Bicol, for me, has one of the most diverse set of tourist attractions in the Philippines. It has alluring natural features, remarkable historical structures, lively festivals, great food, and sought after adventure destinations. Since it was my first time to step foot this part of the Philippines, I didn’t want to miss out on the best the region had to offer. It’s a shame I only had a week to explore Bicol … there’s just a lot of interesting places to visit. My plan for this trip was to visit as much of Albay and Camarines Sur Provinces and then squeeze in a quick side-trip to Sorsogon before heading back to Manila.
Bicol Region Itinerary Map
Summary of Bicol Region 7 Days Solo Itinerary
- Overview ( Part 1 / Part 2 ): My first agenda after touchdown in Naga City, Camarines Sur was to witness the 300th celebration of the Peñafrancia Festival. Then it was off to Legazpi City, Albay to capture the iconic beauty of the Mayon Volcano. I went back again to Naga to explore the city after the chaos of the festivities had subsided. Seeking to see the famed “Survivor” Islands, I spent 3 days in Caramoan to see its untouched beauty for myself. On my way back to Legazpi, I traveled off-the-beaten-path along the “PARTIDO” coastal highway. I originally wanted to experience swimming with the whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon but since it wasn’t “in season.” I decided to have my side-trip to Lake Bulusan instead.
Bicol Region 7 Days Full Itinerary
Manila to Naga (Pili) Airport Flight
- 5:30AM – Check-in at Manila (NAIA) International Airport Terminal 3 – P200 terminal fee
- 6:35AM – Departure for Cebu Pacific Flight 5J521
- 7:30AM – Arrival in Naga (Pili) Airport
Naga City Penafrancia Festival
Camarines Sur Province Itinerary Map
- Taxi ride to SM City Naga (20 minutes) – P150
I hadn’t researched about transportation out of Naga Airport, so I settled with the taxi. I discovered that the airport entrance was just a 15 minute walk to the highway. From there, it’s a short bus/jeepney ride to the integrated transport terminal found beside SM City Naga.
- Breakfast at Tripsilog, located across SM City Naga – P50
- Tricycle ride to San Fransisco Church (5 minutes) – P7
- Walking tour of Naga City’s Old Downtown Area while waiting for the Peñafrancia Festival Fluvial Parade
I was met with my friends living in Naga City who were the perfect local guides. We were able to visit the San Fransisco Church Ruins, Quince Martires Park, Naga Metropolitan Cathedral, Holy Rosary Minor Seminar, Archbishops’ Palace, Universidad de Santa Isabel, Naga City Market / Oragon Monument, Old Buildings in Downtown Naga
- 3:00PM – Witness the Penafrancia Festival’s Fluvial Procession
It was around 4PM when the procession passed by our position along Elias Angeles Street. I didn’t get to take photos of the actual fluvial parade at the Naga River unfortunately. It was around 5 to 6PM when the image of the Penafrancia arrived at the river for the fluvial procession.
Naga to Legazpi City Night Travel
- 8:00PM – Naga to Legazpi City Night Travel and First Glimpse of Mayon Volcano: Van ride to Legazpi City, Albay (2 hours) – P150
The integrated bus terminal in Naga is found just beside SM City Naga while the Filcab van terminal is found across SM. The buses between Naga and Legazpi take a considerably longer time (because of multiple stops) compared to the van.
- 10:00PM – Arrival in Legazpi City Grand (Integrated Transport) Terminal
- Tricycle ride to Sampaguita Tourist Inn - P30 (night fee quoted by driver)
- Check-in at Sampaguita Tourist Inn (Rizal St., Legazpi City; Tel #: +63 (52) 820 4880 /+63 (52) 214 5105 )
- Single fan room w/ shared bathroom – P200 per night
Sampaguita Tourist Inn is within a safe location with convenient access along Legazpi’s main street. Rooms and linens are clean. It’s a decent place to stay decent considering the price. Highly recommended for budget travelers.
