Monday, December 3, 2012

Different Ways to Enjoy Tabaco City: Side Trip Cam Sur & Some Parts of Albay

on our way to Vera Falls - Tabaco City

I was lucky enough to be born in this province with the magnificent Mayon Volcano as the back drop every clear day. Dangerous it may be when active, it gives you pristine calmness when it sits there with nothing but its beauty.

I left the province when I was sixteen (16) for university and I only go home for vacation now as the family is already here in Manila too. Last long weekend (November 30 – December 2) I took 4 of my long time friends with me to enjoy what my hometown could offer.

If you are a group of 5 or more here are some of the things you could do that would not hurt your pockets. Although it is always best to have a friend that lives there for free lodging.

I will take you to the journey from how we did it last long weekend.

Cagsawa Ruins
(we were a bit late so we had to chase the daylight)

Day 1:

Rent a jeepney to take you around, this would cost around Php 3,500 that covers the gas and the drivers fee. This would be for the whole day and go to these places:
a.  Mayon Resthouse – the crisp cold air at the foot of Mayon Volcano (yes literally at the foot of Mayon, on a clear day you could see the crater up close) is amazing that you would think you are in Baguio. It is set up fronting the shorelines of Tabaco City and vast greenery.
-   From Tabaco City this would take around 45 mins to go up (and shorter to go down)
b.  CWC (Camsur Watersports Complex) – if you like wakeboarding you could have pay Php 1,499 for 3 days and 2 nights with unlimited wakeboarding. You could check out their website for more information.

-   From Mayon Resthouse this would take you about 1 and half hour to head there.
-   My friends and I did not wakeboard as we were pressed for time. I just took them to the area to see it.
-   No entrance fee here.
c. Cagsawa Ruins the remnants of an 18th century Franciscan church, the Cagsawa church, built in 1724 and destroyed by the 1814 eruption of the Mayon Volcano. This is one of the best places to see the Majestic shape of Mayon Volcano. Great place to appreciate beauty and its peril. Entrance fee is Php 10.00. you could also buy some of your gifts in this area.
-    This would take you about 2 hours travel from CWC.
d.  Ligñon Hill Natural Park - this is one of the spots where you could see Mayon Volcano and Legazpi City. You could also Zip Line here.
-   We didn’t go up anymore as there was no daylight anymore and my friends were tired from the whole day travel and did not have enough energy to climb up.
e.  Daraga Church – although we did not head out here, I have to include it in your itinerary because it’s on the way. We just left our house late morning so we did not make it.

San Miguel Island, Tabaco City

Day 2:

Rent a boat in Tabaco City port and head to San Miguel Island. There is this beach front farm that has the best view of Mayon Volcano and with very few or no visitors at all. No entrance fee or cottage fee as well if you stay at the shore. Half a day would cost you 600-700 pesos and the boatman would wait for you until you leave the island or you can negotiate for the entire day or from 8am-4pm when the waters are calm.

If you only want half a day in the island as you wouldn’t really do much there but take pictures and swim a little. Get on a motorbike to roam around the municipality and buy your pili nuts. You can see the Tabaco Church (built 1864). Then chill in the afternoon. 

 Tabaco City Church

Day 3:

If you are leaving Tabaco City in the afternoon, say 5:30pm, you can still enjoy the scenery like Vera Falls for the entire morning. The bike ride (or you can rent tricycle maybe 500 pesos not sure how much you could negotiate). It would take you around 45mins to 1 hour from Tabaco Sentro to Vera Falls.

You can go for the ATV ride along lava flows in Rawis, Legazpi City for Php 1500-1800 depending on how well you could negotiate.

 Vera Falls, Tabaco City

Food to Try

1.  Buy Bangkulis (Tuna) – Fried Bangkulis is the way to go. My favorite fish.

2.  Laing – of course this never goes out of style.

3.  Ginataang Malungay with Pagi or fish

4.  Dried fish – try nulook though salty, it’s very delicious with fried rice. Tuyo and Tinapa are the best kinds in Tabaco City (in my opinion)

5.  DJC Halo Halo – one of the best halo halo in Albay, although I would suggest you go to Tiwi, Albay home of DJC Halo Halo because they have a little better quality than in Tabaco. It would take you about 30 mins jeep ride to Tiwi. You could also buy clay pots there.

6.  Bicol Express – meat based not pork fat based. Although my friends went on a fish and vegetable diet when were there for 3 days. I would still suggest you try this.

7.  Pinangat – one of the best food in Albay with crab fat, coconut milk and taro leaves.

How to Get to Tabaco City:

Via Air-conditioned Bus: Cubao/Pasay/Manila to Tabaco

Cagsawa Bus – leaves Manila from 7-8pm worth Php 850 for deluxe and Php 920 for elite. They have pick up point in Padre Faura corner M.H. Del Pilar and Cubao

DLTB Co. – leaves Cubao from 7-8pm worth from Php 850 or off peak, Php 655.

Piltranco – leaves 6 – 7pm and would cost Php 800-1000 they have terminals in Pasay and Cubao

Other buses: you may check Penafrancia, RSL Tours, Alps etc.

Travel Time: 10-12 hours best to travel at night if you want some rest

Via Plane:

Either you get on a plane headed to Legazpi or Naga but the closest airport to Tabaco City is Legazpi City.

Airline: Cebu Pacific, AirPhil Express, Zest Air and Philippine Airlines

Fares: It would vary from season to season or if the airlines are on seat sales.

Travel Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

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