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Albay Destinations: Volcanoes, Sunflowers, Pili Nuts and Chili Ice Cream

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Hola Readers! As promised, I told you I would share my sightseeing in Albay. I went to Bicol for some specific agenda and I told myself, why not do a side trip as well? Without any further ado, let me share you the world of volcanoes, sunflowers, pili nuts and of course, chili from yours truly, the Philippines.

But wait! Let me give you a short background of Bicol first.

Unlike any super duper mainstream domestic spots in the Philippines, I could say Bicol is not too hyped up (that’s why I’m promoting it!) and most travelers I see are the locals. It is a tourist destination to see the very popular Mayon Volcano but most people doesn’t have much knowledge aside from that. My parents came from Sorsogon so I usually visit my relatives there and I am quite familiar with the place, however, I started visiting different places in the region only last 2016 up until now.

Philippines is divided into regions and Bicol Region is also known as Region 5, the southernmost region of Luzon. Here are the places I’ve been to!

Let’s focus on one part of Bicol which is Albay, and let me share what you can expect in there.

Legazpi City

Ayala Mall, Pacific Mall

If you’re an urban dweller and you’re quite culture shocked with the vastness of land and the numerous trees, Albay is not really a break from the cities, but I could say it’s the same with Manila less the pollution and the traffic. As Filipinos, locals here also have the mall culture wherein they go with their families to have fun and dine. As for me, I went to the following restaurants with my relatives to eat and catch up + see the breathtaking view of the Mayon.

Albay Destinations: Bigg’s Diner
Bigg’s Diner. This is their idea of fastfood here.
Albay Destinations
Calamansi, Cacao, Pili, and Chili Ice Cream! Definitely local!
Albay Destinations: Lava
Lava Menu: Your volcano specialties

And guys, these are restaurants I’ve never seen in other areas of  Manila. Totally local. Masirámon!

How to get there: You’ll probably be coming from the bus/UV terminal or the airport.
From the bus/UV terminal: Open your Google Maps and walk.
From the airport: Walk to Washington Drive St. and take the Letter B Jeepney. Tell them to drop you off at Ayala Malls. Cost is 7PHP.

Embarcadero de Legazpi

Well, there is a mall here but I couldn’t recommend it that much because there’s nothing stunning. But what stunned me is the view outside. (Yes friends, let’s skip the malls and take a look outside instead.) I went here last 2016 and what we did are the following:

Albay Destinations
Views are picturesque, so of course, we took a lot of shots.
Albay Destinations: Embarcadero
My first zipline hahahhahaa. I never wanted to go down but…
Albay Destinations: Embarcadero
…they pushed me away! Haha, this was an exhilarating one, being afraid of heights! Screenshot from my zipline video.

As I’ve read on other reviews, most shops are closing. I hope they could revive this area since it has good reviews from before, and the view outside is quite stunning when you see the nice sky.

How to get there: 
From the bus/UV terminal: Open your Google Maps and walk. BIR is nearby.
From the airport: Walk to Washington Drive St. and take the LetterB Jeepney. Tell them to drop you off at Embarcadero. Cost is 7PHP.

Ligñon Hill + Albay Park and Wildlife

If you don’t want to zipline above water, zipline above land! Ligñon Hill is a place to exercise, relax, do some adventures, and adore nature. You can do the following activities here:

  • Exercise while going up and down the hill. There are early morning joggers here.
  • Visit the Japanese War Tunnels. Bicol in general, has a lot of Japanese war tunnels.
  • Zipline. Or, just feel the fresh air!
  • Eat some chili ice cream when you reach the top. If you ask me about the taste, it’s delicious, but it tastes like chili. Haha, just try it.
  • Take photos. You’ll see a panoramic view of the Mayon here.
  • Shop for souvenirs. Souvenirs from keychains, shirts to woven bags could be found here.
  • Relax! Just feel nature around you.

Here are photos for proof:

Albay Destinations: Ligñon Hill
Before we go up…
Albay Destinations: Ligñon Hill
My two buddies. It’s rainy-sunny when we went there.
Albay Destinations: Ligñon Hill
Since Mayon doesn’t wanna show up, here’s a photo of our ice creams instead! Pili, chili, and tablea (cacao).

Beside Ligñon Hill is Albay Parks and Wildlife, a very accessible park and a zoo if you want to see some other than humans. Additional activities here include:

  • Ride a bicycle. They have solo and group ones.
  • Watch some animals. Land, water, air animals, you can see them here!
Albay Destinations: Albay Park and Wildlife
Who wouldn’t feel at ease on these surroundings?
Albay Destinations: Albay Park and Wildlife
Told you, there are animals everywhere!
Albay Destinations: Albay Park and Wildlife
Pretty peacocks as well!

How to get there: 
From the bus/UV terminal: Go to LCC Mall and wait for a Loop 2 Jeepney. Tell them to drop you off at Ligñon Hill. Cost is 7PHP.
From the airport: The fastest way to Ligñon Hill is by tricycle. Cost is 30PHP. I can give you a more detailed jeepney ride but it would cost you so much time as compared to just taking the tricycle.

Municipality of Daraga

Cagsawa Ruins

Your Bicol trip wouldn’t be complete if you haven’t seen the Mayon Volcano and the famous church that was destroyed in the 1814 eruption. Located approximately 11kms from the volcano itself, this spot is the ones I would consider, the most mainstream and touristy among the rest of the places.

Albay Destinations: Mayon
You can see it from afar… why not see it near?

We all know that we would take photos here. But what else could we do?

