Nevertheless, we planned a short bicol trip to avail cebupac's Php650 round trip ticket without any itinerary. But, my hometown led us through its beauty on its own. With little money, a borrowed car and four souls, we conquered, and here's what we found:
CAGSAWA RUINS AND MOUNT MAYON:
Get the best view of Mount Mayon in Cagsawa Ruins near Daraga Albay. This place which used to be a church is now a tourist destination. The bell tower in this picture is said to be remnants of the church top after having been covered underground from a major Mayon eruption some 50 years ago. A 10 minute drive from the airport, locals will greet you here with warmth, in fact help you get the best photo opportunity tricks to make your Mayon photos interesting. And there's no tipping required. The tour of the area by the local kids are mostly just to pass time, purely voluntary. We tried giving a tip but they refused. This just shows the kind-heartedness of the Bicolanos.
However, if you like to have some peace and quiet time to enjoy the scenery, lesser people, not so touristy, we stumbled upon a place in Sto. Domingo Albay going to Bacacay Albay where you can see Mayon at its finest. Another option is to go to Mayon Resthouse, and a breath-taking view awaits you, over looking the entire city.
Cagsawa Ruins is also a place to buy gifts, presents and pasalubongs. Though slightly pricey than buying in the local city markets, I would say that as compared to other touristy places in the Philippines, you won't go wrong with the Bicolano sellers. You definitely will not get ripped-off. Little bicol-oriented trinkets are priced from Php 5.00 to barely Php 1,000.00
These cute chili keychains cost 5 pieces for 100.00 only. Bicolanos are said to eat the spiciest foods in the Philippines such as Bicol Express and Spicy Laing. And this sili would be a great pasalubong to silly friends.
Bicol is also known for global quality handicrafts. This very light overnight bag costs Php650.00 only and sold in Manila for Php 3,000.00
Other highly exported products such as waterlily baskets, containers and handmade paper based artworks will not go over Php 300.00 a piece.
FOOD and RESTAURANT Finds :
A visit to Bicol won't be complete without a taste of its local fasfood chain, Bigg's Diner. This fast food, does not only have endless choices of food, but each of their outlets are filled with artworks and quirky pieces which complete the diner ambiance.
Of course we didn't miss the best-selling BIGG DEAL meal. For only Php114.00, enjoy your own birthday party treat on you very own plate. But this comes with a twist. The tasty buttery flavor of the gravy is perfect for its crispy chicken. Its generous bbq stick can satisfy your meat craving, and the spaghetti with a hint of liver sauce, is something that bigger fast food chains do not offer.
Colonial Grill in Legazpi, is the closest to the typical Bicolano palate. Brace yourselves with these yummy highlights in really generous servings:
The bagoong rice, a definite winner is not a Bicol native but is a already a meal on its own.
Their famous tinapa rice, also a meal on its own is a burst of flavor together with its usual partners, salted eggs, tomatoes and a little bit of manggang hilaw.
The cripy pata, that is indeed very crispy can serve up to 5 people.
The unique take on laing (taro leaves with coconut milk) is also a must-try, Laing is one of the most popular Bicolano native dishes. Unfortunately, in this pic, the laing was taken over by our little owl.
Highly recommended in Colonial Grill is their homemade ice creams. This sili (chili) ice cream looks like your typical strawberry ice cream but tastes nothing like it. Made with coconut cream as base, the smooth creaminess and the chili twist is just perfect for the surprise you'll get after you taste this. Believe me, when i say, you would definitely ask for more after the first tricky teaspoon scoop. The experience is a challenge to describe as it is not your typical chili hit. They also serve other unique flavors such as Malunggay Ice Cream and Tinutong na Ice Cream.
Next stop is not your typical Chinese Restaurant. Harbour Wok restaurant in Embarcadero is a fusion of mixed Oriental Cuisine.
The modern interior of this restaurant is perfect for a cozy lunch to satisfy chinese food cravings, only with 3 levels of upgrade.
This seafood soup does not merit its look from this pic. A perfect meal starter, the msg-free soup is rather refreshing.
Their version of fried chicken reminds me of the taiwanese fried chicken sold by Serenitea from Manila, only the cutlets are bigger in pieces. Highly addictive.
GOURMET Bicolano: The place i fell in love with, is UNA CENA, found in Daraga, Albay. 12 minutes from Legazpi City, this ancestral home is also home to gourmet dishes, delectable desserts and vintage artifacts.
While waiting for your sumptuous meal, go around the house, read about some artifacts and appreciate artwork.
This spicy beef dish is made to life by paprika. Really yummy. Must try also is the pinangat chicken. Pinangat is Legazpi City's version of laing.
The desserts usually changes from time to time depending on the availability of your visit but these cakes didn't fail us.
The layers of crushed broas and chocolate just melts in the mouth.
SCENIC SPOT in the CITY:
The most usual place to visit is the Embarcadero de Legazpi. Ever since this was built a year ago, it has encouraged a lot of big retailers to finally open a branch in Legazpi. Clothing stores such as Plains and Prints and Mango are finally in Bicol!
We enjoyed the holloween decorations in the open mall.
Right smack at the harbour, this waterfront development is also perfect for a night-out and some night strolls.
As for us, we enjoyed what's behind Embarcadero. We visited the bridge construction behind Embarcadero and a nice photo opportunity awaited us.
The family who took care of us.
With the sleeping lion hill as the background.
Time with cousins and time with friends.
You won't know there's actually a place like this, 2 minutes away from Embarcadero.
I am telling you, I've never been this happy with Legazpi! It is definitely worth your visit!
And by the way, i haven't told you yet about Misibis Bay, but it merits a separate post.
Come visit the Land of Mayon. Come visit my hometown!
More Legazpi City Things to do info HERE.
We also sell Jean & Rosz products in Legazpi City. Visit Gaisano Pacific Mall and look for 25th Avenue Shop.
Enjoy! Happy Friday!!!!!!!!