F O U R
D A Y S I N
A L B A Y
My recent trip to Albay this 2014 was my third visit of the province for the past two years. This means that I've been returning to the majestic view of Mount Mayon every year since 2012. I intend to visit the place again next year because every chance I get there's always something new to behold. Nothing is the same except the reliable presence of Bicol's famous cone-shaped volcano.
I Love Albay! Blog Series Tour
My "I Love Albay!" Blog Series Tour kicked off with a self-service check-in at a Cebu Pacific kiosk in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)-Terminal 3. It was surprisingly a breeze going through the process since my bag weighed no more than 5kg. which meant that I did not have to check it in as baggage for extra charge. The limit is 7kg which I religiously stayed away from for my 4-day vacation.
It was my first time to book an airplane ticket online and I considered the process convenient. All I had to do was show up at the airport with an identification card. Our Cebu Pacific flight was on time and it surprised me after hearing so many horror stories of epic waiting games played at local airports. We managed to land at the Legazpi City Airport after 40 minutes from takeoff.
Plane Ride Versus Bus Ride
The experience of flying a plane to Albay definitely was a breath of fresh air for me since I was accustomed to taking the 9 to 12-hour long bus trips to the province in the past for the sake of saving money. With only four days in my schedule, I had to make use of every hour I had during my tour to ensure that I got a full immersion of various destinations in the area.
The Hassle of Power Shortages
All in all, the 4-day tour of the province enabled me to see Legazpi City literally in a different light -- under power shortage -- as parts of it suffered from regular brownouts even at night. I was not also able to eat halo-halo in Camalig for merienda because the ice melted early due to the power failure.
The best part of my Albay immersion was finally visiting other towns and cities such as Tabaco, Tiwi, Bacacay, Daraga and Cagsawa. The highlight of my trip was my adventurous all-terrain vehicle ride of Mount Mayon's rugged lava trail courtesy of Bicol Adventure ATV.
Other trips like my visit of Mount Malinao's Vera Falls, a luau party, and Tiwi's Philceramics site courtesy of the Tabaco Travel and Adven-Tours team, plus a walk tour of Camalig certainly gave it a good momentum in the beginning. I simply had to end my tour with a relaxing stay at Bacacay's Dorotea Resort & Spa, including a dip at its newly-opened pool and jacuzzi.
In between destinations, I had a wonderful taste of local snacks and dishes.
|At the Legazpi City Airport with a Tyche Boutique Hotel representative awaiting my arrival|
|My recyclable cup of coffee at a bus stopover in Quezon Province|
The Legend of The Habal-habal
Going home became a challenge because getting an early tricycle ride in Bacacay was hard. I had to catch an 8:30am-Cagsawa Bus ride at Legazpi City's grand terminal and I was still a town away two hours from the bus' departure time.
From Dorotea Resort & Spa, I had to confront my fear of hitching a ride on a motorcycle which locals call the habal-habal. Strangely named after the act of copulation or mating in the Visayan dialect of Cebuano, the ride comes with the driver and the motorcycle, plus other passengers. With the way the riders are inconveniently sandwiched, the term has taken a new form altogether. Although the area where the resort is was not completely remote, such form of transportation is still the favorite one among the residents. I opted to be the only passenger since I was scared of falling off especially since a helmet was not customarily provided.
|Strong anahaw-made spoons at the Legazpi City grand terminal|
It was also what I rode on the night before when I came from Cagsawa to finally check-in at the Bacacay-based resort. It turned out that when the clock strikes 8:00 at night, only the habal-habal can be seen plying through the long, dark, and winding streets of the town.
My Cagsawa Bus ride to Manila from Legazpi City took 12 hours since the schedule was at daytime and there were three stopovers. For night trips, the stopovers are trimmed down to just two and travel time is shorter. What I loved about traveling during the day was seeing towns with scenic views in Quezon Province like Gumaca where the bus route is assigned.
Do I still recommend visiting Albay even with power shortages happening in the province? Of course, yes. Nothing compares to the natural beauty of its waterfalls, the verdant landscape, its friendly locals and the serene presence of the Mayon Volcano.
My "I Love Albay!" Blog Series Tour:
More Photos Below:
|One of the bus stopovers|
|Scenic view of Quezon Province from the bus|