Thursday, March 1, 2018

Albay: Mount Mayon and The Oriental Legazpi Hotel

When we hear the place Legazpi or Albay, there's always a common thing that would normally puff out of our minds and that is "Mayon Volcano".

Before I went to Legazpi, I thought that Mayon was overrated. I was expecting a volcano with a perfect shape and nothing more. But lo and behold when I landed in Legazpi Airport, I was mesmerised by its perfect beauty. Boo me! It is not overrated!

Mayon is a perfect cone volcano that is 2,463 meters high. It is twice the size of Mount Arayat in Pampanga. It is a picturesque view in Legazpi, as wherever you go, you'll surely have a view of Mount Mayon. Uhm, but most part of the days, it is covered with tons and tons of clouds.

Trivia: Mayon got its name from Daragang Mayon (beautiful maiden), a heroine in the legend of Mount Mayon. If you want to read more about the legend to know why at some times it is peaceful and cloudy and why at times it erupts, click here.

So where is the best place to see Mayon?

Because it is too high, you can see it almost anywhere in Legazpi. But of course, the perfect place would be somewhere where there is no obstruction of buildings or cable lines. And I have listed the most sought after places for the perfect view of Mayon.

1. Cagsawa Ruins
Casagwa Ruins are the remnants of a 16th century Franciscan Church, Cagsawa Church. It was originally built in the town of Cagsawa in 1587 but was burned down by the Dutch pirates in 1636. It was rebuilt in 1724 but was destroyed again, along with the town of Cagsawa in 1814, during the eruption of Mayon.

2. Lignon Hill Nature Park
It is 156-meter high hill that gives a panoramic view of Legazpi City, Daraga, Albuy Gulf and Mayon Volcano.

3. Sumlang Lake
One of the newest attraction in Legazpi, Sumlang Lake offers a serene and relaxing experience of Mayon.

4. Daraga Church
The Church was built in 1722 and is famous for its facade and walls which are made of volcanic rocks.

5. The Oriental Legazpi (Our Choice!!!)

We decided to book at this hotel for one reason, the view of Mayon, and we did not regret it.
Who would not be intrigued with the famous pool and Mayon view? We hastily booked at their website. The process was short and easy to follow. A 10% downpayment was needed to reserve a room.

After securing a room, we checked on the Hotel's review (which felt wrong that time because I knew I have to read reviews first before booking. haha) and boom! there were lots of negative comments. But I have made the booking already so i just consoled myself with the fact that all I really wanted was the pool and the view of Mayon.

And then, Mayon's eruption came to news. I doubted to push through with the plan but the travel must go on. To be sure, I sent an email to the Reservation Officer of the Hotel and I was surprised that she replied immediately ensuring the Hotel's safety.

We were not able to do our planned activities like visiting the places mentioned above as there was still an alert level in Legazpi that time.

We decided that the Legazpi visit will be for food trip and relaxation. Upon landing, we headed to First Colonial in Pacific Mall. We ordered the famous Bicol Express and tried their Chili Ice Cream. We also tried out Pili Nut Ice Cream and Kalamansi Ice Cream. At the mall, we bought some groceries for snacks and dinner.

Next, we headed to the Hotel. We came two hours early and they accommodated our early check-in for freeeee. :)

We took a rest in the mid day and took a deep in the pool afterwards. We watched how Mayon got covered in clouds and its subsequent clearing starting in the afternoon until the evening. Away from the busy city and temptation of social media, those hours were memorable as I took time to do nothing but have a genuine relaxation.

During the evening, Mayon started to release lava and the lava looked like a red lining in the sides of the volcano. Mayon is stunning even at its worse days.

Mayon was more sharp, clear and picture perfect in the morning. We were supposed to head directly to the breakfast area but when we checked Mayon, it was more amazing at that time and spent couple of hours to be mesmerized by its beauty.

The Hotel also offered buffet breakfast for its guests. They served Filipino cuisine with a touch of American breakfast.

Thank you to the reviews, we have lowered our expectations and didn't expect anything fancy.
But we were really satisfied with our stay and thought of going back with the whole family.

How to get out of the Airport:
- Take a taxi or tricycle to get you out of the Airport. We opted to take a tricycle from the Airport to Pacific Mall. Tricycle fare is P50.

How to reach The Oriental Legazpi Hotel:
- You can take advantage of their "FREE" shuttle service from the airport. This will take you directly to the hotel, hassle free!

- From the Capitol/Down Town, take a tricycle to the Hotel. Tricycle fare is P100.

Where to buy Pasalubong:
Skip the malls and head to the bus terminal station which is 5 minutes away from the Pacific Mall. They have cheaper prices and more variety.

Expenses during our Legazpi Stay:
Airfare via Cebu Pacific - P1300 (RT)
Comfort Room at the Airport - P10/pax
Tricycle - Airport to Pacific Mall - P50/tricycle
Food at First Colonial - P600 or 2 persons
Groceries for snacks - P170 for 2 persons
Dinner at KFC - P99/pax
Tricycle - Pacific Mall to The Oriental Legazpi - P100/tricycle
Accommodation - The Oriental Legazpi - P2,500
Deposit at the Hotel (refundable) - P500/room

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