mt mayon legazpi albay

Explore the exciting Mt. Mayon trails and other top tourist attractions in Albay’s Legazpi City! Find out what other tourist spots you should visit. What activities should you try to get an up-close look at the iconic Mt. Mayon? What inland attractions can you visit with friends and family when in Legazpi City? Where you can get a taste of the best Bicolano dishes? Bookmark this essential travel guide to the highly-recommended tours and activities that you should add in your Legazpi City itinerary.

What used to be small farmers and fishermen village is now a thriving city and one of the Philippines’ top adventure tourism destinations. Legazpi City in the province of Albay is the home of the world-famous Mt. Mayon. Tourists from the world over come to Legazpi Philippines to see with their own eyes the perfect cone shape of one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Legazpi tourist spots offer you the rare chance of getting up-close and personal with Mt. Mayon. We’re talking about a museum that is located at the “waistline” of the active volcano; an exhilarating ATV ride at the foothills of Mt. Mayon; and both short and long treks that gives you multiple ways to appreciate one of nature’s top works of art.

But in recent years, Legazpi City is more than just the home of the 200 million-year-old Mt. Mayon. They don’t call Legazpi City as “The City of Fun and Adventure” for nothing.

Legazpi City is a booming city for adventure tourism but the city is also successful in preserving its historic past including churches, ruins, and World War II tunnels!

The restaurants in Legazpi City also dish up adventurous fusion dishes like the Pasta Mayon from Small Talk Café, a ravioli dish filled with a local delicacy called laing topped with a fiery sauce mimicking the flowing lava from the volcano. There’s also the sili (chili) ice cream from the iconic homegrown restaurant 1st Colonial Grill. Yes, that’s ice cream made from chili peppers.

If you’re visiting the home of Mt. Mayon for the first time, here’s a list of the best things to do in Legazpi to add to your itinerary.



TABLE OF CONTENTS

Discover the Stories Behind Some of These Famous Legazpi Tourist Spots

cagsawa ruins

You know what Mt. Mayon looks like but do you know the history behind it? Get an up-close experience of this iconic volcano and the structures that surround it when you visit these top tourist spots in Legazpi.

1. See the Remnants of a 16th Century Church at Cagsawa Ruins Park

If you’ve seen postcards of the famous Mt. Mayon and its perfectly shaped cone, notice the crumbling tower on the right side? What you're seeing is the only remaining structure of the 16th century Cagsawa Church.

The church was built in 1587 then destroyed by Dutch pirates in 1636. A priest had it rebuilt in 1587 but in 1814, the historic eruption of Mayon Volcano once again destroyed the church and the town of Cagsawa.

Today, the crumbling structure is adorned with vines growing in between the cracks. Think of the lone crumbling tower as Legazpi’s Leaning Tower of Pisa. Despite its tragic history, the Cagsawa Ruins Park is one of the best places to see the majestic Mt. Mayon on a clear day.

2. Hike Along the Base of an Active Volcano at Mayon Volcano Natural Park

While you can see the perfect cone shape of Mt. Mayon anywhere in Legazpi, there’s nothing quite exhilarating than getting closer to it. And you can do that at the Mayon Volcano Natural Park or MVNP. Well, at least the closest you can in the safest way possible.

The park has a total land area of 5,775.70 hectares. The protected area includes 6 towns and 3 cities in the province of Albay. The Mayon Volcano Natural Park is home to over 150 floral species and 83 tree species. There are rivers, creeks, and rice fields that travelers can trek on foot or explore by riding an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or a jeepney.

But exploring the flora and fauna isn’t the only thing you can do here. If you have the stamina for it, you can hike along the volcano base and be in awe of one of the most beautiful and active volcanoes in the world. You can even see smoke coming out of the volcano’s peak!

