Legazpi City, the gateway to Bicol region, can be a perfect choice for an adventurous long weekend. All the major tourist attractions are accessible there.
As such, I came up with a reasonable guide for those who have a limited time but wants to explore what Legazpi City has to offer.
For easier navigation on what you want to read:
- How to Go There
- Legazpi City Itinerary
- Must Visit Places/ or Must Do Activities
- Where and What to Eat
- Where to Stay
- Where to Buy Pasalubong (or Souvenirs)
How to Go There
By Air (Average Travel Time of 1 hour and 10 min.):
- From Manila, daily flights offered by Cebu Pacific and PAL express. It costs around more or less PHP 5, 000 (or USD 100) per person for a roundtrip airfare depending on the class and airline. Of course, if you plan ahead, you’ll get that for way less that price.
- Cebu Pacific also offer daily flights from Cebu.
*Note: By 2018, the Bicol International Airport located at Brgy. Alobo, Daraga municipality of Albay will be operational. It is a mere 20 min. away from Legazpi City.
By Land (Average Travel Time of 9 hours): Various bus lines service the Manila-Legazpi City route daily by night and day.
- DLTB | PHP 810 (or USD 16.01) per way for 2×2 air-conditioned bus at Ali Mall, Cubao, Quezon City bus terminal OR PHP 1, 100 (or USD 21.86) per way for 2×1 air-conditioned bus with CR/ restroom and lazy boy seats at bus terminals LRT-Buendia via EDSA, Pasay City; Ali Mall, Cubao, Quezon City; and EDSA Pasay City.
- CAGSAWA BUS | PHP 850 (or USD 16.89) per way for Royal class (2×2) air-conditioned bus at Araneta Bus Terminal, Cubao, Quezon City OR PHP 920 (or USD 18.28) per way for Elite class (2×1) air-conditioned bus at Padre Faure Centre, Ermita, Manila bus terminal.
- PENAFRANCIA | PHP 800 (or USD 15.90) per way for 2×2 air-conditioned bus at Cubao-Shopwise bus terminal OR PHP 950 (USD 18.88) per way for Benz Solo air-conditioned bus at EDSA-Cubao bus terminal.
Legazpi City Itinerary
9:30AM – Arrival in Legazpi City
10:00AM – Ligñon Hill Nature Park
11:00AM – Japanese Tunnel
12:00NN – Lunch
1:30PM – Cagsawa Ruins Park
2:30PM – Daraga Church
3:00PM – Liberty Bell in front of Provincial Capitol
3:30PM – Embarcadero de Legazpi
4:00PM – Legazpi Boulevard
6:00PM – Dinner
7:00PM – Rest at Accommodation
07:30AM – Depart for Mayon ATV Adventure
08:30AM – Mayon to Base Camp ATV Tour
10:30AM – Return to Accommodation to freshen up
12:00NN – Check- out and Lunch
1:30PM – Souvenir Shopping at Albay Pili Nut Store
3:00PM or 7:00PM – Return Home OR Travel to Sorsogon City
This is a suggested itinerary for those who wants to visit Legazpi City on a weekend. For those who have more time, I highly recommend you to visit Sorsogon City and stay at least one night there. You may also want to treat yourself on an exclusive hideaway for all your hard work.
Must Visit Places and/or Must Do Activities
Ligñon Hill Nature Park
Entrance Fee: PHP 20 (or USD 0.40)
A prehistoric cinder cone that is the highest point in the city, Lignon Hill is a nature park that offers a 360-degree view of Mayon Volcano, Legazpi City, Daraga, and Albay Gulf.
Sadly, the clouds hid the Mayon Volcano during our visit since it was nearly noontime. The best time to view the famous volcano in its full glory is early morning.
This side of Ligñon Hill Nature Park offers a wonderful view of the city and the opportunity to see the takeoff and/or landing of planes. I think gazing here at night will also be spectacular with the city lights.
Aside from sightseeing, other activities you may do are the following:
- Ride a zip line (320 meters).
- Bike in the area.
- Go rappelling.
- Play paintball.
- Cross the Hanging Bridge.
- Hike in the steep Kapit Tuko Trail (Lizard Grip Trail).
- Enter a 50-foot Japanese Tunnel, an arsenal during World War II. Separate entrance fee of PHP 20 (or USD 0.40). Have a flashlight on hand.
