Bicol Region, Philippines (composed of 6 provinces – Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes) is one local destination I will always keep on coming back to travel – the food is great, the views are spectacular, the people are naturally kind, and there will always be new places to see. This is nothing but a typical provincial area in the Philippines, but there is some kind of a magic spell in this place which makes me go back here over and over again. Legazpi City would of course be my favorite, but Naga City is also a nice place, and I like the quaintness of Daet town.
Since I’ve been to this area a few times, I would like to share the spots I’ve been to when I went to travel to Bicol, Philippines, specifically in the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur. Forgive me if I haven’t visited the rest of the Bicol region, but I will try my best to visit them next time so that I could complete this list. But in the meantime, enjoy the best spots on my list from the three provinces I’ve been to.
SPOTS TO VISIT IN BICOL REGION, PHILIPPINES
So without further ado, here are some spots in Bicol, Philippines that are worth snapping that Instagram photo when you travel to this beautiful region:
INSTAGRAM SPOTS TO VISIT IN BICOL: ALBAY PROVINCE
This was the place I stayed when I went to travel for the first time alone in Bicol, Philippines. This hostel is located at Legazpi City.
2. Kawa-Kawa Hill (Ligao)
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Trivia: I don’t really look good when laughing and I have the ugliest and the most graceless laugh according to my friends (to the point that they sometimes want to disown me as their companions in public places HAHA), buuuut #sorrynotsorry, those times were my happiest times. 😂😂😂
The sunflower garden atop Kawa-Kawa Hill is just a short (but steep!) climb from the foot of the hill, but all the sweat and energy are worth it. The City of Ligao celebrates the Sunflower Festival annually to commemorate its cityhood. The city government is also doing a good job maintaining the sunflower garden. Tip: the sunset view here is also perfect.
3. Mayon Volcano (various locations in Albay)
You can have a view of Mayon Volcano in many spots in Albay and Camarines Sur provinces. This time, I was able to view the volcano in a new spot – at Barangay Penafrancia, Daraga, Albay.
4. Cagsawa Ruins
Behind me is a remain of the former Cagsawa Church which was destroyed by Dutch pirates sometime in 1600s.
5. ATV Ride to Mayon Volcano
Several companies are offering ATV rides to the different areas of Mayon Volcano, and the guides are good photographers and videographers as well!
6. Albay Park and Wildlife
A place where families bond together, Albay Park and Wildlife is also a good place to familiarize yourselves with Kingdom Animalia.
7. Bigg’s Diner (various locations in Albay)
Bigg’s Diner is the largest food chain in the Bicol region with branches in Batangas province (Lipa City and Batangas City). What I love with Bigg’s are (1) its very beautiful retro-inspired interior, and (2) the food! I always make it a point to dine at Bigg’s everytime I visit Bicol region. Their must-try is their chicken – it can practically compete with either Jollibee Chickenjoy or KFC Chicken. Tip: try their garlic parmesan chicken. I promise, it’s worth it!
8. ‘Hepa Lane’ (Legazpi City)
There is a street near the Post Office and LCC Mall called the ‘hepa lane’ because you can have all kinds of street foods there – isaw, dynamite, barbecue, name it. The Master Sisig stall provides the yummiest sisig in hepa lane. You can buy a Sisig Rice Meal for only PHP40.
9. Penaranda Park
Just in front of the City Hall of Legazpi City is another ‘hepa lane’ at the Penaranda Park. The best time to go here is during sunset.
10. Lignon Hill
Lignon Hill is a nice place to hike (don’t worry the pavement is completely concrete!) and you will eventually be rewarded by this view!
Embarcadero is a shopping mall and a port area with a nice view of Mayon Volcano. Since Mayon Volcano is sometimes shy to show up, I just snapped a photo of the beautiful chapel there.
12. Daraga Church (Daraga)
Daraga Church is one of the historical treasures of the province of Albay. It is currently undergoing rehabilitation with the supervision of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. The white coating is a lime coating meant to protect the outer layer of the church and will wear out over time to go back to its original color.
13. Sumlang Lake (Camalig)
Located at the Municipality of Camalig, Albay, Sumlang Lake also provides a good view of Mayon Volcano while cruising in a bamboo raft (balsa). You also have the option to ride an aqua bike or kayak. Be sure to go hours before sunset becuase it closes at 6PM and people are lining up early.