3. Marvel at the Surreal Beauty of Daraga Church

There are many churches in Albay but Daraga Church should be on top of your list. The 18th century baroque church with its volcanic stone walls has witnessed several historic events, including the 1814 eruption of Mt. Mayon that left 2,000 people killed. During World War II, the church was used as the headquarters of the Japanese army.

Built in 1773 by Franciscan missionaries, the 240-year-old Daraga Church is the most surreal manmade structure in Legazpi City, Albay. In 2007, it was declared a National Cultural Treasure.

Daraga Church is still standing today as a true testament of faith. You can reach the church by taking a jeepney from Legazpi to Daraga. Once you get to the Daraga Municipal Hall, look for the stairs that would take you to the church, which sits on top of a small hill.

4. Explore Mayon Planetarium & Science Park

If you’ve always been fascinated by the birth and activities of volcanoes, especially that of Mt. Mayon, spend an afternoon learning all about it at the Mayon Planetarium & Science Park.

But it’s not just another volcano museum. In fact, it’s located in what they call the “waistline” of Mt. Mayon. Yes, the museum is actually halfway up the summit! So if you want to get up-close and personal with one of the world’s most active volcanoes, this is the place to visit.

Despite its name, the museum doesn’t really focus on the solar system and the planets. Instead, you’ll find exhibits and documentaries about the life and behavior of these amazing natural structures. Entrance fee is PHP 10.00 per person.

5. Enjoy the View from Sleeping Lion Hill

Also known as the Kapuntukan Hill, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Legazpi Port and the Albay Gulf from here. From afar, this small hill located at the foot of Mt. Mayon, resembles the silhouette of a sleeping lion. That’s why the locals fondly call it the Sleeping Lion Hill.

It’s popular among nature lovers and photographers but its location near the lifestyle hub of Embarcardero de Legazpi makes it a popular first stop before checking out the strip mall next to it.

Try the Activities in These Exciting Legazpi Tourist Spots

Legazpi City has several options you can try if you want to explore its natural and historic wonders including underground rivers, hills, and World War II sites. Here are more tourist spots you can add to your list and suggestions on how to best maximize your experience.

1. Get a 360-degree View of the Valley at Ligñon Hill Nature Park

Want to zip line with Mt. Mayon as your backdrop? You can at Ligñon Hill Nature Park! Located on top of a steep hill, there are two habits to get here. First, you can drive up the hill, but cars are only allowed up to a certain point then you walk the rest of the way up. The walk up usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on how fast you go.

Second, you can take a shortcut by taking on the Kapit Tuko Trail (Lizard Grip Trail). It will only take you 10 minutes to reach the summit but it can be challenging. This trail gives people a sense of what it’s like to hike up Mt. Mayon.

Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with fresh air and a 360-degree view of the valley below. There’s a park, a 320-meter long zip line, and a hanging bridge that you can explore.

The best time to go here is in the morning, at around 7 o’clock when you can see the perfect cone shape of Mt. Mayon. But it has become a popular place to watch the sunset, especially among tourists. Entrance fee is between PHP 10.00 and PHP 20.00.

2. Learn About Different Animal Species at Albay Park & Wildlife

legazpi albay

If you’re traveling with kids and you want to see the wildlife in Albay, an afternoon spent at Albay Park & Wildlife will hit the spot! The park is home to more than 300 animals which belong to 75 species. Some of them include crocodiles, pythons, iguanas, and the famous Philippine hawk eagle. The museum showcases an embalmed Megamouth Shark and a rare two-headed baby carabao.

Entrance fee is PHP 20.00 but you can also rent a cottage for an overnight stay if you like. Otherwise, you can rent a boat and hang out at the small lagoon.

3. Visit the Majestic Quitinday Underground River

Not many people know that Albay has an amazing underground river. It wasn’t as popular as the one in the province of Palawan but the Quitinday Underground River is just as majestic and gained popularity thanks to social media.

