BICOL Summer Spree: DAY 3 – Haunted by a Volcano

At the end of DAY 2, we headed to Legazpi City, Albay excited for the next day’s surprise.

It had been tiring going around the city trying to decide which hotel we’d go to. We did not make any reservation in Legazpi city because, unless it’s peak season, it’s nice to discover good local accommodations for yourself. Though there are good and reliable online reviews and recommendations, sometimes they don’t cover everything. There may be some undiscovered havens around the corner.

To be honest, I wouldn’t brag about the hotel we checked in to. Because we were tired from roaming around the city (which was fun), we settled at Dreams Inn (See honest reviews here) which is at the center of the city and conveniently near the mall and other establishments.

Except the hotel, everything else was great. Food trip is in abundance—inside the mall and restaurants and on the streets. What we enjoyed the most were the rows of street food stalls on one lane along Quezon Avenue. One can go here for a snack of foods on sticks and finger foods or sit for a meal of authentic local dishes such as Bicol Express (my favorite!) and Pinangat among many others. For dessert, we refreshed ourselves with spicy ice cream. It’s like ordinary ice cream in the mouth, but you’ll feel the spice once it’s in your throat. Bicol is really living up to its being a region of spicy cuisine.

We got tired from walking on the streets but never hungry.

There are two highlights of our Legazpi City escapade:

Cagsawa Ruins & the symmetrical magnificence

After countless eruptions, the majestic view of Mayon Volcano from the ruins has stayed undamaged. And the remnants of the old Cagsawa Church aren’t all that razed. The site remains a restful place to watch clouds blocking out the volcano slowly reveal its precise form and a romantic spot for a cheap prenuptial shoot.

We were standing there overwhelmed by the view when we realized we left our camera at the hotel. We were depressed about not being able to take pictures until we found this guy (there are other guys, actually) who offered four instant 4R photos for only 100Php. We thought it was a great offer and an opportunity for us to have nice photos even when we didn’t bring our cam.  I’m not a photography geek so I can’t really say if the photos were good, but at least we loved them. For us, it actually seemed like we’re a real couple and had our friendly prenuptial photo-shoot in a really special place.

There are many souvenirs and food stalls around the area. This time, we had chili fruit shakes after a meal of longsilog (longganisa, fried rice & egg).

Worthwhile trek at Ligñon Hill

Another highlight of our escapade was our hike up Ligñon Hill Nature Park where one can find much splendor and adventure. On our way up, we walked through the old Japanese tunnel with a tour guide for only 20Php/person.

Since it’s really a long walk up the 156-meter hill, we rented a motorbike (habal-habal style) to take us to the top, and we’re glad we did. It was a really exciting ride. The bike quickly ran up the hill despite the slope. The wind was blowing our faces. As we went up, we could see a larger view of the town from the hillside road.

Of course, food stalls await hungry hikers.

When we got there, we spent a long while just looking at a wide view of the whole town with mountains on one side and the sea on the other. We turn around and there’s Mayon Volcano. This volcano haunts you. You can’t lose sight of it wherever you are in the town—we could see it from the city center, while on the road, at the ruins—even if you wanted to (of course you wouldn’t want to).

We passed on the zip line. I’m sure the zip line here is super fun, but I still need to slowly contend with my fear of heights (Sorry!). But I took the courage to cross the long, wobbly hanging bridge with my companion. I was shaking all the way, panicking and getting mad at my partner whenever he makes shaky movements. In the end, we took a photo of both us beaming (as if I wasn’t at all afraid).

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