There was an authenticity to the type of experience set up for us that made every city we visited special and gave us countless moments we will never forget.
The Bicol Region forms the southeast peninsula of Luzon, the largest island in the Philippine archipelago. The almost perfectly conical Mount Mayon volcano is Bicol's most iconic sight, though there are increasingly more with the development of tourism in the region. Still an active volcano, Mayon draws adventurers who trek to its bubbling crater. For the less daring, there are many crater lakes and hot springs in the area as well.
Beneath the surface, one can find Bicol's most famous residents, the whalesharks of Donsol. These gentle giants can be seen between February and May, when they linger in the plankton-rich bay for feeding. Add to that charming colonial churches, pretty beaches, limestone cliffs and a long, Pacific coastline spanning the region, and Bicol is arguably one of the Philippines' best destinations.
On your visit, make sure to feast on the regional cuisine, notable for its generous use of fiery chilies and coconut milk.
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Spend a day wakeboarding or waterskiing,, or take a short bus ride to the town of Caramoan, the take-off point for island hopping. Guests can have a fresh seafood lunch on their private outrigger, or on a secluded beach.
Music & Food
At night, wind down with some live traditional music and local cuisine. Bicolano cuisine is known for its spicy dishes, as well as meats and vegetables cooked in coconut milk.
Discover the seasonal whalesharks in the Donsol Bay by Naga City. Whalesharks are the world’s biggest fish, known as the “gentle giants” of the sea. Head into the bay via private outrigger, so you can swim up-close with these amazing creatures when they surface. There are more confirmed whale shark sightings here than anywhere else on Earth.
One of the country's underrated dive destinations, Bicol has fantastic marine life. Most of the prime dive spots are located in the southwest of Sorsogon, at Ticao Pass and Manta Bowl, where whalesharks and manta rays congregate. Wreck diving is also an option, as many Spanish galleons were sunk here.
There are over 20 volcanoes in all of the Bicol Region, all of them scaleable. Mount Mayon is the most famous, but other highlights include Mount Isarog, Mount Iriga (which is almost 4,000 feet high, topped with a collapsed crater and not far from Lake Buhi), Mount Malinao and Mount Masaraga.
Owing to its location on the Pacific coast, Bicol's white-sand beaches are popular with surfers and sun worshippers. Daet and Catanduanes are popular destinations for surfers, as is Bagasbas Beach.
Roman Catholic churches dating back to Spanish colonial times can be found throughout Bicol. Although some of the original structures were burned, many churches still stand with 200 to 300-year old remnants of this adopted faith. The most famous site is the Cagsawa Ruins, located at the foot of Mt. Mayon. A massive eruption in 1814 destroyed most of the church, though the bell tower remains standing.
If you are traveling in early September, make a pilgrimage to the amazing Peñafrancia Festival in Naga. Our Lady of Peñafrancia Festival is celebrated for nine days and honors the Virgin Mary, who is known as “The Patroness of Bicol.”If you can't make it to the main affair, chances are there will be some sort of festival going on, whether in small barrios, or throughout an entire diocese. Bicol has among the most devout Roman Catholic followers in the the country.
Board a local banca (motored outrigger) and cruise off the east coast of Bicol. Visit the picturesque islands of Caramoan, with their verdant seaside cliffs, white-sand beaches and wealth of marine life.
ATV rides, swimming alongside the world’s largest fish, and relaxing on lush gold-sand beaches are all in store on this 15-day luxurious adventure through the Caramoan Peninsula in the tropical Philippines chain. Enjoy helicopter rides and a full day’s pampering at an exclusive spa on this one-of-a-kind holiday.
Situated within sight of the spectacular Mayon Volcano, Hotel Venezia is an Italian-themed boutique hotel ideally located for exploring the sights of Bicol and the surrounding area. The hotel has 40 rooms/suites with coffee/tea making facilities, hair dryer, in room safe, LCD TV with cable channels, mini bar, telephone and, in some rooms, balconies with views of the volcano. The hotel also has San Marco restaurant, which serves tasty Italian cuisine, as well as a lobby bar, swimming pool, tennis court and reflexology massage. WiFi is available in all public areas.
Escape into your own private island oasis at the Misibis Bay Resort on Cagraray Island in the Philippines. This four star retreat, located 45 minutes by land from Legazpi and 30 minutes by boat, is designed to fit all tastes, from exotic restaurants to exhilarating activities, all with the backdrop of the crystal blue ocean and the soft, white beach. Choose from one of eight different room choices, including a Luxury Villa, and spend your days relaxing by the pool, sipping a cocktail at Sula Bar, indulging in some South Asian cuisine at the Spice Market, or zipping across the waves on a windsurf or the sand dunes on an ATV. Whether you’re looking for thrills or to bliss out and chill, Misibis Bay Resort is calling your name.
Imagine yourself lounging in an infinity pool, overlooking the turquoise blue waters of the Caramoan Peninsula in the Philippines. At Tugawe Cove Resort, this can become a reality beyond your wildest expectations. During a stay at Tugawe Resort, guests can spend their days exploring the coves and lagoons of the ocean, nearby uninhabited islands and hidden caves, and Patag Bay for world-renowned rock climbing, before returning to the resort for a bite to eat at RestoBar - the on-site restaurant with a striking 360-degree panoramic view of the sea. Enjoy down time in your own private cabana - each with personalized butler service - and take in a spa treatment while listening to the surf crash into the shore. The only thing guests will be asking is, can this dream last forever?