Catholic rituals like Visita Iglesia are observed during Holy Week to reflect on the Passion of Christ. This part of Jesus’s life is filled with examples and teachings for its church members to emulate and practice.
In Albay, there are several old churches that can be your host for this activity. Here are some suggestions from the province’s first and second districts.
Finding a top-notch resort like Misibis Bay in Albay is only fitting for the province’s rapidly developing economy. With an international airport currently underway, infrastructure and businesses surely have to keep up with the pace.
This luxury resort in Cagraray Island in Bacacay is themed with modern buildings and choice villas with expansive glass windows and pools set across the wide property. Going around is easy with golf carts ferrying around the resort.
A 3-day and 2-night-stay at the resort comes with complimentary activities, such as non-motorized water sports and city tour. For the more adventurous guests, activities like ATV ride to the hilltop, jet skiing, Hobie cat sailing, and basic diving can be arranged. The resort made these possible with enough water equipment and a breakwater in place.
The resort has several romantic settings which according to Ira, the resort’s assistant guest relations manager, have been used as venues for proposals and weddings. There is Sula Channel for sunset cruising or 5 Views for a mini cocktails setup with Mayon Volcano as an alluring background. There is also the amphitheater with a view of the overlooking islands and the resort’s church nearby.
Options like private lunch on a secluded island or at the beach entail a VIP treatment. Fresh grilled seafood, wine, vegetable salad and baked desserts are prepared by a designated cook. These can be spiced up with spicy Bicol dishes made delectable with coconut milk.
At the end of the day, guests have luxurious rooms to recharge, complete with entertainment and dining sets, a mini-bar and adjacent pool, if not a private pool.
For a good one-hour drive from Legazpi, guests can find Misibis Bay an ideal retreat choice – close to nature, away from the crowds yet a world-class service and facilities are within reach.
These and the contagious comforting familiarity that exists from one staff to another extend to guests the welcoming warmth that Bicolanos won’t hesitate to show to a tourist.
A new tourist destination in Camalig, Albay is getting attention for its span of hills that look like the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Although the hills are not as rounded and symmetrical as those in Bohol, both share a strikingly similar appearance.
To get there:
From Legazpi City, ride a jeepney bound for Camalig town proper. Once in the town proper, look for a tricycle to take you to Quitinday Green Hills and Nature Park. You’ll have to rent it for 500 pesos as it will wait for you and take you back to the city proper. This rate should cover visits to Sumlang Lake and back to town proper. Habal-habal (motorcycle taxi) can be an option for solo travelers.
In less than 20 minutes, you’ll reach the foot of the park where registration and brief orientation are held.
4 peaks – There are four peaks open to tourists. Its gentle slopes allow for an easy and short hike to the top.
Hilltop view deck – In this park, you have the peak of the hills as your view deck.
Uniquely Bicol – It becomes easy to distinguish from Chocolate Hills with Mayon Volcano receding in the background.
Every day last May, my cousin from Manila would wake up early, leave our home in Tiwi, Albay, and not return until noon. This routine went on for about two weeks. What he exactly did during those hours I didn’t know, until he showed me pictures of my hometown.
Some looked familiar to me, while others — the most scenic ones — were landscapes and seascapes I had never seen before. Then it dawned on me that my cousin had been exploring every nook of my hometown by foot.
While I could not tell detailed stories of his daily sojourn, I can share insights I learned from his travels on the benefits of wandering.
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.