I had to cancel my Tiwi-Sangay Road running adventure last July 14. It was a disappointment for me, but a mark of an ultra runner is resilience. If I couldn’t do a seven-hour adventure run, I guess I could do a shorter one; something in the vicinity of four hours.
I immediately had something in mind. Why not run from Iriga City to Lake Bato and back? I have done already a run to Lake Buhi via Mt. Iriga – Mt. Asog (refer to http://www.bicolanopenguin.blogspot.com/2012/07/mt-iriga-mt-asog-adventure-run-43-kms.html#more). I can do one to Lake Bato, the biggest of the three lakes of Rinconada. I can do this via the Masoli Road. I figure I can do this run without a support vehicle. I expect many sari-sari stores along the way and I already have a place in mind, where I can have some merienda, at the latter part of the run.
So I started out at 5am (July 14) from our house in San Agustin. I went straight for the city center of Iriga and from there, gallowayed to the bridge at San Franscisco which is the start of the Masoli Road.
The road passes thru the Iriga barangays of Sta. Cruz, Salvacion and then Masoli, a barrio of the Muncipality of Bato. Sta Cruz , which used to be a sitio of Salvacion, is now figuratively the center of Iriga as this barrio hosts the new City Hall of Iriga. Not to be outdone, Salvacion is host to the Parish Church of Our Lady of Salvation. These two barrios are part of the lowland area of Iriga and produce rice. Running thru these three barrios, in the early morning, I got to enjoy views of mist-covered rice fields on both sides of the road.
|Iriga City Hall|
|Parish Church of Our Lady of Salvation|
|Our Lady of Salvation|
|Mist-covered rice field|
I noticed on the right side of the road a couple of welcome road markers indicating entry to two Nabua barangays, Lourdes Old and Palayon. It dawned on me that the Masoli Road is a convergence area for Iriga, Bato and Nabua. And in the 1980s, the Masoli Road was notorious for NPA rebel activities. Obviously, it is not anymore the case. There seemed to be no more Nice People Around. Is this a case of “If you will build it , they will be gone”? Is it just a coincidence that when the Parish Church was built, salvation from NPA revolutionary taxes materialized?
At the end of the Masoli Road is the junction of this road with the National Road. I crossed the National Road and veered right for the road going into the town proper of Bato. The lake is practically at the backyard of the town. Or is it the town proper being at the backyard of the lake?
|Welcome to Bato|
I took pictures of the lake and the Holy Trinity Parish Church in Bato. I also had photos of the tilapias and carps from the lake being sold at the road side. Lake Bato is a major source of commercial fresh water fish in the province. With a surface area of 2,810 hectares, it is the biggest lake in the province of Camarines Sur and the 7th largest in the Philippines. The lake serves as a catch basin for most of the tributary rivers in Rinconada and northern Albay. It is the major source of water for the mighty Bicol River. Given its muddy nature, I see no resort swimming happening anytime soon though.
|Lake Bato with a glimpse of Mayon Volcano at the background|
|Tilapia from Lake Bato|
I guess talk of Bato will not be complete without mentioning “pansit bato”, the favorite noodles among those born in Rinconada. At the junction of the Masoli Road with the National Road, I took pictures of three local establishments who have gone bigger, even started exporting, producing pansit bato. It is indeed popular among us and the prime reason, I believe, is that cooking it does not require a lot of ingredients unlike pansit canton or pansit habhab. Just slide over some pansit bato into boiling water, add some soy sauce or patis and the aroma it generates make for an appetizing inexpensive meal. For breakfast, lunch, merienda or dinner, pansit bato is versatile.
From Bato, I trudged towards the neighboring town of Nabua via the National Road. It was already half past 7 pm and I was going hungry despite ingesting a High5 gel midway thru Masoli Road. My next target, 6kms away, would provide me with some local sustenance.
This is the “Nang Lazon Loglogan” near the Nabua town proper. Say what? More of that later. I like kinalas and loglog and my Batch 83 classmate, Ollie Herras told me a year back of this joint as the place to go. I was impressed given that Ollie is from Naga, almost 50 kms away and yet he knows this place. When I arrived, there were several customers enjoying already the loglog. I ordered mine with a hard boiled egg. I instantly liked the loglog with the broth coming from tasty beef. I noticed my fellow customers asking for a refill of the soup. Good idea – bottomless soup. Kinda like bottomless tea. At Php 20 per order, the Nang Lazon loglog is a tasty good value for money. I will certainly be coming back for more in my future runs thru Nabua.
|Nang Lazon Loglogan|
|Loglog with Mountain Dew|
|Nang Lazon and family|
|Nang Lazon and I|
Now, why that name? I got to ask the woman at the counter who owns the loglogan. She told me her name is Merlie Maglapid and that she now runs the place, taking over from her mother who goes by “Nang Lazon”, the word “Nang” being the Nabua dialect equivalent of the tagalong “Ale.” Merlie pointed to the old woman in front as her mother. I wasted no time asking to have their photos taken which they good naturedly accepted together with the rest of the loglogan staff.
After eating, I decided to walk for the next 20 minutes before I resumed my run. While walking, I passed by the Nabua National High School. I glimpsed the word “Forty Niners” on the archway of the entrance gate and knowing that my dad was part of Batch 49 of this high school, I veered towards the gate to see if there was some marker. True enough, there was one and I got to see the name of my dad together with his classmates.
On my way back to San Agustin, Iriga City, I passed by the city proper and there I was followed by two athletic dudes. Nearing the city park, one of them called me and inquired if I was on a “long run.” The use of the term instantly identified him as a runner and I politely said yes. I then slowed down my walk and entered into a conversation with them.Turns out that both are members of IRIBUNABA , a group of runners from Iriga, Buhi and Nabua. I told them that it was great to meet them and got the mobile number of one called Brandon Bueno. He has done the Camsur Marathon and finished the 2012 Mayon 360 ultra marathon with a time of 11 hours. I told him you are in Row 3 and I am in Row 4. This elicited some laughter. We parted as they were on their way to register for a local fun run this coming July 29.
I came out smiling with the friendly encounter with the IRIBUNABA members. I now have some contacts in the local running scene in Rinconada.
I ended my run in front of our house. I am back after 4 hours & 17 mins of running. I figured I ran a total of 31 kms : 5kms from San Agustin to City Proper of Iriga; 10 kms to town proper of Bato; 6 kms to town proper of Nabua; 5 kms to city proper of Iriga; and 5 kms to San Agustin.
The run to Lake Bato and back was meant for me as a training run as I prepare for my next marathon, the Milo Manila leg. In the process, I got an unexpected bonus of getting to touch base with the local running group in Rinconada. Hopefully, this bodes well for my local running experience.
Our Bicol. Our home. Our run.
|Back in our house|