Whenever somebody would ask me “from where I came from?” it’s too convenient to say that I am from Cavite.
I was born in raised (and still living) in this beautiful province, little that most of my friends know that my father hails from another great province, the province of Camarines Sur (popularly known as CamSur). My father was born 70 years ago in a village known as Inapatan, Municipality of Nabua in the province of Camarines Sur. Ironically, I have never been to the province in my 42 years of my life, the only chance that I was about to see the province was in 1982 when my grand father Gregorio died, but that was my elementary graduation day.
After the death of my grandparents, there were no attempt to visit my relatives there, I was only able to meet some of them whenever they visit us.
A very long weekend paved a way for us to journey to Camarines Sur to visit the province and connect with our relatives.
We left our house at 10:00AM of April 6th to pick up my nephew Tobey who attended the children’s summer camp in our church, it was scheduled to end before noon that day. We had our lunch there and after a few chit-chats, we started our long journey to CamSur.
Good Friday traffic was the best, it only took us about 5 hours from South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) to our first gas stop in the town of Gumaca, we were able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the provinces of Laguna, Batangas and Quezon.
Since it was my sister’s first time to drive to Bicol, she was relying heavily on the GPS feature of her iPhone 4, upon reaching the town of Calauag, Globe’s 3G was died, as a consequence, we missed the Quirino Hi-way (or R. Andaya Hi-way), instead we continued travelling via the Pan-Philippines Hi-way. This made our travel longer passing by the whole province of Camarines Norte.
Two hours after, we reached the city of Daet and decided to take a pit stop at a Greenwich Pizza outlet, while having our dinner, we called one of our cousins living in Naga City to inform of our visit. It was then that we were informed that since we missed Quirino Hi-way, we are still 2 hours away from Naga City.
We arrived in Naga City at around 10:30PM, everyone was tired, my 2 nephews were asleep when we met with Ate Bie (Margarita) in Naga City, she will be our guide to the town of Nabua, one and a half hours later, we reached the village of Tupas-Sogod in Nabua where a cousin and an aunt is living. It was a night spent making up for the lost time, at 82, Aunt Vina (uncle Pablo’s wife) is still strong and never forgot her time together with my mother, I was dead tired so I called it a night. They were still talking until I passed out.
I woke up early at 5:00AM the next morning, I went our to savor the fresh provincial air. It was then that I was able to appreciate the surroundings, the property, based on my approximation measures more than 1,500 square meters, I was informed that the land belongs to Auntie Vina’s family. Within the property are different fruit bearing trees, star apple, jackfruit, pili among others. Also within the property stands the remnant of the old house which was destroyed by a typhoon some years back.
The breakfast was generous serving Pancit Bato (Bato is another town in the province of Camarines Sur) and sinapot (Maruya). I spent the rest of the morning talking to cousin Danilo and brother-in-law Daniel, time passed so fast that we didn’t notice that it’s time for lunch, our lunch was fried Tilapia, Ampalaya and Tulingan in coconut milk. After lunch, my nephews wanted to take a dip, Manay (Ate or sister in Bicol) Bie suggested that we go to Pasacao (beach town in Camarines Sur), it was the nearest from our place unless we consider CWC (CamSur Water Complex) which is not really for us since it’s a water sports complex and Balatan town is quite far.
Forty Kilometers and an hour and a half later, we reached the beach front of Pasacao, almost of the beach resorts were full, good thing we found a beach that was able to accommodate us. The beach at Pasacao was not any tourist from Manila would dream of, nonetheless, the kids enjoyed it.
It was hot at (maybe) 33°c, I decided not to take a dip, I’d rather enjoy the shed that the cottage is providing. Around 4:30PM, we headed back to Nabua, dinner was ready when we arrived, it was fried chicken and Pancit Bato. Manoy (Bicolano term for kuya or brother) Danilo has brought a sack of freshly harvest Caimito (Star Apple) and a sack filled with fresh Pili (husks and shells on), I didn’t retire for the night until I devoured 4 Caimitoes.
I woke up at 5:00AM the next morning, it was our last day in Camarines Sur, the breakfast was again Pancit Bato and Sinapot, after breakfast, we had a hands-on tutorial on how to remove the husk of the Pili fruit. Later in the morning, we visited Uncle Ignacio’s family in Inapatan (about 20 minutes away from Tupas-Sogod), they were as excited as we are to see them, we were counting years of not seeing each other. Uncle Ignacio and Pablo never left Bicol to try their luck in Manila, of the 6 Refuerzo’s, four (Oligario, Vicente, Roque & my father Hermiño) went to Manila to work.
Oligario the eldest became a soldier and later settled in Quezon City, Vicente (4th) became a worker in a cement plant and settled in Teresa, Rizal, my father (6th) worked as a carpenter and settled in Cavite, and Roque (5th) also worked as a carpenter and later on lived with us in Cavite. Ignacio (2nd) and Pablo remained in Camarines Sur to tend to the fields that our Lolo has left them.
Our visit to Camarines Sur may not be what others are expecting, no fancy beaches, no island hopping and any other fun activities that other tourist would prefer doing, but for us, it’s completing the person within us, it is all about reconnecting with our roots, it’s discovering the part of us that was long missing.
I’m not being so mellow-dramatic about the experience, being deprived of meeting my lolo and lola, it is important to me to see where they used to live and what kind of life they had.
Despite the long hours of Travel, nothing compare to the experience that we had. It’s more personal, it’s knowing who I am and where I came from.