I had a sudden, unexpected journey to the northern bounds of Bicol Region, all the way from its regional center to a town where Bicolanos and Tagalogs converge: Daet!
|The waves of Bagasbas Beach --- safe but a little treacherous!|
While half of Daet's population are already Tagalog-speaking, you will never know why it deserves to be considered an Oragon Country until you go there, meet its locals, and have a taste of the local cuisine.
"Oragon" is a term Bicolanos take pride on. It means "magaling" in Tagalog or "feisty" in English but despite the translations, it certainly has no equivalent in any other language. Oragon's significance can never be matched anywhere else in the world.
It pretty much sums up what Bicolanos are known for --- resilient against calamities (especially typhoons), feisty, and daring! Even in terms of cuisine, Bicolanos are oragon - their cuisine is characterized by the heavy use of chili peppers. Some even have the habit of munching them up as though they're not spicy!
And Daet, where I've just been to, is certainly no exception. In fact, it's probably one of the most oragon parts of the Bicol Region and my short sojourn there proved why!
Surfing in Bagasbas!
The top attraction in Daet is none other than surfing! Bagasbas Beach has shallow waters with strong waves suitable for surfing. It was my first time to try this sport so I hired a trainor. I spent 600 pesos for an hour and a half of learning. After about a dozen tries, I finally made it. It was so much fun that, the following night, I slept so soundly, still imagining the waves I rode.
|With my uncle, Tito Noy, who went with me despite the long hours of travel.|
After the fun with surfing, the locals asked me to try their chicharon. I didn't hesitate --- it was a new place so I had to try everything it has to offer. First bite was instantly a surprise. Their chicharon was the spiciest food I've ever tried. But despite it being so spicy, its taste was just about right. It was the best one I've ever munched, and I still remember its taste and texture up to now. I finished it all off and bought six more packs. It was that good!
Gin with Pina Colada
Best paired with the spicy chicharon was the gin with pina colada. The pineapple there was certainly local as it is one of Daet's premium products. The gin itself was a refreshing contrast with the spicy chicharon!
Spicy Bicolano Cuisine!
|Kinunot na Pagi|
Even though I am a Bicolano myself, I was still tempted to try Bicolano delicacies in Daet. To my surprise, they have a very different kick to our beloved delicacies. Both their Kinunot na Pagi and Ginataang Santol were much spicier than what I was accustomed to. Additionally, they tasted a little sweeter and creamier.
They already have the spiciest chicharon and now their local delicacies were even spicier than the rest of the region's, leading me to the conclusion that, yes, it's still an Oragon country after all!
First Rizal Monument
Barely two years after our national hero's death, Daet inaugurated his very first monument. On the 30th of December, 1898, this monument was unveiled to the public. It was a time when Rizal was not yet our national hero. Daet was certainly not clairvoyant, but they do have a sense of nationalism that was strong and, of course, oragon. :)
My short stay there --- less than twenty-four hours in total --- was so fun-filled and happy not only because of the many surprises but more so because of the friendly and hospitable locals. It already felt as though Daet were my second home.
This genuine friendliness of the locals is reflected in their town's etymology. According to my classmate who hails from this town, "Daet" means "friendship." It is after all a town where Tagalogs and Bicolanos converge.
The joys in their faces and their sense of humor made my sojourn there so much fun that, while I didn't plan on writing an article about their town on my way there, I decided that I should write one on my way home...
Dios Mabalos, Daet! Hope to see you again soon! My one-day stay there amazed me at every turn; how much more if I stayed longer!
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