If you were born and raised in Albay, one of the sights you wouldn’t miss seeing at least once a day is the mountain Bicolanos call beautiful, the Mt. Mayon. Indeed, why would Albayanos fail to see it when Mayon Volcano is 8,000 ft. tall, towering upwards from the sea to a pointed smoldering peak?
Its near-perfect cone has made it one of the dominant sights in Bicol. No wonder people want to visit Albay just to see Mayon Volcano up close and personal.
But if you have already enjoyed its classic postcard view at Cagsawa Ruins, caught a glimpse of Mayon in its full splendor when you climbed up Lignon hill, or trekked the lava trail and the Mayon Skyline and you still want something more, you may consider visiting a beautiful mini-coral island that offers a rather subdue and yet still stunning view of Mayon.
The islet that is called Kurangon is located in Tiwi, a municipality of Albay which is about 35-minute drive from Legaspi City. Tiwi is known for its geothermal power plant and of course, DJC’s sweet and creamy halo-halo.
When seen from the coastlines of Malinao and Tiwi, anyone can easily dismiss it as just an ordinary and lonely piece of islet. This kind of observation is quite expected because that is actually the kind of thought one would have when they’d see it from afar for the first time— no trees, no rock formations, no sign of any living organism thriving in the islet.
But don’t be fooled because Kurangon islet is not as boring as it seems. In fact, it is declared by Tiwi Municipality as a sanctuary. Kurangon is a habitat for different marine species, including fishes and corals.
Recreational swimmers obviously cannot explore this side of Kurangon. But they can always find delight at the sight of the pristine waters set against a backdrop of the three most famous mountains of Albay, of a child breaking into genuine laughter as he plays with the subtle waves, and of friends sharing special memories like exchanging gifts in this special place.
Yes, you can choose to bring the Holiday spirit in Kurangon and not just laze on this isolated island especially when you find yourself and your friends spending the first week of December on this islet. After all, Filipinos celebrate the Christmas holidays at least one month long.
This islet being a sanctuary explains why anyone who wants to visit it needs to ask permission from the municipality’s BFAR Office first. The Office Administrator will ask visitors about their purpose of visiting the islet, and then ask them to log in at the record book. It would be a good option to bring a letter indicating the purpose and the request for permission.
It is best to visit Kurangon on a clear sunny day, because it is during these days when Mayon and two other amazing mountains that complete Albay’s Magayon Trio that are fully visible.
Like national parks, marine sanctuaries prohibit fishing and other activities that will endanger both the marine life and their habitat. So please don’t leave your trash on the islet. Neither should you allow the bangkero to bury the thrash in the sand especially if they are non-biodegradable.
When in Tiwi, don’t miss visiting the pottery at Putsan. Putsan is rich in red clay which is used in making pots, small souvenirs like key chains and ceramics painted with warm and vibrant colors. Tiwi ceramics are delicately shaped, while some are chunky and bold with soft bellying curves.
You can even try making one and giving it the shape you desire. This activity would sound exciting for the naturally curious and for anyone who has the inclination to give forms out of raw materials like clay.
thanks Cath and Ely for the wonderful pictures =)