- Late Dinner at random sidestreet carinderia – P37
- Sleep: Sampaguita Tourist Inn
Legazpi City / Daraga Day Tour
Albay Province Itinerary Map
- 12:10NN – Ride “Daraga” jeep to Penaranda Park Area , where the Legazpi City Hall and Albay Provincial Capitol area located. Walk to Smalltalk Cafe (Doña Aurora St.)
- Lunch at Smalltalk Cafe
- Pinangat Pasta (P95), Bicol Express (P35), “Bottomless” Iced Tea – P40
- 1:00PM – Photo walk around Penaranda Park area
Penaranda Park, Albay Provincial Capitol, Legazpi City Hall, St. Gregory the Great Cathderal
- 2:00PM – Jeepney ride to Embarcadero de Legazpi – P7. Drop-off at the entrance of the Sea Wall Park / Legazpi Boulevard.
- 2:25PM – Embarcadero Lighthouse Viewdeck: Photo-ops of Legazpi City and Mayon Volcano at the “Lighthouse” view deck of Embarcadero – P20 entrance fee.
- (Went back to Sampaguita for a short rest)
- Ride jeep to Daraga – P7
- 4:25PM – Daraga Church and Town Proper Sightseeing. Dropped-off off at the market and made my way up the hill to the church.
Daraga Church, Late afternoon elevated view of Mayon from Daraga Church grounds
- 4:40PM – Walk down to highway. Jeepney ride to Cagsawa Ruins (5 to 10 minutes) – P7. Drop-off at Cagsawa Ruins highway intersection.
There are two “Daraga” routes plying the highway … confirm with the driver if the jeep you’re on goes to Cagsawa (and not the way to Ligñon Hill).
- Walk to Cagsawa Ruins (10-15 minutes)
- 5:05PM – Cagsawa Church Ruins at Dusk: Cagsawa Ruins Sightseeing and View of Mayon Volcano during Sunset- P10 entrance fee
- 6:10PM – Walk back to highway
- Ride jeep to Legazpi Port Entrance – P13
- Ride tricycle to Embarcadero de Legazpi – P7
- 6:55PM – Nightshots at the Lighthouse Viewdeck of Embarcadero
- 8:25PM – Dinner at Bigg’s Diner
- Salisbury Steak w/ rice (P99), Regular Iced Tea – P130 total bill
- 8:55PM – Jeepney ride to Sampaguita Tourist Inn
- Sleep: Sampaguita Tourist Inn – P200 (Single fan room w/ shared bathroom)
Morning Photo-ops of Mayon at the Legazpi Sea Wall
- 5:10AM – Ride tricycle to sea wall area past Embarcadero de Legazpi – P60 (special trip, overpriced)
- 5:20AM - Legazpi City Seawall at Sunrise: Morning shots of Mayon Volcano at the sea wall
- 6:40AM – Walk back to Sampaguita Tourist Inn
- 8:10AM – Check-out at Sampaguita
- 8:25AM – Ride jeep to Daraga Market
- Walk uphill to Daraga Church
- Daraga Church morning photo-ops
- 8:55AM – Ride jeep to Ligñon Hill entrance – P7
- 9:15AM – Ride habal-habal uphill to the main park grounds – P20 (one-way)
- 9:20AM - Ligñon Hill View Deck - P2 entrance fee
- 9:50AM – Ride habal-habal back to main road – P20
- Ride jeep to highway
- Ride bus to Camalig – P15. Drop-off at Let’s Pinangat Eatery.
Let’s Pinangat is located along the highway, just before the plaza and church (if coming from Legazpi). Camalig town is the next town after Daraga
- 10:35AM – Lunch at Let’s Pinangat
- Pinangat (P35, good for 1-2 persons), Pork Viand (P40), Rice (P15)
- Walk to Camalig Church
- 11:00AM – Camalig Church stopover
- Ride jeep to Guinobatan – P7
- 11:30AM – Guinabatan town stopover
- Ride jeep to Ligao City – P7
- 12:15NN – Ligao Church stopover
- Ride bus to Oas – P10
- 12:20NN – Oas Church stopover
- Ride jeep to Polangui
I was actually planning to ride the bus direct to Naga City already but it took too long for one to pass by. I was hoping to catch one at Polangui. Pinaysolobackpacker warned me about the buses in Bicol, taking too long to travel between Naga and Legazpi. She was right! If you’re not planning to make stops to towns along the way, take the van instead. The bus ride from Polangui to Naga City ate up a good part of my afternoon.
