See the majestic Mayon Volcano up close in Albay’s Legazpi City! Find out what other tourist spots you should visit and where you can get a taste of the best Bicolano dishes in this article.
Legazpi City used to be a small farming and fishing village but is now a thriving city and one of the Philippines’ top adventure tourism destinations. Located in the province of Albay in the Bicol region, it is the home of the world-famous Mayon Volcano.
Travelers from different parts of the world over come to Legazpi to see the perfect cone shape of one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
In recent years, Legazpi City is more than just the home of the 200 million-year-old Mayon Volcano. They don’t call Legazpi City as “The City of Fun and Adventure” for nothing.
Sightseeing in Legazpi City offers you the chance of getting up-close and personal with Mayon Volcano. You can do this by visiting viewing decks and ruins with a view of the volcano, or go for a more adventure-filled activity like the ATV trail ride or trekking.
Aside from stunning views and outdoor adventures, Legazpi City also showcases the tastiest Bicolano dishes that are known for using local ingredients like coconut milk and chilies. Bicolanos, locals of the region, love spicy food so much that they even have ice cream made from it.
If you’re visiting the home of Mayon Volcano for the first time, here’s a list of the best things to do in Legazpi to add to your itinerary.
Cagsawa Ruins is one of the most iconic tourist landmarks in Legazpi. 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. Its remnants have been preserved by the Cagsawa Branch of the National Museum in the Philippines as well as the municipal government of Daraga.
Despite its tragic history, the Cagsawa Ruins Park is one of the best places to see the majestic Mayon Volcano on a clear day. Join an Albay provincial tour to fully experience this tourist spot.
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
Get an up-close experience of this iconic volcano and the structures that surround it when you visit Mayon Volcano Natural Park. 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!
While you can see the perfect cone shape of Mayon Volcano anywhere in Legazpi, there’s nothing quite exhilarating than getting closer to it. And you can do get close to it by joining an Albay Day tour or by visiting the Mayon Volcano Natural Park. Well, at least the closest you can in the safest way possible.
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 Mayon Volcano 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. It's a popular attraction included in a provincial tour in Albay.
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.
If you’re looking for an adventure in Legazpi, visit Ligñon Hill Nature Park! Located on top of a steep hill, there are two ways 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 Mayon Volcano.
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 Mayon Volcano. But it has become a popular place to watch the sunset, especially among travelers searching for activities in Legazpi.
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. 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.
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.
There’s an entrance fee to the cave. It’s best to hire a guide who can help you with navigation and maximize your stay at Quitinday Underground River.
A food trip in Bicol is one of the most exciting things to do in the province. If there’s one local cuisine in the Philippines 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.
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.
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. Yes, that's right. It's ice cream with chili. Don't worry, there are many heat variations you can choose from.
When you’re visiting Legazpi, Philippines, there are several ways to appreciate the true beauty of Mayon Volcano. 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, try the adrenaline-kicking ATV ride in Legazpi.
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).
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 Mayon Volcano on your own.
If you’ve always been fascinated by the birth and activities of volcanoes, especially that of Mayon Volcano, 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 Mayon Volcano. 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.
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.
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. It’s a popular part of the Albay provincial tour.
Photo from Bigg's Diner
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.
Bigg’s Diners has a lot of crowd favorites, but the best sellers include the pork cordon blue with laing, and the daing na bangus or fried milkfish. Bigg’s Diner is a comfort food haven that serves Filipino and Western dishes with a local twist!
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
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. You can zip line from the lighthouse and enjoy the views of Mayon Volcano and the sea.
Go-kart racing beside the sea. And if you’re looking for more adrenaline-pumping activity, you can hop on a jet ski and navigate the waters with the views of Mayon Volcano.
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. You 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, and Legazpi trips offering this tourist spot.
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 Mayon Volcano, 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.
Locals and frequent travelers swear by Ziggy's Sisig Krispy. It’s one of the best crispy pata or pork knuckles 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!
Explore Legazpi City's natural and historic wonders. If you’re planning to visit this province, check out Legazpi tours and activities that can help make the trip hassle-free.