Bicol Experience

Mt. Mayon, Albay, Bicol
Island of the Philippines

Bicol, home of the perfect cone volcano, Mt. Mayon. This is the second time that I have been privileged enough to visit this place. The first time was back in college when social media wasn’t invented yet, imagine how long ago that was, I think it’s been 18 years since I last set foot on this place.

Day 1:

We traveled via a private vehicle, it took us 10 hours with 3 gas stops/ restroom breaks. Left Quezon City at exactly 10:00 PM and reached our first stop, Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga City. We arrived at around 7:00 AM just in time for the mass. 

We had a quick breakfast at Jollibee and headed on to CWC waterpark in CamSur where you can do a bunch of water sport activities, one of which is wake boarding. They have a manmade shallow body of water where you can wake board or probably even water ski. We (my cousin, son and I) weren’t ready for the activities, we were with a bunch of seniors so we just looked around the place and took some photos. 

It was pretty nice, just take a look.

The people were very nice too, allowing us to just go there to have a photo op.
On our way to the hotel it was slightly traffic, and I thought heavy traffic only exists in Manila, but it was also pretty crowded here too, but the view, the view of the Mayon made it a little less tiring. The mouth was hiding in the clouds tho, but it was still a magnificent view.

We got to the hotel and had lunch and rested up a bit, it took us another 3 hours to get here. So that’s a total of 13 hours travel time. 

We stayed at Emerald Boutique Hotel in Albay, it’s a bed and breakfast cozy hotel. The rooms were quite small tho, made for Filipinos/ Asians but it was new and clean and the staff were really bery friendly.

We decided to go out and look for this halo-halo restaurant that we saw in google which, unfortunately we didn’t get to see, thanks to waze. We couldn’t locate the place for some reason. Anyway, we ended up in this halo-halo joint called DJC near Metro Gaisano mall, it wasn’t so bad it was good actually, loved the cheese on top and the leche flan was yum!

Everyone else was so tired so we headed back to the hotel and snoozed. Well, the oldies were tired so they slept, Kobe and I went out for an ice cream and a quick tour in the park.

Day 2:

On our second day, we had breakfast at the hotel and got ready to go to the Cagsawa ruins. 

A church once stood in this place but now the bell tower and some church walls were the only thing left. It is a popular belief that the church was buried caused by Mt. Mayons eruption, but today it is being debated that the church was only destroyed but not because of a volcanic activity. If it was indeed buried, then only the top of the bell tower would have remained. 

Below is what Cagsawa ruins used to look like.

And now this.

More photos with my family.

Aside from the picturesque scenery in Cagsawa, they also have lots of shops selling souvenir shirts and the famous pili nuts. This is also where we have tried eating the spicy ice cream or most commonly known as sili ice cream, there are 4 levels of this ice cream and I have tried both levels 1 and 2 and I don’t think I want to try the rest. LOL! It was sweet with a kick and a hot sensation that slides down your throat.

Next stop was Mayon Skyline, I liked the scenery here, it’s a park with children’s playground but it wasn’t well maintained tho so now the people only come here for photo ops or just to have a picnic and that’s about it. They used to have a hotel, convention area, planetarium and a restaurant. It is now semi-abandoned except for the park area. 

Anyway, the weather was really cool as it is located on top of a mountain so it was really calming and the scenery was just perfect.

We were all starving after all that, so we headed to Sto. Domingo in Albay to have lunch at the beach. The beaches here are famous for their fine black sand. I honestly find it creepy, forgive me but not being able to see my feet in the water creeps me out a bit. 

We ate in the Costa Villa resort while my son Joaquin took a dip in their swimming pool. 

They have an entrance fee of P60 whether you swim or not.

We went back to the hotel after that actually that was a very late lunch, so everyone decided to stay in and sleep early.
That concludes our day 2.

Day 3:

Day 3 is going back to reality day. We had an early breakfast at the hotel and left at 7:30 AM, we had a few stops to buy the famous laing and bicol express. And a few more stops to buy fruits and others.
We reached Lucban, Quezon at around 4 PM and had a late lunch at Palaisdaan. Palaisdaan or fishery translated to english is a floating restaurant, huts floating on a manmade pond where grilled seafood, barbecue and a whole lot more of good Filipino dishes are being served.

The food took a while to be served, so while waiting we took some photos, and more photos. Yes, our family loves taking pictures. 

Food came and we all ate merrily, the food wasn’t extraordinarily good but it was worth the wait. 

My favorite part tho was the dessert, these things called pilipit topped with caramelized sugar. Soooo damn good! It’s like a twisted fried dough that is insanely sweet. I wish I can find some of those here in Manila.

Photo grabbed at google. Credits to the owner.

Back on the road again, then stopped at the Lucban town proper to buy some Lucban longganisa, broas, uraro and other sweets. That was the final stop then we all snoozed in the van and if I’m not mistaken, it took us at least 4 more hours on the road then reached Manila at 10PM.

That is all! It was a fun filled family trip, I couldn’t even complain about the long travel time. It was all worth it.

Peace Mayon! Till we meet again!


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