DAY 1

Jun 03 2018

Once upon a time, an airline kicked off another seat sale which, obviously, became the weakness of many young professionals nowadays in the hopes of exploring places they haven't been to before. Including me.

One sleepy morning in an office somewhere in Ortigas, I decided to take a look at this airline's website and checked where I can possibly go which I haven't been to before and at the same time, can agree with my preferred budget and schedule. I found some pretty good deals en route to Legazpi, Albay which can be Axle and I's getaway for our 5th Anniversary as boyfriend/girlfriend. Having this desire to see the perfect cone-shaped Mayon Volcano up close, I instantly secured a booking for the two of us.

The flight I got bound for Legazpi was scheduled to fly late in the afternoon. Once we arrived at Legazpi Airport, it was evening already with no more time to go around the city. Axle and I immediately went outside of the airport premises and discovered tricycles are very accessible in the area. We hailed one and asked if Manong can take us to our hotel of choice.

Legazpi City Domestic Airport

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Commuter's Inn

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On the way to our hotel, Manong Driver told us that they just finished celebrating Magayon Festival, which ran throughout the month of May. That explains the signages and tarpaulins we saw from every corner of the city. Although the minimum fare for tricycles in this city is Php8, our fare to the hotel was at Php80, already for two persons, maybe because of our pickup point which is the airport. We immediately checked in, secured our things in our room, and found a place to grab dinner.

DAY 2

Jun 04 2018

Axle and I decided to have an early wake-up call because browsing through other blogs, the Mayon Volcano is said to show itself during early morning/sunrise as well as in the late afternoon/sunset. We hurriedly prepared ourselves and ate breakfast at some eatery near the hotel. Commuters Inn is very much accessible to eateries, fast food chains/restaurants, convenience stores, as well as to public transportation. Before we left the hotel, we asked the Front Desk on-duty as to how we can go to Cagsawa ATV Adventure and Cagsawa Ruins, located in Daraga which is another municipality in Albay. We were told that you can ride jeepneys bound for 3 different routes, however, what I can only remember is that you can ride jeepneys with signages Guinobatan or Polangui. Fare is around Php13 and just tell the driver to drop you off at Cagsawa.

*INFO: Minimum fare of jeepneys = Php7 per person

Commuter's Inn

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Mayon SkyDrive ATV Adventure

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You can opt to take a tricycle going to the ATV area for Php10 per person, however, for someone who does not mind walking for 5-10 minutes, I believe you can just walk instead of hailing a ride.

Since we do not know how far it is, we took a tricycle going inside who also recommended an ATV area for us to enjoy. Actually, there are several businesses running there doing ATV adventures. Our manong driver recommended Love ATV Volcanic Adventure (LAVA) though (never mind the location I pinned on the route as I cannot pin the exact location).

Since we are on a tight budget, the package Axle and I availed was the cheapest one, the Cagsawa Trail costing Php699 per person. It includes an ATV ride for an estimated time of 45 minutes to 1 hour. You won’t get near the foot of the Mayon but you will feel near already and the view is still majestic for photo opportunities. 😍

*Tip: Wake up very early so you can also arrive at the ATV area early. The Mayon is said to usually show itself around 6AM. (We were soooooo behind schedule 😂)

There are also other packages being offered which can cost you quite expensively, but have its perks. I forgot to take a photo of the other rates but what I can remember are the following:

Php1800++ (estimated) - GREEN LAVA TRAIL
*More time-consuming but will get to be nearer to the Mayon’s foot than the Cagsawa Trail (Php699)

Php2500++ (estimated) - BLACK LAVA TRAIL
*This is the most time-consuming but is also the nearest you can get to the foot of the Mayon Volcano

You can verify with them for the exact rates and other inquiries. You may call:

Mr. Victor Amor / Ms. Lalaine Amor (owners)
SMART: 09294240799/09994450030
GLOBE: 09179284429/09052182972

You can also get in touch with our very accommodating and helpful guide, Kuya Jonathan Lorayna at 09458517215 😊

*Tip: Per the receptionist who assisted us at LAVA, you can opt to go directly to them instead of having tricycle drivers recommend their ATV business to you for cheaper rates 😉

Mayon SkyDrive ATV Adventure

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Cagsawa Ruins

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Cagsawa Ruins is just beside LAVA so you can just take a walk as well. There is an entrance fee of Php20 per person, Php10 if students.

