Tuesday, February 12, 2008


On Sunday we drove to Legazpi, which is about two hours drive away from Naga. Legazpi sits in the shadow of Mayon Volcano, an active volcano. We visited the site of a church which was famous for being the last refuge of a many locals when the volcano previous erupted in 1814. We also drove through an area which was devastated by mudslides of volcanic ash in 2006.

After Legazpi we drove on to Tobaco, which provided us with a few amusing puns, and then on to an old resort and shrine on the slopes of Mayon Volcano. The resort looked reasonably modern, but had been abandoned for a while -- at least 5 years. The scenery and views were beautiful, with cool, crisp air. Of course, only Joahnna and I though the temperature (somewhere in the mid 60s) was pleasantly cool; Joahnna's relatives were freezing.

After visiting the volcano, we drove back to Legazpi, where we met up with uncle Alex and his family, and had a nice dinner at a local restaurant before driving home. By this time it was after nightfall, and driving at night (or even being a passenger while driving at night) here in rural areas is a bit of a harrowing experience. There are no streetlights, the roads have no reflectors, the roads are narrow, and oncoming traffic occasionally leaves their high beams on and is frequently in your lane. And that's just for starters. Because in this mix of poor visibility you throw occasional tricycles, pedicabs, and bicycles that are completely unlit and devoid of reflectors, along with pedestrians that wander and congregate along the side of the road with no fear of traffic.

The net result of this is that people and vehicles simply appear out of the night 20-30 feet in front of your vehicle, and the only hint of their presence you have is that sometimes they block out the lights of oncoming traffic.

Fortunately for my sanity, I slept for most of the trip back.

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