14. Legazpi City Museum
Since most of you know that I am a museum person, this was my first stop upon arriving at Legazpi City. It is located inside the premises of the City Hall.
15. Chili Ice Cream Stalls (various locations in Albay)
Bicol Region is famous for its spicy cuisine. The sili ice cream is one of the most popular desserts in the region and is really a must-try. Some restaurants (like the 1st Colonial Grill, another restaurant chain in Bicol Region) serve sili ice cream. This time I got my sili ice cream in a cone from the kiosks at the foot of Kawa-Kawa Hill in the Municipality of Ligao, Albay.
16. 1st Colonial Grill
As indicated in the cart, 1st Colonial Grill is the home of the original chili ice cream. You can order either level 1, 2, or 3 of the chili ice cream. Oh, did I mention their laing is the best?
Jasmine Restaurant at the Oriental Hotel Legazpi serves delicious food and at the same time gives a nice ambiance with its beautiful interior and a nice view of Mayon Volcano at the same time. Their cookies and cream milkshake is really, really worth the money.
18. Legazpi Airport
My photo just did not give justice to what I’m about to say, but upon arriving at Legazpi Airport, you will be greeted by the beauty of Mayon Volcano. I swear, in other days, it’s there! 😀
INSTAGRAM SPOTS TO VISIT IN BICOL: CAMARINES NORTE PROVINCE
1. Calaguas Gateway Hotel (Daet)
This is where I stayed when I went to Daet. The location is perfect and almost everything is accessible from here.
2. Bagasbas Beach (Daet)
The perfect place to chill when in Daet! Even if you don’t know how to surf, just sitting by the beach area is already enough.
3. Daet Municipal Library and Museum
This small place is where the city government keeps all artworks and memorabilia of the Municipality of Daet.
4. The First Rizal Monument in the Philippines
This was said to be the first memorial monument for Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero. Inscribed on each side are his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, and his third but unfinished novel, Morga.
5. Martyrs of Camarines Norte Historical Marker
Where are you, history buffs? Are you like me who also gets excited seeing markers like this? 😀
6. Camarines Norte Provincial Government Building
Very, very typical pillared government office, right? But the vicinity is so garden-ish and looks like a nice park.
7. Bagasbas Lighthouse Hotel and Resort (Daet)
This was one of the nice beachfront hotels in Daet and their restaurant area is nice. You can also use their swimming pool for Php100.
8. Mampurog River (San Lorenzo Ruiz)
I could use a peaceful morning by the river, and just the sound of the waters flowing at Mampurog River (and nothing else) was priceless.
9. Mang Bok’s Kinalas (Daet)
My desire to try some local food led me to try out kinalas, a local Bicolano food which kinda tastes like lomi in Batangas.
10. EATcetera Food Garden (EATc)
Located just near the Provincial Capitol area, EATc was a nice al fresco restaurant with very cheap but yummy food!
11. The 21 Cafe and Resto (Daet)
One of the nearest coffee shops at Calaguas Gateway Hotel, I had the chance to have a quick snack here before my bus ride going back to Manila.
12. Funfrappe (Daet)
My usual aimless walking around the towns I’m traveling to sometimes leads me to beautiful underrated cafes like this one.
13. Caramel’s Fried Siopao (Daet)
I heard this was famous in Daet, so I searched for it and gave it a try. And true enough, it’s very, very yummy!
14. Those restaurants near the Daet Public Market
Haha forgive me if I forgot the name of this place, but this was a random place I stumbled upon to chill and listen to nice music.
INSTAGRAM SPOTS TO VISIT IN BICOL: CAMARINES SUR PROVINCE
1. Naga City Ecological Park
Naga Ecological Park is perfect for families and group of friends who want to spend some quality time. The area is very child-friendly and it has a huge playground built by Graceland, a local bakery and restaurant chain. Adults and kids-at-heart can also enjoy the playground, especially the hedge maze.
2. Camarines Sur Watersports Complex (CWC) (Pili)
I wish I can afford to write a separate blog post about CWC, but there’s just a lot to do here.
3. San Francisco Church (Naga City)
Just very near the Centro in Naga, I paid this church a visit when I was having my own walking day tour of the city.
