Legazpi City in Albay

Legazpi City is the largest city in the Bicol Region and the capital of Albay. The most scenic tourist destination is the Mayon Volcano which is partly within its borders. The city is also within the boundary of Sorsogon. The city is divided into two districts, the Legazpi Port and the old Albay district
The airport is also located in Legazpi City called Legazpi Airport. Several bus routes are accessible in the city with the integrated bus stop in Legazpi Grand Central Terminal.
The famous universities in Albay are Bicol University and the University of Santo Tomas – Legazpi of formerly Aquinas University.

Legazpi City Restaurants

The city has distinctive restaurants around the city catering to the locals and tourists. Here are my favorite restaurants that serve Bicolano Dishes.

Small Talk Café

It is a small cozy restaurant which is formerly an old house in downtown Legazpi. They serve Bicolano fusion cuisine and one of my favorites is their Laing and Bicol Express.

Bob Marlin

One of the best crispy pata in the Bicol Region. The restaurant has different memorabilia from the famous singer Bob Marlin.

Colonial Grill

This is a chain of restaurants in the Bicol Region and serves good Bicolano dishes. It is also the home of the sili ice cream.

Bigg’s Diner

Another chain of fast food restaurant is called Bigg’s Diner.

Mayon Volcano

Mount Mayon is an active stratovolcano with a perfect cone because of its symmetric conical shape with a small central summit crater. Mayon is a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and the highest point in the Bicol Region. The landscape surrounding the volcano was renamed Mayon Volcano National Park.

Boat Ride from Paracale to Vinzons

Traveling to a beautiful tourist destination in the Philippines is not that easy. Most of the precious, amazing, and unspoiled islands in the archipelago are far away from the town. And Calaguas Group of Island is not an exception.

Two hours ride is not good for other people, especially if the waters are hasty and the waves are high. And if you have a problem being seasick, you have to think twice. And most of the time, the hardest journey ever is the most satisfying of all.
Our jump-off area is the fishing port of Paracale, one town away from Vinzons. Sometimes the problem would be how big is the boat. In our case, since it was owned by a fisherman, the banca was not convenient for passengers. Since tourism had boosted in the fishing port, most of the fishermen’s boat is rented to accommodate travelers like us. And yes we had to endure it for two hours.

While traveling the best way to enjoy the boat ride is to look around. Since it is a group of islands, there will be nearby islands or islets that are just around the corner. We were able to see the Maculabo Island from the left side going to Tinaga along Paracale Bay.

The boat ride is almost straight and just a little left towards the island. Upon reaching the tip of Tinaga island, rocks are visible in the shorelines.
Tinaga Island is the most traveled by visitors because of the long and wide sand bar of Mahabang Buhangin. There is a barangay called Mangkawayan where the local fishermen live with their family. The hillside of Tinaga is also accessible if you want to see the long beach from the top.

We only rented the boat for a one-way trip. The following day, the usual passenger boat from Vinzons arrived after lunch. And we availed the service with other tourists who were going back to the town.
From Tinaga island, we then saw Guintinua Island and some small islets. The water was rough, but because we had a bigger boat this time, the two hours ride was okay. And yes, I didn’t wear any life jacket, even if the waves where a little rough going to Vinzons.

Or maybe because I’d been to different long boat rides in the country that I don’t get seasick or get bored and sometimes it also helps to get excited first to your travel destination and the rest will follow.

For more information about Calaguas you can check the post here: Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

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Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

Our 5th Quezon – Bicol Escapade is in Calaguas Islands, Vinzon, Camarines Norte. Calaguas is a group of islands including the famous Tinaga, Maculabo, Guintinua islands and other islets, included in the town of Vinzons in Camarines Norte. The seaboard of Calaguas is rough during the rainy season as it is located along the Pacific Ocean. The best time to explore to Calaguas is during summer.

As we often do, we stayed in Cam’s house in Calauag on our first night. We packed our things, this time with a tent, food and water. The following day, we rode a bus towards Paracale. Along the bus stop, we rode another bus towards Paracale town. We headed to the fishing port of Paracale and bought some other stuff while we waited for a boat for a two-hour boat ride. We were excited to see the picturesque paradise from afar. Sighting the pristine white sand of Mahabang Buhangin or Long Beach, the unparalleled green mountainous area of Tinaga Island, turquoise water, the island was a real beauty.
There were no resorts on the island during the time of our visit. But I remembered there were Nipa Huts being constructed at the center of Mahabang Buhangin, and we were told that the owner has a resort in Boracay. Upon setting foot on the island in the afternoon, we were sun-kissed already by the sun’s heat. We looked for a good camping site in the left part of the island.

The island was divided into different owners because there were caretakers in the area. We found a nice spot, near a Nipa hut of the caretaker, with so many coconut trees that shaded our area. At our back, was the caretaker’s source of water, public bathrooms and a small house with a sari-sari store. They have food, drinks, and water supplies.
We set up our tent, mingled with the caretaker where we bought our coconuts. We took a nap to enjoy the tranquillity of the island. There was a set up of volleyball net near us, so Butchick and Cam played beach volleyball, as were able to get a ball from our caretaker.
The beach was fronting a very romantic sunset, as many tourists like us, started lining up to witness the orange colored sun going down the horizon.

Although it’s camper’s site, the phone signal is high and there’s electricity on the island. We had a few drinks with our caretaker and jammed with them because they had a guitar. We watched the stars while in the sand.

