Instead of spending three days in Caramoan, I decided to spend a day in Albay. Here’s how I spent the whole day in Albay:
Ocampo Deer Farm – Cagsawa Ruins – Lignon Hill – Daraga Church – Mayon Skyline
Since we came from Caramoan, we dropped by at Ocampo Deer Farm before going Cagsawa Ruins.
Ocampo Deer Farm
The deer farm, owned by the local government, was established in 1996 within a five hectare lot with 60 heads of an Australian species. Today, with more than 300, the deer is mainly bred for the venison market (deer meat), skin and hide for leather goods and antlers for decorative as well as medicinal purposes.
- Good: The admission is free. The people are nice.
- Bad: They have a portalet but it’s not clean.
How to go there
- Take a minibus bound for San Jose, Goa, Tigaon or Sagnay at the Naga City bus terminal and tell the driver or conductor to drop you off the intersection of Ocampo in Barangay Sta. Cruz, a few kilometers after the municipal town proper. From there, hire a motor or habalhabal to the deer farm. Tell the driver to wait.
Cagsawa Ruins is a historical landmark that serves as the centerpiece of the Cagsawa Ruins Park where tourists can enjoy the scenic view of Mayon Volcano. It symbolizes Bicol’s rich history together with the strength and flexibility of the people towards calamities and ravages of Mother Nature.
On February 1, 1814, the greatest tragedy happened in Cagsawa and it was the eruption of Mayon Volcano. The eruption buried the small town and nearby areas killing an estimated of 1, 200 people who took refuge in the stone church. It was the strongest eruption recorded to date.
- Beside the ruins, you can see some restaurants where you can eat Bicol region’s specialties: Bicol Express, Laing, and Kinunot.
- For Dessert: You should eat Sili Ice Cream!
How to get there:
- Visitors from Manila who want to see the Cagsawa Ruins can take an air trip going to Albay (Legazpi airport) which is worth around 1, 500 php to 2, 000 php. One can also travel through bus bound to Legazpi which will last for around 11 to 12 hours travel time. The bus terminals are located near the Cultural Center of the Philippines at Araneta Center in Cubao.
Ligñon Hill is the location of Mayon Volcano Observatory. It offers adventure activities and extreme sports, such as hiking, biking, rappelling, paintball and more. I tried their zip line and went back using the bicycle!
How to go there:
- From the airport: Turn right to Magayon Drive (you will pass through a private subdivision). Turn left at the junction with Bogtong Road and proceed until you reach the tennis courts, just before the gate to the Albay Wildlife Park. You may start your trek up the hill at the entrance (near the tennis courts). You can also drive your vehicle up the hill.
- From Legazpi: Take a Legazpi-Daraga Loop 1 jeepney. It will take you directly to the foot of the hill.
- From Daraga: Take a tricycle from the centro to Tagas and ask the drive to drop you off at the tennis courts.
Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish Church (Daraga Church) is known for its Churrigueresque architectural style in its façade, a fine example of Baroque architecture. The façade and its walls are made out of volcanic rocks, which are rich in the area. When the Mayon Volcano erupted on February 1, 1814, the residents of Cagsawa transferred to Daraga after the destruction of their church.
(My sister is currently playing Everwing in phone. I’ll try to find a picture of the church later!)
- Good: You can see a clear view of the Mayon Volcano in their parking lot.
- Bad: There are lots of beggars around. Take care of your belongings!
How to go there:
Outside the gate or entrance of either Ligñon Hill Nature Park or Albay Park & Wildlife, wait for a jeepney with “Loop 1″ or Loop 2” sign on its front. Note: Don’t cross the road. If you cross the road, you will be back to Legazpi City proper. Just wait at the side of the road where the nature park and wildlife are situated. After traversing areas of woods and trees, the jeepney will enter the town as indicated by commercial buildings and establishments. This time the jeepney takes Rizal St from Ligñon Hill. Ask driver to drop you off at Ninoy Aquino Park. At the right side of Ninoy Aquino Park is an alley or small road. Enter that road and walk up to the paralleled road which is Gen Luna where you will immediately see Daraga Municipal Hall and on its right side is the stairs that lead to Daraga Church. To get back to Legazpi City, go to the same spot where you alighted earlier and then ride another “Daraga Legazpi City” route jeepney.
Mayon Skyline is the nearest place to Mayon Volcano. Mayon Planetarium and Science Park is also located there. However, we weren’t able to get inside because it was already closed by the time we arrived there.
How to go there:
There is no public transport going up the skyline. You may bring your car or hire a jeepney or van in getting there. But if you are the adventurous type, you can hike coming from the turnout point in Barangay Buang.
All the directions on going from one place to another are taken from the internet. Since I traveled with my siblings, I decided to rent a van from Alexandria Travel and Tours. I did not have any trouble because they arranged the itinerary for my family.