Albay is probably the most tourist travelled destination in Bicol Region, Philippines and one of the must go to places in the Philippines. The main reason for this is the glorious Mount Mayon. But do you know that there are other attractions in Albay that are well worth to pay a visit.?
Being able to visit Albay twice already (and its purely exploration), I have already seen all the possible tourist attractions Albay has to offer. Listed below are the places that I think are interesting enough to feast your eyes. Nonetheless, some of these places have the backdrop of the famous Volcano in a different angle. You may choose what places that will take your interest and start your exploration from there.
Here are Albay’s Must See Destinations for Travellers:
- LIGNON HILL
Ligñon Hill is a prominent hill in the city of Legazpi, about 3 kilometers of its downtown port area in Albay, Philippines. The summit rises to about 500 feet, overlooking the Mayon Volcano to the northwest and the entire city and Albay Gulf to the east. The whole site is managed by the city and provincial government, and has been designated as a Nature Park and act as PHILVOLICS Observatory for the Mount Mayon.
Entrance fee is 20P in the main gate and with just a few minute drive, you are already on top of the hill. Above, they have in the center souvenir stores where you can buy handicrafts, keychains, bags and ref magnets. Activities here include sight seeing, zip lining, hanging bridge crossing, and relaxing.
Getting there from the city is as easy as hailing a Tricycle. Every tricycle driver knows Lignon Hill, your challenge is to haggle for the fare rate. If you’re from the airport, it would cost you around 30-50php. I got mine for 40php. If you’re in the city, fare rate goes slightly higher. around 40-70php.
- DARAGA CHURCH
Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish Church (also Our Lady of the Gate Parish Church), commonly known as Daraga Church, is a Roman Catholic Church in the municipality of Daraga, Albay, Philippines under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Legazpi. The church is known for its Churrigueresque architectural style in its façade, a fine example of Baroque architecture. Certain church sections were declared as a National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines in 2007.
- CAGSAWA RUINS
Probably the most visited tourist spot in Albay. The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of a 16th-century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church. It was originally built in the town of Cagsawa in 1587 but was burned down by Dutch pirates in 1636. It was rebuilt in 1724 by Fr. Francisco Blanco, but was destroyed again, along with the town of Cagsawa, in February 1, 1814, during the eruption of the Mayon Volcano. What is left now is the remnants of the church and the Belfry.
- SUMLANG LAKE
After Cagsawa, you may want to visit SUmalng Lake, which is just near Cagsawa. To get there, just head to the main road then hail a jeep going to Camalig and tell the driver to drop you off at the intersection going to Sumlang Lake.
Upon getting off, hire a tricycle driver going inside the lake. Normally, it cost 10php/person for 4 pax, but if you’re alone, it is possible that you will be shelling out 40php for the one way ride.
Entrance fee is 15php. Personally, there isn’t much to do in Sumlang Lake, and it isn’t even a lake, more like a pond. But in good days, this place is an awesome venue to get a spectacular shot of Mayon Volcano.
- QUITINDAY HILLS
The green hills of Albay. What I like about Quitinday Hills is the 2 point view – one point is overlooking Mt. Mayon and the other point is the lush greeneries of Camalig and neighboring towns.
Getting here via public transportation requires you to a few hop on – hop off. From Legazpi City, head to the Terminal either for van or bus. For van, just choose the van going to Camalig and tell the driver to drop you off in Camalig’s Tourism Office. For bus, take the bus enroute to Naga or any bus going north, it will pass by Camalig and tell the conductor or driver to drop you off at Camalig’s Tourism Office.
When you arrive at the Tourism Office, look for sir Jhepz. This is his contact #: 0907-707-4474. He is the tricycle coordinator to get you a tricycle to tour you around Camalig. Rate varies depending on the places you want to visit.
Usually, if you will be visiting to 2 places only like Quitinday hills and Hoyophoyopan Cave, rate for the tricycle will be 400-600php depending on your agreement. This price is for the whole tricycle upto 4 pax already. We were able to haggle our trip to 450php for the 3 of my friends. The trip starts at Camalig Tourism Office and ends there too or any point of Camalig’s main road.
- HOYOP HOYOPAN CAVE
Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave is a multi-level cavern of natural limestone situated at the village of Cotmon in Camalig, Albay. It was discovered during the Japanesse occupation and has since become one of the most popular and easily accessible caves in Albay. The gentle and breezy wind that blows through the numerous openings of the cave gave birth to its name Hoyop-Hoyopan which was derived from the vernacular word “hoyop” which means to blow.
Inside is a stage where Imelda Marcos will held a party during the 1970’s.
- JOVELLAR UNDERGROUND RIVER
Jovellar Underground River is quite tricky to reach. From Camalig Tourism Office, you may ask the coordinator that you will be visiting here. But to tell you, both of these places are quite far, so far rate might be higher.
There is a tourism office in Jovellar Underground River. Visitors cannot enter the area without a guide. Aguide will cost 100php for upto 5 guests. An Environmental fee is also required. It cost 100php for foreigners, 20php for Domestic, 5php for senior citizen, students and locals.
Here are the rates for all the possible fees:
- VERA FALLS
The well famed Waterfalls of Albay due to its astonishing Landscape and cool water. Everyone can take a dip to this waterfalls since the water is just shallow, safe even for kids. And if you don’t want to swim, just to the smaller waterfalls at the side that sips out from the wall.
- LEGAZPI BOULEVARD
I would suggest to come here early morning when Mt. Mayon will show all her glory and have a perfect background. After have some photo op, you can have your morning exercise through Zumba. At night, this are is turned into a party place.
- KAWA KAWA HILL
Also known as the Hill without a hilltop. Kawa Kawa Hill if located in Ligao City, a city next to Camalig. This place is best for hikers and devotees as this hill has the statues of the Stations of the Cross. Each level from bottom to top gets more wonderful view.
So climbing here gets you 2 advantage, an good view plus a good exercise.. =)
Getting here: From Camalig main road, take a jeep going to Ligao City or take a bus enroute to Naga City and tell the driver to drop you off at the intersection going to Kawa Kawa Hill. Upon alighting, take a trike to Kawa kawa hill. Rate for the trike is 20php/person.
- THE BLACK SAND BEACHES OF BACACAY
These black sand beaches are formed due to the ashes that has been spewed by Mt Mayon. This black sand beaches can be seen all throughout the coastal areas of Albay, especially in Bacacay area.
There are honestly tons of other tourist spots and activities that you can see and do, but these are my top choices if its your first time to visit Albay.
There are PUJ that are scattered all across Albay, and all of these are somewhat accessible by Public Transport, but the downfall would be, it will take too much of your time. My advice is to book in a reputable Travel Operator. I was able to explore to these beautiful and stunning places through Artgo Travel and Tours PH.
If you’re in a group and want to a cheaper mode of tour, they have what they call Tour by Jeep instead of the usual AC Vans. Rates are significantly lower and is actually may be more cheaper than doing it DIY style.
This is their contact information: