Nope. I am not from Bicol nor too near from the region. I am located 8-15 hours away but nonetheless fell in love with the place. I’ve been travelling the Philippines for quite some time and this region has a special place in my heart. And after the crisis and when everything is okay, you might consider these places and who knows you might also find yourself falling in love with their people, food and view.
1. Cagsawa Ruins
The remnants of a 16th century Franciscan church built in the town of Cagsawa in 1587 will make you reminisce your ‘Sibika at Kultura’ book (well for me that was what happened).
This is a popular attraction and historical landmark in the province of Albay. From this point, you can see the beautiful Mayon volcano (they say if you see the volcano completely cloudless, you’ll marry a Bicolano/a). Well in my case, look at that clouds that hid the view of Mayon. LOL.
Upon entry, you will need to pay entrance fee. Aside from enjoying the view, you can also ride an ATV (PhP 500-1000), eat sili ice cream and buy some souvenirs.
2. Sumlang Lake
One of the newest attractions in Albay. Ride a bamboo raft and enjoy the relaxing view while traversing the 9-hectare swamp.
This place was once just filthy waters covered with water lilies. It was ignored for years. But, residents decided to develop the place and I guess they made the right decision. The ugly duckling Sumlang lake is now a beautiful swan. Isn’t it inspiring?
If you are not a fan of moving bamboo rafts, you can just sit on those abaca-made furnitures and admire the majestic view of the lake and Mt. Mayon. Food stalls and souvenir shops are also present near the lake.
3. Deer Farm
Ever dreamed of seeing Santa’s deer? You do not need to go to North Pole or wait one miraculous Christmas Eve (LOL) to see them. This deer farm is located in Ocampo, Camarines Sur just at the foothills of Mt. Isarog.
The farm was established by the local government of Camarines Sur in 1996 for commercial purposes. You do not need to pay for an entrance fee but you can donate for the maintenance of the place. Bring food and water when you go there because there are very few stores in the area.
You can literally have a close up encounter with the deer. They are so tamed you can even take a selfie beside them. Expect the ‘deer’ smell. BTW, Ruldoph the red nose reindeer wasn’t there if you’re wondering. LOL.
4. Lola Sayong
If you are the type of person who does not like crowded surfing camp, then this place is for you. Their surfing instructors and lesson are beginner-friendly. I do not know how to swim and it was my first time surfing but still I was able to do it after a few tries. My instructor was surely very patient that time! LOL.
I just love the vibe of the place. The resto’s interior is superb – they even have books to read as you wait for your food or if you are just resting after a day’s surf. They also offer decent rooms for accommodation.
Wake up with a beautiful sunrise and let the waves sing a lullaby as you go to sleep. You couldn’t resist staying outside at night watching the stars while hearing the sound of the waves and the wind as if they are singing a duet.
5. Daraga Church
If you failed to see Mt. Mayon with cloudless sky at the Cagsawa Ruins on your Bicol Trip Day 1, consider inserting this one to you itinerary. This Roman Catholic Church built in 1772 is located in the town of Daraga, Albay or just 9.8 km away from Cagsawa Ruins (around 20mins away if you are riding a car).
Admire the the mix Mexican Baroque and reconaissance Gothic architecture of the church. Let your worries be washed away with the peace the place offers. You can even say a prayer.
In 2007, the site was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute. This spot is perfect for those thinking of a budget-friendly and easy-to-go travel destinations in Bicol.
Are you fond of the show ‘Survivor’? If yes, you’ll know why this destination is one of the known tourist spots in our list.
You have 2 ways to choose on how you want to go to this tropical paradise when you are already around Bicol Region. First is by water wherein you ride a speed boat at Sabang port (takes 1.5 to 2 hours). Second is by land – from Cam Sur, you need 3.5hrs to get there and the road is kinda bumpy. I highly suggest that you choose the first one.
Do not just search for ‘Survivor: Caramoan’, pack your bags and experience what the ‘tribe’ had. The clear water, rich seafood and beautiful rock formation will be more than enough trade to your 10-12 hours travel.
7. BIGG’S Diner
It is the biggest food chain in the region which offers a wide variety of food selection. Satisfy your craving for Bicol flavours and American food. You do not just get a full and happy stomach upon dining, the vintage design of the place will feed your starving eyes (and IG page).
The food chain was born in 1983 and in 3 years time, they will celebrate its 40 years. If you are curious, BIGG stands for Beautiful, Intelligent, Gorgeous, and God-fearing.
For some it is just a where-to-eat-in-Bicol destination – well, partly true. Still, this is a must visit place when you are in Bicol.
8. Ligñon Hill Nature Park
Ligñon Hill is a prominent hill in the city of Legazpi. It is known as the city’s protector as it serves as barrier against the lava and lahar during times of eruption and heavy rain.
The recreational park that sits in an elevated place offers views of the entire Legazpi City and Mt. Mayon.
You need to pay PhP 20 in the main gate before entering. The things you can do there include souvenir buying, relaxing while sight seeing, zip lining, and hanging bridge crossing.
Are you a city dweller and backpacker seeking to be away from everything? Situated in the province of Camarines Norte, the site is perfect for camping and swimming.
Calaguas is a group of islands comprised of Tinaga Island and Guintinua Island, and other minor islands. You can find the famous Mahabang Buhangin in Tinaga Island.
Before sunrise, you can exercise and do a light trek to Calaguas Hill and get vitamin D through healthy sun exposure.
The places listed in here are the ones I visited myself. There’s a lot of treasure to explore in Bicol – they have so many beautiful beaches, mountains, hills, restos, lakes, rivers and parks.