- Ride bus to Naga City – P35
- 3:55PM – Arrive in Naga Bus Terminal beside SM City Naga
- Ride tricycle to Plaza Quince Martyres
Met with my Nagueno friends once again. We planned a church hopping tour of Metro Naga. We didn’t take the local commute since they had a ride. My friend also offered me a bed for the night but there’s a Sampaguita Tourist Inn branch in Naga City for budget travelers.
- 4:25PM to 6:10PM – Metro Naga Church Hopping Tour
Canaman Church, Bombon Church, Quipayo Church in Calabanga, Calabanga Church, Magarao Church
- Dinner at Geewan Restaurant
Geewan offers affordable Bicolano dishes. A meal costs less than p100 per person.
Morning Tour of Naga City (Magsaysay strip area)
- 6:50AM – Breakfast at Kinalas Stall in front of E-Mall (Elias Angeles St.)
- Kinalas (Ordinary) with Egg – P21
- Walk to front of San Fransiso Church
- 7:05AM – Ride “Magsaysay” jeep - P7. Drop-off past the Naga City Hall
- Ride jeep to intersection going to Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica - P7
- 7:20AM – Walk to “Basilica” (5 minutes)
- 7:25AM – Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica sightseeing
- Ride tricycle back to Magsaysay St. (main road) – P7
Magsaysay St. is lined with coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. It is the dining and entertainment/nightlife center of Naga City
- Ride jeep to cor. Peñafrancia Ave and Magsaysay St. – P7
- Walk to Peñafrancia Shrine
- 7:40AM – Peñafrancia Shrine sightseeing
- Ride tricycle to Camarines Sur National Highschool – P7
Make a quick stopover here to take photos of the main building
- Ride jeep to San Fransisco Church – P7
- Ride tricycle to FilCab terminal in front of SM City Naga – P7
Naga City to Caramoan Travel
- 8:15AM – Ride FilCab van to Sabang Beach in San Jose town, Camarines Sur (2 hours) – P90
- 10:00AM – Arrival in Sabang Beach
- Wait for pumpboat to Sabang
- 11:15AM – Boarded pumpboat (motorized outrigger) to Sabang
From the beach, it’s still a distance to the actual boat. Since there’s no pier structure in Sabang, passengers have to be carried above the shoulders of porters to get to the boat. It’s a unique experience in itself. – P25 porter fee (there’s no set rate, just give a tip as you please)
- Ride pumpboat to Guijalo Port, Camarines Sur (2 hours) – P120
Take photos of mainland Caramoan mountain ranges on the left and Aguiraran Island / Mayon Volcano on the right side of the boat
- 1:00PM – Arrival in Guijalo Port
From Guijalo port. It’s still a tricycle ride to Caramoan Centro (Town Proper), where most of the tourists usually spend the night. There’s no beachfront area in the centro since it is landlocked. Tourists can also stay at Paniman or Bikal Beaches, the main jump-off points to the Caramoan Islands but both beaches are black/grey sand and accommodations are a bit pricier. The most of white sand beaches in Caramoan are located in its off shore islands and islets. You need still need to hire a boat to get there.
- Ride Tricycle to Caramoan Centro – P50 (not sure how much the actual fare was but I think I saw the locals paying P20/P30 only)
Caramoan for 3 Days / 2 Nights
Caramoan Itinerary Map
- Check-in at Rex Tourist Inn (located at the street between the church and the municipal hall) – P300 per night (Single fan room with shared bathroom)
The room and bathroom were clean and I loved that they had free WiFi. I give it my “highly recommended for budget travelers” stamp!