4. Penafrancia Cathedral (Naga City)
I made it a point to visit this church when I went to Naga because it’s very popular and cultural.
5. Travel Cafe (Naga City)
Anything travel-themed will always be my thing! This cafe was really cozy and relaxing. The London telephone booth-designed door will greet you in here.
6. White Bean Cafe (Naga City)
Just in front of the EMall, I couldn’t help but give this cafe a check because it really looks beautiful from the outside. It’s intimidating to enter the cafe because it’s very beautiful, but it has a home-y vibe once you enter.
There you have it! Are you excited to travel to Bicol Region in the Philippines now? Let me know by sending me a message at my Instagram account @wheressherlyn. Happy and safe travels!
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LONELY PLANET GUIDES ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES
WHERE TO STAY IN BICOL REGION?
Are you visiting Legazpi City soon? Get to know the city better by visiting Legazpi City Museum!
As a history buff and history professor, my number one agenda whenever visiting a new place is to check if there are museums that can be visited.
I scored a very cheap flight going to Legazpi City via Cebu Pacific where I also had the chance to fly on a holiday, hence I don’t need to file for a leave of absence from work. To be honest, I am not in any way looking forward to visit the city in the past, but after several visits, I fell in love and I kept on coming back over and over again.
Upon arrival at Legazpi Airport, I rode a tricycle going to the Legazpi City Hall because I saw online that there is a city museum in the building. Apparently, the Provincial Capitol of Albay was also in the same vicinity. I went to the City Tourism Office to ask for information, but sadly they were a little surprised to know that some crazy girl came all the way down to the city just for a little museum excursion.
“Saan ka pa nanggaling niyan?” (“Where did you travel from?”) The employee from the tourism office asked me, since I’m still carrying my JanSport backpack with me. Hey, I came straight from the airport. 😀
I answered, “Sa Batangas po.” (“From Batangas”), but I actually came from a flight from Manila. I mistakenly mentioned that I traveled from my hometown, so the officer assumed I took the bus going to Legazpi.
“Ang layo naman ng pinanggalingan mo.” He replied. Despite my “surprise” visit that day, they happily accommodated me and opened the museum exclusively for my visit.
Anyway, let’s skip to the more important part, they pointed me to the other building (the City Hall Annex Building) where the Legazpi City Museum is located. They also told me that there is a museum at Tabaco which I was not able to check out.
It turns out that the Legazpi City Museum is the only public museum in Bicol Region. It houses several archaeological artifacts, religious items, as well as old photographs and artworks by Bicolano artists which showcase the rich history of the region.
I could tell that the museum was not really that maintained and not that promoted, hence not known by locals and tourists alike. As of writing, I think the museum was already renovated and reopened to visitors.
Different artworks such as photos, paintings, and sculptures are present that depict the Bicolano history and culture.
It’s also amazing to see vintage photos of Mayon Volcano featuring its past eruptions and its very beautiful perfect shape. Btw, Mayon Volcano eruption has been attracting foreign tourists in the past. Yes, tourists would travel to Bicol to watch the eruption of Mayon Volcano.
I have a very blurry memory about the epic Ibalon from my Grade School Filipino class, but I can still remember that Bicolanos have a reputation being mighty and strong since they have fought a lot of battles in the past and they have been resilient against different natural disasters such as the past eruptions of Mayon Volcano and regular typhoons.
I suggest both Bicolanos and non-Bicolanos should check this place out to have a glimpse of the rich Bicolano heritage, including their history and all the cultural identity that they have today. I also hope that more artifacts and artworks by Bicolanos could be displayed here for viewing, assuming they were properly preserved.
LEGAZPI CITY MUSEUM: Information
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Bicol Region in the Philippines (consists of the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, and Catanduanes) is one of the most beautiful regions in the Philippines. Personally, this is also the place I keep on coming back to. I love the calmness of the provinces (even the most urban ones), I love the cuisine, I love the prevalence of spicy food, and I love the historical and natural sites they have. In one of the holidays, I decided to have a quick getaway to Legazpi City to learn about its culture and people. I have checked out some of the museums in the area, but there were only a few ones. But nonetheless, I still managed to go around and see the things that are unique to Bicol Region. I had a mini-Arts and Culture tour in one of my days in Legazpi City.