Join a tour and explore the secret caves via a bamboo raft. The 150-meter-long cave was formed by water erosion and is adorned with rock formations, stalactites, and columns. The cave’s end features a gorge and is a perfect cliff diving site. The water drops downstream to Sigpit Falls.

Entrance fee to the cave is PHP 20.00 per person. A roundtrip aboard the bamboo ride costs PHP 200.00. It’s best to hire a guide who can help you with navigation and maximize your stay at Quitinday Underground River.

4. Explore the Japanese Tunnels at Ligñon Hills

Located in Ligñon Hill Nature Park, this 40-meter long L-shaped tunnels date back to World War II in 1941 when Filipino and American soldiers fought against the Japanese army.

Back then, the tunnels go all the way to the Legazpi City Hall. Today, visitors can crawl inside and explore what was once the hiding place of the Japanese soldiers during the war. There are even life-size statues inside the tunnel depicting what life was like for the soldiers back then.

Entrance fee to the Japanese tunnel is PHP 10.00 but if you’re claustrophobic, better skip this part of the tour. But you’d be surprised by how spacious the tunnels are. After all, these hidden passageways were used as sleeping quarters and even makeshift hospital for the soldiers during the war.

5. Experience the Mayon SkyDrive ATV Adventure

When you’re visiting Legazpi, Philippines, there are several ways to appreciate the true beauty of Mt. Mayon. But if you’re looking for the most exhilarating way to explore the foothills, ruins, rice fields, rivers, and mud trails filled with thousands of volcanic rocks, hop on an ATV and drive. Believe us, it’s so amazing that even Hollywood celebrity Zac Efron tried it when he visited Legazpi City!

There are 8 exclusive trails you can choose from and the rate per person depends on the trail you choose. Regardless of your driving skills and experience, the ATV is fairly easy to navigate (like riding a bike, but more badass!) There are tour guides who can help you with the driving and navigation but once you’re rolling, you can take on the foothills of Mt. Mayon on your own.

6. Have a Fun Day at Embarcadero de Legazpi

If you’re traveling with the whole family to Legazpi City, you won’t run out of activities to try at Embarcadero de Legazpi, a lifestyle hub beside the Legazpi City Port. For PHP 150.00, you can zip line from the lighthouse and enjoy the views of Mt. Mayon and the sea. Go kart racing beside the sea for just PHP 75.00 for every 2 laps. And if you’re looking for more adrenaline-pumping activity, you can hop on a jet ski for PHP 1,200 and navigate the waters with the views of Mt. Mayon.

Embarcadero de Legazpi has several dining options you’ll love. What’s more interesting is that they offer earth-friendly rides like the Segway, which is popular among the older kids. For PHP 200.00, they can hop on a Segway for 15 minutes and navigate the lifestyle hub in style. There are also e-jeepneys and e-tricycles that can take you around nearby areas with rates starting at PHP 2.00 per person!

Spend a Relaxing Day at These Cozy and Prime Hotels in Legazpi

legazpi hotels

There are many types of accommodations you can choose from when visiting Legazpi City. But if you're dreaming of a luxe stay, here are our top picks for prime Legazpi hotels.

1. Enjoy a Luxurious Stay at The Marison Hotel

Located just five minutes away from the Legazpi Airport, The Marison Hotel is one of the top choices for luxe hotels in Albay. They have 118 spacious and modern-looking rooms, perfect for vacationing families and even those who are traveling for business and conferences.

You’ll immediately feel the artistic and lofty vibe as soon as you step inside the lobby. The rooms are not only beautifully decorated but also equipped with all the comforts you’re bound to look for: king or queen-size beds, flat-screen TVs, spacious bathrooms, and toiletries.

The Marison Hotel in-house IL Morso Italian Restaurant dishes up Western favorites like steaks, pasta, and pizza dishes. Coffee and dessert lovers will definitely enjoy the drinks and pastry selections at The Sans Cafe & Bar. And if you’re looking for a nightcap, head to the in-house Chilo Bar with ice cold beer, wine, and a variety of cocktails.

