“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” — Quote from Paul Theroux
I only managed to book the first 2 nights of our week-long holiday. In fact, just the one night. At the last minute, I arranged to book 2 nights in the same place in Donsol. After that, I grew tired explaining to the children that we don’t know where we’d stop for a night or two, and which hotel or inn we’d stay in. You should see them. Those eyes growing bigger, to express surprise, a tinge of nervousness maybe, and utter despair that this time around, their grandma has no answers.
We found a good coffee place in Daraga, Albay with wifi to bring us back to the safety and comforts of this digital environment. While we sipped our lattes, exotic shakes (think pili and sili!) and cappuccinos, I checked out the hotel on the second floor of the building which houses both Bicol Blends Cafe and 1st Colonial Grill. Same owners. Same cheery staff. Villa Amada Hotel has family rooms. Two adjoining rooms with a connecting door. Lots of space. And a window that looks out to Mayon Volcano. Perfect! I booked the next 2 nights.
And so it went that we spent 2 nights in Donsol and another 2 nights in Daraga/Legazpi City. The children are happy. They slept well. They also ate well as the menu offerings downstairs at 1st Colonial Grill and Bicol Blends Cafe are exactly what they hanker for. Until they remembered we still had the remainder of the week in Bicol. Where to sleep the next few nights before heading home?
As Typhoon Signal #2 was declared in the Bicol Region, the poor weather condition was the least of their worries. We still had to get bookings for our Naga stay. But there’s a lot to do to keep them busy. And there’s a lot of serious eating to be done too. We pigged out in 1st Colonial Grill down below the hotel. This is also where we can have our free breakfast — goes with the rooms we booked. And then finish off with gourmet, exotic coffee and shakes at the Bicol Blends Cafe beside it. The owners of Villa Amada Hotel and 1st Colonial Grill are one and the same. Bicol Blends Cafe is owned by the son of the family. Pretty soon, I would be cornering a corner at the coffee shop. Slurping good coffee while surfing the Net.
We also found time to drive by Small Talk Cafe to take out some pasta and pizza to eat back in the hotel. We figured that if the weather conditions worsen, we would be better off in the hotel than eating out to savor this fusion cuisine. Ever heard of Pasta Mayon? That is laing-filled ravioli. How about laing pizza , or pasta pinangat? And there’s the Pili Pasta with Basil. Yummy! We ordered all these plus the more traditional pizza margherita and cappriciosa (combination pizza) for the kids. While waiting, we couldn’t help but check out what were being served in the next table. Before long, we were trying out their pili pie and mud pie. Not bad at all! Amazing how this small cafe fuses italian goodies with local cuisine centered on pili nuts, coconut cream and chilies. By the time we made our way back to Villa Amada Hotel, we were ready for the typhoon with all our takeout goodies. What gluttons we were! No mercy.