“Gayon, Bicol!” That’s the word tourists will hear from Bicolanos everytime they visit the Bicol Region. The word means, “Bicol is beautiful!”
The Bicol Region, also known as “Bicolandia”, is a beautiful province in the South of Luzon composed of four provinces and 2 island-provinces adjacent to the peninsula.
Last December, our Real Estate Broker, Dra. Kirby Salvador went to this beautiful province with her family to spend the holiday season.
Working 6-7 days a week, we asked Kirby on how she was able to focus on work and balance her time between work and family.
“Success is not all about money, money, money,” answers Kirby. “It is to be able to balance one’s profession and to prepare quality bonding time with her family and to spend it in her own native land.”
Just like every provinces in which she described as unique, Kirby and her children, Arrielle and Kurt, fell in love with the beautiful scenery of Bicol.
“I would say, each and every province is unique. The weather, the view, and the Bicolanos themselves. I feel so comfortable and at home,” Kirby said.
The family enjoyed places like Lignon Hill where one can experience the hanging bridge, zipline, ATV ride, and explored the Japanese Tunnel that was built during World War II.
She was all praises for the beauty of Misibis Bay. “Aside from all the exciting adventures, one can also relax and enjoy our world class resort, Misibis Bay in Cagraray Island. Definitely, a place to remember. Activities like the water sports one can learn to wind surfing , kayaking , jet ski , manual water boat, play billiard, gym for work out and sauna or simply surfing on the internet by the poolside,” she said.
As an investor, Kirby will definitely look for real estate investments in this province, which is one of the top tourist destinations in the country.
Aside from Kirby, another RACuervo staff has been to Bicol frequently is Raphael Torralba. In fact, he is a true-blood Bicolano and Nagueno. He was born and spent his childhood days in Naga City, which is called as the “Heart of Bicol” due to its central location and leading economic and financial center. Based on his family history, his clan started in Polangui, Albay.
“During my time in Naga City, it was one of the poor cities in the country as what we heard in the news,” says Raph. “Until when the late Mayor Jesse Robredo came into power and transformed the city into one of the most improved cities in Asia.”
Raph strongly believes in the leadership of Robredo, who died in a plane crash last year. When he was small, he sometimes sees Robredo in checking the city in shorts and slippers, and sometimes riding a bike.
“Look at Naga City now, it’s a vibrant city. More and more investors are investing in the city. Saludo ako kay Mayor Jesse for his leadership and for what he has started in my hometown,” he said.
“Albay is also a vibrant province with lots of tourist destinations to choose from,” he says. “When a person hears the word Albay, the first thing that will come to his mind is Mayon volcano. We always see Mayon directly from our ancestral home in Polangui and its always a fresh morning everytime we wake up seeing the Mayon volcano.”
Like Kirby, Raph also balances his time between work and family; especially now he is a newly-married man. “The formula is just time management. Time is precious so a good time management can make you balance your time properly,” he says. He is looking forward to go home again to his native land soon.
In the past years, Bicol was known to be one of the poor provinces and one of the major factors is natural calamities like typhoon. But since then, the region has shed its “poor region” image by posting an astounding growth over the years.
The rapid urbanization of the cities of Naga, Legazpi, and Sorsogon has led these cities to become as hubs of economic activity, as well as cultural, business and religious centers of the region.
More and more investors are coming to these cities. One example is SM which opened SM City Naga and soon, will plan to open SM malls in Sorsogon and Legazpi.
While agriculture and mining served as key regional growth drivers in the past, tourism is now becoming a major growth driver of the region.
Because of the popularity of Caramoan, Mayon Volcano, Camarines Sur Water Sports Complex, Misibis Bay, whale shark spotting, religious festivals, the Bicol’s tourism has revived as more and more tourists are arriving in the region.
Aside from these tourist spots, the region offers a variety of choices for the tourists. Beautiful nature abounds the province such as beaches, forest parks, mountains, and waterfalls. Historical landmarks are also there as the province is one of the top Spanish settlements during the Spanish Colonial period.
Transportation and infrastructure are also being developed to cater to the increasing tourist arrivals. The construction of Bicol International Airport in Legazpi City is now in full swing and this landmark is being hoped to further boost tourism in the region.
The Philippine National Railways revived the “Bicol Express”, an once popular by-word when it comes to travelling in Bicol. It is a train transportation service that travels from Manila to Bicol. This gives tourists an alternative means to reach Bicol and will give them new experience too.
Roman Catholic is the major religion of Bicol and the region has the most number of Roman Catholics than any other provinces. Old churches also abounds in Bicol. Different fiestas are held in the region and thus, driving tourists to visit Bicol. One of the well-known religous fiesta is the Penafrancia Fiesta, in honor of Our Lady of Penafrancia in which is also called as the “Patroness of Bicolandia.”
Mr. Ramon C.F. Cuervo III went to Legazpi City for the first time sometime in the summer of 1968 or 1969. He went with his father, Ramon Cuervo Jr. and brother, Fico, to attend the convention of the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards.
The trio was joined by realtor, Gabby Ambrosio, PAREB Officers and members, and they all boarded the Bicol Express train.
“My brother, Fico, was with me and we were just 2nd year high school student that time. Typical naughty boys that had lots of fun in the train. This was a night trip and we were hyper, drinking beer, and enjoyed the balut. With that, we didn’t sleep nor allowed others to sleep because of our jokes, laughter, and fun,” recalls Mr. Cuervo.
Up to now, Mr. Cuervo still cherishes the wonderful time he and Fico had in the PAREB Convention, especially the dances, the songs, and beautiful ladies that kept both of them at bat at the day care center.
“We were young teenagers and did not care much about the convention so instead, we took a day tour around the city. Then, we joined he excursion to Mayon Volcano. It was so beautiful! And the people are all so kind and hospitable. This was one of my best travels and happy memories with my father and brother,” he said.
Truly, as what the RACuervo team members experienced, Bicol is “magayon” (Beautiful).