Early in the morning, Butchick and I played with the water in the beachfront because there were few boats along the coastline. We stayed on the beach for a long time until the time we had to leave the island.

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Mercedes Group of Islands, Camarines Norte

Mercedes is a town after Daet in Camarines Norte. The town is known for the siete pecados or seven islands around the Pacific along the coastline of Daet which was called Mercedes Group of Islands. The seven islands where Canimog, Apuao Grande, Quinapaguian Island, Malasugui, Apuao Pequeṅa, Canron and Caringo. For me, Mercedes islands where unadulterated and quiet beauties, that provides tranquillity from the crowded Bagasbas Beach.

From my previous post, we spent a night in Daet, within the vicinity of Bagasbas beach because we weren’t able to get a tour package that would take us to Calaguas Island. The locals from Daet suggested we should go to Mercedes Island. The four of us decided again to take a different route from the original plan.
From Daet, we rode a tricycle to take us to Mercedes. From the Daet-Mercedes boundary, we rode another tricycle to get us to the town of Mercedes. When we reached Mercedes town proper, we saw a local restaurant called Graceland were we had our lunch. After which we rode another tricycle to take us to the Mercedes fish port. There was a tourism office in the port, and we inquired about places to stay in Cayucyucan and where to go to Mercedes.

It was only a five minutes ride to Cayucyucan, another barangay in Mercedes. The port is located in Manguisoc wharf. From the wharf, we rode a tricycle and went to Palms Farm Resort. We booked for an overnight stay, and we talked to the staff for an island tour in the Mercedes islands.
The staff got a boatman to tour us in the islands around. And we were all set to tour the quiet beauties of Mercedes, in which way back then was not really known tourist destination. We were able to see 3 out of 7 islands because some islands From Cayucyucan, the first island in our itinerary is Canimog Island. I love the island, because of the long sand bar, white powdery sands and crystal clear water. We stayed here longer for about an hour to swim and explore the island.

From Quinapaguain, we went to Apuao Grande and Apuao Pequena, two islands connected by the sandbar.
Apuao Grande Island used to be a private resort and a golf course area. But due to some problems and was in the state of disrepair, the island stopped accepting tourist but remained open to the public that was managed by the caretaker. The island has a long sand bar, pristine white sand and clear blue waters.

After Apuao Grande, we went to Caringo, a barangay where most locals live. It is also near a coral sanctuary, and the sands were white sands with shells. We were accompanied by our boatman to go to the barrios and bought freshly caught fishes from the fisherman.

From Caringo, we were able to see Malasugui and Quinapagan Island before going back to our resort. Going back to Cayucyucan, we encountered a problem with our boat. For almost 20 minutes were stuck along the shores of Cayucyucan and Quinapagan. But we were not disheartened as we were able to see the beauty of the sunset on the horizon.

We asked for the staff of Palms Farm resort to for us, what we bought from Caringo. During the night, we stayed outside and enjoyed the sound of the water and each other’s company. There were rattan swings, hammocks and wooden chairs and tables within the resort. The beach area of Palms Beach Resort was also good for swimming, and there is a net for beach volleyball fanatics to enjoy the sun.

We went back to Mercedes town in the morning and went to Baybay Beach where there was an event for kayaking and skimming. John tried kayaking and we were grateful of the locals of the tourism department of Mercedes who accompanied us.

For more information about Camarines Norte, please check this posts: Bagasbas Beach, Daet, Camarines Norte Calaguas Islands, Camarines Norte

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Caramoan, Camarines Sur

The Caramoan peninsula is located at the eastern portion of Camarines Sur in front of Catanduanes.  It is the home of so many islands and islets and the scenic view of towering cliffs and lush green mountains with the perfect sunrise.

This was my 2nd Quezon – Bicol trip with Cam. Cam already resided in Calauag after a year when we went to Gumaca, Quezon

Mountain range in Lagunoy Gulf

We travel for 4 hours by bus from Calauag to Naga City.  From the terminal in Naga City, we rode a van to take us to Sabang Port in San Jose, Camarines Sur.  We took a boat and traversed the mountain ranges and the Lagonoy Gulf. After almost two hours we reached the port of Guijalo.

Upon reaching the port, we rode a motorcycle where we asked the driver to take us to a resort but he told us it because it was summer, the resorts were fully booked, so he suggested and bought us to the town where we stayed with the locals and rented a room for an overnight stay.

It was a long journey, so we went out at night and found a restaurant along the Paniman beach and had our dinner.  We went to and talked to the owner about Caramoan.  After which we stayed outside enjoying the beach until it was almost midnight.

The following morning we were referred to a boatman and toured us in the island.  We were welcomed by the perfect sunrise of Caramoan.  The first stopped was Minalahos island. An island in front of Gota Beach which is good for swimming. There’s also a table rock in front, a point of jump-off for diving.

Minalahos Island

Gota Beach was the resort where the crew and staff of Survivor stayed.

Gota Beach

Then we went to Hunongan Cove with a view of longer sandbar and coconut trees at the beach front.


Kagbalinad island is the front view of Hunongan Cove.

Kagbalinad Island

Going to Caramoan had been a challenge, and 2 days wasn’t enough to explore the islands.  We went there during those times the Survivor series was being shot in the different islands.  Most islands were being used for production. The tourists and locals were restricted on some island like the Gota Beach.

Because of time constraint, we weren’t able to explore the islands but we promised to go back to Caramoan for a longer stay. Other notable islands are Matukad, Lahus, Cotivas Island, Sabitayang Laya and many other islands.

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