2. Enjoy the Infinity Pool at The Oriental Hotel Legazpi

If you’ve always wanted to swim while looking at the perfect cone shape of Mt. Mayon in the distance, book a room at The Oriental Hotel Legazpi during your visit. The hotel’s infinity pool is so inviting you’d want to jump immediately after a long day of exploring the city.

The hotel has two dining options. The Jasmine Restaurant offers Bicolano favorites such as Pasta Bicolandia and Bagnet ala Bicol Express. The Cafe Al Fresco is the perfect place to sip your coffee while sitting on one of the cocoon couches.

The Oriental Hotel Legazpi has an in-house gym, spa, and a 1000-person grand ballroom for events. The rooms and amenities are designed and furnished with comfort in mind. But the best thing about the rooms at this hotel is that when you open the curtains, you are greeted with a view of Mt. Mayon every single time.

3. Enjoy the Waterfront Views at Embarcadero Hotel

Conveniently located inside a waterfront lifestyle hub, Embarcadero Hotel (formerly known as Ellis Ecotel) is perfect for those who want to stay near the dining, shopping, and activity options. If you’re planning to check out the nightlife along the Legazpi Boulevard in Embarcadero de Legazpi, staying at this hotel is a good choice.

You can wake up every day with views of the Albay Gulf and the majestic Mt. Mayon. Budget-friendly and comfortable, the hotel has all the basic amenities you would need in its nautical-themed rooms. More of a business hotel than a luxury one, Embarcadero Hotel is popular among business travelers.

4. Relax at the Emerald Boutique Hotel

This hotel only has 30 air-conditioned rooms but each one is designed and equipped with comfort in mind. Charming, intimate, and affordable, it’s a great option for those who are traveling on a tight budget but don’t want to skimp on comfort.

5. Enjoy the Bed at Lotus Blu Hotel

Located near the bus terminal and the local Yashano Mall, this upscale hotel is another favorite among frequent travelers. Each hotel room has an orthopedic hotel-type bed, flat-screen TV, and a safety deposit box. Even if the hotel doesn't have an in-house restaurant, the guests are provided complimentary at the nearby Figaro Coffee, a local coffee shop.

The Lotus Blu Hotel is a great choice if you want a luxurious stay but you don’t want to blow all your budget in a hotel room.

Feast on Bicolano Cuisine at 1st Colonial Grill and Other Legazpi Restaurants

legazpi albay

If there’s one Filipino dish that could represent Legazpi City, the locals would probably say it’s Bicol Express. Also called sinilihan (spiced with chili), this famous Bicolano stew is made with coconut milk, long chilies, garlic, and shrimp paste. There are more than 25 variations of Bicol Express but you’ll find one of the best ones in 1st Colonial Grill in Legazpi City plus other local favorites.

1. Try the Bicol Express and  Sili Ice Cream at 1st Colonial Grill

There are many homegrown restaurants in Albay but 1st Colonial Grill is probably the most famous of them all. Their first branch opened in 1942 at the old Milwaukee Hospital. During the war, the Japanese soldiers used the building in the Old Albay District as one of their headquarters. That’s why the restaurant has the word colonial as part of its name.

Their menu features a wide selection of local favorites but here are the top picks from their best sellers list that you should definitely try: The tinapa fried rice is to die for and you can order it any time of the day. At PHPH 199.00 per serving, the fried rice is flavored with tinapa flakes (local smoked fish) and comes with slices of green mangoes, tomatoes, and salted egg on top.

The Pasta Bicolana, an oil-based pasta served with bits of Guinobatan Longganisa (local sausage) is also a crowd pleaser. 1st Colonial Grill made its mark on the Legazpi map because of its rare dessert: the sili (chili) ice cream (PHP 79.00). Yes, that's right. It's ice cream with chili. Don't worry, there are many heat variations you can choose from.

