Bicol may be the number one destination for hardcore adventurers who find themselves in the country. Located in the southeast portion of Luzon, the region is composed of the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate.
It won’t be hard to get face-to-face with marine animals in Bicol. There are the huge and majestic whale sharks in Sorsogon, the friendly and intelligent dolphins of Camarines Sur, and the magnificent and curious manta rays just off the coast of Masbate. And these are just some of the aquatic creatures that you can encounter under Bicol’s waters.
If you’d rather stay above the water instead of under it, Bicol also has a couple of places where you can take on water sports. An extremely popular one is wakeboarding at the CamSur Watersports Complex in Camarines Sur. There’s also surfing in Catanduanes, which offers big rolling waves that you can’t see anywhere else in the Philippines.
Fans of the reality television show Survivor will find the islands of Caramoan in Camarines Sur familiar, as the show has been taped here several times. You can even have your very own Survivor experience, minus all the drama, by camping out on any one of the islands’ white sand beaches.
Bicol is also home to the perfectly shaped Mount Mayon, found in the province of Albay. Even though it’s an active volcano, brave mountaineers still tackle the strenuous hike to the summit, hoping to catch the panoramic view of Bicol below.
But this region isn’t just for the physically fit. History buffs and architecture fans will be pleased to know that Bicol has a number of historical places to explore.
Albay is especially noted for its old Spanish-era churches. There’s the ruins of Cagsawa Church found in the foothills of Mount Mayon. There’s also the Daraga Catholic Church. Built in 1772, it’s known for its Baroque-style architecture.
Meanwhile, the oldest normal school for girls in Southeast Asia, the Universidad de Sta. Isabel, can be found in Naga City, Camarines Sur.
Getting hungry? Don’t fret, Bicol is also known for its food. Some of their specialities include laing, which is a vegetable dish cooked in coconut milk, and Bicol Express, which is a spicy pork dish also stewed in coconut milk. Pili sweets are also easy to find here, as the tree is indigenous to the region.