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Albay Travel Guide

Itinerary, Things to do, How to get there and more

The province of Albay is famous internationally because of its defining landmark: the Mayon Volcano, which has made it to countless photographs and videos worldwide with its near-perfect cone shape. Several other tourist spots near the volcano have been cultivated, but beyond this burst of commercialization, Albay also has hidden gem destinations, including waterfalls, islands, and lakes. Opportunities for adventure activities are easy to find here, especially with ATV tours, and the cuisine is also worth watching out for as traditional Bicolano cuisine gets molded into innovative fusion dishes.

Where to go in Albay

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Albay Capitol Atrium Art Gallery

Albay Capitol Building, Albay District Legazpi City (capital), Albay, Bicol Region, 4500, Philippines

Albay Park and Wildlife

Daraga-Legazpi Diversion Rd Legazpi City (capital), Albay, Bicol Region, 4500, Philippines

Bicol Adventure ATV

Cagsawa Ruins Busay Daraga (locsin), Albay, Bicol Region, 4501, Philippines

Bicol Heritage Park

Legazpi City (capital), Albay, Bicol Region, 4500, Philippines

How to Get Here

Getting Here
By Plane
The most convenient way to reach Albay is via plane, since Legazpi Domestic Airport has regular flights to and from other airports. Recommended airlines are Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines. If you’re coming from Cebu, the flight will take around an hour. For those flying in from Manila, which includes most travelers from abroad, travel time is slightly faster at less than an hour.
By Bus

For travelers from Southern Luzon, going to Albay by bus might be more practical, especially if you’re located close by. However, taking a bus from Manila to Legazpi can be time-consuming, even if it’s more affordable: expect the trip to take around half a day, at 9-12 hours. On the bright side, many bus companies offer trips along this route. Buses that are commonly taken include Cagsawa Travel and Tours Inc., Philtranco, Isarog Bus, and Amihan Bus Lines. All of these have bus stations in Cubao.

Popular Food

Camalig, Albay is said to be the Pinangat Capital of the Philippines. Pinangat is made of taro leaves, chili, coconut milk, and ginger with seafood or meat. To accentuate the flavor, this mixture is further wrapped in leaves then cooked with coconut milk.

(c) Journeying James / journeyingjames.com

Sinigang na Buko offers an interesting twist to the traditional sinigang, which is a sour stew flavored with tamarind. Here, the sinigang includes coconut meat and the soup has coconut water blended in, resulting in balanced flavors of sweet and sour.

(c) Bitesized.ph / bitesized.ph

Santol or cotton fruit, which has a characteristic sweet-and-sour flavor, is often eaten on its own, but ginataang santol puts it to creative use. In this dish, santol is cooked in coconut milk with chilli and ground pork thrown in, creating a perfect complement to a steaming cup of rice.

(c) Gutom Na! / gutomna.com

The entire Bicol region is known for its production of pili nuts, but the first factory started in Albay. Pili nuts--soft and slightly sweet--come in a variety of forms: plain, shelled, sugared, salted, and they’re even used as filling in tarts and cheesecakes.

(c) Market Manila / marketmanila.com

Cocido (or “Kusido,” in local terms) is a fish soup that’s reminiscent of sinigang: it’s sour but in a milder way, since it’s flavored with calamansi rather than tamarind, and other ingredients are often camote tops and tomatoes.

(c) Market Manila / marketmanila.com

Best Time to Go

BEST TIME TO GO
If we had to choose the better half of the year for going to Albay, it’d be from December to May, in avoidance of the rainy season. To be more specific, the best time to enjoy the province would be during summer, from March to May. Many of Albay’s tourist attractions are outdoors, including caves, beaches, and hills, and you’d want to have the best weather possible then. Clear, sunny days also have the advantage of giving you a better view of the Mayon Volcano, compared to the cloudier skies of the “ber” months.

What to Do

Visit a world war II tunnel
History buffs who are interested in World War II should reserve a spot for this in their itinerary. The Japanese Tunnel in Camalig, Albay was painstakingly dug out by the Japanese soldiers when they invaded the country in the 1940s, relying on it as a hidden pathway to different cities and as a hideout from the Americans. Even after the war, stories surrounded the tunnel, which was suspected to contain hidden treasures, until it was put in the limelight as a tourist spot in 2012. While the tunnel itself isn’t out of the ordinary in terms of appearance, the tour guide--who explains the history behind it--plays a huge part in the experience, and the darkness and cramped space add to the mystique.
Learn more about pottery
The village of Tiwi, Albay is the leading producer of terra cotta ceramics in Bicol--and you can see it for yourself firsthand by dropping by at the Philippine Ceramic Art and Crafts Center (PhilCeramics). Pottery was already a major industry in Tiwi, which has the advantage of being naturally rich in feldspar and red clay, but PhilCeramics introduced a modern, much more efficient process of pottery-making. Inside the center, you’ll discover an overwhelming number of ceramics for sale in varying designs, from vases to lampshades, all at much more affordable prices compared to those sold in malls. Visitors can also witness pottery in action, although some of the ceramics are still made through traditional methods.
Treek up a hill
Quitinday Hills is another hidden gem in Albay that’s found in the city of Camalig. Amusingly enough, it has earned the nickname of “Pili Nuts Hills” because of its sharp-looking peaks, prompting a comparison to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. However, it’s green all around, extending to 400 hectares, and it takes less than 20 minutes to reach the top, which is 127 meters above sea level. The trek is friendly even for kids and senior citizens as long as you watch out for the heat. Scattered nipa huts provide potential resting places, and one is encouraged to keep on going because of the numerous viewing areas. The Mayon Volcano makes an appearance out in the horizon, majestic as it is, along with hills spreading out for quite a distance.
Check-out the night life
Embarcadero de Legazpi was envisioned to be a lifestyle hub set alongside the Albay Gulf, somewhat echoing Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Restaurants, bars, shopping malls, and outlet stores were built to attract travelers who also wanted to see the Mayon Volcano against the horizon. While it’s still well-known as a must-see destination, there have been reviews saying that there isn’t much activity during the daytime, since many of the establishments are closed--but the place gives way to a thriving nightlife after the sun sets. To take advantage of the terrain, adventure activities such as rappelling, ski-diving, and ziplining are also available, and it’s lovely to take a walk along the shore and quietly take in the seaside view.

Estimated Costs

Estimated Cost per Person
Bus to Legazpi (One-Way)
P750 to P1100 from Manila

Hotel
P1000-P3000 (three-star hotel) to P4000+ (five-star hotel) per night

Regular Inexpensive Meal
P80-P150

Three-Course Meal, Mid-Range
P150-P375

Jeepneys
P8 onwards

Average Price Per Day
P1100-P1800

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