Sunday, January 13, 2013

Legazpi, Albay - The City Tour

Day 2 - I know this day will be very busy and exciting. We're about to explore the best of Legazpi all in one day. We were a little late for the hotel's breakfast buffet but we enjoyed it nonetheless. I ate my heart out  because I know I'll be up for a big adventure. 

Cagsawa Ruins

I discovered that the Cagsawa Church was built to replace an older church which was burned by the Dutch, and was then ruined after the Mayon Volcano eruption during February 1, 1814.

Before, visitors were allowed to enter inside the church ruins but were later prohibited in order to preserve the beauty and historical significance of the structure. 


I was surprised to know that the Amazing Race Asia 4 during 2010 has been to Cagsawa on their 5th leg where they played the palayok game. until now the show's flag is still present and displayed on the entrance gate.

Guides are everywhere around the place. one person offered us to have a short educational tour and took lots of amazing trick shots. They're also selling souvenirs such as old actual photos of one of Mt. Mayon's eruptions, refrigerator magnets and lots more. It is only upon your discretion if you want to give them a tip or not. 

Below are some sample shots. nice eh? 

1st Colonial Grill

Hooray for lunch! We wanted something uniquely Bicolano so we dined at 1st Colonial Grill in Daraga. Upon planning this trip, we made sure that 1st Colonial Grill is included in our itinerary.

I ordered the Bicol Express while my friend ordered the Pinangat na Laing. I have tasted many versions of Bicol Express in Manila but nothing beats the original. The pork is tender, the spice is tolerable and the coconut milk is overwhelming. Pinangat na Laing is mainly made up of gabi leaves (taro leaves), coconut milk, vinegar and chili peppers. I also loved it! I can eat it all the time and never get bored.

As for desserts, the restaurant also offers enticingly unique ice cream flavors. The sili ice cream and pili ice cream caught our attention. The sili ice cream tastes deliciously weird. It's cold and hot at the same time! It's brilliant how an ice cream can taste that spicy. Nonetheless, I loved it. The pili ice cream is charming. I could associate it's taste with that of polvoron. powdery sweet.

Daraga Church

At last, our Bicolano cravings satisfied! Now off to the next destination which is the Daraga Church. it's just one short jeepney ride away from the restaurant, just tell the driver to drop you off where the church is headed and you're good to go. 

It is an old church located on top of a hill. one should climb a short slope to get there. The structure is under restoration during that time as I can see the fresh white paint unfinished on the church walls.

It was a Sunday afternoon so we took the time to stay and pray. the church interior is majestic with white walls, a long aisle and shiny tiled flooring. I thanked the Lord for bringing me into this wonderful place.

Lignon Hill Nature Park

Lignon Hill is perfect for sightseers and adventure lovers like me and my friend. One must climb the 156-meter high hill on foot. If you don't have your own vehicle, you can rent a motorcycle to take you to the top but it is advisable to go there on foot for a better nature tripping experience. 

Getting there was fun, I was just caught off-guard because I didn't expect such hike. I was just wearing my good ol' havaianas and I don't have any water with me. Good thing I have my Abaca hat which I bought from the grand terminal and my reliable sun glasses.

We payed an entrance fee of P20.00 each when we arrived at the foot of the hill. That fee is for Non - Albay residents.

If you want to take a shortcut, you can try the Kapit-Tuko and Japanese tunnel. Looks exciting but we opted to walk as we were just only wearing flip flops. 

We arrived at last! the park is indeed the perfect spot to view the Mayon Volcano. For a greater view, one can use some telescopes stationed around for P5.00 per viewing. 

There is a pasalubong shop that sells Abaca products, keychains, purses and different Bicol souvenirs but it's a little pricey than that in the city proper.

pasalubong shop

Mayon was nowhere to be seen. The fog covered it's peak but we were happy that we were able to conquer the best of Legazpi even on a tight schedule and budget. What a very good first time experience. It's definitely not going to be the last. 

Till meet again, Mayon!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Legazpi, Albay - Hoyop Hoyopan Cave

My friend and I departed in our hotel at around 10:00 AM. We rode a tricycle going to the grand terminal then rode a jeep bound for Camalig for P20.00 each. We asked the driver to drop us off where 
Hoyop - Hoyopan is situated. Travel time took 45 minutes more or less. we then rented a tricycle for P300.00 each 
two-way. Going there was a roller coaster ride! 30 minutes worth of feeling the fresh province breeze, lots of sight seeing and chit chats along the way. 

There is an entrance fee and guide fee. I forgot the exact amount but it's only around P300.00 each. It's cheaper if you come in groups, the ratio is 1 guide to 6 visitors.

Cave Highlights

According to our guide, the word Hoyop - Hoyopan was derived from the Bicolano word "hoyop" meaning blow or "ihip". the cool breeze is felt all throughout the tour. 
The cave has lights, man-made stairs and pathways.

Quartz crystals are abundant inside while there is a souvenir shop outside that sells crystals of different sizes as souvenirs. 

Quartz crystals
One of the main attractions inside caves is the bird's nest, from which one of the world's most expensive soup - the bird's nest soup is derived.

Bird's Nest
This rock formation resembles a layed - down hand. According to the guide, first-time visitors can do the "mano" symbol. Filipinos practice it by raising the hand of the elders to touch the forehead as a sign of respect. After the pagmamano, make a wish. There's no harm in trying so we did.

"The hand of the father"
Drumsticks. hohoho!
All in all, our experience was great. We got to know the cave's history and how it has gotten to slowly be one of Albay's hottest attractions. I recommend Hoyop Hoyopan as a must see in one of your future Albay adventures.