Beyond the stunning beaches of Cebu/ Palawan and Boracay, lies a region in the Philippines made up of lush rainforest, waterfalls, lakes and a perfectly symmetrical Mayon volcano – Welcome to the Land of Bicol.
Bicol is a good 45 -60 minutes flight away from the city of Manila. We arrived in the cosy little airport of Legazpi and were comfortably packed into our minivan to get a little tour around the city of Legazpi.
5 Outdoor Adventure in Bicol Region
1. Action Experience on ATV Mayon Volcano
We embarked on a 3 hours adventure ride on the ATV towards the Mayon summit, even though it was a cloudy day and the weather seemed dangerously threatening. All equipped with our helmets, powerful ATVs and action cameras, we were ready to go on our adventure ATV Mayon Volcano tour.
On board our adventure powersports vehicles, going through swamps, lakes, long grass, mud and more…The wind is coming and our excitement rose.
The Bicol Volcano called Mayon Volcano is 8,189 foot tall, and we rode along the lava trail. I could do with more such adrenaline atv tours in my holidays.
2. Churches in Bicol – The Spanish Influence
The city of Bicol is rich in Spanish heritage and influence. We took a walkabout some of the most iconic churches in Bicol, with some of these churches still conducting services every Sunday. Our guide himself attends the Daraga Church.
Cagsawa Church Ruins
One of the most known Bicol Church is the Cagsawa Church. It was inspired by Greek architecture during its construction stage. It used to be one of the most iconic Catholic church in Bicol but was unfortunately destroyed during the volcanic eruption. The building was uniquely constructed with egg white, limestone and volcanic rock.
Old Barcelona Church
Moving on from exploring these beautiful ruins and churches, we moved on to some mother nature immersion.
3. Hiking and Kayaking around Bulusan Lake
At the foot of Mount Bulusan sits a lovely surreal lake surrounded by lush greenery, some may even call it the ‘Switzerland of the Orient’. Bulusan attracts many volunteers and researchers to its grounds to experience and understand the unique rich eco-system of a volcano/ rainforest lake and waterfalls all in one premise. No wonder this place is deemed one of the top eco-tourism destination in Philippines.
The Bulusan Volcano Natural Park houses the top 5 active volcanoes in the Philippines. When we were there, it was at Alert 1, so we couldn’t go within 5 km radius of it. There is a nice 2.8 km walking trail around the lake and you can spot the wide variety of wildlife here, from kingfishers to other extinct bird species. Apparently 26% of the bird species here in Luzon are on the extinction list in the world.
Bulusan means ‘Where water flows’‘, which is the perfect name for it given it houses a wide mix of volcanoes/ lakes/ waterfalls/ limestone formations, rivers and more.
4. Indulge in some of the amazing delicacies of Bicol
One would have thought that Philippines food consists of mostly a heavy meat diet and rice, but Bicol presents itself having a rich variety of food – from the creamy coconut milk and spicy Bicol express, to the mussles and shellfish soup unique to Bicol.
One of my favourite most appetizing dishes has to be the Sinigang, where it consists of a lot of tamarind to give the sour kick. Very much like the thai tomyam soup, but without chilli padi and lemongrass.
For those with a sweeter tooth, the Sili Ice-Cream is a must-try in this region. The rich creamy taste with the use of coconut milk and the lingering aftertaste spiciness of the ice-cream is really something interesting to experience.
5. Bicol Philippines Resorts – Relax and indulge
Bicol has some really beautiful and relaxing resorts and villas to chill and unwind in, and comes with great restaurants, and facilities. I visited the Siama Hotel, The Oriental Legazpi and Misibis Bay Resort in my 1 week in Bicol.
Find out more about each of these 3 Bicol Philippines Resorts:
Click here for a 360 view of the Misibis Bay Resort room I stayed in – with a full pool view.
360 view at the pool of Siama Resort. Stunning blue sky that day!
Moving on from the resorts in Bicol region Philippines …
How to get to Bicol
You can take a domestic flight from Manila Airport to the nearest airport to Bicol which is Legaspi Airport. The average cost of the flight is around US$117 to get to Bicol from Manila, but look out for last minute deals popping up once a while.
Hence concludes my post about my outdoor adventure in Bicol volcano region. This trip was done in October, which was just at the tail end of the monsoon season. Do drop by in the months of Feb – May to stand a chance to see the whale sharks.