full of fun, not dangerous at all...
11.05.2013 - 13.05.2013
Well, as many others would usually think, Mayon Volcano seems to be dangerous to travel in because it's the most active volcano in the Philippines and perhaps one of the most active volcanoes in the world erupting like at least once every three years. The last time it erupted was in 2010. And just recently last Monday May 6, 2013, this volcano spewed some ash and killed 5. It is indeed quite dangerous. Despite this fact, nobody could stop me from going to the province of Albay to see this nerve-racking yet wonderful site.
Two of the most famous tourist places in Albay province are the town of Daraga, where you can see the iconic Cagsawa Ruins and the 17th century Daraga Church, and of course Legazpi City, which is the main capital of the whole province and is packed with different things to offer. Again, Albay is the province, Daraga is a town, and Legazpi is the main city.
In order to get to Legazpi City, there are two options that I can offer. One is by car which will take you around 11 or 12 hours, that if you are into long travels and can enjoy sight seeing while on the bus. this process is actually tiring because you will have to go to Manila and take a bus en route to Legazpi. (Well, I don't recommend this, not unless you have your own car.) The other one is actually easier and much faster as it makes you save time and a lot of effort from a road trip. There are flights bound for Legazpi. It takes only an hour from Manila. You can have options from
These airline companies give promotional tickets as low as 399 pesos. So I suggest that you book a month before your planned trip to get the lowest ticket prices available.
DAY 1: The Black Sand Beach
Two weeks before my planned trip to Legazpi, I had already contacted a driver from Legazpi City to tour us around the city and some neighboring towns with his van at 3500 pesos for a day. You can contact Mr. Ramon at this number: +63932 875 4365 The price is also negotiable and he's very helpful and friendly.
Tricycle, which is the main mode of transportation in the whole city, will take you from one point to another in Legazpi City or some neighboring towns like Daraga and Camalig. Tricycle fare ranges from 8 pesos to 15 pesos depending on the destination. There are also jeepneys around that travel around Legazpi and its neighboring towns. The fare ranges from 8 pesos to 15 pesos as well depending on the destination. Perhaps this mode of transportation is the best way to get around the city or other towns especially when you are squeezing your budget or travelling alone. Taxis and some rent cars are standby right outside the departure area of the airport, but they cost a lot. There are also vans and buses stationed at the city public terminal (they call it Satellite Terminal in Legazpi City) and is just 2 minutes away from the Pacific Mall. These forms of public transportation will take you to the neighboring towns of Legazpi City. (Note: The Satellite Terminal also gives tourists some shopping spree from souvenir items, shirts and native delicacies.)
Together with 4 other people (my students: Tangos, Ely, Hilda and Eric, all of whom are Korean nationals), I arrived at the Legazpi Airport in the afternoon at around 2p.m. as our flight was at 12:45pm from Manila. Upon arriving, we took a tricycle to The LCC Mall for our late lunch. From the LCC Mall, we took another tric to the Satellite Terminal for out trip to the black sand beaches in Bacacay, Albay, which is also another small town of Albay. The trip took us around 40 minutes by van in 35 pesos fare per head. (Not bad!) Upon arrival at the junction to barangay San Jose and going to Bacacay town proper, we took another tric to Sogod Beach. The tricycle driver suggested us a beach resort where we stayed for a night. We got a room for two at Jaass Beach Resort at 1000 pesos a night. My camp tent was very helpful as I used it to sleep at night. The room was just good for three.kkk...
Note: The black sand that you can see in Bacacay is just the same with the black sand that you can see in Hawaii. Can you imagine that? You don't have to go to Hawaii just to see black sand beach. It's all in Bacacay, Albay.
Some boats (with boatmen/bankeros of course!) at 150 to 300 pesos are on the coast waiting for some passengers who are willing to take you on a tour around the Albay Gulf. It's pretty cool. The boat ride took us only 20 minutes to go around half of the gulf at 150 pesos. not bad! (mind you, the price is also negotiable as the boatmen are very considerate.)
The night sky view at the resort in Bacacay is another plus on our trip. It was heavenly starry starry night. (well, it's not bad at all to have a camp fire along the beach.)
