We are now back in Manila which means we have mad a circle around the southern part of the country.
Since Legaspi we have stayed in Naga and Luceana. Our last night in Legaspi we hiked up to the top of a hill near where we were staying to watch the sunset and get some good pictures of the volcano. For the better part of the day Mayon is covered in clouds so it is not really a great photo opportunity. However, at sunrise and sunset for some reason the clouds clear off and you can see how perfect the volcano is. Needless to say we took lots of pictures and got to watch a pretty sunset. I will post those pictures soon so you can see really how symmetrical the mountain is.
We arrived in Naga on the morning of day sixteen (Thursday the 7th). Nearby Mt. Isarong was supposed to have some great falls you could hike to, which we fully intended on doing. We even met a really nice local lady named Peggy who told us how we could get there (we needed her help because our hotel didn't know and our guide book didn't help us any). P_eggy was on e of those people like Dexter that you don't think exhist anymore but they do and they go out of their way to help you out. She just stopped me in the street and started talking to me and the offered to help us out. Super nice lady, really short. Anyway, apparently all we had to do to get the trail to the falls was find a jeepny going to Pacol and tell the driver we were going to the mountain. Finding the jeepny wasn't a problem, but none of them would stop to pick us up. We flagged at least 3 of them and we know the driver saw us, but he never stopped. We didn't get it. So after a frustrating 25 min of trying to get on a jeepny we gave up. Needless to say we were very disappointed that we didn't get to hike to the water falls in Naga.
The next day we spent traveling to Lucena. The city itself was disappointing it had narrow streets that were packed with jeepnys, cars, tricycles, and motorbikes. And for some reason it was excessively noisy and fumy. We weren't really interested in the city though, what we stopped there for was the Quezon National Forest Park that which was about 20 km outside the city on the way to Naga. The park is about 4 square miles and a great place for bird watching and hiking. Again we had to ask for help to figure out how to get there and were able to actually do it this time. All we did was hop on a bus and tell them to drop us at the Old Zigzag road that led through the middle of the area. Finding it wasn't hard, fining a trail to hike was. It took us about an hour and a half and 4 km along the road to find the main trial head (none of the locals were all that helpful, although they tried). Once we found it, though, it was a great hike through the jungle to the highest point in the park. There were butterflies all along the path and weird bugs and jungle sounds. We were dripping (literally) sweat the whole time and Alex got about 30 bug bites (I didn't we don't know how or why, but I am not complaining). We also got some great pictures.
Now the bad: Although the park was great pretty much everything else about Luceana was not. Besides the noise the hotel we stayed at the first night was the worst place we have stayed the entire trip. It was dirty and dark and oh yeah crawling with cockroaches. I Bugs are okay as long as they don't crawl on me and the cockroaches were crawling on us. I really lost it. Neither of us likes them, in fact we hate them, they are dirty ugly creepy little b******s and a b**** to kill. Even with the bug nets and the lights on they were crawling all over the place. We got the heavy duty bug killer at the store and it did nothing to stop them unless you sprayed it directly on them. We ended up setting up hammocks at 12:30 in the morning in the courtyard of our hotel and slept there. We moved hotels the next day and this one was much cleaner and overall a better place, but it had mosquitoes. We had more mosquitoes in our room last night than we have see all trip (we have only seen like 10 before last night). So we slept with the bug net again and that was fine for the night, but when we were up and about we got bit a lot. But let's not dwell on the bad.
We are spending our last two days back in Manila. We sprung for a bit nicer of a room than we have been staying in and we plan on doing a little shopping and checking out more of the city tomorrow. We leave on Tuesday, Alex goes to Thailand and I come home. Well that is all for now. See ya soon.