When I included Legazpi City, Albay in my itinerary, there was only one thing on my mind … to get that awesome photo of the iconic Mayon Volcano. I basically, wrapped my itinerary around getting as many vantage points of Mayon as I can. Mt. Mayon is an active volcano renowned for its perfect cone shape. I’ve always marveled at scenic photos of the bustling City of Legazpi dwarfed by the perfect cone of Mayon. Now it was my time to experience it for myself.

Morning View of Mayon Volano along the Bayside of Legazpi City

Night Travel from Naga to Legazpi City

It was already evening when I was on my way to Legazpi City. I spent the day hours to get my first impressions of the Peñafrancia Festival in Naga City, Camarines Sur. Just after sundown, I was already at the bus terminal in Naga (beside SM City Naga) to catch a ride to Legazpi City. Waiting at the back of the bus afforded me a good view of passengers filling up the seats. After waiting two long hours, I noticed the other (more impatient) passengers transferring to other buses. I should’ve asked for their advice but I guess I was too shy to do it at the time and worried I might get misinformed. My anxiety of traveling alone in an unfamiliar place must have taken over my better judgment.

After realizing that I would’ve arrived at Legazpi past midnight if I insisted on taking the bus, I left to look for other options. The vendors pointed me to the Filcab van terminal across SM City Naga. Luckily, there was still one Legazpi-bound bus waiting for passengers (P150 van fare). It was around 8pm when the van left Naga City. I had dozed off shortly after.

Sometime at the middle of the ride, I had awoken and the excitement of seeing the Mayon Volcano was already at my mind. Peeking behind the window, I could figure out that we were passing through rice fields and then after focusing at the distance, I saw it! … the cone shaped silhouette of Mayon. At that moment I couldn’t help but feel relieved at the thought of finally being able to see Mayon’s full granduer come daylight.

The van arrived at the terminal in Legazpi at 10pm. The place was empty this late at night and the other passengers have already hurriedly went on their way. There was only one tricycle left at the far end of the dark terminal. I didn’t make any room reservations so I still had to find a place to stay for the night. I casually told the driver to take me to the first place on my list of hostels I researched. It cost me P30 for the tricycle ride to Sampaguita Tourist Inn (shoutout to Pinay Solo Backpacker for the reccommendation).

Great thing Sampaguita was still very much open despite the late hours. I stayed in one of their basic fan rooms (single) for only P200 per night and then took dinner at some random side street carinderia.

Daytime Photo of Sampaguita Tourist Inn along Rizal Avenue, Legazpi City

Walking Tour around Penaranda Park in Legazpi

I woke up around noontime and took a jeep going to the Legazpi City Hall. I planned on doing a quick photo stop at the Penaranda Park before taking lunch. Getting around Legazpi by jeep was quite easy since most places on my itinerary was either just along Rizal Avenue (Legazpi’s main thoroughfare) or walking distance from it.

Rizal Avenue, Legazpi City’s “Main Artery”

The Peñaranda Park is the main plaza in the city and is surrounded by the main local government buildings of Legazpi City and Albay Province. I was surprised to see that even from the plaza, there was already a great view of Mayon Volcano.

View of the Majestic Mayon Volcano from Penaranda Park

Albay Provincial Capitol

Legazpi Cathderal (Parish of St. Gregory the Great)

Legazpi Cathedral Diocesan Museum

Legazpi City Hall

Legazpi City Hall with the Legazpi Cathedral in the distance

Divine World College

Albay Astrodome

Lunch at Smalltalk Cafe

For me, a huge part of traveling is to sample the gastronomic offerings of a particular place. I’ve read about Smalltalk Cafe and its famous Pinangat Pasta and Bicolana Pizza (pizza topped with Bicol Express or Laing). Smalltalk Cafe (along Doña Aurora St.) is located just within walking distance from Penaranda Park. The interiors of Smalltalk Cafe was very homey with most menu items mid-low priced. I was instantly drawn to the description of the Pinangat pasta at Smalltalk’s menu. I can’t remember the exact words but it had “pinangat leaves freshly picked from the foothills of Mayon Volcano” or something to that effect. I ordered Pinagat Pasta (P95), Bicol Express (P35), and Bottomless Iced Tea (P40).

Entrance of Smalltalk Cafe

The Pinangat Pasta was really good! I loved the unique and distinct flavor of the pinangat deliciously adapted into the creamy white sauce pasta.

At first, I did not recognize the Bicol Express, it looked so differently to the bicol express usually served at (and mimicked by) random eateries in Iloilo. Smalltalk’s bicol express was brown, had a drier consistency, and was more spicy. It was great having to taste the more authentic servings of this cherished Bikolano dish.

Pinangat Pasta at Smalltalk Cafe

Bicol Express at Smalltalk Cafe

My first view of the Mayon Volcano was from the Penaranda Park. I was of course ecstatic to finally see Mayon with my own eyes but I still haven’t captured an iconic shot of it. There were already too many clouds surrounding the summit / crater around noontime so I was hoping to, at least, get a more dramatic photo of it during sunset.

Get to know if I did get a decent photo of Mayon during the next installment…