With the restrictions of the pandemic all but gone, life resumes in the tiny village of San Ignacio, home of my bride and family. Nothing says San Ignacio like the annual Fiesta! Celebrating the birthday of the Patron Saint.
So, we loaded our new adventure mobile, the 2015 Suzuki Jimny, and headed south for the 700k drive. First stop was a short hop to get the new rig serviced and make some adjustments to the top rack, then we cruised over Manila on the newly opened Skyway. This one change has made the trip so much more enjoyable, thanks President Duterte!!
Donna found a mystical heaven at the Quezon Premier Hotel, where all our favorite creatures’ dwell: from Popeye and Olive Oil to Barney and Wilma, large statues fill the area. Rearing horses, camels, and even an Appaloosa horse grazed right outside our room. Mickey and Minnie mouse are the theme of our wonderful marriage, (we got married on Mickey’s birthday) so we picked the room with their painting on the wall.
We never miss a new hot springs, so when Donna found one, ——— we detoured our route. Again, an amazing collection of statues and creatures the likes of which we had not seen. From a monstrous Moses, to The Ark with animals two by two, and a battle of David and Goliath showed a religious theme. Life sized Whale Sharks, Apes and scores of other creatures lived surrounding the many pools. I found one to my liking, 42 degrees, hotter than most like so all by myself.
After a nice mourning soak it was on the road again, and yup to another hot springs. We have made this stop in Naga a ritual on our annual pilgrimage south. Panicuason Hot Springs is set under towering, vine covered cliffs, quite spectacular. Pools range from “just right for a long soak” 40 degrees, to chilling cold coming right off the mountain river that cuts through the pools. We stayed in the stark bare room, no internet, no noise, pure peace and quiet, what a joy.
I rose early and enjoyed a soak at dawn, all alone under the rising sun. We packed the car and headed up the narrow winding entrance road and off to Bicol.
Doing our mandatory stop at the Mayan Volcano, compulsory picture taking and a bit of lunch we discovered we could take the 4 wheel route to the mountain and camp. We plan on doing this on the flip side if the weather cooperates.
We arrived at San Ignacio, and everyone came to see us! Well actually, they came to see the car. Donna is the first person in her family and one of the few in her village to have a driver’s license. Now she is the first to own a car. After our greetings to all the family and neighbors we checked into the Rizal Beach Resort. We have so much history here, this is where we said “I do” almost five years ago and we still “Do”.
The Fiesta goes on all week, dancing, contests and lots and I mean lots of food. The celebration starts with a bang! The Miss Gay Beauty Pageant. I have the honor, once again, of being on the judges panel and we are the prime sponsor of the event. This is followed by another LGBTQ event, Gayang Gaya Lip Sync Contest, then nightly themed dancing! Each graduating class of the local High School will have a display and celebrate their reunions, gee I wonder if there is a class of 1970 for me, haha.