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7 Action-Packed Adventures to Try in Albay

by Gretchen Filart

Often overlooked in favor of its more popular neighbors Camarines Sur and Sorsogon, the province of Albay in the Bicol Region is one whose sights remain largely untapped.

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Notwithstanding a ubiquitous view of the world-famous Mayon Volcano (whose name derives from the Bicolano term magayon or “beautiful”) in nearly every municipality, travelers are also guaranteed an unforgettable adventure with nature.

Here are seven lesser-known adventures to take in Albay!

1. Quitinday Hills and Sumlang Lake in Camalig

IMAGE: Gretchen Filart

Next to ancient Spanish houses and hidden Japanese caves lies one of the more recent discoveries in Camalig: Quitinday Green Hills Formation. This collection of verdant peaks are reminiscent of Bohol's Chocolate Hills. The highest hill stands at 450 feet, easily negotiable after 10 to 15 minutes of hiking. Halfway towards the summit, enjoy a gorgeous vista of Mayon Volcano n the horizon.

Sumlang Lake, located next to the Daraga arch, will make for a great post-hike side trip. Rent a raft or lounge by the lakefront with the majestic sight of Mayon Volcano from across the lake.


2. Kawa-Kawa Hill in Ligao

IMAGE: Gretchen Filart

No other hiking destination is more popular in Albay during Holy Week than Kawa-Kawa Hill. Renowned for its cauldron shape, Kawa-Kawa Hill is a popular pilgrimage site for locals. The 14 Stations of the Cross, marked by life-size depictions, dot the one-kilometer trail going to the rim. The rim is Kawa-Kawa Hill's most prominent feature, sloping down to a hollow, bowl-shaped center. ATV rides can be found here, too.


3. Black beaches in Santo Domingo and Bacacay

IMAGE: Gretchen Filart

While adjacent provinces are known for their powder white sand beaches, Albay's salty offerings have their own dark charm. Black beaches born from eons-old volcanic rocks line the municipalities of Santo Domingo and Bacacay. They are well-known for their therapeutic properties.


4. Vanishing Island and Crab Island in Bacacay

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After wading in Sogod Beach in Bacacay, hop on a boat for a 45-minute ride to two little-known islets offshore. Lying on San Miguel Strait in Malilipot, the chalky sands of Vanishing Island–a sandbar that spans half a kilometer long–just out of glassy waters in the morning and vanishes when the tide is high at noon. Look out for starfish around the island, as they made this place their home!

IMAGE: Gretchen Filart

On your way back to Sogod, you will pass by Crab Island that's aptly named for the tiny crabs that inhabit its marble rocks. Like Vanishing Island, this islet's shore becomes completely submerged during high tide, leaving only the rocky top and a lone coconut tree visible.


5. Misibis Bay

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Situated next to Bacacay is the idyllic island of Cagraray, home to the tropical paradise that is Misibis Bay. A consistent Travelers' Choice awardee, this private island features tastefully designed beachfront accommodations, upscale facilities, and guest-exclusive privileges. This includes dune buggies, kayaking, jet ski, windsurfing, and wakeboarding. Guests can also enjoy an ATV or golf cart ride to the top of Cagraray's EcoPark, which has an encompassing view of the entire island.

Check out our bestselling Misibis Bay packages here!


6. Mayon Resthouse in Tabaco

IMAGE: Gretchen Filart

Next to Bacacay, you'll find Mayon Resthouse in the municipality of Tabaco. This is where the best up-close view of Mt. Mayon–including its trenches and ridges–can be enjoyed. This abandoned hotel sits halfway through the mouth of Mayon Volcano, accessible after a scenic 30-minute drive on a steep paved road. At the resthouse, you will be treated to a balmy breeze that rivals that of Tagaytay and a gorgeous view overlooking Mt. Malinao and Mt. Masaraga. Endemic flowers grown by hawkers in the volcano's backyard can be bought for low prices here, too.


7. Vera Falls in Malinao

IMAGE: Gretchen Filart

Head north of Tabaco and you'll find the dense forests of Mt. Malinao, whose rugged, unspoiled terrain has made it a Bicol favorite among experienced hikers. A 30-minute hike down a steep trail at the mountain's base will bring you to Vera Falls, a soothing 25-meter high cascade that is popular for swimming and water tubing. Running through vegetated limestones, the falls culminate in a misty, crystal-clear basin.


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About Gretchen
Gretchen is a mother and freelance editor and travel writer by day and a secret poet by night. She weaves travel stories on her blog, filipinaexplorer.com. Her work also regularly appears in print and digital publications.

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