Backpacking Bicol Region

This is quite a late post but I wanted to share with you our experience when we visited the Bicol Region. This also served as my Anniversary post since just a few days ago I celebrated 6th  year in WordPress. Yey!!! 😀
Anyway, here’s our itinerary during our stay.
Day 1
LEGAZPI, Albay – It was my first time in Bicol region and what excite me the most is the fact that I’ll be seeing Mt. Mayon first hand. It stands magnificent on the background when we reached Legazpi Airport. I always have that tingling feeling whenever I go to places I’ve never been. Outside the airport you’ll be swarmed by lots of drivers bargaining for the best offer for a ride around town. At first we don’t agree with initial offers by other drivers until Sir John Barcarcel (Brad-Ric Taxi) approached us which gave us a favorable offer we grab it rightaway.
Initially, our itinerary is:
Checkin to Hotel to leave our things
Daraga Church
Mt. Mayon ATV
Cagsawa Ruins
But because Sir John’s favorable offer we decided to hop on his taxi and begin our Legazpi tour. Since the hotel we’re supposed to leave our things is near the Daraga Church (Our Lady of the Gate) we decided to go there first. It offers a very nice view of Mt. Mayon. Well almost every part of Legazpi I think offers a very nice view of Mt. Mayon no wonder you can’t find any building structures higher than 6 storey to avoid obstructing the view of Mayon. After spending a few moments in the Daraga Church we headed straight to the Your Brother ATV in Brgy. Pawa, Legazpi City Albay. It is the same tour agency that let Zac Efron experience the spectacular beauty of Mt. Mayon. To fully enjoy this experience we decided to rent individual ATVs. Though costly, it really is one of a kind. I felt like a professional driver that time. There are different routes you can choose from, our budget permitted us to visit the 2006 Lava Flow site. On TV you might see lava as a glowing red and yellow soil flowing freely. After it subsided it left a large pile of volcanic rocks which we visited. They made a helipad structure probably for rescue and research purposes. Anyways, we were accompanied by Sir Jehoram Alanis who’s very accomodating and is a great photographer too. Rocky trails and short river crossings are the trails that we encountered. After our 45minutes ATV ride, we stopped by a cottage which they called Mayon Black Lava Ship. This is the starting point to reach the 2006 Lava site. We paid a P50 entrance fee. We were accompanied by Sir Gerry Azores. We spent more than 30minutes here taking pictures of Mayon on any angle. Sir Gerry is really excellent in capturing a jumpshot in just one take. 😊 This experience is really one of a kind and I really hope to repeat it again. The advance trail is a worth a try if you want to take this adventure to the next level. After a fun and thrilling ATV ride, we ate our late lunch at Cagsawa. A place which offers another great view of Mt. Mayon. We weren’t able to capture a creative shot with Cagsawa Ruins since we’re quite drained already. And we were time pressured since its almost like we rented Sir John’s taxi. I wasn’t able to note the name of the eatery but their version of Pancit na Bato and Bicol Express are really delicious. Its quite cheaper too, since we spent less P100 for a heavy lunch. Order I believe are for sharing. After Cagsawa we headed straight to the van terminal to Naga. Its a 3hour ride from the Legazpi terminal.
Taxi: 175 – shated by group of 4
ATV Tour: 2500
Mayon Black Lava Ship Line Entrance: 50
Cagsawa Ruins Entrance: 13
Lunch in Cagsawa: 96 – shared by group of 4
Van from Legazpi to Naga: 140
NAGA, Camarines Sur – We reached Naga at night time, its quite a busy neighborhood probably because they’re celebrating Peñafrancia Festival. We spent our night in Eurotel Naga. The place is cozy. It reminds of a hotel in HongKong but slightly bigger. We got our reservation from Asian Travel. Its bundled with a free breakfast. We woke up around 6am just in time for the serving of breakfast. 😊 Eurotel’s free breakfast is enough considering we got the room at a very cheap price. Anyway, we rode a tricycle going to the van terminal. The travel time from Naga Van Terminal to Sabang Port is approximately less than 3 hours.
