Touring Legazpi City
Tourists who travel to Philippines would probably best remember Albay, especially Legazpi City, for the majestic Mayon Volcano that serves as the city’s northern boundary. The magnificent, perfect cone-shaped volcano towers 2,462 meters above sea level and is no doubt Legazpi’s greatest tourist attraction. However, if you think this is all there is to Bicol’s pride, you are likely missing a lot from your travels to Southern Luzon.
Legazpi City, as well as the entire province of Albay, holds a great number of treasures for every tourist, whether local or foreign. Below are some other potential places that you might find interesting the next time you come around.Legazpi Boulevard
Savor the sea breeze coming from the Pacific Ocean just to the east of the city. You’ll find the Albay Gulf and the islands of Batan and Rapu-Rapu between Legazpi and the biggest ocean in the world, and these areas help to protect the city from threats of tsunamis coming from the vast seas.
If you’re looking for a good place where you can blissfully pump your lungs with the Pacific breeze, Legazpi Boulevard would be a wise choice. It is a coastal road situated just a few walks away from the city’s center. You can easily ask a local for directions and get a correct answer 99% of the time (although the term “Embarcadero” may be more familiar to others – this, however, refers to a waterfront development which is located at the same area – to be discussed later).
Legazpi Boulevard provides one of the best spots to view the Mayon Volcano, the Kapuntukan Hill (also known as “Sleeping Lion” because of its form), the Albay Gulf, and the neighboring islands. Kapuntukan Hill especially resembles a crouching lion when viewed from afar. It is one of the most prominent landmarks that you will get to see while approaching the city on a boat, either from Rapu Rapu or from Batan Island.
This stretch of more than four kilometers is also a good spot for joggers, bikers, and just about anybody concerned with physical fitness. During early mornings just before sunrise, you’ll find it usually teeming with people of all ages dressed in exercise outfit. Then, a shift seems to occur by afternoon. During this time, couples and families could be seen occupying the benches or are simply by the side of the road watching the usually peaceful sea while the sun sets to the west. Groups of friends also frequent the place to hang out until evening, chatting and trying out the variety of food offered by vendors.
Embarcadero de Legazpi
This place is found in Legazpi Boulevard, and it remains to be the city’s biggest development ever since its opening to the public last July 2009. Since then, the place has had many added facilities and establishments to make it more and more appealing to the public. The commercial area that spans 12,000 square meters holds different sections for great shopping, food, sports, entertainment, and more. Lands beside the area are also being continually developed to build an Information Technology park and a convention center.
If you’re into some wild adventure, you can try the Embarcadero de Legazpi zipline. It’s a 350-meter experience of flying while suspended in a cable from a height of as much as 30 feet (which is the height of the lighthouse you’ll have to climb to get to your zipline starting point). The climb might turn off some individuals, but it’s all worth it when you get to swing yourself above the sea of Legazpi. Yes – the cable stretches across a portion of the sea and the view is really panoramic, not to mention the breathtaking fun of a zipline ride. Others that you can try are go karting, Segway PT (personal transporter) rides, jet ski, and more.
After you have finished touring the seaside, you can check out some great land attractions nearby. Ligñon Hill has always had a charm for both locals and tourists because of its height, which gives a clear and wide view of the entire Legazpi. From the city’s center, say LCC Mall (which is very close to Embarcadero), a passenger jeepney ride would take around 15-20 minutes to the foot of the hill. Make sure to ride the Daraga Loop 1 jeepney, which is a bit rare compared to the majority of jeepneys roaming around. To be sure, you can ask the jeepney driver or you can opt to ride a tricycle that will especially bring you to the place.
Entrance to the hill is free. You will first see a tennis court at the foot of the hill before you really start the challenging trek upward. This is also a favorite of many fitness enthusiasts who prefer to trek the hill in the morning before sunrise. At this time, the air is cool and the experience is deeply refreshing. Trees and various plants abound the sides of the path, which goes around as you move upward. Then, the magnificent view of the city slowly unravels, showing its neighboring places that include huge green farmlands, islands, and the vast blue sea beside it.
At night, the hill offers an even more delightful experience. From the top of the hill, you’ll see the entire city glimmering with different lights. Cars could be seen like slowly moving patches of orange and yellow. On a great night, you’d even feel that the city is trying to mirror itself against the black sky due to the hundreds of stars on display to the naked eye. Plus, you get a bonus if you see the mouth of Mayon glowing like the tip of cigar of some giant. Everything is breathtaking.Albay Park and Wildlife
Just a few walks to the right of Ligñon Hill is Albay Park and Wildlife. It’s a great place for nature lovers as it holds more than 400 animals ranging from birds and reptiles to mammals. As expected of a wildlife park, the place is frequented for viewing rare animals that can be truly fascinating, especially to children. Families often choose the place for bonding time, and teenage groups also frequent the park. It has a lagoon and offers boat rides, calesa rides, and bicycle rental.
Next in the list will have to be the Mayon Resthouse right on the northwestern slope of the Mayon volcano. It will take at least an hour trip and the travel duration really depends on your mode of transport. You will have to rent a vehicle to reach the place, although you have a lot of route options (and vehicle options) while you’re still not on the slope. The place is almost halfway to the peak of the volcano and it also serves as a research and observatory area to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
The Mayon Resthouse stands 762 meters above sea level and is the starting point for climbers who wish to reach the peak of the volcano. On the way to the resthouse, the roadsides are full of various plants that will give you a hint of the land’s fertility. The occasional wild orchids and ferns are truly a pleasure to plant lovers, and they appear more and more as you travel further upwards. You also get to spend some time with the clouds, although they might prove to be a hindrance in showing you the beauty of the scenery.
A planetarium also stands in the Mayon Resthouse, which has an exhibit of historical and scientific information involving the majestic volcano. A film showing is even done for groups of visitors, discussing previous eruptions and related occurrences. For additional thrills, you can try the zipline and do some wall climbing when you reach the area.
Legazpi City and the entire province of Albay hold a lot more places worth visiting. You can do further checking to experience these places and the adventure that they offer.