Cagsawa Ruins

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Our Lady of the Gate Parish

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Axle and I moved on to our next destination: the famous Our Lady of the Gate Parish. If you have already seen the movie of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, She’s Dating The Gangster, this was the very church featured in the said movie. 😉

It’s amazing how the Mayon can be seen in so many places (by so many I mean MANY) here in Albay. Its location is strategically located where it can practically be seen anywhere. However, clouds still surround her at this time. I could imagine how our photos would look like if she’s not being covered. Maybe a hundred times better, right? 😅

Our Lady of the Gate Parish

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St. Gregory Metropolitan Cathedral

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Peñaranda Park

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Since #IHaveAThingForChurches, we went to another church but this time, Axle and I are now going back to Legazpi City. We rode a jeepney once again and alight near the Peñaranda Park/Albay Province Capitol to visit another church: St. Gregory Metropolitan Cathedral.

It’s finally lunch time and what’s a trip to Bicol if you will not try the popular 1st Colonial Grill: Home of the Original Sili Ice Cream? Searching through google gave us lots of branches to choose from (apparently, they already have many brances all around the Bicol Region), so we decided to ask for help with the traffic enforcers in-charge near the Capitol. They were very friendly and helpful and they even hailed a jeepney for Axle and me. They recommended the branch in Ayala Mall since it is a lot easier to hail a jeepney (Legazpi-Daraga route jeepneys) than going to Pacific Mall or Gaisano Mall (via Tahao Road) wherein jeepneys are always full.

Peñaranda Park

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1st Colonial Grill Ayala Malls Legazpi branch

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Upon entering the restaurant, it was a good thing we were immediately seated considering that it's lunch time. The dishes were a bit pricey but are good to be shared by 2 persons. Since Axle and I's favorite Bicolano dish is Bicol Express, of course we did not miss the chance to know how it really tastes. Honestly, our expectations were a bit high knowing that this is where the dish originated, but their take on their Bicol Express somehow disappointed us. It's good, but just as good as those being served here in Manila.

However, this dish called Kandingga, a Bopis-style food served in a sizzling plate, was to die for!! It was SO GOOD. 😋 Their Baked Tahong was good as well.

But of course, the highlight of this meal was the dessert; the Sili Ice Cream. They offer 4 levels of heat:

•Level 1
•Level 2
•Level 3
•Volcano (Level 4)

I was tempted to order the Volcano one, wondering if I can take the heat, but ended up ordering the 2nd level instead (SCARED?? 😂). Once the ice cream was served, I immediately ate a spoonful. At first taste, it was fine; just like the typical ice cream, sweet and milky. I thought to myself, "This is easy 😏". But after 15 seconds or so, I already felt the heat burning up my tongue! I asked Axle to help me out because I can no longer bear my burning mouth 😂 I wonder how hot could the Volcano level be.. 🤔

It was so hot outside and we thank the Lord for giving us good weather for this trip, considering that there is a predicted storm to come. We opted to go back to the hotel so we can take a rest first.

Commuter's Inn

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Legazpi Blvd

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After getting some rest, we decided to visit Legazpi Boulevard since I happened to come across a post on Instagram that the Mayon Volcano can also be seen up close in that area. We hurriedly hailed a jeepney (Axle and I were starting to feel like locals now 😂) and hoped no more clouds surround the volcano.

Upon alighting the jeepney at what they call Embarcadero, we found ourselves somehow lost in this abandoned-like mall. I was kind of panicking already since the sun is setting so fast and it felt like we're missing another chance of seeing the Mayon Volcano in person. But with the help of the friendly locals, we discovered that the boulevard is located at the other side of the mall.

And we made it! I was on the verge of crying upon seeing this iconic spot I only used to see from my books in Grade School. It felt so unreal up close and personal 😭

Axle and I had a kwek-kwek date while sitting at the sea wall, feeling the cool air of the sea breeze, and viewing the Majestic Mayon. Priceless. 💖

DAY 3

Jun 05 2018

Our initial plan for this particular morning was to visit Sumlang Lake before we head to Naga. However, we decided to cancel it since a very comfy bed and a well-functioning aircondition unit lured us to sleep some more instead 😂

We checked out early so we can potentially arrive in Naga early as well. According to some info on the internet, Naga is just approximately 2 hours away from Legazpi. Axle and I proceeded to Legazpi Central Terminal where bus and vans bound for Naga can be found.

Commuter's Inn

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Legazpi Grand Central Terminal

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Bicol Central Station

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We left Legazpi at around 11AM yet we arrived in Naga at around 3PM. It took us twice the expected travel time due to the speed of the bus we rode and several designated stopovers. If you are in a hurry, you can opt to ride a van instead for faster travel time. Of course, it will be more expensive than the bus fare amounting to Php160 per person.

