Heritage, Luzon

Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga, Albay

I’ve had some expectations with Cagsawa Ruins.

With all the photos of this historical site in Albay on textbooks when I was a kid, I really thought that Cagsawa Ruins is located in a place far from the residents. I imagined walking for a few minutes until reaching a vast land with trees where the ruins is located  facing the majestic Mayon Volcano.

I didn’t do enough research. All I had was an idea that was with me since I was a little boy.

Then lo and behold, when I had the chance to travel there and the moment I got out of the van, I was surprised to see the Cagsawa Ruins. Hahaha! That was fast and totally unexpected.

Then I realized that Cagsawa Ruins is indeed a tourist spot, and the most popular in Albay. You’ve got a lot of people there, with stores and stalls surrounding the place. Good thing there were trees and plants, and of course the almost perfect cone shape of Mayon.

Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol
Oh hello there.

I observed how my travel friends and other tourists took their most creative poses as they photograph the site. For me? I was looking at the place, thinking “so there you are. I’ve been wanting to see you for many years.”

Cagsawa Ruins History

It was February 1, 1814 when the strongest and deadliest eruption of Mayon Volcano happened killing an estimated 2,000 people. Most of them sought refuge inside the church thinking that the solid foundation of the structure could withstand the pyroclastic flows (lahar). But they were wrong.

Now only the belfry and some remnants remained as the silent witness of such havoc.

Currently, it is now a park known as Cagsawa Ruins Park managed by the local tourism of Daraga and the National Museum of the Philippines.Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol

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After observing the place and looking inside the remains of the Cagsawa Ruins, I decided to explore the stores beside the site to buy some pasalubong.

I’ve seen a lot of Bicolano delicacies, until I settled in one store and bought some pili nuts and tart. There were also some refreshments of shakes of different flavors, the most intriguing one of is the sili  flavor. As you all know, Bicolano food is known for dishes with siling labuyo!  But I must say it is one of the most delicious, my personal favorites are pinangat and laing! Oh my  just thinking of it makes me hungry. Hahaha!

Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol

Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol

Then, I decided to look for my new travel friends and saw them grouped under a huge tree just a few steps after the ruins. I got excited when I saw them buying some ice cream on stick, sili flavor! Of course, I didn’t miss the chance to try it. It was good. Not too spicy, just the right amount of sweetness with a twist of chili.

It was also funny that my friends thought of playing the ever popular game, “pak ganern.” Hahaha!

Our group is composed of all Filipinos and one Finnish. Since he’s the only foreigner we taught him some Filipino words,  traditions from eating Pinoy food to taking photos the Filipino way hahaha! And since pak ganern was really popular at that time, the group thought of teaching him how to play it. I never thought that I would play this game myself! But hey, playing it in front of Mayon Volcano? Who could resist the fun?

Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol

[Looking for hotels in Albay? Click Here]

Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol
Bili na kayo! Sili Flavor!
Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol
let’s teach him how to play Pak Ganern! haha

Cagsawa Ruins is one of the places that I really wanted to visit. This has tickled my imagination as a kid, and though I didn’t get what I’ve expected of the place, it’s still nice to learn about history from sites like this.  At the end of the day, I learned and I also had a great time.


How to get there

Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol

From Manila, there are bus companies that has trips going to Legazpi, Albay. Once you’re in Legazpi, take a jeepney bound to Camalig or Guinobatan. Since this is in front of highway, jeepneys will pass through Cagsawa Ruins.


More Info about Cagsawa Ruins

  1. This is a photo of an old Cagsawa Ruins

    Cagsawa Ruins Albay Bicol
    Cagsawa Ruins during 1960s.
  2. There’s an entrance fee of 10 pesos.
  3. There are a lot of activities to try at Cagsawa Ruins, one of the most popular is the ATV that can get you closer to the Mayon Volcano.
  4. Since it is so easy to travel to Cagsawa Ruins, better to do it DIY. But of course, you can also try the services of tour operators offering trips to Bicol.


Cagsawa Ruins Map

For story about our trip to Albay, check out the article, Albay Tourist Spots in One Day


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