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Albay In Three Hours

It was my first time to see Albay, I was invited to be one of the judges for Daragang Magayon (beautiful lady), a summer festival named after the heroine of the legend of Mount Mayon.
The celebration culminates with the coronation of the fairest maidens of Bicol.
As soon as I arrived at the capital city Legazpi, I was brought to the hotel with co-judges Maggie Wilson and Benjoe Leoncio to have lunch and meet the candidates of Daragang Magayon. I was also tasked to choose the best design for Philippine Terno worn by the ladies, which will be awarded to the respective designer at the pageant.
We had a very warm reception at the astrodome filled with beauty enthusiasts. They take their beauty pageants seriously and why not? A great number of beauty title holders, both international and local have come from Bicol, the Venezuela of the Philippines as they proudly claim.

Clockwise: The pageant opening number, backstage with Maggie Wilson, Megan Young and Gretchen Fullido,
and the Philippine Terno segment.

The morning after the pageant was my only time to see Albay and its world famous volcano. I had three hours to make a quick tour before my flight back to Manila and hopefully see the tip of Mayon volcano which is hidden by clouds most of the time. Folks say it usually shows its perfect cone only to virgins and the sight of it brings you good luck. Oh well, I believe both!
My good friend and fellow designer Lalay Eva who is now based in this beautiful city joined me for breakfast at the hotel and volunteered to be my tour guide.  We hired a cab that would take us to Lignon Hills for a good view of Mayon and the city, and back. The minute we reached the top of the hill, cumulus clouds slowly floated away to reveal the volcano's tip. Its beauty was as majestic as its been said, there standing on a plain, elegantly slim at the top, like green silk draped from heaven. (a fashion designer's description, hey) 

Mayon Volcano showing its tip for a brief moment.

View of Albay Gulf.

Happy reunion with Lalay Eva.

I hoarded bottles of Bicol Express and I wasn't disappointed. I'll be back for more!

Pasalubong shopping.

A quick stop at Lalay Eva's well appointed atelier.

To market, to market!

Brightly colored fans.

Because they're famous for their spicy food - 'Chili' key chains.

Mayon Volcano souvenir coffee mugs.

Lalay choosing the perfect straw tote for all the pili mazapan, and Bicol Express bottles I bought.

One more stop before I go,  DJC halo halo supreme. This one's for you Anthony Bourdain!

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