Note: If you strictly follow your itinerary schedule, please be reminded that there’s a scheduled trip for the Boat ride from Sabang Port to Guijalo. So while you’re at the van terminal you might be offered by the driver to pay for the empty seats to leave early, just be patient to not spend more. Or better yet, wake up early. 😊
Day 2
CARAMOAN, Camarines Sur – Caramoan is one of the promising tourist destination in our country. No wonder its still being chosen as location shoot for Survivor show. It remain simple and untouched. From Sabang Port it took us approximately 2hours to reach Guijalo. Setting my feet to Caramoan feels so nostalgic since its one of my previous travels that was postponed thru because to bad weather. Its port is simple yet you can feel a positive vibe. The weather is quite fine when we arrived but while we’re in transit to our hotel rain started pouring which made us change our initial plan to do island hopping that day. We checked in at Central Discovery Hotel. They have a spacious room with bathroom. One thing I liked about their room is that there’s plenty of wall socket to charge our electronic devices. One thing I noticed though, the floor is quite dusty but its fine two of us have rhinitis but it didn’t trigger our allergies at all. 😃
 After we settled, we decided to order our food in the hotel as well. We didn’t look for our other restos around the area since it might be far and will cost us another tricycle ride. Anyway, they cooked our food so well. In fact we ate a lot that it covers our lunch and dinner that day. They serve really nice food that’s why we ask them to prepare our food for our island tour. 😃 Then night came, we felt a little bit bored so we decided to drink a few bottles of beer.
Tricycle: 12/pax shared by group of 4
Van: 100
Boat Transfer: 120
Boat Makeshift Bridge: 10
Caramoan Tricycle: 37.50/pax shared by group of 4
Food: 172.5/pax shared by group of 4
Day 3
We woke up early the next day for our island hopping tour in Caramoan. The hotel offered to hail tricycle for us to ride going to the location of the boat. Our first stop is the Ginahuan Lighthouse from the shore, we walk for almost 45 minutes accompanied by local children as our tour guide. The lighthouse offers a scenic view of Batanes like coastline.
The next island we visited is the Cotivas Island, it’s like a sandbar because of shallow waters but it’s not. 🙂 we didn’t stay there for long as there’s no shelter at all.
Our next destination is the Manlawi Sandbar, it offers a very nice view of a beach with lined cottages where you can rent. We didn’t rent though. But we stayed there for at least 30minutes for a non stop picture taking.
The last island we visited is the Sabitang laya, its another fine islans as well. We took our lunch here but by the boat. And spend sometime to go around the island.
We’re quite lucky as there’s only a few number of tourists around. So most of the time, we’re alone in the island. But among the four its the Manlawi Sandbar that has many visitors. Probably because of the picture perfect view of the cottages. We also didn’t swim at any islands and just do picture taking. We reserve it as we’re going to stay for the rest of the night at Gota Village.
Around afternoon, we headed back to Discovery Hotel to pack our things and go straight to Gota Village. We’re about to hail a tricycle but luckily, Gota Village offers a free van transfer to their resort for their clients. So we save another penny for tricycle ride. It was less than an hour ride to reach the resort. The way the cottages arranged are so Instagram worthy. The wooden cottage is as relaxing as it feels on the inside. If you’re so afraid of insects be warned, they’re everywhere since its in the middle of the forest. But don’t worry they’re not bothersome. It add that nature feel on your vacation. We weren’t able to explore the premises that Gota Village has to offer but we enjoyed their beach a lot in fact we spent the rest of our afternoon until we decided to wash up for dinner. It was 7pm then I think. What we did was to practice floating and Ate Mimi did a “mini” swimming lesson for us. You might be afraid by the huge waves of Gota’s mini beach front. So be mindful of your child if they don’t know how to swim. At night we dine at their own restaurant, I guess you know what I ordered, Bicol Express of course! 🙂 I was able to get my sleep fast because of our very cozy room. We wake up early next morning to catch the early boat transfer going back to Naga. Of course van transfer is free again, but you have to schedule your trip in advance to be included. Just inform the receptionist in their office.
