“Halos lahat ng pagkain dito, may gata (almost every dish we prepare has coconut milk)”, says our gracious host, Ate Eben, as she sets down a bowl full of laing. I never ate so much laing in my life! We had it for two meals (dinner and lunch the following day), but I craved for more.
This was my third visit to Bicol. All three visits are memorable, mostly because of the warmth of its people. The first was in Naga where I was one of the speakers for the advertising majors of Ateneo de Naga. The second was in Albay for a medical mission. This latest visit was in Buhi and Pili to visit the grieving family of my sister-in-law.
Of all the provinces I have visited in the Philippines, I would say that Bicol is my favorite. It is ironic because all three visits were the shortest, not lasting more than three days. My most memorable was in Albay where the people, after being punished by three consecutive typhoons and the Mayon eruption, showed no signs of defeat.
I guess this is one of the main reasons why certain places seem to call you back. It’s the gentle voice of its people…their warm reception…their comforting words…things that tell you everything will be okay.