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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Naga City: Penafrancia Festival

One of the participants of the parade showing her skill
  The feast of Penafrancia in Naga  started with a whole day parade prominent in the main streets of the city. Most of the hotels could no longer accommodate guests, and as the price has gone up since its festivity, the rooms are still taken by the arriving tourists. The Bicolanos love fiesta as shown how proactive they are by merely going out to witness the annual festivity.

 A whole day parades at the main streets of the city
Penafrancia festival is one of the most exciting and fun-filled celebration among the Philippine Fiestas. It's a nine-day festivities in honor of Our Lady of Penafrancia, the patroness of Bicol. It is celebrated every third Saturday of September where it is considered as the biggest Marian celebration. The festivity is lined up with a beauty pageant, sports fest, the civic and military parades, exhibits, cultural shows and other colorful competitions.
parade stop over waiting for a signal to step forward

Front area of Sampaguita Tourist Inn
A room with ventillated fan inside Sampaguita Tourist Inn
From day one, I had barely found an inn with a vacant room so I could take a rest for awhile before going out to witness the event. I have one bag in black where my laptop and camera are kept inside, aside from the shirts packed inside my bag. But thanks, it took me an hour to find inn with a vacant room after cruising around the place and I found one just beside a river. Sampaguita Tourist Inn was affordable,though its price has doubled since its festivity took place. A small room with a toilet, a cable television, but there was no air-con, just an electric fan as most of the air-conditioned rooms have been occupied by the tourists few days ago; but I was lucky enough to get a vacant one - a non air-conditioned room. The room wasn't bad at all as the price is at an affordable rate. I supposedly wanted to extend my stay but I had to leave the following day as there's another guest coming in to take my place. The staffs did not apologize in spite of their error, who made a reservation to another guest without waiting for my check out time yet. They should have reserved the room to another guest only after I have checked out the room. This upsets me as it left me in a hanging state.I had no choice but leave the place as soon as possible. Sampaguita's regular rate is 300 pesos a day for non-airconditioned room.
Reception Area of Sampaguita Tourist Inn
It took me about an hour to get a room from another hotel and price of Aristocrat Hotel is a bit higher but what sets them apart from their competitors, they did not take advantage of the event to overprice the paying guests. The room was quite nice and bigger and the staffs are more accommodating and friendly to please their guests. No catches in paying additional fees prior to check in time. Aristocrat Hotel's daily rate is 900 pesos, not bad for an air-conditioned room as it  is quite large for one guest.
One of the rooms of Aristocrat Hotel
As part of the event taking place in the city, I had a free massage at the overcrowded main plaza of the city. It is one of the livelihood projects organized by a non-profit group where tips and donations are given to the therapists.

Free massage at the plaza
route to Balogo beach where daruanak is located
Meanwhile, I had my next stop to Pasacao, Camarines Sur a 30-45 minute ride from LCC mall where the jeepney and van terminal is situated. It's been almost two years the last time I was in Balogo and see Daruanak Island.
road trip to Daruanak Is

One of the beach resorts in Balogo
And by 4 p.m. I had to go back to Naga City to take some rests. But one few good things that I had missed - is some of the food hubs in the city where best cuisines are found, just like when I visited Chef Doy's early this year. Aside from Penafrancia festival, it is advisable to stay few more days in order to explore some getaways in the nearby towns.

Sameera Chathuranga

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