Caramoan Tricycle: 75/pax shared by group of 4
Ginahuan Entrance: 50/group of 4-9pax
Tip for the kids. 😃
Tour: 625/pax shared by group of 4
Souvenirs: keychains, magnets, shirts prices depends but 500 pesos is enough
Gota Village Accomodation: 3500 for 4 pax
Dinner: 165
Day 4
PILI, Camarines Sur – Our last stop is the CamSur WaterSports Completex, we’re able to reach it thanks to Waze and google maps. After getting off from the van, we rode a pedicab going to the resort. You’ll be welcomed by towering lines of cables and wakeboardist enjoying their ride. You’ll also find cottages that looks like an exact replica of the Gota Village Cottage. I’m excited actually to try wakeboarding but of course we need to gather up strength that we decided to eat our lunch first. There’s a restaurant inside but it’s quite pricey. They offered different foods ranging from Pinoy, Japanese, American, Chinese, Korean cuisines if I remember it right. I ordered a spicy Korean delicacy and Pizza for the Group sharing. After finishing our lunch, we rested a bit and then proceeded to the cashier to pay for the rent. At first we thought, we’ll play on a bigger area with obstacles, but we’re informed that those are for the professionals only. And there’s an area for beginners to practice. We also have rented for three hours only. Thinking that we’ll not enjoy it, but we liked it so much and ended up extending. 😀 So if I were you, choose half day instead which is quite cheaper. We are assisted by Kuya Lawrence and Roly. They patiently thought us the proper way to ride the board, took very cool photos and at the same time encourage us to do better on each try. My first is really bad. Stance not good, knees and arms not stable. As I tried it over and over, I was able to do my first roundtrip of the pool area. Though I still can’t stand straight and have to bend over to find my balance. Its fun and exciting specially when you’re able to do a roundabout of the whole pool area. We don’t want to stop but we still need to follow our itinerary since we’re commuting. So we stopped at 5pm to fix ourselves return the stuffs. We waited until 7PM to catch the free shuttle service going to SM Naga. We arrived just in time for dinner at SM Naga as well as to catch the van going to Legazpi. We reached Shell Inn around 10pm just in time for a good night sleep.
Terminal Fee: 5
Boat Sabang: 120
Van to Naga: 100
Pedicab to CWC: 15/ shared by 4pax
Brunch: 212.5
CWC wakeboarding: 380
Dinner Biggs Diner: 205
From SM Naga – Tricycle to Van Terminal: 8
Van to Legazpi (Daraga): 140
Note: Last trip of van from Naga to Legazpi is 9pm
Tricycle to Hotel: 20
Day 5
We wake up early the next day to catch our morning flight. Shell Inn is one of the hotels nearest to the airport. Of course they have free breakfast too. They also have a rooftop which offers a nice view of the Mt. Mayon. Though when we tried to take a peak Mt. Mayon its covered with clouds. Anyway I suddenly feel sad at the moment as this marks the end of my short visit to Bicol Region. Before leaving, we’re having a hard time hailing a tricycle probably because its a workweek, but thanks to Sir Brondial Aninias, guard at Shell Inn or the gasoline station who happily helps us in hailing a tricycle. We were able to reach the airport before our scheduled flight. As on most of my trips, we used the opportunity to recompute our expenses.

I would like to end this blog post by saying THANK YOU to my Bicol Mates – Katherine, Xavier and Mimi. This trip wouldn’t so fun and exciting without you guys.

Special thank you to my Ates: Katherine and Mimi who planned the itinerary of this trip and booked our hotel reservations and flight.

Cheers to more adventures ahead of us. 🙂

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