Camarines Norte: Destination Daet
Camarines Norte holds the gates to the other 5 provinces of Bicolandia, and its scenic destinations, wonderful culture, and rich history. It all begins with Camarines Norte’s provincial capital, known for its huge waves, notable monuments, and gastronomic treats. Welcome to Daet, where Bicol begins.
Daet’s main attraction, Bagasbas Beach, gained popularity as a surfing destination.
Did you know what Daet’s name mean? According to the Vocabolario de Lenua Vicol, the first Spanish-Bicolano dictionary, Daet means, “to make friend”. Lovely isn’t it? A beautiful place with a beautiful name – Camarines Norte’s capital, Daet, was the perfect backdrop for a traveler to embark on a journey with complete strangers and went home with a whole new set of friends.
Grey-sanded beach of Bagasbas (click photo or links to read more about Bagasbas Beach).
Swells that rise from 3-8 feet places Bagasbas Beach among the ranks of popular surfing destinations in the country. Beach breaks and the sandy bottom makes it ideal for beginners. Local surf instructors offer the best lessons that you’d be riding your first wave in no time. Each one of us had a blast even our young intrepid travel companion, the 8-year-old Ynwgie, who rode a couple of waves within an hour.
That’s me learning to surf in Bagasbas Beach. Great photo by Yani Panlilio.
An 8-year old kid surfing in Bagasbas Beach.
After having a blast in our Bagasbas Beach surfing session, sadly, the group parted ways – some went to Naga for their flights, others went straight back to Manila by bus. But instead of taking the bus right away, me and three lovely ladies decided to stay and get to know more about Daet beyond Bagasbas.
Daet’s welcomes visitors with “Welcome To Daet, Where Bicol Begins” signage. This is the elevated town plaza.
Getting back to Daet’s thriving town proper, also called Centro, was next on our agenda. Banks, local shops, commercial establishments, even popular fast food joints like Jollibee and Greenwich keeps Daet “on the go”. Streets were bustling with public tricycles which was the primary means of getting around town. But, I preferred to take a walk to my next destinations and get a taste of Daet’s everyday living.
Facade of Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, or the St. John the Baptist Church of Daet.
Inside St. John the Baptist Parish Church.
A lady offering candles and prayers.
Among the oldest churches of Camarines Norte is Daet’s Parroquia de San Juan Bautista, or St. John the Baptist Church, completed in 1611. However, the church was destructed during Post World War II so it underwent reconstruction in its Romanesque architecture. Today, the 16th century edifice still stands as a place of worship and a symbol of the Daeteños will to rise up again every time they fall.
Provincial Capitol of Camarines Norte.
Hanging out at Kalayaan Park, right in front of the Provincial Capitol.
Across the St. John the Baptist Church is the Provincial Capitol of Camarines Norte. Standing boldly on the frontage of Camarines Norte’s seat of power are 12 gigantic pillars which represents the 12 municipalities of the province. Also featured within the compounds of the capitol is Kalayaan Park (Freedom Park), a public park where anyone could freely convene, freely hangout, or freely enjoy a piece of nature at the heart of Camarines Norte for free. In its grass ground, we spend the rest of our afternoon just chilling out until sun down.
Memoirs of notable figures.
Paintings and portraits of Daet’s previous government officials.
Daet Heritage Center lies just a few meters away from the Provincial Capitols north gate. The institution, formerly a municipal hall and a police station, was converted to a library and a museum. The museum showcases antiquities and furniture contributed by locals, and memoirs of noteworthy personalities from Daet like Manuel Conde, multi-awarded director known for his works, “Genghis Khan” (1950) and the Juan Tamad series (1947-1960).
Old furniture in Daet Heritage Center.
A living room in Daet Heritage Center.
The most important and a must-visit landmark in Daet, especially for Filipinos, is the country’s First Rizal Monument. The Masonic three-tiered spire standing 20 feet tall was built two years after our the great Jose Rizal was executed. Inscribed in the coral stone monument were the national hero’s famous works, “Noli Me Tangere” and “El Filibusterismo”, along with the name “Morga”, referring to Rizal’s translations of Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (Historical Events of the Philippine Islands) written by Antonio de Morga, a Spanish lawyer, and a high-ranking official during the Spanish colonial era.
The First Rizal Monument.
Camarines Norte Martyr Monument
Also within the same park is the Camarines Norte Martyr Monument, a memorial marker commemorating the lives of Camarines Norte’s heroes, soldiers, and citizens who gave the utmost support and fought for the cause. Camarines Norte proves to be a cradle of Filipinos with a unconditional love for its country. They, who will give everything for their Mother land, even their own lives.
Cozy ambiance of Tippy Toppy Restaurant.
Tippy Toppy’s cream puffs.
Ending this journey with trying the local restaurants of Daet wouldn’t be a complete journey after all. By asking around locals and making a few phone calls, Tippy Toppy‘s name has got a ring on it so we decided to have dinner there. We didn’t bother starting with sweets for appetizers as we began our feast with Cream Puffs, a pastry ball with sweet fillings, followed by Ensaladang Paco, a salad using paco or fiddle head fern as the main ingredient. After which, the main viands came in. We had fresh cuts of salmon for our fish steak, and Bicol’s gastronomic dishes like laing, dried taro cooked in coconut milk, and Bicol Express, a pork stew made from chilli’s and coconut milk. Dessert was a glass of Ginumis, a sherbet made from panutsa (peanut brittle) syrup, coconut milk, pinipig (rice crispies), and lots of ice. Amplifying our ultimate dining experience were nipa huts adorned with native ornaments.
This was the joyous end of our 3 day-vacation which was suppose to be bound for Calaguas but instead brought us from Quinamanucan Island to Daet. Our Camarines Norte trip was more inclined with journey rather than the target destination. Nevertheless, everyone went home with a thrill of accomplishment, tons of unforgettable memories, new friends and travel buddies, and loads of photos.
Our wanderlust was served.
Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. If you’re commuting to Daet, Camarines Norte, take the 8-hour bus ride bound for Daet (Superlines, DLTBCo., or PhilTranco) and get off at Daet town proper or Centro.
2. Bus fares to Daet, Camarines Norte:
P361.00 – Cubao to Daet (non-airconditioned bus)
P513.00 – Cubao to Daet (air-conditioned bus)
2. Click the link to find out more about Bagasbas Beach.
3. St. John the Baptist Church is located along F. Pimentel Avenue, and is opposite Camarines Norte’s Provincial Capitol.
4. Only a few meters away from the gates of the Provincial Capitol is Daet Heritage Museum, which stands across the First Rizal Monument.
5. Walking from the Centro to the First Rizal Monument is about 10 minutes. From Rizal Monument, all the destinations are nearby.
6. Tippy Toppy is located at Brgy V, J. Pimentel St. Daet, Camarines Norte. Just tell the tricycle driver to take you to Tippy Toppy.
7. I don’t have the breakdown of our meal at Tippy Toppy but all-in-all, we paid 1,300, including the beers, and garlic rice we had. Serving is good for 2-3 persons.
8. More destinations in Camarines Norte
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