I had the chance to explore the beauty of Bicolandia region, together with my colleagues around 2nd week of October 2012. We left Valenzuela City around 4 a.m. because our flight was half past 6 a.m. We reached the airport just in time and waited for our boarding time. The travel time to reach Legazpi is approximately an hour but depends on the air traffic.
We arrived at Legazpi Airport at around 8 a.m and this is the first thing I saw at the plane’s window.
We are quite excited to explore Legazpi City as we heard many good reviews in this tourist’s spot.
The Oriental Legazpi, our residence for our overnight trip, provided us a van and took us to the hotel after a fifteen-minutes drive from the airport. The hotel is located on top of Taysan hill, overlooking Legazpi City and the beautiful Mayon Volcano. Upon reaching the hotel, we are greeted by their friendly staff. As you can see, the hotel is quite cozy and sophisticated.
They let us wait at the check-in lounge and also offered us welcome drinks as they prepared the rooms that we’ve reserved.
Finally, after 5 minutes, we are given our room assignments and room access so we could unload our things. We are told to freshen up and be back at the lobby to start our city tour.
Our first stop was the Lignon Hill, one of the prominent landmarks in Legazpi City.
It operates from 8 a.m to 11 p.m daily with a minimum park environmental fee for those who will visit. This place offers a panoramic view of the city’s skyline, nearby cities, the volcano and several activities like zip-line, biking, jogging, etc. We arrived here at around 10 a.m. and because it’s quite cloudy, we did not capture the perfect cone shape of this volcano. It’s quite perfect to go here during earlier time and during the evening for a more fantastic view. Our tour guide told us that during the Mt. Mayon eruption, this place blocked the lava flow and prevented massive destruction in the city. We got our own vehicle that’s why we didn’t experience trekking up the hill. Here are some of the shots I’ve got in our trip as we explore the view deck of Lignon Hill.
We didn’t forget to take obligatory group photos for keepsake purposes.
Of course, I’ll always have some moments, too! 🙂
We also went to the Japanese Tunnel inside the Lignon Hill.
We failed to get inside the cave because there’s no one to assist us. So, we go down again and just took a picture instead.
After that, we went to PHIVOLCS Observatory located also at Lignon Hill.
It serves as the central monitoring station for Mayon and as a Science House for visitors and the scientific community in the area as well. It was constructed in 1989 and the third observatory in Albay. We’re able to learn something new here especially in using different materials to observe the volcano’s activity.
Our next stop is the Cagsawa Park or Cagsawa Ruins which is located in Brgy. Busay, Cagsawa, Daraga, Albay.
One of the historical places in Albay, it was built in 1587 and known as Cagsawa Church. In 1636, it was burned down by the thieving Dutch and reconstructed during 1724. However, in 1814, the Mayon Volcano erupted and caused a massive destruction to the church, surroundings and houses and death to approximately 2,000 people living inside the community. Only the belfry and some parts of the convent survive and is maintained and preserved by the city government.
It was raining then when we reached the park, we have to wait for a few minutes inside the van. Luckily, the rain stopped and gave us a cool, chilly weather. We first had our obligatory group shot at Cagsawa Park.
We had a lot of picture taking activity that day – as in, a lot 🙂
And yes, I still have my own fair share of limelight, hahaha!!! 🙂
It’s almost 12 noon when we left Cagsawa ruins. It’s lunch time already.
We dropped by along a small restaurant, which I forgot the name, known for their famous dishes. We tried their Sinigang (not in the picture), Tempura, the famous Pinangat, which were all good and delicious and their Bicol Express was really spicy.
Our next stop after our lunch is the Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave.
Hoyop-Hoyopan cave is located in Cotmon Village, Camalig, Albay. There are entrance and parking fees in visiting this cave as it’s maintained by three well-known families in Albay. We also hired a local tour guide to accompany us inside the cave. According to our guide, it’ll take us 11 hours too fully explore the cave butt we opted to have the short one. The cave has a natural ventilation, that’s why it’s called “Hoyop-Hoyopan.” The word “hoyop” in Bicol means “blowing of the wind.” One of the cave’s opening will give you a majestic view of Mayon volcano in its serene or violent mood. We started our trek and took our group picture inside as we finished the first level.
The tour guide narrated some stories about the cave’s history and about the stalactites and stalagmites seen inside the cave. We were very entertained in his ways of describing each of the rock formations. Here are the few shots I got inside the cave.
At the end of the tour, we bought some crystals (not in the picture) which is said to bring good fortune and home-made souvenirs for us to remember this memory always.
The cave is a good place for those people who want to venture out for adventure. I’m not fond into this kind of activity because I’m quite afraid of the dark and steep or murky floors but I’ve enjoyed this. It’s always nice to acquire new learning and information as well as accomplish something in places you’ve never been before.
We traveled back to Daraga to see Our Lady of Gate Parish.
Our Lady of Gate Parish is also known as Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish Church, but commonly known as Daraga Church. It was erected atop a hill in barangay Santa Maria overlooking the Mayon Volcano. We’re told that this church serves as a settlement of people who relocate after Mount Mayon eruption.
I had to stop by because I don’t want to miss capturing the beautiful view of the volcano.
