Auhor: James Carpio
Providentially, I was born and raised in Naga City. But for school and work, I had to stay for eighteen years in Metro Manila. While I enjoyed my stay there I realized that I missed my home city when I came back. And I never want to leave Naga city again. I am back for good.
Here are the reasons why my heart belongs to Naga in a random and not in any particular ranking order:
The climate is cooler here. I think the temperature is colder by at least one to two degrees. I have noticed that I don’t perspire as much as compared in Manila. At dawn, it is chilly and foggy here. There is even a slight mist when you exhale through your mouth.
The fresh air
The air is refreshing here. Local and foreign tourists notice that first hand. This is obviously so because there are less number of transportation vehicles here. The exhaust fumes are not as much that form into particulates and furthermore in the morning the smoke that mixes with fog or smog. Another observation is in Manila throughout the day your nasal stuffiness turn into black while in Naga it doesn’t.
Admittedly, there are rush hours even in Naga but compared to Manila one would not complain anymore. Getting to my destination here takes about twenty minutes while there it takes one hour and thirty minutes and that is way back in 2009. After the rush hours getting to anywhere in Naga takes about fifteen minutes.
Cramped and filled with people is the general atmosphere when you take the bus or the train in Manila. Queuing also takes a very long period of time. In Naga commuting is far less a harrowing experience. It is even enjoyable as you experience city life in a smaller scale.
Size and Population
Naga is a small city and has less population. Naga has a hundred thousand plus people while Metro Manila has ten million plus people. The feeling is less crowded and much freer. You don’t bump into people as much unlike in the bigger city. Ironically, even though Naga is a lot smaller than Manila you feel that it is more spacious. It is a breathable city.
Progressive and Booming
You are not going to miss the fast food restaurants and basic services like banks and other shops as most of them are here now. Naga’s local businesses even are competitive and thrive along with the national franchises. I think you can actually glue Naga into Metro Manila and it would fit seamlessly but Naga as a stand-alone city is perfect as it is.
The coconut based food are in themselves reasons enough to enjoy living in Naga. I particularly savor the Bicol Express, Kinalas, Pancit Bato, Natong and other delectable dishes. For merienda I like the local baduya and turon. The breads that we have here are amazing. The maligaya, pan de sal and the chiffon cake are what my family always miss and eat when they visit Naga. Did I mention the toasted siopao? Pan bonete? They are in a league of their own.
I thought that I will never find something to do here in Naga when I relocated. As I write this piece that is proof enough. More job opportunities will be available to the job hunter as the city brace itself for more business process outsourcing companies and a possible export zone. Establishments are on the rise and they need people to work for in them. The job prospects are surely getting rosier as time goes by. Currently, people are now working in companies based in Naga that have started operations in the recent years.
This is the grand scale fiesta of fiestas where Bicolanos and non Bicolanos alike converge to the city of Naga in September to celebrate the feast of Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia. The city is more alive with religious and other activities. The traslacion and the nine day novena that culminates with the fluvial procession are the highlights of this festival. It is full of excitement and religious fervor that is always an experience of a lifetime. Like what I read one time people come as tourists and leave as devotees and come back as pilgrims. It is kind of magical but as you process it you discern that it is spiritual. It is good for the soul.
Favorite tourist spot
Though I am a certified local of Naga I still go to the Panicuason Hot Springs when I get the chance to do so. The experience is so therapeutic that I make sure to go as much as I can. Whenever there is a friend or family visiting we troop to that place at the drop of a hat. The transition from cool waters to hot and then to cold water again has an indescribable relaxing feeling. It is a unique experience.
Originally, I was planning to write an article with one hundred reasons why I love Naga. It could even be more like a thousand but sadly my article has a preset limit. But nonetheless as I go along in time I will expound on the matter little by little. Honestly, I think I will never run out of new things to write about my home city. And this Queen City of Bicol I noticed; she speaks for herself, I only have to write it down for her as a grateful son: a proud Nagueño.