It was already late at night when we arrived in Legazpi, Albay, the last leg of our 3 day Bicol escapade.
We checked in at Mayon Backpackers Hostel and had our dinner at the center of the city. It was my first time to try their famous sili ice cream. It was good, but what I really enjoyed the most are the local dishes of the province. I like Bicolano dishes especially those with gata and a bit of spice. Yum yum!
The next morning, we all prepped up for our last day of exploring Bicol. We had our breakfast at the hostel’s dining area then off we went to our first stop.
The church has a rich history and significance for the Bicolanos. It was in 1800’s when Mayon Volcano erupted and destroyed some structures in the province, one of them is the Cagsawa church. People from Cagsawa then relocated in Daraga and built a church on top of a hill which is now the Our Lady of the Gate Parish or the Daraga Church.
But apart from its history, the most fascinating about the church is its spectacular view of Mayon Volcano. We were lucky to witness Mayon in its full form as there are times that it is covered with clouds.
We had some group shots, and each has a solo photo with the majestic Mayon.
We didn’t expect that we could actually get a better view of Mayon Volcano, until we reached the Ligñon Hill Nature Park.
This used to be a PHIVOLCS observatory center that monitors the activity of the volcano, then it was later reconstructed and rebranded for tourism. Now Lignon Hill is the perfect spot to see the best view of Mayon, and also a place to experience some exciting activities for tourists like zipline and rapelling.
For us, we just relaxed. Sitting on those benches enjoying the panoramic view of Legazpi and nearby towns.
We’ve all had a picture of Cagsawa Ruins in our minds when we were kids, and seeing it for real is such an awesome experience.
Seeing a lot of tourists making some different poses while taking picture in from the ruins, makes me realize that Cagsawa is the most popular destination in Albay. There are also some stores surrounding the area for you to buy some items and pasalubong. I actually bought some pili nuts, tarts and even turmeric tea!
Though this is a popular spot, it’s good to also reflect that hundreds of years ago, there was a church in that place that served as the center of the people’s faith. Now, only the belfry is the silent witness of Mayon Volcano’s havoc.
Today, the place is named as Cagsawa Ruins Park managed by the local tourism of Daraga and the National Museum of the Philippines.
After killing some time at Cagsawa Ruins, chatting and teaching our only foreigner travel buddy how to play “pak ganern” hahaha Yes, pak ganern was really popular during the time of our travel. And I never expected that I would even had a chance to play this game. Well, trying it while in front of Mayon Volcano? why not! Hahaha
We traveled back to Manila even singing ala videoke inside the van as if we weren’t tired for the 3 days of exploring Sorsogon and Albay.
This trip to Bicol is my first time to go solo and join a group travel with people I didn’t know. But I went back to Manila filled with good memories and new friends.
Note: There are still a lot of tourist destinations in Albay that you can explore through tours or DIY. But if you only have one day to explore, this article is the right one for you. If you want to extend your trip in Albay, here are some other spots.
- Vera Falls in Tabaco City
- Danao Lake in Polangui
- Misibis Bay of Cagraray Island in Bacacay, Albay
- Cagraray Eco Park
- Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao City
- Clark, Pampanga: Fast-Rising Tourism Haven in the Philippines
- Mt. Ulap in Itogon, Benguet: Dayhike and Traverse