By the time that we visited this church, it was under restoration. The facade of this church is an example of Baroque style and alongside of the church is the covenant. We all had the chance to pray for our intentions and I didn’t forget to say mine. They also had a solemn place for the devotees of each Saints.
We didn’t forget to take pictures at the facade of Daraga Church and The Mayon Volcano.
Our final stop is to trek the Lava and Trail summit of Mount Mayon.
Your Brother Travel and Tours provided us a 4×4 vehicle on our way to the summit. The bumpy, rough and jagged trails with waters and lava rocks made our adrenaline pumped up as we traversed our way to a more exciting experience.
We reached the end course, which is the parking area of the 4×4 and we took first a group picture as a proof that our memorable adventure really happened.
As we walked on our way to the top of the Lava Wall, I really couldn’t believe that I would be experiencing this adventure. I never imagined that I would be brave enough traversing the trails of Mayon Volcano. Anyway, as much as I wanted to quit, I still couldn’t because it’s only a once in a lifetime experience. So off we started climbing the debris of the lava wall.
It was really frightening to climb the debris and rocks because most us were just wearing slippers and flip flops as you can see.
Still, we did it and reached halfway the lava front. We stopped for a while to take this awesome picture.
When we reached the lava front, also known as the helipad, I was mesmerized with a closer view of the volcano and the 360 degrees view of the city.
Of course, we really seized the moment taking pictures here, there and everywhere.
Some local legends attempt to explain why and when Mayon chooses to hide behind the clouds. One legend says that Mount Mayon is the burial ground of Princess Daragang Mayon and her lover Ulap. When clouds cover the peak, this means the princess is locked in a tight embrace and lost in a passionate kiss with her lover.
The easy way to go down is to take a zip-line. However, it’s quite expensive that’s why we preferred doing the trek down even if it’s quite difficult. We spent some 20-30 minutes climbing down the lava wall. I was the third person to go down so I took a picture of them before going down.
Truly, God has been so good to us because he gave us a good weather, courage and strength to experience this.
This will be forever memorable to all of us – bumpy, rough, scary but awesome! ♥
It was almost sunset when we reached the town proper. We went first at the Albay Pili store. It is the most popular pasalubong shop in Legazpi City and operates from Monday to Sunday. This store resembles an ancestral house and offers variants of famous pili nuts and Bicol’s delicacies in a jar. The store accepts cash and credit cards for their transaction. These were my choices then for a budget of 600 pesos.
After that, we went to the local market nearby the bus terminal because we heard that the products are quite cheaper then. We bought a lot because they have some promos for their products. I bought some pili de pastillas, ref magnets, key chains, coin purses, local pili nuts variants and the yummy mazapan that tasted like yema (both not in the picture) and believe it or not I only paid 200 pesos for everything. I made some “tawad” or asked for discounts because I wanted to buy a shirt then but I didn’t so I still have 200 left for my pasalubong budget.
We had our dinner at SIBID-SiBID restaurant located somewhere along Legazpi City. We had a hard time locating it but through the help of my bosses’ colleague, we’re able to find it. Sibid-Sibid is a full service restaurant that serves seafoods and traditional pinoy dishes at very reasonable prices.
Our food choices for that day were Rice, Kare-Kare, Grilled Stuffed Squid, Pork Sisig and Steak.
Our tummies were filled sumptuously and after our dinner we went back to the hotel. We also saw the famous Embarcadero but forgot to capture it. After few minutes, we reached the hotel and it was majestic at night. I tried taking pictures of the city’s view at night but I failed to have some good shot. It was neither blur or too dark.
We didn’t have the chance to take a swim in the pool because it’s already close at 8pm. We went to our own rooms, took a shower then capped the night off. In my case, I fixed my things already so I won’t have to hurry for the next day when we check out. I woke up at 5:30 a.m. even if I’m still sleepy and my body’s aching. I did that so I could have a sight of Mayon Volcano early in the morning. However, ’twas very foggy that morning and this was the only good shot I got.
Before having our breakfast buffet, we went to the pool side in the 3rd floor and have our pictures taken there.
After that, we fixed ourselves and then we went to Jasmine Restaurant for our complimentary buffet breakfast. Here are some of my shots inside the restaurant.
We really had a good time trying their buffet. So yummy! Of course, we didn’t forget to take a group shot of this scrumptious moment.
After our breakfast, we looked in the souvenir shop inside the hotel. They’re selling native bags, slippers, towels, caps, shorts and shirts. I found some good quality shirt for 100 pesos each and bought 2 pieces. We then walked around and took some pictures as we waited for our check-out.
The sun is up then but we went back at the pool area to have a better view of the hotel and the city and of course to have our own photo souvenirs.
After few minutes, we went inside the hotel again and killed the time taking pictures and watching TV.
We checked out at 12 pm and reached the airport within 15 minutes-quite early for our flight back to Manila. We safely reached Manila at around 3 p.m. and went home around 7 p.m.
Truly, it’s more fun in the Philippines as it was fun exploring LEGAZPI. I’m just grateful to God for the blessing and guidance. I want to thank my boss(es) for their generosity in giving us travel opportunities like this. I just hope I could also travel back there to discover more places and activities with my family. Thank you for Reading my blog and Til Next Time! :*