Bicol Region, or simply Bicol, is in the southern part of Luzon island. The region is divided into six provinces – Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate. Each of the provinces has spots to brag and food to show off. That being said, Bicol is a terminus for epicures and gastronomes especially for those who were born to taste piquant and fiery fares.
You can reach Bicol via land transportation or by air. From Manila, it will take 12 to 14 hours of land travel by means of a public bus. You might want to carry a neck pillow because, oh! boy, it’s a loooong drive. Taking the bus is way cheaper than riding a plane. But if you have the numbers, you can book a plane ticket for airplanes that will fly from Manila to Legazpi City in Albay, Bicol. You will reach Bicol in an hour.
Have a Photograph in Mayon Volcano
Mayon Volcano is situated in Albay province in Bicol and is famed as an active volcano with a perfect cone shape. The adjoining landscape has become a national park and is frequented by holidaymakers and enthusiastic travelers.
Mayon Volcano has its optimum burst of rage in 1814 where the volcano turned the sky into dark ash and filled the land with boiling lava. The church tower of the Cagsawa Church withstood the destructive phenomena and has now become an iconic landmark of Albay. Tourists and vacationers love wandering around the ruins of the church and taking an obligatory jump shot with the tower and Mayon Volcano as a backdrop.
Mayon has not stopped from enraging (yet). Until now, the volcano continues to boil some red lava and is waiting for the “right time” to mess the brave terra firma of Albay.
The best time to visit Mayon Volcano will be early in the morning (5 AM to 7 AM). This is the period where you can get to enjoy the majestic view of the iconic volcano without the clouds photobombing your postcard-worthy shot.
Around the Cagsawa Ruins Park are food stalls to keep your mouth busy (and shut) while having a tour in the area. Souvenir shops are also present for your pasalubong delights.
Ride the Vroom-Vroom ATV
The iconic Mayon Volcano can be seen in the vicinity of Bicol. In fact, even the shantytown in the urban areas of Bicol along with buildings and commercial infrastructures could not hide the beauty of the giant attraction. But there is nothing better than getting literally close with the volcano. And riding the ATV is the best way possible to do so. Outside the Cagsawa Ruins Park are tour companies that offer ATV adventure at the lowest price. Among these ATV operators is the Bicol Adventure ATV that offers three trails – short trail that will take approximately 30 up to 45 minutes, Green Lava Wall Trail, and the most difficult, perhaps the trail that will consume some hours is the Cagsawa-Lava Wall Trail. As you drive your wanderlust closer to the massive volcano, the steep trails and rough bumps will groove your body side by side. You will also have to cross streams and creeks.
The ATVs are easy to maneuver with no professional driving skills required. From my personal experience (as a newbie), I think the beginners are likely to have more fun.
Savor the spicy food of Bicol
Bicol is best known for their traditional yet very unique dish Bicol Express. It is made with diced pork and green beans cooked in coconut milk and loads of spicy peppers. Bicol Express is best partnered with steamed rice.
Bicolanos (people living in Bicol) are known for being lovers of peppery food. They love spice so much that they even make extraordinaire delectable out of chili – chili shake and chili ice cream, both available in scattered food stalls and in Cagsawa Ruins Park in particular.
Take a trip to the Islands of Caramoan
Caramoan is located in Camarines Sur, Bicol and is one of the most favorite destinations of travel buffs and beach lovers. Island hopping is what people mostly do in Caramoan. Travel agencies and local tourism operators can help you set or join island hopping tours. The common destinations in island hopping tour are Matukad Island, Lahus Island, and TayakLagoo. Most packages include breakfast and lunch. Remember, it will cost you cheaper if you join tours with other travelers.
There you can enjoy yourself plunged into the cold, clear water of the ocean and swim in amusement with the stunning underwater monarchy through snorkeling. The beautiful beaches in Caramoanbrag fine white sands and serene coastline ambiance.
Feel the solidarity in Sumlang Lake in Bicol (Camalig, Albay)
Enjoy the stillness and calmness of water in Sumlang Lake. Tourists go to Sumlang Lake to appreciate the picturesque view of Mt. Mayon in altered angle. People love heading to Sumlang Lake because it is free. Yes, you read it right. There is no entrance fee to be collected but registration is obligatory, and donations are freely accepted.