- Late Lunch at Lutong Bahay, very near Rex Tourist Inn – P40+
- Bought “Caramoan” Souvenir Shirt at the shop beside Rex Inn – P170
I was hoping to join other tourists for the island hopping tour. Unfortunately, I didn’t find other tourists that afternoon … mostly probably because it was low season (on a weekday) and the ones that arrived that day were already off in the islands. Would’ve been better if I arrived early. Anyways, I decided to arrange the island hopping trip for the next day. Would’ve been better if I had a group to split the cost with but the chances were slim at the time.
- Arranged Caramoan Island Hopping Tour
There are two main island groups in Caramoan. I don’t know what their formal names are but they’re known as the “Matukad Island Group” and the “Manlawi/Sabitang Laya Island Group”. Both are located at a considerable distance from each other (probably 30 minutes by boat). Bikal Beach in the mainland is the main jump-off point for Manlawi/Sabitang Laya Island Group. While Paniman Beach is the main jump-off point for Matukad Island Group. Usually, an island hopping tour of 9 islands covering both island groups would cost P3,000. For Sabitang Laya/Manlawi only, it’s around P2,000 and for Matukad Island group only, it’s P1,500.
Without anyone to share the cost with, I had to shell out a big part of my budget to see the islands … I only had enough money for Matukad Group, though. Matukad Island Group is where the upscale Gota Beach Resort is located along with the main production area of foreign “Survivor” TV series staged at Caramoan. From what I’ve read in other blogs, Sabitang Laya/Manlawi has the more scenic / picturesque settings.
- Laundry service at Rex – P80
- 6:30PM – Dinner at Lutong Bahay – P40+
- Sleep: Rex Tourist Inn
Caramoan Island Hopping Day Tour (Matukad Island Group)
- 6:30AM – Wake-up
The earlier, the better since the sea is calmer and there are places, like Tinago Beach, that are only accessible during the early morning low tide.
- Breakfast at Lutong Bahay – P60
- 7:45AM – Ride habal-habal (single motorcycle) to Paniman Beach – P200 roundtrip
- 8:00AM – Island Hopping Tour of Caramoan’s Matukad Island Group
- 8:15AM – Gota Beach
- Entrance is P300. I just took pictures at the beach entrance. Couldn’t afford spending more money, so I skipped going inside Gota Beach. For Survivor fans, there are several intact “tribal council” set-ups within the resort property.
- 9:00AM – Lahos Island
- 10:30AM – Tayak Beach
Where the survivor castaways stay at the island. Remnants of the production sets were still there during my visit.
- 11:00AM – Matukad Island
The most popular island in the area. There was a hidden lagoon accessible by climbing a steep cliff.
- Packed Lunch at Matukad Island
Had Lutong Bahay prepare and pack food for me – P120 (for two meals, had an extra pack for the boatmen)
- 3:00PM – Back to Paniman Beach
- Walking tour around Caramoan Centro
Caramoan Church (St. Michael de Archangel Parish), Caramoan Municipal Hall
- Dinner at Caramoan Centro
- Sleep: Rex Tourist Inn – P300 per night (Single fan room with shared bathroom)
- Breakfast at Lutong Bahay – P40
Caramoan to Legazpi City Travel via PARTIDO Coastal Highway
- 6:30AM – Ride habal-habal (single motorcycle) to Guijalo Port – P40
- 6:45AM – Arrival in Guijalo Port, Caramoan
- Board pumpboat going to Sabang Beach- P5 terminal fee
- 7:20AM – Guijalo to Sabang Beach pumpboat ride (2 hours) – P120
- 9:00AM – Arrival in Sabang Beach
- Ride habal-habal to Goa Church
- 9:30AM – Goa Church stopover
- Ride tricycle to Goa Integrated Transport Terminal – P7
- Ride bus to Tiga-on – P10. Drop-off at Tiga-on Market
- Ask locals for Tiwi-bound jeepney parking station (near “best halo-halo” stall)
- 10:15AM – Lunch at Tiga-on Public Market
- 11:40AM – Ride jeep to Tiwi, Albay – P60
Going through the coastal highway between Camarines Sur and Albay is a great way to see the scenic seascapes in the area. There’s an elevated view deck along the highway offering a great view of Atulayan Island in Sagnay town. Since public transport is not frequent in the area, I decided to topload the jeepney instead to appreciate the great view of the PARTIDO Highway.
