The vibe was just overflowing when we left the sandy shores of Mahabang Buhangin and it was the same vibe that energized us on our way back to mainland. The excitement was just too much that we had to shake a bit off by exploring the side destinations of our Instaviaje 5.
Instaviaje is our own (IG travel hub: @viajerongpinoy) version of an Instagram meet and we gave it a twist. We go out of the city to discover travel destinations with our IG friends.
The great thing about this instaviaje was we had a van for the trip so getting around the sites in Paracale and Daet was at our disposal. We wanted to maximize the interesting sites that we can get our lenses into.
Paracale: Our Lady of Candelaria Parish Church
Quietly situated at the center of town is a small church that happens to be one of the first three churches to be built in Camarines Norte. The Our Lady of Candelaria Parish Church was established in 1611, long before the discovery of gold deposits in this town. The old stone church is a heritage site that would impress you as it silently watches over the town buzzing with tourists bound for Calaguas.
The simple façade of the church is one that is quite impressive. The squat and imposing structure, with the growth of bushes on its façade, really shows the age of the church. It is made from adobe blocks that made the structure withstand time. Two belfries on both sides of the church give it a sturdier look.
The simple exterior of the church is a complete contrast to the grand interiors of the church. As you enter the church, the grand altar will catch your attention with its retablos. Three retablos highlights the church’s altar. The image of the Our Lady of Purification is the central attraction of the church. The walls have been maintained and it gives you that sense of safety inside the sanctuary.
As we were preparing to leave for Daet, some locals approached us and asked if we had the chance to see a young local movie personality in Calaguas to which we politely said no. The locals seemed so eager to catch any bit of story of the young actor while I was left awe-struck with the piece of Philippine history in their town.
Daet, Camarines Norte
The municipality of Daet was a thriving community even before Spanish “discovered” the place. Its name is derived from the Bicol word “dai-daitan” that means “close to each other”. It was believed that when the Spaniards came, they found the community clustered together. Presently, Daet is a popular surfing spot and is considered to be the “Gateway to Bicolandia”. Surfers and enthusiasts flock to the city to learn surfing or to simply ride the waves. However, Daet is more than just a surfing spot because it also has pockets of interesting historical and religious spots.
Foodie Stop: Ksarap!
Our first stop in Daet was meant to satisfy the rumbling of our tummies. One of our viajeros suggested that we try out Ksarap! The restaurant is easy to find because it is located along Vinzons Avenue, a major road in the city. It is just right in front of SM Hypermart.
The interior of Ksarap! is quite homey with it house-inspired interiors. And with the house packed with guests then it gave us an idea that the restaurant is somewhat famous so it was worth a try. Food was really good and fits the budget so if you happen to be in Daet, do check out Ksarap!
First Rizal Monument
It is a simple monument made from stone blocks that was put one on top of the other. Simple and yet this monument in the center of Daet holds the honor of being the first tribute to the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Unveiled in 1898, the monument was an initiative by Lt. Col. Sanz and Lt. Col. Alegre of the Philippine Revolutionary Army. The foundation of the monument is made of mortars and boulders from a Spanish jail in town.
It was a humble experience for a person like me who loves history. Getting to visit this historical heritage site is my way of giving honor to our Filipino brothers and sisters who value our sovereignty.
Parroquia de San Juan Bautista
A block away from the Rizal Monument is also one of the oldest churches in Camarines Norte – the Saint John the Baptist Church. The church was established in 1611 by Franciscan Missionaries.
The simple façade of the church make it look like a local church or “kapilya” but do not be deceived by its looks as this church is mute witness to the country and Daet’s rich history. A single belfry juts out from the back of the church. A structure with a dome can be found on the right side of the church.
But do not be deceived by the church’s exteriors because the interior is quick to impress the visitors because of its huge expanse. The altar stands out with its gold-colored retablo with its intricate carvings. The white-washed interior gives visitors the wide space feeling and highlights the altar of the church.
Camarines Norte Provincial Capitol
Just across the street from the Cathedral of John the Baptist is the sprawling compound of the province’s capitol that serves as the home of local government offices.
The capitol grounds have a sprawling open space park in front with monuments of local heroes. We had a great time walking and playing around the field and taking pictures of amazing jumpshots.
On one side, we saw a billboard of the amazing tourist spots of the province, a great way to promote their spots to visitors visiting Daet.
This is the spot that every surfer enthusiast would definitely head off when they go to Daet. Bagasbas Beach prides itself with a 2 kilometer stretch of beach that faces the Pacific. With great waves coming from the Pacific, one can either ride the waves or, at least, learn how to ride the waves.
The breeze from the ocean was refreshing when we all stepped out of our van. I was amazed with the length of the beach. From our location, we could see people lined along the shores and in the water. What really impressed me was the presence of actual a lifeguard on his post. It was the local version of Baywatch.
The lifeguard was accommodating to allow us to go up the tower that gave us an outstanding view of the beach. We took our time enjoying the breeze, scene, and watching people from our post.
The beachfront is also lined up with restaurants and inns that cater to visitors of the city who wants to enjoy the beach.
Post Travel Notes:
Our Calaguas trip and sidetrip was one weekend to remember. It gave us a back-to-the-basic experience where our mobile gadgets were merely instruments for capturing moments and not for communication. It forced us to sit down and talk to each other, face-to-face. It makes you value the old form of communication, rather than what we have now. On my point-of-view, the trip made me stop to enjoy the simple things in life that sometimes we get so entangled with how the world makes us run that we forget how to run our own world.
On a side note, Calaguas was a perfect destination for our Instaviaje and the people that we are with make the trip memorable. There is still a lot to explore in our short visit to Daet which prompted me to include it in my bucketlist for next year. Again, what really made this trip stand out was the viajeros who laughed with us and shared part of their lives with the other viajeros. I will always look forward to future Calaguas trips because it will bring back the images of the smiles of the viajeros that helped me discover my vibe on my first trip to Calaguas.
Instaviaje destinations are just the instruments that bring viajeros closer.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.