Dubbed as the "Gateway to the Bicol Region," Legazpi City is the capital of the province of Albay. It is a fast-growing economic powerhouse in the region as well as the center of administration in the province. Its most famous attraction is a beautifully shaped volcano, but there are other must-see destinations in the city as well. Legazpi has positioned itself as an adventure destination because of its natural wonders.
Taking selfies with the Mayon Volcano is a must for tourists in Legazpi since it is recognized as the world's most perfect volcano. This majestic wonder stands at 2,462 meters above sea level, and is also the most active volcano in the Philippines. Its perfect cone is a majestic sight to behold on calm days, but tourists still came to the city when the volcano exploded in 2014. But to ensure their safety, visitors are advised to come to Legazpi when there are no volcanic activities.
The Cathedral of St. Gregory the Great is a picturesque church located near the Legazpi City Hall. The cathedral used to be just a wooden chapel that was built in the 1580s. It was rebuilt when American bombers destroyed the chapel. Construction was completed only in 1951, but it was later on elevated into a cathedral. It is now the episcopal see of the Diocese of Legazpi.
Embarcadero de Legazpi is the premier entertainment hub in the city. It is located along the harbor of Legazpi and has countless options for shopping and dining. Wall climbing, ziplining, and watersports are also available for those who are looking for some thrill and action.
Air travel is the quickest way to get to Legazpi since flights from Manila Domestic Airport to Legazpi Airport last approximately one hour. Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines are the carriers that serve this route. They also offer flights from Cebu City.
Several bus companies can get you to Legazpi from Manila such as DLTB, Philtranco, ALPS, Raymond Bus, Isarog, and RLS. The trip can take about eight to 10 hours, depending on the traffic situation and the bus type. Buses with high-class amenities often have fewer stopovers than ordinary ones.
How to Get Around
Jeepneys are the common means of getting around. They ply the roads of Legazpi daily. You can get almost anywhere in the city for a fare starting at PHP 7.00.
If you have a flexible transportation budget, there are also taxis in Legazpi if you want to have a more way of getting around. Some taxis can also be hired for tours.
Tricycles are also available in Legazpi. They can take you to a specific destination in the city. Just like taxis, they can also be hired for a tour.
What to See
Peñaranda Park is a must-visit, especially if you're a history buff. It is dedicated to Jose Maria Peñaranda who served as Albay's first governor during the Spanish period. There's a monument dedicated to him at the park.
Another prominent attraction in the plaza is the Liberty Bell. This bronze bell was installed in the park by American liberation forces in 1945.
Trylon Monument and the Headless Monument should also be included in your itinerary. Located in the middle of an intersection, the Trylon Monument stands in memory of the Filipino soldiers who fought against the Americans during the Philippine-American War. Meanwhile, the nearby Headless Monument is also worth seeing. It is dedicated to the memory of the Filipinos who lost their lives during World War II.
The pilgrimage sites in Legazpi City are also prominent landmarks. St. Gregory Cathedral was built in the 1600s and features a stone facade. Meanwhile, the Saint Raphael the Archangel Parish Church was constructed in the 1800s. It is also known as the Church of Legazpi.
The sight of Mayon Volcano looming in the distance is a magnificent one. Several spots in Legazpi offer views of its almost perfect cone shape. Your Legazpi trip will not be complete without a photo of you with the Mayon Volcano in the background.
If you simply have the time, make sure to also visit the natural wonders of the neighboring towns and cities such as the black sand beaches of Sto. Domingo and Bacacay, the waterfalls of Malinao and Malilipot, the caves of Camalig and Jovellar, and the hot springs of Tiwi.
There are plenty of places for recreation in Legazpi City. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Ligñon Hill Nature Park. This hill is primarily visited because of the panoramic view of the Mayon Volcano from its view deck; however, it is also home to other attractions. For instance, Ligñon has many adventure activities that will captivate thrill-seekers. Within its compound, there is a zip-line as well as a hanging bridge. You can also visit the Japanese tunnel that served as a dugout for Japanese soldiers during World War II.
Albay Park and Wildlife is another hub for recreation. Its main highlight is a zoo which features many species of birds and reptiles. You can also rent bikes and boats to explore the area.
For a dose of culture during your visit, make sure to swing by the museums and galleries in Legazpi. The Legazpi City Museum houses some important relics and artworks that give you a glimpse of the city’s colorful past and traditions.
Meanwhile, nestled within the Albay Provincial Capitol building is the Magayon Art Gallery. This gallery features the impressive creations of local artists.
Events and Festivals
If you want to see Legazpi in full color, come by on the second week of October to witness its celebration of the Ibalong Festival. This week-long festivity is held to honor the heroes of Ibalong, the prehistoric Bicol. Cultural parades and dances are the highlights of this event.
Where to Eat
Fast Food Chains
With Legazpi being a highly urbanized city, there is bound to be several branches of your favorite fast food chains around such as Jollibee and McDonald's. But if you want to have a taste of homegrown fast food, Bigg's Diner is the place to go.
If you want to enjoy authentic Bicolano dishes, Legazpi City's homegrown restaurants are definitely the place to get them. Savor yummy local dishes such as Bicol express and pinangat at Graceland, Kamias Restaurant, Small Talk Cafe, and Boklan Restaurant to name a few. For dessert, try the delicious halo-halo of DJC, the yummy pili nut pie of Small Talk Cafe, and the uniquely satisfying sili ice cream from 1st Colonial Grill.
If you're in the mood for other cuisines, try Four Seasons Restaurant for some yummy Chinese dishes, Eatalia for savory Italian food, and Wilkommen for a wide selection of Western dishes.
Where to Shop
Shopaholics can get lots of shopping finds from Embarcadero de Legazpi, Ayala Malls Legazpi, Pacific Mall, Gregorian Mall, and LCC Mall.
The pasalubong center at Legazpi Grand Terminal is a great place to do some last-minute shopping. You can find all kinds of souvenir items such as T-shirts, keychains, handicrafts like bags, and food products made from pili nuts.
ATMs and Money Changers
You need not worry since Legazpi City has many banks and ATMs where you can withdraw some cash.
Fare: PHP 800.00 to PHP 1,000.00 (Bus fare); PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 3,000.00 (Airfare)
Bus fares depend on the bus class. If you want the comfort of recliners and other high-class amenities, be prepared to pay more.
Meanwhile, airfares for one-way direct flights from Metro Manila range from PHP 2,000.00 to PHP 3,000.00. Take advantave of the occasional promos for more affordable deals.
Food: PHP 50.00 to PHP 300.00
You can eat at a carinderia for as low as PHP 50.00. Meanwhile, restaurant meals are PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00 on average.
Shopping: PHP 100.00++
You can buy trinkets like keychains and fridge magnets for less than PHP 50.00 apiece. Meanwhile, pili nut food products range from PHP 50.00 to PHP 150.00. T-shirts, on the other hand, are priced from PHP 200.00 to PHP 300.00, depending on the design.
Accommodation: PHP 500.00 to PHP 4,000.00
Legazpi City has numerous options for accommodation to satisfy any budget. For an overnight stay for two people at a guesthouse or inn, PHP 500.00 to PHP 1,000.00 is already enough. On the other hand, the rates for midrange to upper class hotels can go as low as PHP 1,400.00 to as high as PHP 3,500.00.
Activities: PHP 20.00++
The entrance fee for Ligñon Hill Nature Park is PHP 20.00. If you want to ride the zipline, you'll need to pay an additional PHP 250.00. Albay Park and Wildlife's entrance fee also costs PHP 20.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 150.00
There is a PHP 150.00 terminal fee for domestic flights in Legazpi Airport.