Marvel at the majestic Mayon

Travel Bucket List

Text and photos by Leng Castillo

If you are looking for fresh air and breathtaking sights, you should head south to Albay. This coastal province at the heart of Bicol Region is famous for the Mayon Volcano, whose shape is said to be the closest to a perfect cone.

The active volcano, which draws both tourists and big business to the quaint coastal province, is best viewed from the Mayon Skyline Viewdeck, but more popular photographs have been taken from the town of Cagsawa.

There, Mayon, dubbed by locals as “daragang magayon (beautiful maiden)” is set as the backdrop of an ash-stained bell tower, the only remnant of a Franciscan church buried in lahar when the volcano erupted in February 1814.

But there is more to Albay than the Mayon Volcano. Nature lovers should not miss Lignon Hill Nature Park. Those who want to explore caves can try Hoyop-Hoyopan and  Calabidongan caves in Camalig and Pototan Cave in Batan Island.

Bacacay has luxurious white sand beaches now called the Misibis Bay Resort. The Pinamuntugan Island, meanwhile, has the unusual jet-black volcanic sand beaches which according to the locals contain some medicinal value.
The cool spring waters of Dhio Endheka Natural Spring in Tabaco City and Oh La La Paradise Spring Resort in Guinobatan will surely relax you. A short hike in the twon of Manito will take you to the boiling lake called Nag-aso.

You can also trek to pools of clear cold waters at Vera Falls. Cross seven clear rivers and step atop a big boulder to get into Palale Falls, both found in Malinao.  You may also take a dip at Busay Falls in Malilipot and Bugsucan Falls in Tiwi.

You may take an air-con bus in Pasay City, Cubao or Alabang bound to Tabaco City or Legazpi City with fare around P750 to P1000 depending on the bus line. The trip would take 10 to 12 hours. By plane, Legazpi City is an hour away from Manila.

There are air-conditioned vans for hire in Legazpi city but it could be expensive. You might as well hire a jeepney for one day tour with estimated cost of P2,000 to P2,500. Also, while you’re there, binge on spicy local food and pili nut candies!

About the author: Leng Castillo, 41, is an accountant

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