DAY 2: THE RUSH IN 15 TOURIST PLACES
My travel mates and I got up early in the morning to prepare for our next day. It was 5 a.m. Sunday when I approached the view deck and anticipated the scenery on the Mayon Volcano. And, I was not disappointed. The morning view of the Mayon was simply amazing, not to mention the calm Albay Gulf was also great at sunrise.
We set everything and had a simple breakfast of coffee and bread at the store nearby and head to our first stop of the day. Of course, we didn't forget to take a snapshot at the resort where we stayed (Jaass Beach Resort) before we left.
I will simply state the 15 places we visited. I'm sure you'll never regret going to these places when you travel in Albay.
1. Busay Falls ( It was originally called as the Seven Falls because there are six other falls that completes it. However, according to our driver, it is really hard to get to the other falls. It takes time. Anyhow, we enjoyed the first stop. It was easy for us to move from one place as our driver knew everything about the tourist places in Albay. Nice,huh.)
2. Our second stop was the St. John the Baptist Church in Tabaco City. Well, it was just a side trip as we were passing by going to Tiwi, Albay. The structures were in a western style. We just took few photos there and of course I grabbed the chance to pray for awhile inside the church.
3. Ceramics Factory in Tiwi, Albay.
Tiwi is another town located just around 40-45 minutes away from Bacacay or at least an hour away from Legazpi City. Actually, you can have an experience of pottery at the Philceramic factory, you get your hand dirty from the potter's wheel; however, we weren't able to have that experience since we went there on a Sunday. So I suggest if you plan to have this on your list, make sure you go any day from Mondays through Saturdays only. The factory is open until 5 p.m. Luckily, the ceramic shop where you can buy some of their works was open that time so we just took our chance to take pictures of their unique designs from candle holders to vases to pots and everything.
4. Nag Park/Philippine Geothermal Inc.
This is an old Geothermal site in Albay. The place has been empty for years already yet it still good sight to see. You shouldn't miss it because it's just along the road to the PhilCeramics in Tiwi, Albay. The giant tubes make the park really special.
5. DJC Halo-Halo
First, we have to know that the word 'halo-halo' means a mixture of things that are edible of course, this includes some jellies, beans, root crops, and so forth and so on + a scoop of ice cream and cheese on top.
I heard it's the best halo-halo ever in Albay. Local and international tourists come to Tiwi, Albay to have a taste of DJC's halo-halo. We were not disappointed because the rumor was true. Their halo-halo is indeed the best in all of Albay. I have tasted different halo-halos from different places but there are only three places I recommend you try their halo-halos, one in my hometown Bangar, the other one is Noki Nocs in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, and DJC Halo-Halo in Tiwi, Albay. If Tiwi is not part of your travel list but still want a perfect halo-halo treat, don't worry because this restaurant has another branch in Legazpi City, which is the capital city of Albay. When tourists go to PhilCeramics, DJC halo-halo is always a common stop especially when the weather is crazy hot. It's always nice and cool to eat our native halo-halo in the summer heat.
6. Mayon Rest House
This place is located on top of a mountain. Most people know the place so don't worry of getting lost. It's just that it is really far from Legazpi City. If you have your own car, it's just easy to go there, however, it might not be very convenient for someone to go there alone as public transportation is not often available going up to the mountain. One thing more, this place is part of the six-kilometer danger zone, which means that in times of terrible activities of the volcano, authorities don't recommend going there. But anyhow, we were able to go to the top to have a view of the Mayon Volcano and the half of the province of Albay. Unfortunately, clouds covered the whole of the Mayon and rained a lot during our visit there. We still took a lot of photos, though.
7. Mayon Science Park and Planetarium
After taking shots of the view on Mayon Rest House, we took the opportunity also to have a taste of science at this place. It's a small structure where you can see pictures and documentaries of the Mayon eruptions. If you are travelling with your kids, this place might be a good place for them to appreciate science a little. The entrance is 10 pesos per head. The place is just located at the Mayon Rest House as well, so you don't need to walk a lot to find this place.