Cagsawa Ruins Park
Entrance Fee: PHP 20 (or USD 0.40)
The Cagsawa Ruins Park in Daraga offers the best view of the perfectly cone-shaped Mayon Volcano which stands majestically at 2, 462 meters. There was a drizzle during our visit.
With the weather against our odds, we had almost no visibility of Mayon Volcano. I ended up not capturing the iconic image of the Bicol region.
What I did instead was to focus on the belfry tower which is usually shot with the volcano.
According to history, the town of Cagsawa was buried by the destructive 1814 eruption (the volcano’s strongest record to date). The remnants of the previous town center by 1930s was cleared and developed into a local tourist spot.
You can currently walk around the ruins to learn about the history of Albay. Or if you’re a nature lover, you can just enjoy the lush greenery with the scenic volcano at the backdrop.
Those who are in for a quick visit can hire a local photographer for just PHP 50 (or USD 1). They can easily snap creative shots that are perfect for your Instagram or next Facebook profile photo because of their expertise.
On your way in or out, don’t forget to snap a photo with this to show some love for the historical landmark.
The Daraga Church is named after where it’s situated which is Daraga in Albay. It is an old Baroque style church made of volcanic rocks bestowed by the Franciscan missionaries in 1772.
When the Mayon Volcano erupted in 1814, the church goers in Cagsawa transferred there. It also became known as Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Church when it was offered to the patron of the same name.
It also served as a headquarter for the Japanese army during World War II. After receiving damage, it was eventually restored by generous donors and supporters.
Currently, it is recognized both as a National Cultural Treasure and a National Historical Landmark. So whether you’re a Catholic or not, you’ll appreciate its beautiful façade and the vantage point of Mayon Volcano it offers.
The Legazpi boulevard is known as the longest bay road outside of Metro Manila, Philippines.
Offering picturesque views, you can enjoy the stunning Mayon Volcano, the Albay Gulf, and the Kapuntukan Hill by simply strolling there. Thus, it’s a great place for sightseeing and practicing one’s photography skills.
It’s also an ideal place for fitness activities such as jogging, running, and more. In fact, bike rentals are offered for PHP 40 to PHP 50 (or USD 0.79 to USD 1).
Those who are more adventurous may engage in watersports such as jetski, kayaking, and diving.
ATV at Mayon Lava Trail
For me, a visit to Legazpi should have an exploration of the Mayon lava trail aboard an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). It’s a rain or shine activity that can be experienced by everyone (except by babies and toddlers of course). In addition, it’s a safe way to be up close Mayon Volcano as the trail is still at a safe distance from the permanent danger zone.
Your Brother Travel and Tours
A reliable ATV tour provider you can avail of is Your Brother Travel and Tours. They have been offering such service since 2008 and they’re the creator of such tour. As a matter of fact, celebrities like Zac Efron, Manny Pacquiao, and more have availed their service.
Plus, they are the only one who provides the Can-Am brand of ATV. The Can-Am ATVs offer superior comfort in any condition; and it’s the choice of both enthusiasts and professionals.
Different Trails & Destination are offered by them. Rates depending on the ATV to be used are as follows:
Mayon Adventure to Base Camp
The ATV tour we had was the Mayon to Base Camp and what we used was the Can-Am brand of ATV. Thus, the value of our tour is PHP 4, 500 (or USD 89). Some may find it pricey but if you want a comfortable ride amidst the rugged terrain, it’s reasonable.
We were oriented with the do’s and don’ts in operating the ATVs. Our operator stressed that we should always wear our protective gear.
We then proceeded to applying what we learned from the orientation in their practice area. It’s pretty helpful for those who aren’t familiar in operating it.
By the way. if you’re wondering why there’s a police man sitting behind me, he wanted to have a photo with me thats why he’s there. Anything to cheer up our protectors.
After all those, the adventure begins!
We didn’t have to worry about the documentation of our adventure. The tour guides did it for us. We just handed them our cameras and smartphones.
All we did was focus on having the time of our lives.
From the jump off point in Brgy. Pawa, the trail consists of uphill’s and downhill’s with streams. I find it thrilling when we pass by streams. However, there were a few times I’d get stuck in a rut. Good thing our tour guides were quick to help me.
