The Bicol Region is one of the hottest travel destinations in the Philippines. Lying on the southeastern part of Luzon, Bicolandia combines natural wonders, fascinating attractions, good food, and hospitable people to attract visitors in and outside the archipelago of 7,107 islands. It is no wonder, then, that the region has been raking in huge amounts of money from the travel sector.
Bicol, comprising six provinces namely Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon, has a lot to offer for discerning and demanding travelers. The local tourism industry thrives from the region's beautiful beaches, colorful festivals, exquisite events, delightful cuisines, and rich cultural and historical heritage, among others.
Getting to Bicol is never a problem. There are many ways to reach this top-notch travel destination. It all depends on your budget, time, and preference. Dozens of bus lines have non-stop trips to Bicol. However, land travel from Manila will take around eight to ten hours. So if you willing to shell out more money, you can take a direct flight to the region. Travel time is less than an hour.
To guide you on your ultimate Bicol escapade, here is a list of the things to do while in Bicolandia.
Trekking and Sightseeing in Mayon Volcano
Probably the best way to kick off your Bicolandia adventure is to take a glimpse of the majestic Mayon Volcano in Albay. Towering over 2,400 feet above sea level, this active volcano has been the region's identity. Its perfect conical shape makes it a favorite trekking destination for daredevils. But if you're less adventurous, a sightseeing trip at the Cagsawa Church Ruins will do.
Whale Shark Watching in Donsol
The presence of whale sharks in Donsol waters has placed this municipality in Sorsogon on the international tourism map. The local government, in cooperation with resorts and divers associations, offers various packages that will get you up close and personal with these gentle giants, locally known as butanding. Aside from whale shark watching, tourists can also enjoy different water recreation activities such as diving, snorkeling, and kayaking.
Wakeboarding in CamSur
Take your Bicol vacation to new heights by going on a wakeboarding try in Camarines Sur. The CamSur Watersports Complex in Pili is a mecca for wakeboarding and other water sports enthusiasts. This six-hectare property is complete with the finest and the latest amenities that will suit the need of the adventure seekers.
Get Wet and Wild in Caramoan
Fond of the hit reality television show "Survivor"? Then exploring the beauty of Caramoan Island is right for you. The island, which is isolated from the rest of Camarines Sur, is perfect for camping, rock climbing, kayaking, trekking, kite boarding, and mountain biking. The eighth-season of the French edition of "Survivor" was shot entirely on Caramoan Island.
Rev Up Your Spiritual Life in Naga
Located on the outskirts of the city is the Peñafrancia Basilica, the home of the miraculous image of the Patroness of Bicolandia, Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia. Catholic faithfuls flock to Naga every September for a religious festival wherein the image of the Lady is placed on a barge while pilgrims riding smaller boats follow the procession in the river.
Try Bicol Express
A great way to wrap up your Bicol getaway is to indulge on the region's sumptuous food, particularly Bicol Express. This popular Filipino dish, locally known as sinilihan, is a stew made from long chilies, coconut milk, shrimp paste, onion, pork, and garlic. With Bicol Express' growing popularity, restaurants in and outside the region have started offering their own version of this really spicy dish.
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Allan Leandro Merin has been writing for a living since 2008. After leaving a career at a daily electronic newspaper, he joined a web development outsourcing company and linked up with Local Philippines, the most comprehensive online directory of Philippine destinations, events, and attractions.