You can also try their malunggay (Moringa) ice cream, which will remind you of Japanese green tea or matcha, and the pili ice cream where the local pili nut is the main star.

2. Order Sisig at Bob Marlin Restaurant

Locals and tourists swear by Ziggy's Sisig Krispy. It’s one of the best crispy pata or pork knuckles (PHP 459.00) in Legazpi City that makes people come back for more! Other unforgettable Bicolano dishes include dinuguang baka (beef blood stew), laing (dried taro leaves with pork belly, chili peppers, and coconut milk), and the kare kare with oxtail and beef laman (meat).

The vibe at Bob Marlin Restaurant is very laidback, comfortable, and casual. It’s great for big groups and family gatherings too!

3. Feast on Cordon Bleu at Bigg’s Diner

It may not be as old as 1st Colonial Grill but Bigg’s Diner has been in business for over 30 years. Back in 1983, it was first called Mang Donald’s, a local spin on the popular fast food chain McDonald’s. Over the next few years, the restaurant changed names and finally in 1990, the owners named it Bigg’s Diner. BIGG stands for beautiful, intelligent, gorgeous, and god-fearing.

Bigg’s Diners has a lot of crowd favorites, but the best sellers include the pork cordon blue with laing (PHP 154.00) and the daing na bangus or fried milkfish (PHP 112.00). Bigg’s Diner is a comfort food haven that serves Filipino and Western dishes with a local twist!

4. Try the Pasta Mayon at Small Talk Café

This quaint café dishes up Italian and American comfort foods with Bicolano flair. Restaurant owner and chef Bernadette Peralta Factora developed her fusion dishes to encourage the locals to try a new cuisine, and it worked! What started as a small restaurant in front of their yard with only 12 tables turned into a full-scale restaurant that became the "talk of the town.” And that clever twist explains the name.

Small Talk Café’s signature dish is the Pasta Mayon (PHP 95.00). The triangle-shaped ravioli is filled with laing and topped off with tuna sauce, which is bright red and resembles the lava flowing from Mt. Mayon. It’s so clever and artistic that it quickly became a top favorite because people kept talking about it.

At Small Talk Café, their pili basil pasta (PHP 110.00) just works. It’s like your typical pesto pasta but topped with crushed pili nuts. Another intriguing dish is pasta laing (PHP 95.00). The creamy dish is typically served with rice, not pasta. But at Small Talk Café, it’s another Filipino-Italian fusion that just works well.

Lastly, even if you’re not a fan of vegetables, you should definitely try the Ten’s Salads (PHP40.00). It is made with sigarilyas (winged bean or purupagulong in Bicolano), onions, and tomatoes. The sweet and tangy vinaigrette finishes the dish so well that you’ll probably order another.

The food here is excellent, affordable, fresh, and modern. No wonder it's the talk of the town!

5. Feel at Home at Balay Cena Una

More than a restaurant, Balay Cena Una is the oldest house in all of Albay dating back to 1913. The ancestral home-slash-restaurant fittingly serves Filipino favorites, especially Bicolano cuisine.

For many Filipinos, it reminds them of visits to their grandparents in the province during their childhood. For international tourists, it gives them a taste and feel of what Filipino hospitality really is all about: welcoming you into one’s home and making you feel like you’re part of the family.

The best sellers include tinutungan (PHP 210.00), a smoky chicken dish; lumpiang tinapa (PHP 130.00), spring rolls filled with smoked fish; and for dessert, the opulent pili opera cake (PHP 135.00).

Plan Your Awesome Legazpi Tour

legazpi albay

Going to Legazpi is as easy as flying in to Legazpi Airport, so don’t miss out on the chance to see Mt. Mayon in all its glory and the other top tourist spots in the city. We hope this list can help you come up with your ultimate getaway in the city of fun and adventure!

If you’re planning to visit this province, check out these Legazpi tours and activities that can help make the planning easier for you.