Road Trip Stopovers
Hours after disturbing my van mates on my relentless singing from our accommodation, Al Del Rio Resort at Caramoan Island, our van stopped for our first main stopover. I thought we were stopping over in just one souvenir shop.
I went inside then looked hard at the items being sold. I ended up buying two refrigerator magnets, but then my fellow bloggers disappeared.
I went back to the van, but they weren’t there. I saw my friend on the other side of the road and asked him, “Where are the others?” It turned out he also didn’t know. He saw the toasted siopao and went for it. Nice one!
I returned to where the previous shop was and saw Kuya driver. He told me everyone was doing their shopping in the marketplace because it’s cheaper to shop there.
“Oh… So that’s why everyone hurriedly left the souvenir shop. I just thought they would no longer buy souvenirs,” I said to myself.
Yeah, right! As if that would happen. Filipinos are known to buy pasalubongs (or souvenirs) for their loved ones when they go to a far away place.
I walked a little further and finally found them busy grabbing everything they can buy with their money. I also looked for souvenirs to bring home to my family and Lloyd.
#1 Market Place, Pili, Albay
What I ended up buying was Albay’s famous PILI NUTS which was three for PhP 100 (or 2.1 USD). It’s the jars on the left topmost part of the photo.It’s a crunchy and tasty nut that comes from a pili nut tree. They say it’s high in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and is rich in protein. Finally, the pili nuts that are usually sold are the sugar coated ones like in this photo. Other available flavors are salted pili, pili with honey, and many more.
I also bought COCO JAM, a jam made of coconut even though it can also be found in other Philippine provinces. One jam costs PhP 35 (or 0.74 USD). I could imagine Lloyd eating bread with that traditional sweetened coconut spread. Can you find the Coco Jam above?
Other food for sale are confectionery made from coconut, milk and more. What’s funny is someone is selling Tik-Tak. I haven’t checked what it is but definitely it’s the jumbled name of Kit-Kat.
After our pasalubong shopping spree, we hurried back to the van to continue our journey with another stopover at Bicol’s biggest food chain, Bigg’s Diner.
#2 Bigg’s Diner
I learned that the idea for an American-inspired food chain for Bicol came from McDonald’s that is why it’s original name was Mang Donald’s. They had to cease operations because of a legal suit against its name.
After a few more name changes, the fast food restaurant that had become into a diner finally settled for the name “Bigg’s.” It is a positive name that represents their growth as a food chain and also connotes the big servings that they came to be known.
We no longer had to fall in line as the nice Travel Book.Ph staff already reserved a room for us, and the waiters just went to us to take our orders. Yes, it was part of that all-expense-paid trip to Caramoan Islands that I won.
For those who don’t about Travel Book.Ph yet, you may check them at http://travelbook.ph/. Meanwhile, for those who want to become a Travel Book.Ph blogger affiliate like me, you can sign up at http://affiliate.travelbook.ph/.
Bigg’s Diner learned that we were travel bloggers so they gave us complimentary food: one appetizer and one dessert.
The appetizer that was served on our table was potato wedges. I didn’t see this on their menu so I neither know its name nor price.
One thing is for sure this was a great appetizer. It was gone in just a few minutes after the waiter had placed it on the table.
Meanwhile, the dessert that was given to us was this. It’s like a brownie a la mode.
It was just saddening though that they served it to us with a melted ice cream.
And for my order, I had SALISBURY STEAK, PhP 145 (or 3.05 USD).
I found it salty, but I wasn’t sure so I had to ask my friend, Sam, if it really was salty. And, yup, she agreed that it was salty.
Honestly speaking, after checking out the menu and trying their food, I still prefer Mr. Cupcake’s Diner. Bigg’s Diner, however, is still a good choice for a quick meal for a road trip stopover in Bicol.
Overall, those are two major road trip stopovers from Caramoan Islands to Metro Manila that I feel you should know. It makes the long journey more bearable and you get to please your loved ones on your return. Indeed, drop by at the Marketplace in Pili, Albay for souvenir shopping. Finally, grab a bite at Bigg’s Diner to fill your stomach and do some stretching for the remaining long journey ahead.