Long before the advent of the piso fares, the only affordable option for a homesick college student like myself was to ride a bus from Manila to my hometown in Eastern Samar. The 24-hours bus commute–which could sometimes unbearably last for 2-3 days depending on a number of factors including road condition, roadworthiness of the bus and the unpredictable weather which could sometimes wreak havoc on the schedule of the ferry boats plying the San Bernardino Strait connecting the Port of Matnog in Sorsogon with the Port of Allen in Northern Samar–was often punctuated by quick stopovers at roadside eateries. One of those stopovers was Daet, the capital town of the province of Camarines Norte. Interestingly enough, Daet would re-emerge in my radar years later as, yet again, another stopover to an emerging tourist hotspot: the Calaguas Islands.
There’s nothing wrong playing second fiddle and certainly, Daet has also benefited from the influx of tourists to other destinations in the province. But Daet is steeped in rich history and peppered with restaurants offering delectable cuisines to warrant more than just a brief stopover. And did I already mention that it is home to Bagasbas Beach which has become a mecca of sorts to surfers and beach bums alike?
And so I’m going to cut through the BS and share with you some 4 Bs instead on why Daet deserves a full stop and not just a brief stopover, if you ever find yourself in Bicolandia.
Bulawan. Inside the sprawling complex of the Camarines Norte Provincial Capitol is the Bulawan/Gold Museum where exquisitely handcrafted gold jewelries are displayed. The province is known to have rich deposits of gold with the municipalities of Jose Panganiban and Paracale hosting a number of small-scale mines. While the jewelry collection is not as extensive as that of the Metropolitan Museum, the Bulawan Museum in Daet can hold its own thanks to the rich mining history of the province (there were flourishing mining communities in the area even before the Spanish Colonizers came!). The museum also houses a number of other precious artifacts including antique chinaware and paintings by local artists.
Bantayog. Daet holds the distinction of being the site of the first ever monument constructed in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal. Built two years after his death, the whitewashed monument is stunning in its simplicity. Inscribed on two of its sides are titles of the great patriot’s two masterpieces: Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Tucked in another corner a couple of steps away from where the Bantayog stands is another shrine in honor of the revolutionary martyrs and patriots of Camarines Norte who led a revolt in Daet against the Spanish Colonial Rule in 1898.
Bagasbas Beach. Which self-respecting surfer and beach bum hasn’t heard about Bagasbas Beach? The waves in this beach are a bit benign during the summer which is perfect for beginners. But wait till the monsoon season and any hardcore surfer will surely get some action with the area known to provide barrels (that hollow which is formed before the wave breaks: the sort of stuff that a surfer’s dreams are made of). Visit the area shortly after dawn during the summer and you will be amazed at the hordes of people who have made it to the area way before you did. Who knows, you might bump into Mayor Tito Sarion who visits the area quite often during weekends.
Blowout. If Kapampangan dishes are a must-try when heading north, then Bicolano cuisine surely must not be missed when heading south of Metro Manila. Indeed, when in Daet, leave your diet at the door! How could you ever say no to pinangat (a blend of taro leaves, chili, meat and coconut milk wrapped in gabi leaves), sinantol (grated santol flesh cooked in coconut milk) and kinunot (a delicacy made of shredded stingray or shark cooked with coconut milk and malunggay/moringa leaves)? The spicy food is certainly not for the faint-hearted. But who said there aren’t other choices in Daet aside from the regular spicy fare? Want to escape the heat of the summer sunshine? Then head on to KICK Milk Tea to get some refreshments and light snacks. For a decidedly heavy fare, try the food at Alvino’s. Craving for a more healthy fare? Take a bite at Kundalini. Their fruit smoothies deserve two thumbs up. Tired of all the dishes cooked with coconut milk? Sample the fare at Bigg’s Diner. Raring to taste authentic Filipino cuisine with a Bicolano twist? Try Chef Mama.
Trust me, you will be spoilt for choice!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
DATE IN DAET (#DiD2014) is tourism advocacy campaign organized by Apple Allison of SoleSearchingSoul.com in partnership with ChoosePhilippines.com, supported by DigitalFilipino.com and co-presented by the Local Government Unit of Daet
headed by Mayor Tito S. Sarion under the Daet on the DOT Program.
Visit www.solesearchingsoul.com for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Like Sole Searching Soul on Facebook, follow @SoleSSoul on Twitter and add on your Google+ circle.
Please use the hashtag #solesearchingsoul in your posts.
Don’t forget to create your own Choose Philippines Meme now to visually share your discoveries.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR PARTNERS & SPONSORS:
Accommodation – pineapple island resort – daet / Pineapple Island Resort – Daet, Camarines Norte
AM Snacks – KICK Milk Tea
Lunch – Bigg’s Diner Daet SM Hypermart Branch
PM Snacks – #Kundalini Healthy Cuisine
Dinner & other arrangements – Mayor Tito Sarte Sarion & LGU #Daet
Breakfast & Boat ride to Apuao Islands – LGU Mercedes
Lunch – COP
PM Snacks – Alvinos Roast, Grill & Fry
Dinner – Chef Mama
Yummy Goodies & Gift Packs – Jannah’s Pasalubong
Giveaway & Prize Tshirts – Gush Shop
#Calaguas Getaway Prize – Travel and Sand