A Piece of Bicol Gold in Paracale

3:07:00 AM Christian Aligo 0 Comments

Standing on top of a guest inn in the small town of Paracale, Camarines Norte, a 360 view of the mining town in the Bicol peninsula can be seen. Small rectangular shapes float in the sea demands a little attention.

As a stranger in this town, I had to ask to know about the shapes. However the personnel from the Municipal Tourism Office quickly shared that the boxes are part of sites where kids enter holes into the sea to collect gold ore.

Interestingly, Paracale is a first class municipality that relies heavily in gold mining. In fact, we passed by Uni-Dragon Mining and Development Corp. when we toured the rest of the town.

A Stone Church: The Lady of Candelaria 

Established in 1611 by Franciscan friars, the Paroqia De Nuestra Senior De Candelaria Church has served an important role in Christianizing the people of Bicol.

This year, the church is celebrating its 405th anniversary. In visiting old architectural structures like this, I usually look for the original wall or material. And in this church I think the back portion of the church still utilizes the original bricks.

Above the choir’s deck, a small hole leads to where the old bells are garaged. One of the bells has cracks already and if you are a museum-goer, you will surely love examining the parts of the bells.

We were led to a safeguarded room inside the church’s compound sits the Our Lady of Candelaria figure. This is the original figure which is made from pure gold so a CCTV camera monitors the room to avoid anyone from stealing it. However this room is not open to public on regular days.

CAPTURED FOOTPRINT: Stories have it that the church is built on a former cemetery site.

An Evening Dip in Pulang Daga Beach

One of the best things to do to seal the day is to go to the sea and walk barefoot on the sand or dip in the warm seawater. This is exactly what I did for the last stop in our Paracale Tour- Pulang Daga Beach.

Pulang Daga means ‘red soil’. Pulang Daga in Las Pinas in Metro Manila immediately crossed my mind.

The beach’s higher ground is covered with carpet grass which is unusual yet it looks lovely. A small group of young adults squat on the ground while drinking liquor and laughing out loud.

The lower beach ground is raw white sand. I brought out my rush guard and headed to the sea for some fun before the last call is launched.

Authentic Bicol Dishes at Candist’s Kitchen

Our dinner at Candist’s Kitchen was more of an academic, food tour than a simple meal for a hungry soul like me.

CAPTURED FOOTPRINTS: I have learned the secrets about Sinantol and Bicol Express, two of my new favorites. 

Sinantol- After cooking it, leave it for one day before serving it. The flavor gets thicker. To control the level of saltiness, dip grated santol in water and squeeze it. For faster removal of the salt, use hot water.

Bicol Express- The authentic Bicol Express uses "ballaw", paste   made from shrimp.

If you have more questions about the Bicolano Cuisine, contact the restaurant at 0945.256.4230 or PM them on Facebook.  

When we headed back to Metro Manila, I spent my time looking for ballaw in the Public Market. It costs P200. 


Here are old photos of Paracale placed on the wall of the guest inn that we climbed for the 360 view of the town.


CAPTURING FOOTPRINT SPECIAL NOTE: This article is published through the efforts of the Camarines Norte Provincial Tourism Office headed by Mr. Bong Palma in cooperation with the Municipal Tourism Offices, Katooga PH, and private individuals sharing the same advocacy of boosting the tourism industry of each town in the Bicol province.