Backpacking: Our Journey in Albay

Mt. Mayon
The provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Catanduanes are part of my solo-backpacking list, however, the reality started when I planned my Bicol itinerary two months ago - to complete Region 5. Legaspi City in Albay is the center of the Bicol region that showcases a lot of tourist spots and destinations; from historical sites, beaches, gorgeous landscapes, and to the remarkable activities and sumptuous delicacies.

I and my friend Tin - our journey started when we left our respective residences. I left my apartment in Cainta with a cool ambiance, but a localised thurnderstorm hit the metro, so we were both wet when we arrived in Cubao. Changed our outfits inside the bus because were almost late. To make the story short, it was a 12 hour travel from Manila to Legaspi City, Albay. We left Isarog Terminal in Cubao at around 8 PM and arrived in Legaspi City at around 8:30 AM the next day.

LIST OF TOURIST ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS IN LEGASPI CITY, ALBAY


We aligted at the terminal near SM. Rode in a tricycle to McDo near the public plaza and the city hall. Had our brunch, of course in McDo, and walked to Lita's Lodge, one of the cheapest accommodation in Legaspi City. Checked in. Tidy up and rested for an hour.

Albay Cathedral
Around 11 AM when we started our adventure. From Lita's Lodge, we walked to our first destination - the historical Albay Cathedral. It is also known as the Cathedral of St. Gregory the Great situated in front of McDo and beside Legaspi City hall. According to its historical data, Albay Cathedral started as a chapel built in 1580's by the Spanish missionaries. The early structure was made from the local products such as the wood and nipa. Then, it was emerged to a stone structure in 1800.

Cagsawa Ruins
From McDo, beside Albay Cathedral, we rode in a jeepney, forgot the signboard, and alighted near  the Welcome to Cagsawa Ruins marker. We chartered a tricycle for a day tour. It was 500 pesos per head, with a Kuya Lijong as a driver. Aside from the tricycle tour, Kuya Lijong also offered ATV services which is not included in the tricycle tour.  We brained stormed (double past tense yan teh) if it's a yes or a no - and the answer was a NO. So, we continued to our first destination - the stunning Cagsawa Ruins.

Upon entry, we settled the entrance fee, got a stamp on our wrists and proceeded to the actual Cagsawa Ruins. I felt sad because am unable to see the famous landscape of the Cagsawa with Mt. Mayon on the background. We waited for more than an hour, however, the full shape of Magayon didn't show up. Instead, we visited the ruins of Cagsawa.

According to the metal plate: "The spiritual administration of Cagsawa from 1587 to 1595 was under te Parish of Camalig. An early church was burned, 25 July 1636, by the Dutch who ransacked the towns bordering Legaspi Bay. This church was built after 1724 by Fray Francisco Blanco. D.F.M., was burried by rocks and lava during the eruption of Mayon Volcano, 1 February 1814. The authorities of Cagsawa meeting at Ligao, 6 July 1814, decided to incorporate their town as part of Daraga. The first centenary of the destructions of the church was commemorated 1 February 1914, with a huge pilgrimage to the ruins where high mass was celebrated."

Hoyop-hoyopan Cave
Then, Kuya Lijong brought us to our next destination - the Hoyop-hoyopan Cave. Its name was derived from their local dialect which means "to blow or blowing." The wind enters into one of the cave opening, blows through the cave's cavern, and exits to the other opening. That blowing wind is the reason why the ambiance inside the cave is really cool and relaxing. Aside from that, there are a lot of artistic stalactites, stalagmites and columns inside Hoyop-hoyopan Cave. What's different than the over cave? There's a round concrete dance floor inside the cave. According to our guide, the locals created the dance floor inside the cave to hide such kind of event as it wasn't allowed before.

Sumlang Lake
Our next destinations was Sumlang Lake, a 20 to 30 minutes travel from Hoyop-hoyopan Cave. Settled the entrance fee and proceeded. Sumlang Lake has a beautiful landscape, surrounded by trees, flowers and other plants. It could have been perfect if there's a clear view of Mt. Mayon on the backdrop, however, it was hiding. We waited for almost an hour while enjoying view and eating ice cream, but, Magayon was still hiding. #MayBalatAko

Daraga Church
We were still hoping that on our next destination, Mt. Mayon will show it perfect cone. Kuya Lijong brought us to the historical Daraga Church, situated on a hill. The location of this church is also a perfect spot to see the beauty of Magayon which was playing hide and seek with us. The clearing was negative, so let's proceed to its history. The structure of Daraga Church has a Baroque design built by the Franciscan Friars in 1773. It served as the place of worship after the church of Cagsawa was destroyed by the eruption of Mt. Mayon in 1814. Also, Daraga Church served as the station of the Japanese soldiers during the second World War in 1945. It was rebuilt from 1971 to 1973.

Lignon Hill
After Daraga Church, we headed to our last destination in Albay - the Lignon Hill. Kuya Lijong dropped us by the entrance of Lignon Hill, we settled the payment and he left. Instead of a continued ascent, we had a buko break first. Relaxed and regained the fluid we lost. The rode to the summit of Lignon Hill is concrete and surrounded by hardwood trees, so the ambiance while we were walking was relaxing, with the cold wind blowing. And after 30 minutes, we finally reached the summit. Like Mt. Samat in Bataan, Lignon Hill also has a landscape and a 360 degrees view of Legaspi City and the hiding Mt. Mayon. Commercial establisments, such as sourvenir shops and food stalls are available. By the way, rest rooms are also accessible.

Before the sun finally set, we headed back to the jump off by the highway. We were heading to Legaspi City hall, we made abang for a jeepney, however, there was none passed by. Alternatively, we rode in a tricycle to another highway where a lot of jeepneys to the city hall are passing by. And we made it. We arrived at Lita's Lodge.

Upon arrival, I just tidy up and slept. During our visit in Albay, the month-long Magayon Festival was on going. But, I preferred sleeping than attending the event at the plaza.


HOW TO GET TO LEGASPI CITY, ALBAY:

Via air, Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have regular trips to Legaspi City. Via bus, you can secure a Manila-Legaspi ticket at Isarog Terminal in Cubao. On our case, instead of falling in line for a ticket reservation, we bought our tickets via Easybus Ph facebook page. Payment was via debit card. Or, you can visit www.easybus.ph. Another option is via Isarog Facebook page.

WHERE TO STAY AND HOTELS IN LEGASPI CITY, ALBAY:

On our first day, we stayed at Lita's Lodge, near BDO and BPI. Maybe 100 meters away from the public plaza, Legaspi City Hall, McDo and Albay Cathedral. On our second day, we stayed at Mayon Backpackers Hostel, a few blocks away from Lita's Lodge. We spent 275 pesos (550/2) at Lita's Lodge for a standard fan room with two beds and CR. In Mayon Backpackers Hostel, we spent 300 per head for a dorm type room.

No comments:

Post a Comment