The views were splendid as it interchangeably changes from greenery to blackish-grey rocky area. I also enjoyed passing through the pine trees. You’ll be able to see that in a video we’ll be releasing soon.
Short Trek to Lava Front
It takes a short walk then five to ten minutes of clambering through rocks to reach the summit of the lava bed or the helipad (used for emergencies or by important people).
When we reached the summit which is at 2, 100 ft elevation, it was drizzling once again so there was no majestic Mayon Volcano in sight. I just pretended instead to wait for a helicopter to pick me up for fun.
Going down, one has a choice of either riding the zipline which costs PHP 300 (or USD 6). I didn’t opt to ride it since I usually ride ziplines and its just 300 meters long.
Overall, the ATV adventure is fun and exciting. Be sure to allocate a budget for it when you visit Legazpi City.
Where and What to Eat
Cucina Beatrice Restaurant at Casa Simeon
Built in 1920’s by Done Simeon Alparce and wife Beatrice, the ancestral house has become an iconic landmark in Bacacay for generations. It has been beautifully restored to house both Cucina Beatrice and Casa Simeon with the latter as it’s regarded to as.
We certainly took a trip down the memory lane when we dined at Cucina Beatrice which is by reservation.
Almost everything is made of wood and we get to enjoy the soft breeze of fresh air. I personally love the sitting on the traditional Philippine chairs that are now considered antique. Look at how classy it is.
We got word that the house will have a library with books all by Bicolano authors.
Dishes to try in Cucina Beatrice:
PAKO SALAD (or NATIVE FERN SALAD)
KILAWING ISDA (or CEVICHE)
TINUTUNGAN NA MANOK, chicken cooked in smoked coconut milk.
Cucina Beatrice/ Casa Simeon is conveniently located near a town gymnasium and a market. If you want to go to other places, you can hire an affordable pedicab to take you around.
Balay Cena Una
One of Albay’s best kept secrets, Balay Cena Una which is also a beautifully restored ancestral home. They don’t only serve local specialties but they also offer traditional flavors of different cultures.
The whole area is air-conditioned with a thick smell of wood.
There are also a lot of miniature displays in different parts of the restaurant which can entertain a customer while waiting for his/her food to arrive.
Don’t let the open looking windows deceive you. It is covered with glass so as not to let the cool air escape.
If you visited Bicol, you may as well stray from dishes you’re already familiar with. So I’m recommending to you still this CHICKEN TINUTUNGAN, PHP 220 (or USD 4.38). Their version is boneless and is cooked with papaya leaves.
Other food you should not miss:
Never leave Legazpi City until you have tried these.
LAING, a classic Bicolano dish of dried taro (gabi) leaves cooked in coconut milk added with shrimp paste and chili peppers.
Named after the train that used to travel between Manila and Bicol, the BICOL EXPRESS is a spicy dish that will make you run. Well, if have an adventurous tastebud, you’ll enjoy these slices of pork meat stewed in coconut milk, chili peppers and shrimp paste.
SILI ICE CREAM and TINUTONG NA BIGAS
Finally, you shouldn’t miss trying out SILI ICE CREAM, an ice cream made with hot Philippine chillies, even though it can now be tried in Tagaytay City. The heat of the ice cream is offeren in three different levels to cater to the different tolerances of customers.
Another flavor offered is TINUTONG NA BIGAS. an ice cream made with toasted rice crust.
Where to Stay
Casa Simeon is a bed & breakfast that provides a haven for travelers who want to immerse in Bicolano culture.
The Oriental Legazpi
The Oriental Legazpi offers a beautiful view of Mayon Volcano and the Legazpi cityscape. All with array of conveniences that will please discerning travelers.
Misbis Bay Resort
A tropical paradise, Misibis Bay Resort has the perfect balance of tranquility and adventure.
Where to Buy Pasalubong (or Souvenirs)
Albay Pili Nut Store
When you buy local products to give to your loved ones and friends, you can go to the local market. However, when you want to give them something special, you should proceed to Albay Pili Nut Store.
They have been providing and innovating the delicious pili nuts, Bicol’s local delicacy, since 1963. As such, they are the most trusted seller in Legazpi City for quality products in decent prices.
These are what I can recommend for you to bring home. Snack on their tasty pili nuts. Plus, don’t forget to purchase ready to eat Laing and Bicol Express which can save you from hunger.