February is arguably the best month to “go for a ride, drive down to the countryside, get away from the gray and frenzied hurly-burly of the city life,” to borrow the lyrics of a popular Jose Mari Chan ballad.
With the right blend of cool breeze, sunlight that won’t pierce your skin, and car companies rolling out new vehicle models, the urge for a road trip is irresistible to check out if love is in the air indeed.
One such amazing place to drive to is Albay, home of the perfect-coned Mayon Volcano and the cozy farm resorts around it, which are romantic hideaways at any given time. It has a legendary but tragic ancient love story which gave birth to this geological landmark which mesmerizes locals and visitors alike with its contour and enigma.
And for an intimate ride to the max, Maxus G50 can give you the right mix of smooth driving and ambiance, particularly for married couples who prefer practicality over fancy features.
Below are some farm sites where the trendy MPV can blend well with the volcano towering in the background, fab food, and family fun if Valentine’s Day is a bonding for quality time. And with open spaces and al fresco settings as the preferred destinations in this pandemic, these date places are both healthy and intimate.
Pit Stop 1: Sumlang Lake. This 10-hectare getaway has grown phenomenally over the years—from a simple balsa rides and turon merienda to a top venue for gourmet garden dining, special events and lunch or dinner lake cruise. It has been a mute witness to countless wedding proposals which eventually led to receptions a few months later in the very same memorable place.
An idle swampy farm just a few years back, it was transformed by village chief Felipe Napa Jr., an exporter of world-class abaca home furnishings. The property will soon have lodging facilities by the lakeshore to offer a complete experience for newly-weds or those who want a country-style escape.
Tucked in Camalig town’s interior, guests would have to drive through narrow alleys which the Maxus G50 can easily negotiate with its sensors and 360-degree camera.
Pit Stop 2: Farm Plate. This two-hectare rolling farm is actually like a ranch with its cowboy-themed structures—a small chapel, barn house, vegetable farms, flower gardens, and stores styled as Texan salons. If you are into cosplays, come in with your Wild Wild West attire to add a Hollywood-like feel to the location and take snapshots at the Instragrammable spots.
The staple lunch is the easy-to-grill food which is best paired with the spicy Bicol Bites ready-to-eat regional specialties produced by farm owner Harry Llaguno himself. Guests can also bring in food and picnic while gazing at Mayon which appears to be looking down at you.
If roughing it out under the stars spells romance, you can pitch tent, light a bonfire, or do a barbecue dinner at its campsite which overlooks a lake. The barn house, which doubles as a dining area, has an attic which can be converted into sleeping quarters where guests will be provided overnight abaca baskets composed of towel and toiletries.
Perched at an upland sitio of Daraga town, Maxus G50 can effortlessly climb the steep twists and turns with its powerful 1.5L turbocharged gasoline engine.
Pit Stop 3: Aguas Farm (shown in main photo). A compact vegetable and animal farm in Sto. Domingo, this restaurant, coffee shop, and watering hole has an enviable view of Albay Gulf, the outlying peninsula, and the night lights of the town’s población. It also has a native-themed cottage with a bedroom upstairs with a panoramic vista of various natural elements.
With just a few dining tables, the resto gets crowded with love birds and local politicians at dinner time. And as an alternative, you can park the Maxus G50 near the gardens and make the vehicle your date corner, and bask on a sound trip at its 12-inch dashboard infotainment system, and gaze at the constellations through its panoramic sunroof while talking about sweet nothings.
It is interesting to note that this rendezvous is a brainchild of former mayor Herbie Aguas, one of Bicol’s most eligible bachelors, as an ode to the love of his life—a charming flight attendant who became an Internet sensation with her heart-tugging post on the pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry.
If you’re raring for a stranger on the shore experience, hie off to nearby Sarong Banggi Resort, a tranquil beach at the gulf which helped inspire the composition of the region’s signature love ballad “Sarong Banggi”.
By riding to the max with Maxus G50, you get more than just stylish drives, but also stories of love which makes the world go round on wheels.
A true-blue day tripper since age 19, he has travelled across the archipelago by land, air, and sea. As a communications trainer, travel photojournalist, tourist mapmaker, scuba diver, environment advocate, or simply a family road tripper, he has imbibed the diversity of the Philippines by learning the basic way of life of the places he visits.