- 12:40AM – Arrival in Tiwi
Tiwi Church stopover
- 1:00PM – Ride jeep to Tabaco City
Tabaco Church stopover
- Lunch at Jollibee – P100+
- 2:00PM – Ride bus to highway intersection going to Santo Domingo town – P15. Drop-off before the bridge
There was a ruins of what appears to be a muscovado sugar factory. A nice could also be viewed of the Mayon Volcano from this area.
- Ride tricycle to Santo Domingo town proper
- 3:15PM – Santo Domingo Church stopover
- 3:25PM – Ride jeep to Legazpi City – P60
- 3:40PM – Arrival in Legazpi City Grand Central Terminal
I was headed to Bulusan Town in Sorsogon at this point. Calculating the travel times (1.5-2 hours to Sorsogon and anoter 1.5-2hours to Bulusan), I knew I was in trouble since there may not be any public transport going to Bulusan from Sorsogon City if I push through. I talked to some of the drivers and found out one of them lives in Bulusan and is willing to take me there for a discount.
Legazpi to Bulusan, Sorsogon Night Travel
Sorsogon Province Itinerary Map
- 4:00PM – Legazpi to Bulusan, Sorsogon chartered van – P500
- 5:40PM – passed by Sorsogon City
- 6:00PM – passed by Gubat
- 6:30PM – passed by Barcelona Church. Quick stopover at Barcelona Church
- 7:00PM – Arrival in Bulusan
I haven’t researched about accommodations in Bulusan. The driver told me to check-out Dangkalan Beach Resort. As what can be expected with most resorts in the Philippines, Dangkalan Beach Resort caters to the group/family vacationers … they have large airconditioned cottages rented for P1,000 per 12 hours. I managed to haggle it down to P800 but it was still far from my usual budget. I decided to stick with Dangkalan Beach Resort as a treat to myself for my last night in Bicol.
- Check-in at Dangkalan Beach Resort – P800 (Spacious double airconditioned room with private bathroom, second level balcony, and beachfront view; P1000 original price)
The room was very spacious and could probably fit up to 8 to 10 persons (additional beddings). Obviously, it was too big for me … their smallish aircon unit couldn’t keep up to cool down the room also. I’d say try to look for better choices in the area if you’re bent on spending the night in Bulusan. If you have ample time, I suggest staying at Sorsogon City/Legazpi City instead and just do a day trip to Lake Bulusan.
- Dangkalan Beach Resort doesn’t serve meals. Bought cup noodles for dinner.
Lake Bulusan Sunrise Tour and Commute Back to Legazpi City
- 5:00AM – Walk to Bulusan centro /town proper (20 minutes)
There weren’t any tricycle thisearly in the morning at Dangkalan Beach area. I had to walk to the centro to find a tricycle driver willing to take me to Lake Bulusan.
- 5:40AM – Chartered tricycle ride to Lake Bulusan – P300 round-trip
- 6:10AM – Arrival in Lake Bulusan
- 7:00AM – Tricycle ride back to Dangkalan Beach (+P50 to take me to Dangkalan Beach)
- 7:50AM – Ride jeep to Gubat – P33
- 8:35AM – Ride jeep to Sorsogon – P10
- 9:00AM – Arrival in Sorsogon City. Dropped off at Capitol Grounds.
- Ride tricycle to Sorsogon Cathderal (Sts. Peter and Paul Parish) – P7
- Lunch at Greenwich – P100+
- Walk to van terminal
- 10:00AM – Ride van to Legazpi (1 hour and 30 minutes) – P60
- 11:30AM – Arrival in Legazpi Central Terminal
Legazpi City to Manila Flight
- Ride tricycle to Legazpi Airport (10 minutes approx.) – P50
- 1:00AM – Check-in at Legazpi Airport – P30 terminal fee
- 2:10PM – Departure for Cebu Pacific Flight 5J328
- 3:10PM – Arrival in Manila (NAIA) International Airport Terminal 3
Total Expenses – P8,612.5 (including personal expenses; excluding airfare)