Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Weekend Worth-spending at Legazpi City

Words and photos by Dems Angeles

Spending the weekend at Legazpi City

We've seen it in books growing up. We've heard a story or two from someone who has seen it in person. Are you a weekend warrior who's been itching to see the majestic Mayon Volcano? Here's a two-day, one-night itinerary for your trip to the City of Fun and Adventure!

Getting there.

Bicol region is accessible via land but travel time from Manila will take you around 9-12 hours. If you're on a budget and do not mind sleeping on the bus, reserve your ticket in advance especially if you are aiming for a deluxe or sleeper bus.

In case you prefer flying in, Philippine Airlines (and Cebu Pacific) has daily flights to Legazpi. Watch out for seat sales and book the earliest flight (9:35 am for PAL). 

Chow time.

After the long wait at the airport, first on our list is a taste of spicy and coconut-infused dishes! Head over downtown for a cozy lunch at a local favorite – Smalltalk Cafe.

The interiors of this house-turned-restaurant, located along Dona Aurora street, is adorned with old Albay memorabilia, paintings and pre-war photos.

Couples, friends and family come here for their fusion dishes: Pasta Pinangat (or what we know in Manila as 'laing') and Bicol Express Pasta. Order Crispy Squidlets or Ten's Salad as your appetizer, Grilled Pork Spareribs if you feel like eating with rice, or Red Hot Lava for a hot and cold dessert.

Ten's Salad

Pasta Pinangat, Bicol Express Pasta, Chicken Pastel, Crispy Squidlets 
Grilled Pork Spareribs

Red Hot Lava

Smalltalk Cafe
051 Dona Aurora Street, Legazpi


Freshen up 

Check in at The Oriental Legazpi and get ready for a trip around the city. The 4 star hotel is 10 minutes away from the restaurant, situated on top of Taysan Hill. Its modern contemporary interiors are finished in neutral colors and feature large glass windows.




They have Deluxe Queen, Deluxe Twin and Executive Suites. The rooms come with essentials and more: a private toilet and bath with complete amenities, an executive work desk, a mini bar, coffee and tea facility, electronic in-room safe and IDD/NDD phone. One can see Mt. Mayon, Albay Gulf and the Legazpi cityscape from the Mayon view room balcony.

 Take selfies, connect to their free WiFi to update your social media accounts and don't forget to grab your complimentary bottled water on your way out.


Budget travelers can check out this list of suggested accommodations.


The Oriental Legazpi
Taysan Hill, Sto. Nino Village, Legazpi


Go on a city tour

Albay has something for every type of traveler. A day tour around the province's famous tourist destinations, however, is a good start to immerse in its history, nature and culture.


People flock the Cagsawa belfry at Cagsawa Ruins Park and take a photo with the Mayon Volcano in the background, just like the scene in a classic postcard. The tower is the only part of the Cagsawa Church that survived from the volcanic eruption in 1814, alongside the ruins.

A section of the ruins

Church of Nuestra Señora De Porteria
Visit a National Cultural Treasure that sits on top of a hill, symbolizing the Bicolano's unwavering faith and resilience. Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish Church, commonly known as Daraga Church, has an indigenous baroque style that distinguishes it from other colonial churches in the Philippines. Its facade was carefully carved from volcanic stones and features four spiral columns with medallions at the center, bearing images of the four Evangelists.

 Chill and catch the sunset is at Ligñon Hill Nature Park, a favorite among local runners and hikers. The observatory station is also an ideal place for a date or picnic with family or friends. Other activities in the area include zipline, rappeling and Japanese tunnel exploration.


 It's time to head back to the city proper, have dinner and socialize with the locals.


Fuel up.


Accommodation usually comes with free breakfast. At The Oriental, a buffet breakfast from their in-house restaurant awaits its guests. Wake up early for a hearty spread of  home-grown favorites served alongside familiar, continental dishes at the Jasmine Restaurant.


Jasmine Restaurant
Ground floor, The Oriental Legazpi
Open from 6am to 11pm


Go on a countryside tour.

With fellow media at the base camp.

Trek going up starts here.
Mount Mayon from the helipad.
Albay Gulf and Legazpi cityscape from the helipad.

A well-known and recommended activity for tourists in Albay is taking a Mayon ATV tour. It was first offered to the public by Your Brother Travel & Tours, under its operator Mr. Cyrel Chan. The company has different trails and machines to choose from. All packages come with an orientation, gear (helmet and gloves), a test drive and guide.  

Two to three hours of ATV driving (back and forth) can take you to Mayon Base Camp. Pay the environmental fee (P50) if you wish to go on a short trek up the 2006 Lava Wall, which will take you to a helipad. You may opt to go back via zipline (P300).
Fun and convenient way going back to base camp.

Your Brother Travel & Tours
Brgy. Pawa, Legazpi City
Landline: (052) 742-9871
Mobile: +639054557594 / +639173143789 / +639053636330

For the love of all things spicy, one should not miss a taste of sili ice cream when you have lunch at the 1st Colonial Grill Restaurant.

For a classic Bicolano meal, we recommend a cup or two of Tinapa Fried Rice with Laing (Ti-nu-to) and Tinutungang Manok, with Sopas Halaan on the side before you indulge with your dessert. Cap off your meal with Turmeric Honey Citron tea.



1st Colonial Grill Restaurant

Villa Amada Building, Rizal St. Sagpon, Daraga, Albay
Other branches: Pacific Mall, Legazpi; SM Naga; Naga Centro; Magallanes Square, Tagaytay City


Pasalubong shopping.

If you still have time, drop by
the Embarcadero de Legazpi for pili products and souvenirs. It is a premier urban mall in the region that's also a world-class waterfront lifestyle hub, open until past midnight.

 Alternatively, you can go to the Legazpi Grand Terminal or shop within the airport complex while you wait for boarding (hint: buy pinangat at P50 per pack at the airport cafe).


Embarcadero de Legazpi
Legazpi Blvd., Legazpi City


This itinerary is based on the media familiarization tour organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT). There's so many things to do and places to see in Legazpi City and its nearby areas, but there's always a next time. Have fun on your trip!


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