Top 10 things to do in Bicol

Jaser A. Marasigan

Located in the southern most part of the island of Luzon, Bicol is one of the major tourist destinations in the Philippines and is primarily known as the home of Mount Mayon, an active volcano with a perfectly shaped cone.

The scenic Bicol region comprises of six provinces, namely Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate.

Think "Bicol" and it conjures images of scenic views, beautiful beaches, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and religious and resilient people.

Bicol offers a number of exciting activities to its visitors. One can enjoy a range of leisure and recreational activities like diving, snorkeling, swimming, or trekking. The beaches of Bicol including the exotic Sogod Beach in Bacaycay, offer ideal conditions for beach activities.

So what else is hot and spicy in Bicol? Here are the top 10 of the many:

1. Gold digging in Camarines. Buy gold jewelry in Paracale, Camarines Norte, considered as the gold country of the province. It has rich deposits of gold, iron, copper, uranium, lead and zinc.

Way back the pre-Spanish period, the residents are known to have worked the mines and goldsmiths have molded the metal into fine crafted pieces. Paracale is the center of jewelry-making industry and is still regarded as a good place to purchase fine gold jewelry.

2. Historic shrines in Daet. Visit the first monument in honor of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal in Daet. The effort was initiated by Lt. Col. Antonio Saez of the Revolutionary Army. The statue was unveiled on Dec. 30, 1898.

3. Pilgrimage to Naga. The Basilica Minore in Naga is home to the miraculous image of the Patroness of Bicolandia, Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. Thousands of pilgrims flock to this site during the September celebration of the Peñafrancia Festival just to visit and venerate the Virgin Mary.

4. Surfing in Catanduanes. Catanduanes province is seated along the typhoon belt area,

northeast of Legazpi City, bounded on the north and east by the Pacific Ocean, which explains the magnificent surf breaks. The Puraran beach is a popular surfing site and it is more commonly known in the international surfing circuit as "Majestic", just like its waves.

Mayon Volcano
5. Trek to Mayon. Renowned for its perfectly symmetrical cone, a trek to Mayon Volcano reveals a magnificent view of the Albay gulf and other nearby towns. The buried remains of Cagsawa, with only the church belfry still standing, are proofs of Mayon’s destructive fury. A beautiful but dangerous wonder of nature.

6. Food trip in Legazpi. Bicol cuisine is famous for its rich and spicy dishes, which are mostly cooked using "gata" or coconut milk and flavored with "siling labuyo". Well known Bicolano specialties are bicol express, pinangat and laing. My favorite food stop in Legazpi City, Small Talk Cafe, offers pasta pinangat and pasta bicol express.

Bicol Express

Butanding (courtesy of DoT)
7. Butanding interaction. One of the most popular attractions in the region is the whale shark interaction. This massive but gentle denizen of the deep waters of Donsol, locally known as butanding, are more visible during the summer. And while you’re still in Donsol, try also the beautiful firefly river cruise at night.

8. Island hopping in Masbate. Aside from its famous festivities, such as the Rodeo Festival, the island of Masbate is also blessed with beautiful beaches. Hop from one island to another where you can enjoy your weekend picnics surrounded by giant trees and luscious vegetation.


9. Build homes. Sign up as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and help build houses and rebuild the lives of some 2,000 families who were displaced by typhoons Milenyo and Reming last year. The resettlement site is located in Daraga, Albay.

10. Wakeboarding. Camarines Sur Watersports Complex, the first world-class watersports complex in Asia, offers you a ride like you’ve never experienced before. Learn to wakeboard, wake skate, water ski and knee board.



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ardee sean said...

I've been so in love with Bicol. Grabe. My experience was great. Bicolandia is paradise.