Welcome to Bicol, a place famous for its spicy dishes, beautiful peninsulas, and impressive natural sights.
Located in the southeastern part of the Philippines, this place is endowed with cerulean blue seas, enchanting hidden waterfalls, and colourful history behind some famous sights like the Mount Mayon and Cagsawa Ruins Park. Interacting with the whale sharks of Donsol, swimming in the crystal clear waters of Malinao’s falls, and joining the feast in every Bicolano restaurant are just some activities you’ll enjoy — and never forget — in the region.
Bicol is home to many popular Philippine attractions — Mount Mayon and its perfect cone, Cagsawa Ruins with its history, and Sorsogon and its whale sharks — but beyond these tourist favorites, there are more to see, conquer, and explore in the Bicol Region. Beach bums should head straight to the Caramoan Peninsula and take the tours to nearby islands and islets boasting of superfine white sands, aquamarine waters, photogenic vistas, and an ever-present relaxing ambiance. Those who have a penchant for off-the-beaten-path attractions will enjoy Matnog, Sorsogon that is basically nature untapped — the waters here are so clean you can see, and even feed and swim, with fishes settled in the area. Bicol doesn’t run out of picture worthy spots. In fact, the beautiful Quitinday Hills and Nature Park is a great place to take both sunrise and sunset photos — the image of verdant green rolling hills accentuated by the golden rays of the sun and the towering Mount Mayon in the background make for a perfect souvenir shot.
Major airlines in the country — Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Air Philippines Express — offer 3 daily flights to Legazpi City. Plane fare ranges from PhP 2,000 to PhP 3500 (USD 40 to USD 70) depending on your trip’s schedule. Make sure to book in advance to save fare.
A cheaper, yet less comfortable option, is taking a bus from Manila to various Bicol points such as Legazpi, Naga, and Sorsogon. Bus stations offering trips to Bicol can be found in two terminals: Araneta Center Bus Station and EDSA-Cubao Bus Station. Bus companies such as DLTB, Cagsawa, and Alps offer daily trips to Bicol that leaves between 16:30 and 20:30. Travel time can take up to 10 hours, depending on Manila traffic. Buses usually arrive in Bicol between 5:00 and 7:00. Fares for Legazpi trips range from PhP 800 to PhP 1,100 (USD 16 to USD 22), and PhP 700 to PhP 1000 (USD 15 to USD 20) for Naga and Sorsogon trips.
Isarog Lines offer a new, more comfortable way of traveling by land via the Sky Bus – an airconditioned bus offering more comfortable seats. Fare ranges from PhP 1000 to PhP 1800 (USD 20 to USD 38).
The currency accepted in the establishments in Legazpi is the Philippine Peso, which is available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, and 1000. A number of banks around Legazpi offer ATM services as well. Reliable money changing stations like Western Union can mostly be found inside malls, and other big commercial centres.
The average weather in the Philippines is mostly hot and humid with intermittent rain storms from May to November. Hottest months are March, April, and May. Coldest months are November, December, and January. Best time to visit is from August to January.
If you’re touring around Legazpi City, traveling from one point to another can be done via a tricycle. For attractions that are far from Legazpi City, you can board a jeep or bus. The end point is usually indicated on the bus cards that can be seen on the bus’ dashboard. Make sure to ask if the route includes a stopover at your desired destination.
When it comes to Bicolano dishes, spice is the name of the game. Ranging from original Bicolano flavors to fusion dishes, the food in this region will send you into a gastronomic experience like no other. Chef Doy’s Gourmet at Magsaysay Street serves elevated Bicolano dishes such as pinakro (banana cooked in gata), paella bicolana, leche flan with pili nut, and pancit bato. At Bean Cafe, you can indulge in must-try fusion-dishes in Bicol such as laing (taro leaves cooked in gata) quesadilla, and Bicol Express (pork with coconut milk broth) linguine. Legazpi’s popular comfort food kinalas (noodle soup with meat from the skinned head of a pig or cow) is an ideal dish for weary travelers.
When you’re in Bicol, time is precious. With so many attractions to see and a lot of food to try, a few days are not enough. Bicol is truly an evidence of Philippines’ beauty and creativity.