The bus terminal in Naga has a good location, having lots of establishments surrounding it. SM Naga was just beside it, too. We took our late lunch there and afterwhich, we hailed a tricycle which will take us to Downtown Naga.

SM City Naga

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EUROTEL

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Upon checking in, we took a 30-minute rest and headed back outside to go church hopping. We initially planned to beach bum in Sorsogon but the church hopping part really pushed me to paying Naga City a visit instead. #IHaveAThingForChurches 😉

Time check: 4:30PM. The sun is going to set soon so we better get going.

Our Lady Of Peñafrancia

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Cathedral Of Naga

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Porta Mariae

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San Francisco De Assisi Parish

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Plaza Rizal

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*Minimum fare of tricycles: Php8

There really is this feeling of fulfillment whenever I get the chance to visit churches for the first time. It’s like some sort of enchantment; their intricate details, their amazing architectural design, and their historical value. I appreciate Axle’s support to wherever I want to go whenever we travel. How lucky am I to have him. (Awww, cheesy 😜)

The sun had already set and we were finding a place to grab dinner. Just a few minute-walk from San Francisco de Assisi Parish is Plaza Rizal. We were intrigued by the flock of people in the area and found out that there is a designated area for street food vendors here. You have lots to choose from; from kwek kwek to isaw to dynamite to various flavors of samalamig (drinks). Being the jologs Axle and I are, of course we ate 😂

Thanks to Google Maps/Waze, we discovered that our hotel is already near where we were. Axle and I always prefer to walk whenever possible so we can also blend in with the locals and learn more of their ways. 💙

DAY 4

Jun 06 2018

It’s already our last day and I sincerely don’t want to go just yet. Good thing our flight going back to Manila is scheduled at around 8PM, we still have a morning to spend. Since we have to go back to Legazpi immediately after check-out (yes, we have to go back to Legazpi since this Naga leg for our trip was planned last-minute, hence, I did not book Naga as our flight-out), we were motivated to start our day as early as possible.

After having our complimentary hotel breakfast, we quickly asked the Front Desk agent on-duty on how to go to Camsur Wakeboarding Complex in Pili. They advised us that we can ride a bus bound for Iriga or Lagonoy. Fare is at Php10 only per person and tell the driver to drop you off in “Capitol”. Actually, many passengers alight in this area since that area is where many provincial offices are located.

EUROTEL

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Bicol Central Station

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CamSur Watersports Complex

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From the highway, there is a line of tricycle drivers taking turns in bringing passengers inside. Fare is at Php8 per person. Their tricycle is similar to those you can see in Boracay, but smaller, and can only cater to 6-7 passengers at once. The wakeboarding complex is so far from the main road so you really have to take a tricycle.

Since we are racing with time, Axle and I both decided to avail their 1-hour package amounting to Php180 plus Php40 rental fee for the helmet and lifevest. There is also a Php500 security deposit fee per person which is refundable once the gears were also returned to them. The use of the shower area is complimentary.

*You can check out their official website for the complete list of rates for the wakeboarding and their other facilities.

Little did we know that 1 hour is already more than enough for us to enjoy the facility 😅 Luckily, we got the chance to enjoy the wakepark all to ourselves since according to Kuya Richard, our kind instructor, it was a weekday and they also don’t get that much people during early mornings.

It was kind of hard going outside of the vicinity since there are really no tricycles on standby outside the wakepark. You are lucky if you happen to encounter a tricycle or a habal-habal, just like what happened to us. 😎 Our habal ride was for Php15 per person only. Once we got out of the main road, we rode a jeepney going back to Naga. Fare is at Php10 per person which already took us until SM Naga.

We took our lunch at SM, went back to the hotel, checked out, and went back to the bus terminal again so we can already head back to Legazpi.

Bicol Central Station

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Legazpi Grand Central Terminal

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Legazpi City Domestic Airport

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Our bus left the terminal at around 2PM and we safely arrived at Legazpi Central Terminal at around 6PM. Just in time for a 10-minute tricycle ride to the airport 😉

Axle and I had another memorable travel experience together in a place we never knew was this awesome. We’ll be back, Mayon. We will be back for more of you. 💙

PS. I made a travel video for this trip as well! But please don’t judge 😂 You can check it out at this link: https://www.facebook.com/100001267583150/posts/1916761558376078/

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