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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Explore in-depth information, experiences and highlights by navigating to specific regions using the links below on the right.
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Philippines Goes Well With
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
From wreck diving warships to lounging on the beaches of Palawan, the many islands of the Philippines make for the perfect post-Covid adventure.
- Jay Tindall
The Philippines’ spectacular Banaue rice terraces are over 2000 years old, and home to the Ifugao former headhunters. The perfect place for an exhilarating and exhausting adventure.
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