacon, juicy franks and eggs served in one of the private dining areas.
Whenever I go home to Naga City in Bicol to visit my folks, I usually just laze around, enjoy my mother’s home cooked meals, and try out the new restaurants in the city. However, my recent visit this week ended up being pretty extreme. Aside from getting to try out the new ATV tour to Mt. Isarog, I was able to squeeze in a great motorcycling trip from Naga to Legazpi and back with Mac, one of my childhood friends based in Naga.