8. KawaKawa Sunflower Circle, Ligao City
After Mayon Rest House, we headed to this place. Unknown to many, this park is newly opened. Ligao City is located just around 20 minutes from the Mayon Rest House. It's worth going there because aside from the fact that it is new, it is also a good place to relax spiritually especially when you are highly religious. It is packed with a lot of religious things and of course nature. The term kawakawa in Bicolano language means a thing most likely like a big sloped pan. Tourist can go around the circle while viewing the station of the Cross. Mind you guys, it's a religious park, but it doesn't mean everything is about religion out there. The nature surrounding it is really stunning. There's also a pineapple farm where you can have a try of harvesting and a tree house where you can have a cup of coffee while looking at a nice mountain view. Between the last week of April and the first week of May, Ligao City celebrates its Sunflower Festival. Kawakawa is the place where you can actually see a sunflower farm. It must be beautiful. When we got there, the sunflower plants had been harvested already.
After the morning trip, we had a simple lunch at a Filipino restaurant near the Kawakawa Sunflower Circle. We tried some native foods in Bicol region, one of which is the Bicol Express. You should really try it. It's freaking hot and spicy.
9. The Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga. Albay
This sight is very iconic and symbolic to Philippine history. It was a church built in the 1700s; however, it was destroyed due to the volcanic eruption in 1814 and some other typhoons and floods. It is believed that during the eruption of the Mayon Volcano in 1814, thousands of peole kept themselves in the church to be safe but unfortunately everyone got buried alive. It was tragic. Nowadays, the place has become a spot of history. Daraga is about 30 - 40 minutes away from the Pacific Mall. During our first visit there, it was cloudy. So the next day before we went to the airport, we dropped by again there early in the morning. we took a tricycle and paid 250 pesos. It was never a disappointment to get there. Trully the place has a captivating sight. It is classic yet picturesque. You should never miss this place. Entrance fee is at 10 pesos per head. If you're bringing your car, you have a parking fee of 10 pesos.
10. Daraga Church, Daraga, Albay
This Baroque church was built in 1773. After the Cagsawa Church was destroyed from the eruption of the Mayon Volcano in 1814, this served as worship place of the people who used to go to the Cagsawa Church. The view of the Mayon Volcano at the church parking space is captivating as it also gives you a nice landscape.
11. Lignon Hill
If you are up for some extreme sports, you can now head to Lignon Hill located just 10 minutes by your car from Legazpi city. The place gives you an overview of the the whole of Legazpi City including the airport and of course the 360 degree view o fthe Mayon Volcano on the other side. There are some sports and other activities that you can do out there, from a Japanese tunnel during WWII to Wildlife Sanctuary to ziplining and more. It's fun to be there. Prepare for 20 pesos each for the entrance fee. We personally enjoyed the view of the city. One factor thing you have to know is that during the night, Legazpi City lights up to its best, which you can witness at Lignon Hill. Too bad, we couldn't go there at night as we were really exhausted after our day tour. But, it's really a must-see.
12. Albay Cathedral
It's always nice to do the Visita Iglesia or visiting different churches. But this church symbolizes Legazpi City as well. We passed by the church while we were on our way to our accommodation.
It's another place for shopping along the port. It's pretty nice out there. You can have some delectable and luscious meals at its restaurants and do some shopping after.
14. The Legazpi Boulevard
Another wonderful sight to see. Obviously, the area is up for people who love to do some jogging. Well, pretty cool, huh. But the thing that I love the most in this area is the picturesque sight that we saw at the time we went there. The hill in a shape of a sleeping lion just perfectly coincided with the blue color of the twilight after sunset. I have never imagined such before. It was really captivating.
15. Souvenir Shopping at the Satellite Terminal
Before we headed to our accommodation, we had our souvenir shopping at the Satellite Terminal. You can shop there from key chains to t-shirts to native decorations and a lot more. The prices are also negotiable. Souvenir items are always great things as gifts to families and friends.
DAY 3: BYE BYE ALBAY
While we were on board the plane back to Manila, here are some pictures that I took. They simply took my heart away. Amazing!!
The first picture was even featured on may 14th on my iReport Travel Photo of the Day on CNN. Check this site:
Go to CNN