To feel awe is one of the reasons why so many people around the world travel. Awe is a feeling that not only makes us happy. But also, according to nbcnews.com, it helps us live our best lives.
Even though the Philippines is famous for paradise-like beaches, it has other stunning attractions that fill people with awe and wonder. One of them is the Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay (located in the Bicol Region).
Though Mayon can’t be hiked in the meantime due to its recent volcanic activities, millions of people still to Legazpi City, the city closest to Mayon. According to the Philippine News Agency, in 2019, 1.27 million tourists visited Legazpi City to see the majestic Mayon Volcano and its perfect cone shape.
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Why is Mayon one of the most famous mountains in the Philippines?
Without a doubt, it is because of its perfectly cone-shaped volcano. Even Britannica describes Mayon as the world’s most perfect volcanic cone! With its 2,462 meters or 8,077-feet height, Mayon Volcano is simply a spectacular natural wonder to see.
This is why millions of people come to Legaspi. Believe it or not, According to the Philippine News Agency, in 2019, 1.27 million tourists visited Legazpi City to see the majestic Mayon Volcano and its perfect cone shape.
For some, to see Mayon and its perfect cone shape is a bucket list. Yet, a trip to Mayon or Albay must not end just by staring at Mayon Volcano.
There are fun and relaxing destinations around Mayon that you must visit for a more memorable trip. You can start your adventures around Mayon Volcano in Legazpi City.
I have not been to Mayon, but I have contacted friends and other travelers who have been to Albay. They have willingly shared their experiences and tips—and they’re all here.
I created this blog post because I know you need tips and ideas about Mayon Volcano too.
I want this to be your one-stop page guide for your trip to Mayon Volcano. I’ve read reviews and watched YouTube videos to add juice to the content of this page. I hope you enjoy it and find this post handy.
How to go to Mayon Volcano or Legazpi City?
A train ride to Legazpi City from Manila would be fun, but the government is still currently reviving the national railway that used to service these cities. Today, the only way to get to Legazpi City from Manila is by plane, bus, or by using your private vehicle.
Personally, I can’t wait for the Manila-Bicol railway route to resume operation.
Besides being safer and more comfortable than a bus ride, it will be a totally new experience for me. I haven’t tried any railway service in our country other than LRT and MRT in Metro Manila.
You can find the best accommodation deals from here.
Are you short on time? Air travel would be your best option to arrive in Legazpi City.
Typically, flights from Manila to Legazpi are available daily and should only last for an hour or less. Flights are usually cheap and cost only 10 to 15 dollars higher than a bus ride.
TIP: If you plan ahead of time, watch out for the local airline companies’ flight seat sales (Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, Philippine Airlines). These promos usually happen during the same day-month-digit dates. Example, 3-3 seat sale (March 3).
Like me, a bus ride would be a good option for travelers who love to travel slowly.
You can choose between different types of buses depending on your budget. You can pick between (1) an air-conditioned bus which is the cheapest, (2) an upgraded version of the air-conditioned bus, which has a restroom, reclining seats, and larger legroom, and lastly, (3) a sleeper bus.
Bicol Isarog is the only bus company that offers sleeper buses to the Bicol Region (Manila to Legazpi).
You can catch other buses going to Bicol at these terminals around Metro Manila: Araneta Center bus station, EDSA Cubao, LRT Buendia, EDSA Pasay, PITX in Paranaque, and Alabang.
The bus ride from Manila to Legazpi takes about 10 to 12 hours.
When should you visit Mayon Volcano or Bicol Region?
The best time to explore Bicol Region is during the dry season, which usually starts in March and ends in May. However, you might want to see the colorful and lively Bicolano festivals.
You might have to tweak your schedule to maximize your Bicolandia trip.
If you plan to travel to the Philippines, consider the places I’ve been. They are full of adventures and breathtaking scenery. The places I will recommend can even help you find your silver lining:
- Cebu — The adventure capital of the Philippines
- Sagada — A mystic town in the mountains of the northern Philippines
- Maligcong — Here, you can find the MOST beautiful rice terraces in the Philippines.
- Mount Pulag — the MOST beautiful mountain in the Philippines where you can witness a stunning sea of clouds and a glimpse of heaven-on-earth.
Festivals To Watch While Visiting Mayon Volcano or Bicol
Hundreds of festivals and fiestas happen in the Philippines all year round. There are 19 festivals in the province of Albay alone!
But here are the ones that really got my attention:
Magayon Festival is a yearly, month-long, colorful & lively celebration to honor the bounty and beauty of the province of Albay. The festival is derived from the legend of Daragang Magayon, whose death gave birth to the majestic Mount Mayon.
At first, I could not believe it was a month-long celebration!
That’s epic! In our town in Batangas, our celebration only lasts for two days. The festival gets more fantastic when you see the actual events.
