Ready to go around the country this summer? Here’s a great addition to your summer list: Albay in Bicol!

Your History and Geography classes (even Literature) might have oriented you with the magnificent Albay province and all its tourist spots. Yes, this is where the perfect-shaped Mayon Volcano is and it’s known for its picturesque view. But while the famous volcano is something the Alabyanons are proud to have, there are other things you can do in Albay and Legazpi city, too. Here are a few suggestions that we have in mind on what to do and try on your next trip to Albay province.

1. Meet Daragang Magayon – Mayon Volcano

Get closer to the Mayon Volcano through an ATV adventure ride.
Image credit: Pexels.com | Archie Binamira

Mayon got her name from the famous legend The Legend of Daragang Magayon which means beautiful lady. And what beauty Mayon Volcano really is!

Cliche as it may seem, you just got to see Mayon Volcano up close. Not doing so is like a mortal sin for travelers! So how do you get close to Mayon? One way to do so is to visit Cagsawa Ruins. Located in Daraga, Albay – just one jeepney ride away from Legazpi City – the ruins of the old Cagsawa Church is one of the most photographed places in Albay.

The place is very much accessible and the entrance fee is very minimal. You bask yourself in its beauty, have pictures taken with the perfect volcano cone as background, and buy some souvenirs sold around the area. But if you’re more adventurous and is up to do something extreme, you can go for an ATV ride to get near to the foot of Mayon.

view of the Mayon Volcano, Legazpi, Bicol Region, Luzon, Philippines
Image credit: Fabio Achilli | Flickr

You can find more than a couple of companies offering ATV tour and adventure services just to get you close to the volcano. The rate ranges from Php 499 to Php 9,000 depending on what type of ATV you want to use, the duration of the tour, and the trail you want to take.

There’s totally nothing to be scared or worried about because they will give you an orientation before you set off the trail. Guides would also be there the entire ride to make sure you are safe.

Note: The mighty Mayon volcano last erupted in January 2018. The area is now (by the time of publication in May 2018) safe to visit. As a precaution always check the news and tourism information before booking your activities near the volcano.

2. Visit Old Churches

The beautiful Daraga Church with the Mayon Volcano at the background.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons | Dex Baldon

Albay also has beautiful old churches, one of which is the St. John the Baptist Church in Tabaco City, Albay. What’s specifically beautiful about this church is its dark facade because it is built out of volcanic stones and sand.

You can also visit Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish also known as the Daraga Church in Daraga, Albay. The place will give you utmost peace. Plus, you can see Mayon Volcano; a perfect background if you want to take a photo of the church with Mayon in view.

Other churches you can visit are the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Gregorio Magno and St. Raphael the Archangel in Legazpi City, Our Lady of Salvation Church in Tiwi, St. Dominic Guzman in Sto. Domingo, and Oas Church in Oas. These churches are a monument to the area’s rich history and the architecture is worth seeing.

3. Go on a Nature Trip

The lagoon at Albay Park and Wildlife.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons | Irvin Parco Sto. Tomas

Albay is also rich in natural tourist spots that come with the freshest air and breathtaking views. You can go to nearby parks like Albay Park and Wildlife or the Lignon Hill Nature Park. Entrance fees are just minimal – around Php 50.00. You can also rent a bike in the place or just go and have a small picnic and enjoy the view.

If you like to go a bit further, you can visit Kawa-Kawa Nature Park in Ligao, Albay or Mayon Volcano Nature Park in Sto. Domingo.

4. Swim, Dive, Surf at beaches in Albay

Beautiful rock formation in Caramoan Island.
Image credit: PublicDomainPicutres.net | Maliz Ong

Off the land and into the sea we go! Outside the center of Legazpi City, Albay boasts of some of the finest beaches in the province.

A few hours drive from the city you’ll find Subic Beach and Tikling Island in Sorsogon. You can head there either by bus or van. You also need to rent a chartered boat to get to the island and opt for a day trip for Php 1,600. You’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view, fresh wand cool waters, and some pink sand on your toes.

You can also try surfing in Puraran Island in Catanduanes. You can get there via plane or go to Tabaco City Port and ride a RORO to Virac, Catanduanes. You can then rent a vehicle or hire a tricycle to take you there. Staying in Puraran will only cost you Php 10.00 for the entrance fee, Php 150.00 for a cottage rental, and around Php 300-500 for a decent accommodation for overnight stays.

But if you really want to go all out in your beach adventure, head on to Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte, or Caramoan Islands in Camerines Sur.

There you’ll find pristine and fine sands and clear blue waters that would let you experience a quiet and wonderful island life.

5. Try Their Food

Albay – or Bicol in general – are known for their spicy foods. From their famous Bicol Express to their Sili Ice Cream!

Try Waway’s Bicol Express and other authentic Bicolano dishes. If you’re not in the mood for something spicy, you can go to Four Seasons for their chicken or Bigg’s Diner for a satisfying meal.

Can you dare to eat a chili flavored ice cream?
Image credit: Cherie Gozon

But for your dessert, you should definitely try Sili Ice Cream of 1st Colonial Grill. It has different levels which also indicates the increasing spice on the ice cream. You might want to try Level 1 first just to see if you can handle anything higher.

Bring home some delicacies with you for your family and friends back home. Buy some laing, pili nuts, pili tart, and pinangat and share your Alabay adventure through these yummy treats.

6. What to do and where to stay in Legazpi City

Legazpi has all the entertainment you expect a city to have. One of the best areas to enjoy while visiting is the Embarcadero, a waterfront promenade with restaurants, bars, and places to shop. This area near the harbour has a beautiful view of the volcano so visit at sunset to capture great photos.

The city also offers plenty of places to stay that are both affordable and comfortable. Among them, do check out these hotels and guesthouses:

Don’t miss Albay and its majestic volcano

Albay's famous postcard-worthy landmark.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons | Ayan Villafuerte

If you are planning your visit to Albay, know that you can get there either by air or by land. Take a flight from Manila or from Cebu to Legazpi. The flight takes around 1h and Philippine Airlines (with up to 0.5% Cashback) and Cebu Pacific have daily flights. The other option is taking a Bus from Manila (trip takes 10 to 12 hours depending on the traffic) or take a train through Bicol Express.

Go ahead and book your getaway to enjoy all Albay province has to offer.

Do you know of any spot we should definitely visit around Albay? Let us know in the comments.