When you think of summer, you think of fun and adventure. So what better place to spend the next two months than the "City of Fun and Adventure?" Located in the Bicol province of Albay, Legazpi City has lots of surprises in store — not least of which is the month-long Daragang Magayon Festival this April. If you're heading to the capital of Albay for the festival, don't forget to check out these other tourist spots as well.
Albay Park and Wildlife
Address: Daraga-Legazpi Diversion Rd., Legazpi City
As you can guess from the name, the Albay Park and Wildlife is a picnic area and nature reserve rolled into one. There, you can see over 70 species of animals, such as Philippine eagles, Philippine deers, reticulated pythons, iguanas, and other exotic wildlife. The park also houses a lagoon, where you can ride a boat to enhance your experience of nature.
Ayala Malls Legazpi
Address: Quezon Ave., Legazpi Port District, Legazpi City
A kilometer away from Embarcadero, Ayala Malls Legazpi isn't as close to the sea as the former. However, if you're an urbanite through-and-through, you'll definitely appreciate the mall's overall vibe.
Like its counterparts in Makati City and elsewhere in Metro Manila, Ayala Malls Legazpi boasts a wide variety of restaurants, entertainment options, and a strategic location. It's accessible via jeepney, and you can get a good view of Mayon Volcano from anywhere near the mall.
Ligñon Hill Nature Park
Address: Legazpi City
Twenty minutes away from PHILVOLCS (Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology), Ligñon Hill Nature Park isn't your typical nature reserve. Aside from animals, the park also houses one of the best zip line facilities within the area. Also, it offers a view of Mayon Volcano in all its glory, so if the other volcano-viewing spots in Legazpi get crowded, you can always come here.
Rawis Black Sand Beach
Address: Rawis, Legazpi City
The beach is exactly what it sounds like: miles and miles of black sand. Located close to St. Joseph Parish Church and Gallera de Legazpi, the Rawis Black Sand Beach is one of the more notable spots along Poliqui Bay. If you'd rather visit other beaches, you can always use it as a jump-off point for Padang and Puro Beach.
Small Talk Café
Address: Doña Aurora St., Old Albay District, Legazpi City
True to its name, Small Talk Café has a cozy vibe that makes you want to sit down and chat with someone. This café in downtown Legazpi is frequented by locals and tourists alike, most of whom drop by to sample Bicol's famous spicy dishes. We especially recommend their crêpes, because the exceptional texture and flavor will turn you into a crêpe lover.
Embarcadero de Legazpi
Address: Legazpi Blvd., Legazpi Port District, Legazpi City
If you're looking for a mall by the sea, look no further than the Embarcadero de Legazpi. Situated along the Legazpi Port, the Embarcadero lights up an otherwise sleepy city every night, and boasts gorgeous views of the sea and Mayon Volcano. Although there aren't many shops over there, you can still take home a souvenir or two.
St. Raphael Church
Address: Peñaranda St., Legazpi City
Looking at the church now, you'd think it was built only recently. Actually, the St. Raphael Church — also known as the "Church of Legazpi" — has been around since the early years of the Philippines' Spanish era.
Between 1587 and 1616, St. Raphael Church was administered by the town of Cagsawa. When Mayon Volcano erupted on February 1, 1814, half of Cagsawa was destroyed along with the church. Since then, it's been rebuilt and renovated many times until it reached its present form.
The most notable feature of the church is its altar, being made of hardened lava. You can easily get to the church via tricycle, which you can also ride towards the landmarks Plaza Rizal and the LCC supermarket.
How to Get Around Legazpi City
Unless you have a private car, the best way to get around Legazpi is via tricycle and jeepney. You can find these scattered all over the city (usually near malls and other landmarks). But if you want to drive from Legazpi to Albay's other tourist destinations, the best place to go is the Legazpi Grand Central Terminal, which is located on the Landco Access Road near Metro Gaisano mall.
From the Terminal, you can ride vans going to Bacacay, Camalig, Donsol, Guinobatan, Iriga, Libon, Ligao, Naga, Padang, Polangui, Tabaco City, and other municipalities within Albay. Don't forget to ask the local barkers which van you should ride, and to pay them extra for their trouble.
If you're looking for a "pure" hidden paradise, or a bustling city of malls and skyscrapers, you might want to skip Legazpi City. Otherwise, enjoy this not-quite-city, not-quite-town in the beautiful province of Albay, and have a great weekend!