Sumlang Lake is a great place for the family and for your barkadas. There you can bring your own food and snacks and delight in an outdoor picnic. Kayaks can be rented as well so as to have a quick cruise in the cold lake. Sumlang Lake is easy to access from the city proper via tricycle or private vehicle. I’d totally recommend this site for recreation and diversion.
Take a panorama shot in Ligñon Hill Nature Park
Ligñon Hill Nature Park, in my unbiased opinion, is the best place to have a panoramic and picturesque view of the urban city and green fields of Albay. Not only you will have a scenic view of the landscapes of Albay, but also the magnificent, regal, and marvelous cone of Mt. Mayon.
Ligñon Hill Nature Park offers not just stunning sight but also extreme and fun adventures such as the 320-meter zip line along with other thrilling and enticing activities like biking and rappelling.
Above anything else, what’s more loved in Ligñon Hill Nature Park is the cinematic, ever oh-so-amazing, awe-inspiring scenery of the sunshine and sunset. The sky turns yellow and sallow as Mr. Sun tries to climb in the heavens. In the twilight part of the day, the scorching Mr. Sun makes the sky orange and gold as he goes down to the horizon.
Swim with the Fishes in Subic Beach
Subic Beach is settled in Matnog in Sorsogon, on the southern edge of Bicol. Subic Beach offers pinkish sand and clear turquoise salty water. The waves of the sea dance happily and create a soothing sound of splash – it is like the ocean is singing you a lullaby. The beach is in Calintaan Island. The beach is quiet and calm, in fact, with no exaggeration, the only thing you will hear will be the dancing leaves of tall coconut trees and the splash of the ocean to the shore.
Subic Beach is divided into two sections. The Subic Beach (which the locals call Subic Dako, meaning “big”) and the other is the Subic Liit (now commonly known as Tikling Beach). Liit means “small” or “tiny” and Subic Liit is a smaller version of Subic Beach, hence suggests the name Subic Liit.
Both of the beaches offer gorgeous underwater life. So, better bring your snorkels to have a fantastic underwater sightseeing. Also, bring loaves of bread to lure the beautiful fishes.
Go Extreme with Water Adventures
Camarines Sur is popular as to having the famous CamSur Water Sports Complex. There you can pump your adrenaline to try wakeboarding. And there is no worry if you are no expert on it. Professionals are willing to train the Bravados, perhaps the water sports lover, to become adept at playing the waves. Local celebrities along with famous sports icons visit the complex occasionally. When you become a pro in wakeboarding, you can try it out realistically in the beaches of Bicol. I dare you.
Sway with Whale Sharks
Donsol in Sorsogon is dubbed as Whale Shark Capital of the Philippines and apparently, because the place is a paradise for whale sharks – don’t fret, it’s not as scary as you think. Whale Sharks, locally known as Butanding, are adorable than they are deadly. They have white spots on their body and can measure over 45 feet. Giant! The whale sharks travel to Donsol to eat planktons, fishes, and humans. Oops! I’m kidding. Only planktons and fishes, not human. In fact, you can swim near the Butanding. However, it is strongly prohibited to touch the giant swimmers.
Shop for Delicious Pili Nuts
Bicol is known for being abundant of Pili nuts. In fact, they have a wide variety of pili nuts to satisfy your sweet tooth such as Pili Bonbons, candies, and tarts to name a few. Pili nut is an excellent choice of product for pasalubong. Other items you can buy as souvenirs are t-shirts, mugs, keychains, as well as caps and hats. Yeah, there are a lot of stuff you can buy for your loved ones in Bicol which mostly are buyable at affordable prices.
If I have to describe Bicol in two words, that would be enchanting and marvelous. And I think my reason is clear. Bicol offers nature, adventure, and incredible escapades. It is one of the places that can fulfill your dream vacation, give you pure relaxation, and can once again commune you with nature. Uh! I’d definitely go back to Bicol!
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