Activities during the Magayon Festival are endless! Visitors may see local product exhibitions, workshops, float parades, fireworks displays, concerts, and live bands.
You may also watch drum and lyre competitions, sports tournaments, colorful dance competitions, dance recitals, jobs fairs, paragliding experiences, dog marathons, beauty pageants, bodybuilders competitions, and grand SantaCruzan!
Magayon Festival occurs every May. That’s a perfect time to go and visit Mount Mayon!
Cagsawa Festival is another month-long celebration in Albay that celebrates Albayanon’s strength and resiliency. Cagsawa Festival happens every February.
Though the celebration starts on February 1, most events occur during the third and fourth week of February (like last February of 2020).
Like most of the festivals in Albay, the Ibalong Festival demonstrates lively synchronized dance parades with vibrant costumes.
It is based on the story of Ibalon and three other legendary heroes. They destroyed the monsters terrifying the town and saved the villages from great floods.
Ibalong Festival is one of the most social events in the Philippines; it is a way for the Bikolanos to express their hospitality to the tourists. During the festival, Bikolanos not only invite visitors to watch the festival but also encourage them to join it!
Aside from dance parades, you can also watch fireworks and festival musical performances. You can also watch a drag race show during the Ibalong festival—an event that shall add fun and excitement to your stay in Albay.
Things to do in Legazpi near Mount Mayon
Now that you know how to go to Bicol and you already know when to visit, it’s time you discover the best attractions in the area near Mayon.
If you are a foreigner, I recommend renting a motorbike or private vehicle. Transportation in the Philippines (tricycles and jeep) is not so convenient, especially if you are a six-footer like me.
But I recommend riding tricycles and jeepneys at least once on your trip. It can be fun!
The first thing that you must do in Legazpi is to visit Cagsawa Ruins. The view from Cagsawa Ruins is printed on millions of postcards bought by millions of people before smartphones came into existence.
Whenever I recall our social studies classes, Cagsawa Ruins is the first image that comes to mind. Behind the beautiful view is a manifestation of the tragic past and the power of Mayon Volcano.
In 1814, Mayon erupted violently; it buried and destroyed the whole town of Cagsawa, including the Cagsawa church. Amazingly, the church’s belfry survived and became a tourist attraction later.
How to go to Cagsawa Ruins?
Cagsawa Ruins is located in Daraga, Albay. The travel time to Cagsawa Ruins is less than 30 minutes for an 8-kilometer jeepney ride from Legazpi City Grand Terminal.
When to see Cagsawa Ruins?
There are a lot of people swarming the ruins during weekends.
We should avoid it so we can get the best shot without photobombers. Personally, I choose to go early in the morning or at sunset when the sunlight makes a perfect angle with the ground.
The Golden Hour should make our photos look epic!
Mayon ATV ride
Cagsawa Ruins will be a shortstop if you do not rent ATVs to explore the area. From the Ruin’s tower and volcano view, it would only take a 2-minute walk to arrive at MayonSkyDrive ATV Adventure.
You can start a fun and incredible adrenaline rush experience with nature and Mayon. It is the best thing to do to get a close-up view of the Mayon Volcano.
ATV rental service starts at 7 in the morning and ends at 5 in the afternoon. You can choose Green Lava Trail or Mayon Lava Trail to follow on your ATV adventure.
The Green Lava Trail will lead you closer to Mayon Volcano until the 6-kilometer safe radius from the crater. You’ll have fun with river crossings and uphill and downhill tracks in the forest.
On the other hand, Mayon Lava Trail will give you a more thrilling and exciting experience. With this trail, you’ll be following tracks passing wide rivers, fields of lahar, and hectares of coconut plantation.
What’s even more fantastic is when you reach the trail’s end. You’ll get an amusing overlooking view of the city, sights of deep gullies, and erupted lava rocks there.
Book in advance here:
Lignon Hill nature park
If you love riding a zipline, you must go to Lignon Hill Nature Park. It’s great to see Mayon while you feel like flying, right? Haha!
Anyway, Lignon Hill Nature Park is an elevated lookout and creational park which offers activities for a day of fun in Legazpi. This is the best thing to do if you want to see Mount Mayon from a different perspective/height.
Aside from the zipline, you might want to try rappelling in Lignon Hill Natural Park. If adventure is too exhausting for you, you can instead have a discovery trip on the observatory, galleries, and view deck. You can play minigolf too, but you must see the Japanese tunnel unique to this place.
Lignon Hill nature park houses the Mayon Volcano Observatory, the central monitoring station of Phivolcs for Mayon Volcano.
When to visit Lignon Hill Nature Park?
To get the best experience, try climbing the hill early in the morning to avoid the midday heat. Besides, it would be amazing to witness the sun paint the majestic Mayon with golden colors during sunrise.
The park is open 8 am to 11 pm daily and 5 am to 9 am for Regular Joggers (free of charge). Source: Amazing Albay.
