Donsol: The Most Remarkable Natural Encounter

What comes to your mind when you hear the word whale shark? Hmmm.. Probably ‘dangerous’, ‘scary’ or ‘life threatening creature’. That’s what I thought.

When I was a kid, I love reading the encyclopedia (sad to say, no internet for me that time). Well it’s not that I was really reading, I was just looking at the pictures and my favorite was the letter S encyclopedia which I used to remove from the shelf all the time. I remember I would carry it everywhere and browse the different kinds of sharks—the hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, blue sharks, and great white sharks. I love looking at the pictures and just by looking, I knew that these creatures are extremely dangerous. I never thought, not even slight imagination, that I’d get to have a close encounter with one of them!

Generally, sharks have bad reputation because they attack humans. But it was summer last year when a magical experience changed my view about sharks. Not all of them are Continue reading

Daragang Magayon: Mother Nature at it’s Pristine Best

When I was a little kid, my mom used to call me “Magayon”. And at an early age, I knew what the word meant but it never occurred to me the real beauty that goes with it. Magayon is a Bicolano word which means beautiful. It is where the name Mayon, the famous perfect cone-shaped volcano, is derived from. And why am I writing about this? Because finally, after many years of hearing the word, I was able to witness the majestic meaning that lies behind it. There I was in the province of Albay standing in front of the “beautiful lady” (daragang magayon) as the legends refer to it. But before I proceed to the experiences that almost took my breath away, let me first share with you the legend of Mayon Volcano that not so many of us know. Just like any other landforms, there were many legends that attempt to portray how this pristine but destructive beauty came to existence.

Here is the legend of Mayon Volcano which I like the most — the Bicolano version of Romeo and Juliet as told by Laura Agpay:

Once there was a princess named Daragang Magayon (Daraga means lady, Magayon is beautiful) who lived in Bicol. She’s so beautiful. She came from the family that reigns over the entire Bicol.

Because of her beauty and influence, warriors, princes and datus from different parts of the country desired to have her as their wife. But Magayon fell in love with Continue reading