  • Ride the ATV. Actually, in Ligñon Hill, they also offered it to us. This one is best done when there are 2 or more people.
  • Learn your history! The Cagsawa Church was built in 1587. You might want to travel back in time.
  • Buy some souvenirs. This one wouldn’t be removed on the list as well. As for the souvenirs in Albay, most of them has Mayon because who would not proud as a local?
Albay Destinations: Cagsawa Ruins
Playing with photos while this girl is doing her IG. (My cousin anyway haha)
Albay Destinations: Cagsawa
Unfortunately, it was too cloudy everytime I travel to see the volcano.

How to get there: 
From the bus/UV terminal in Legazpi: Ride a jeepney which says “Tahao Road to Daraga”. Jeepney rides cost 7PHP. 
From the airport: Go to Washington St. Ride Letter A jeepney. Same price, 7PHP.
But if you’re coming from Ligñon Hill: If you came from the previous destinations I told you, Ligñon Hill is actually on the diversion road of Daraga and Legazpi, so it’s quite nearer. Ride a Loop 2 jeepney going to Daraga. 7PHP as well.

Ligao City

Kawa-Kawa Hill

I didn’t include the place in my Instagram where I took the sunflower shot so here you go! The reason why I visited this place is because I randomly saw a sunflower field in my IG feed and I saw it came from Ligao, so I was quite surprised why I didn’t go there yet.

And so I went there!

Albay Destinations: Ligao
I would want a garden like this in the future!

What is Kawa-Kawa? Of course, names of places usually have their meanings. Kawa means cauldron in Bikolano (the term is pretty much used until now) and that’s its shape on the top. It’s called “a hill without a hilltop” or I should say, a hill with a crater. Oddly fascinating, right?

I totally love this place because of the tranquility it offered me and the warmth of the people (and the weather haha!)  It’s not too mainstream, means it’s not too crowded, and I would love it that way because you couldn’t enjoy serenity if there are too many people.

Kids playing, couples talking, families bonding and still, there’s a vast area of land we can take pleasure on seeing.

What else is in it for you?

  • Go to the stations of the cross. This place is really made to contemplate, and people respect the holiness of this place. This is ideal during holy week.
  • Go to a church. Beside the park is a church with a nice architecture. It’s currently in progress but people can pray inside.
  • Have picnics! There is an open field at the crater (yes, I climbed the hill hoping there was a hilltop but there is an open field instead full of blooming sunflowers!) and families, kids, couples, groups of friends, hang out there while they’re just eating or talking to each other. Also, I could say the people here are disciplined enough because the place is clean!
  • Adore the sunflowers… and other flowers! Aside from the sunflowers, there are also other flowers here hanging in some areas and it’s like you’re really visiting a garden.
  • Have a panoramic view of Albay. It’s not just Ligñon Hill that could give you a panoramic view, but this one as well! You don’t need to climb mountains here, just hills.
You’ll see more of these inside the church.
Albay Destinations: Ligao
Dome-shaped church to contemplate after your relaxing scene outside.
Albay Destinations: Ligao
Catholicism being embedded in the Filipino tradition. For your general information, Catholics don’t worship statues but have them as representations.
Albay Destinations: Ligao
This is the start of the trail. Go here and see more!
Albay Destinations: Ligao
Of course, I would never go out of this place without taking my own photo. Solo travelers has limited poses, I’m glad I had put off this shot!

How to get there: 
From the bus/UV terminal/city center in Legazpi: I rode a jeepney that costs 40PHP. It’s quite a hassle because it stops. I have read that you could also take a UV express which costs almost the same. Get off at Kawa-Kawa. Landmarks are Bicol Regional Science High School (right) and Mayon Institute of Science and Technology (left). Ride a tricycle going inside or walk (I prefer this). Tricycle costs 40PHP. To go uphill, there’s an e-shuttle which costs 5PHP.
From the airport: Go to the bus/UV terminal/city center. That’s the best place to ride to Ligao. Walk to Washington Drive St. and take the Letter B Jeepney. Tell them to drop you off near the UV terminal. Cost is 7PHP.

Other places you might not want to miss…

  • Tabaco. I always stay in Tabaco since I have relatives there. It’s one jeepney ride from Ligao and one UV ride from Legazpi. They have parks there and lots of ukay finds, haha!
  • Bacacay. I went here to swim and the sand is not white, nor brown, but black due to the volcanic activity. There are lots of resorts here that usually locals go to.
  • Malilipot. The name itself means cold so I assumed the water here is cold as well (yes, in the resort we went to). There are a lot of swimming places and you can find Busay Falls here which I heard is really good from the locals. I might go there next time.
  • Tiwi. I haven’t been here but this was one of the places I would’ve gone but due to time constraints, I haven’t. I’m looking forward to visit the Philceramics here. Anyone wants to join?
Albay Destinations
Cities are jeepney rides away. Unlike in Manila where you would spend an hour on a 4-km ride, here, you’ll reach more than 10kms in an hour.
Albay Destinations: Tabaco
Pedicab rides are usually 10PHP. Whenever I see interesting transportation deisgns, I always try it out! This one’s shot in Tabaco on my way to my Tita’s (Aunt’s) house.
Albay Destinations: Malilipot
Passed by this sign on our way to a local resort. Must try this the next time I go!
Albay Destinations: Bacacay
The black sands of Albay shores. It’s really dark when you see it but thankfully the water is clear. Photo taken at Bacacay, Albay.

I would definitely go for a 3rd, 4th, nth time visit here. Local destinations in the provinces is something I look forward to and I felt safer to do it since the locals are nice and warm. People here live simply. Unlike in the city where it seems more dangerous, locals are happier and wouldn’t want to take advantage of you and even feels shy when you give them tips. Or is it just for Albay? Let’s see as I go on my next adventures! And if you go to Bicol, maogmang pag-abot!


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