Promises are sacred. They are bound to be kept. But in the gradual unfolding of things in the grand scheme of life, you will realize that some promises are meant to be broken. And it’s fine.
When I started hiking, I promised to myself that I would only visit Albay if Mt. Mayon would be open for hikers. I would want to make the most of the trip given the expenses of a plane ride. Hence the disinterest when Pierre brings up the topic of visiting the iconic perfect cone shaped volcano. But for so many years, its hyperactivity made Mayon a distant, hopeless dream. And so I raised the white flag, booked flights on a seatsale, and went to travel with the Kamote Club to Bicol.
Everyone was beyond excited for that Albay trip; after all, it’s our consolation after a year of hard work. That even though we experienced several delays, everyone was still enthusiastic upon seeing Mt. Mayon from the window seat. Such enthusiasm didn’t flutter despite the thick clouds that covered Daragang Magayon all through the day.
Places to visit in Albay
Social Studies have long brought us to Cagsawa Ruins. But there is nothing more epic than having to witness the grandeur of Mayon volcano sitting beside the 16th century Franciscan Church. A beautiful disaster. This historical landmark offers a scenic view of Mt. Mayon and provides a gentle reminder of the tragedies brought about by nature which happened on February 1, 1814. Such violent eruption costed the lives of thousands of people and destruction of properties; hence the ruins.
Green Lava Trail ATV Experience
Up for an ultimate adventure in Albay? Then brace yourself for a bumpy, muddy, and slippery ride while going to Mayon’s lava trail. There are a number of ATV providers near Cagsawa Ruins and Lignon Hill. Price may vary, but you can always haggle as low as possible.
Quitinan Hills Ranch
If you want a majestic view of Mayon volcano, then you have to visit Quitinan Hills Ranch. The panoramic rolling hills of the ranch offers a perfect site for prenups and photo opportunities. Quintinan Hills Ranch is located in Barangay Daraga, Camalig, Albay. Note: No entrance fee needed! Just make sure to always keep the place clean as you go.
Probably one of the friendliest cave in the country, Huyop-huyopan Cave is an ideal getaway for friends and families who want to experience what it’s like to live inside a cave. Like most caves, it has astounding stalagmites, stalactites, and rock formations that can be marveled by visitors. The word Huyop-huyopan is a Bicol term for “blowing repeatedly” – which is often experienced before and after going in and out of the cave.
Upon landing in Albay, Daraga Church was actually our first stop because of its close proximity to the airport. This is a Roman Catholic Church which is formally called as Nuestra Senora de la Porteria Parish Church. Daraga Church is elevated above the peaceful hill of Albay and provides a beautiful view of Mayon Volcano in the background.
There is nothing more picturesque than seeing the beauty of Mt. Mayon in the roadsides of Legazpi City. Legazpi Boulevard is fun place to hang out, chill, and meditate as the gentle sea breeze can truly lit up the mood.
Since its within the area, we managed to cross-out another province in the bucketlist by visiting Camarines Sur after Albay. We went to St. John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral – the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Caceres. Naga Cathedral is the first church established after the creation of Caceres in 1595 which has a Romanesque ornamentation.
CamSur Watersports Complex
Designed for international competitions, Camsur Watersports Complex was established as the premiere wakeboarding and wakeskating cable park in the country. By far, it was the best wakepark I have been to, with facilities that have been built with high-end security and safety (not to mention cheaper than the ones we have in Cebu).
Having a beautiful weather amidst the rainy season during our Albay trip was truly a blessing. We went home several shades darker, but our hearts lighter than ever. If breaking a promise meant seeing Mayon from different perspectives – by the lake, church, ruins, rolling hills or skyline – or having another spontaneous trip with the Kamote Club, I’d be more than willing to do it. As awful as it sounds, but sometimes, promises are meant to be broken. For the better. For the meantime.
Just make sure that you don’t hurt anybody by your decision.
Until then, be careful with the words you utter.
TIPS and TRICKS for your trip in Albay:
- Mayon volcatno in Albay is best viewed early in the morning. So, if you’re planning to take its most outstanding picture, do ATV or visit the lake or Cagsawa Ruins as early as possible.
- Do not be easily swayed by the discounts given by ATV adventure organizers. Rates can range from P300 – P3,600 depending on routes. But I highly suggest you go for the longer trail – Green Lava or Black Lava. The lowest we got was P600. You may try to haggle lower than that.
- MUST TRY: Sili Icecream, Pili icecream, Laing, Bicol express, and Inolokan.
- There are several tour operators providing group tours in Bicol, but if you are coming from Manila and want to save as much, feel free to contact Global Travel and Tours for a budget-friendly group rate.