How to go to Lignon Hill Nature Park?
Find any jeepneys following Loop 1. They circulate around Legazpi city, passing through the jump-off site of Lignon Hill. You can also hire motorcycle cabs (tricycles) to transport you to Lignon Hill if you can’t find Loop 1 Jeeps.
Not too far from Legazpi City but still in Albay is an unmissable nature destination, Quintinday hills.
For me, visiting Quintiday hills is one of the best things to do in Legazpi, for you’ll see Albay province’s version of Bohol’s chocolate hills here.
In the photos, they don’t look as grand as the hills from Bohol. But with Mount Mayon in the background, Quintinday hills gained unexplainable charm (at least to me), which balanced the scale.
I discovered Quitinday Hills with my French boss at a cafeteria near our office during lunch. We talked about our adventures when he showed me his photo with his Filipina girlfriend in Quitinday Hills.
They hugged each other on a hilltop under a golden pinkish morning sky! I was stunned because the picture looked so perfect.
Romance did the thing, but Mayon Volcano, the hills, and the dramatic clouds were the main compelling factor.
How to visit Quintinday Hills?
From Legazpi City Grand Terminal, hop on a jeepney or bus to Camalig and drop off at Quitinday Junction/Diversion Road. After arriving at the junction, charter a motorcycle cab or “tricycle” for a back-and-forth trip to Quintinday hills.
Alternatively, you can rent a four-wheeled motorcycle to drive via Cotmon-Solong-Calabidongan and Baligang-Caguiba routes to the Quitinday hills.
When to visit Quintinday Hills?
The best time to go to Quitinday Hills is during the morning when the heat is not at its peak yet. If you want to take good photos, consider going within the golden hour (4:30 to sunset). The angle of the sun’s rays creates awesomely beautiful shadows in the hills.
Are you looking for a stress-free zone near Legazpi City?
You must check Farm Plate. Here, you can go camping with a bonfire with your family or friends and play with your kids on a playground. Visiting Farm Plate is a thing to do in Legazpi near Mayon if you want to relax and watch the sunset by a small lake.
Kids can go around with a bike and fly a kite on FarmPlate and teach them to be adventurous by riding on a carabao cart ride. This ride is an old way Filipinos transport people and goods from the farms.
How to go to FarmPlate?
If you’re around Legazpi or Daraga, you can charter a tricycle going to FarmPlate. According to their Facebook page, If you start from Caltex Daraga, for a tricycle trip of 3 persons, each pays only 20 pesos.
When to go to FarmPlate?
Farm Plate is open Monday to Thursday 8am – 9pm and Friday to Sunday 8am – 10pm. Source: FarmPlate Facebook page
It would be better to visit FarmPlate before sunset and spend time at night. Imagine how lovely the moment can be with your loved ones around the bonfire and eating dinner.
This is where the epic mirror shots of Mayon Volcano from a lake are taken. Sumlang Lake is an incredibly relaxing place to hang out and chill while admiring the beauty of Mayon from a raft.
Visiting Sumlang Lake is a great thing to do if you want to dwell with nature. Aside from a raft, you can rent kayaks, aqua bikes, or even floating cottages!
If you’re a photographer, you’ll love the glittering waters or the mirror-like lake surface (not always) that makes a gorgeous reflection of the Mayon Volcano.
How to go to Sumlang Lake?
If you are commuting from Legazpi City, you can start your way to Sumlang lake by getting a tricycle ride to Bañag.
There, you can find jeepneys with “Polangui” signage. Hop on that jeep and alight at the intersection before Albay Agri Ethno Eco Village. You can charter a tricycle or walk your way to Sumlang lake.
Best time to go to Sumlang Lake?
Sumlang lake is open from 8 am to 6 pm every Monday to Thursday, and 6:30 am to 6pm every Friday to Sunday. The lake could get very touristy on weekends; you should consider visiting the lake during the off-peak days.
Finally, to complete your trip around Mayon Volcano, you must go to Legazpi Boulevard and capture a photo of yourself with the humongous “LEGAZPI” signage. Just kidding! Well, it is up to you.
But seriously, I think it would be an excellent place to get in touch with the locals and watch the sun slip down behind Mayon Volcano while listening to the crashing waves.
When I started looking for places around Mayon, I was unsure what was the best among all these tourist spots. Believe me, there are no statistics on the internet yet saying what’s the most loved attraction by tourists.
I had a hard time choosing, though.
I chose these seven places around Mayon Volcano because I think they can give us beautiful “value for travel.”
I hope these tourist spots will help you learn history or science; feel alive by getting thrilling adventures and an adrenaline rush. And hopefully, the places on the list have also given you ideas to have a place for romance or build strong bonds with your friends and family.
Ultimately, I hope I provided you with destinations that would fill you with awe as you admire nature and its beauty.
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