Bicol Roadtrip; Budget, Itinerary and Expenses
Being an employee and having a limited number of leaves per year sucks especially if you are a travel junkie. I know lots of people can relate to this but instead of facing the wall of problems, let’s think and focus on the solution.
One obvious and nifty trick is to plan your trip ahead on long weekends. That’s what we did in our 3 days roadtrip to Bicolandia. This blog post will help out those who are planning the same trip and hopefully will inspire others to do the same especially if you want a trip that’s fully flexible and wouldn’t mind long hours of travel by land. Believe me, Mt. Mayon is worth seeing.
Blue arrow – Manila to Legazpi via SLEX
Red arrow – Legazpi to Manila via Laguna/Rizal
Going to Legazpi, Albay from Manila
We started our journey at our hometown in Pateros, traversed SLEX and exited at Calamba then at Sto. Tomas, Batangas then drove all the way to Calauag, Quezon for a short stop-over and breakfast at a family friend before heading to our final destination at Legazpi, Albay.
Pateros -> SLEX-> Sto. Tomas Exit -> Calauag, Quezon -> Legazpi, Albay
Going back to Manila via Tayabas/Laguna/Rizal
Heading back to Manila, we decided to go via the Tayabas/Laguna/Rizal route spending one night at Calauag, Quezon as main stopover. From Legazpi, we went to Naga for church hopping then drove to our family friend in Calauag for an overnight stay. The morning after, we headed to Tayabas, Quezon for lunch at Palaisdaan. After lunch, we drove straight to Laguna, then Rizal then C6 road unto our home in Pateros.
Legazpi -> Naga -> Calauag -> Tayabas -> Laguna -> Rizal -> C6 Road -> Pateros
For the timings, please refer to our Itinerary. But if you will drive straight from Manila to Legazpi, it’ll take you 10hrs.
Toll fee from C5 to End of Slex is P214. Then from Calamba to Sto Tomas Exit is P25.
Day 0 (Aug. 26)
12AM – Depart Manila
4:30AM – Stop-over Calauag, Quezon
Day 1 (Aug. 27)
6AM – Depart Calauag
11:30AM – Arrive Legazpi, Albay
12PM – Lunch at 1st Colonial Grill
2PM – Check-in Balai Tinay Guesthouse, rest
5PM – Lignon Hill
6PM – Dinner at Bob Marlin
8PM – Drink then sleep
Day 2 (Aug. 28)
6:30AM – Breakfast
7AM – Cagsawa Ruins/ATV Mayon
9:30AM –Daraga Church
12PM – Check-out Balai Tinay, Depart Legazpi
2:30PM – Church hopping in Naga
4:30PM – Depart Naga
8PM – Arrive Calauag, Quezon
Day 3 (Aug. 29)
7:30AM – Depart Calauag
11AM – Arrive Tayabas, Quezon. Lunch at Palaisdaan
1PM – Depart Tayabas
5:30PM – Arrive Pateros
We stayed at Balai Tinay guesthouse in Legazpi and booked 1 family room and 1 triple room.
It is a home converted into a guesthouse complete with kitchen, air-conditioned rooms (inverter type) with LED TV and a viewing deck of Mt. Mayon. The guesthouse is very clean, well maintained and you’ll truly feel like you’re just at home. They also serve free breakfast and unlimited coffee and tea all throughout your stay.
We only had trouble locating Balai Tinay at first because it isn’t located in the main road and Waze points us to a different direction. I then called Balai Tinay and gave me specific instructions on how to get there. You have to drive through a narrow street in between Emong’s Pandesal and Bagumbayan elementary school along Washington Drive.
Search for more hotels/hostels in Legazpi here
In Calauag, we stayed one night at a inn of a family friend.
Places we went to and Activities
- Lignon Hill
Lignon Hill is the highest point in Legazpi City where you can view of course, Mt. Mayon and downtown Legazpi. My first actual sight of Mt. Mayon was in Lignon Hill and though covered with thick clouds at that time, Mt. Mayon still took my breath away.
It’s most famous for its perfect cone and though very beautiful, Mt. Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines and is closely monitored by PHIVOLCS.
Besides Mayon, you can also view all of Legazpi city and Albay gulf from this hill. This is one of the reasons I love travelling, these views!
Lignon Hill is one of the places that are perfect for viewing the mighty Mayon. If you don’t have a car with you, you can either walk to the top (doable but very steep!) or hire a habal-habal to take you.
- Cagsawa Ruins and ATV Mayon
Of course, who would go to Albay without visiting the famous Cagsawa ruins! The Cagsaua church was built in 1857 but was eventually destroyed and buried during the strongest eruption of Mayon Volcano in February 1, 1814 killing an estimated of 2000 people.
All that was left was the belfry that is still standing up to now. The ruins remind the people of the tragedy that happened that day but it also symbolizes strength and hope for a better tomorrow.
After some fun pictorials, it’s adventure time! The family went on a thrilling ride in an ATV at the foot of Mayon! We chose the shortest trail though but it was still fun!
The standard cost for the short trail is P699 but you can try to haggle.
- Church Visits
We visited 3 churches in Bicol. First was Daraga church wherein it is located atop a hill overlooking a magnificent view of Mt. Mayon. It is an old historical baroque style church built by the Franciscan priests in 1772.
In Naga, there are actually several churches there but we only visited two of them as we are time constrained. We visited both the Peñafrancia Basilica Minore and Our Lady of Peñafrancia Basilica Minore.
Food in Bicol is just amazing. Expect something good anywhere you dine be it in carinderias or in malls. Though our stay in Bicol is short, I think we tried some of the best dishes Bicolanos are proud of. Bicol dishes are offered anywhere in Manila, but the authenticity of the dish and the feeling of eating it in Bicol is way different.
1st Colonial Grill
No doubt, one of the best restaurants in Bicol. It’s already a given that their native Bicol dishes are great (just like almost anywhere in Bicol) but what stands out are their desserts! I don’t like sweets that much but 1st Colonial’s grill’s dessert are top notch!
I ordered the Sili flavored ice-cream which they offer with 3 levels of spiciness. Mine was level 2, just mildly spicy.
It tastes great and it definitely has a kick in it once it melts in your mouth. A must try when in Bicol.
Wifey ordered a Pili shake and my oh my, was it great! It is very creamy and you can really taste the natural flavour of pili which we think that they really put lots of ground pili in it. Superb!
Isn’t it obvious that the owner of this restaurant is a big Marley fan? For sure he is, because other than the name, the theme in this resto is ‘Roots Rock Reggae’! Upon entering we saw images of Bob Marley, music of Marley and Rastafarian themed colors so over-all, this restaurant exudes good vibration ‘mon’.
Anyway, let’s move on to the food. Bob Marlin offers numerous Bicol and Filipino specialties such as their famous Crispy Pata, Kare Kare, Adobong Manok sa gata, Marlin Slab, Krispy Sisig to name a few. But what really stood out from the rest is their Crispy Pata. Man, I can’t get enough of them crispy pork. Don’t get me wrong, all of the dishes we ordered are spectacular, but their Crispy Pata is just that darn good. And the best thing is, the serving is plenty! Price is very reasonable. For a group of 8, we only paid around P2,300.
Highly recommended whether you’re in Naga or Legazpi.
Palaisdaan Floating restaurant in Tayabas, Quezon
Coming from Naga, we planned to eat lunch at one of the Palaisdaan restos in Tayabas, Quezon. First, we checked out Air Summit Gourmet but found out that the price is way beyond our budget (haha!) so after some picture taking, we went to the nearby Palaisdaan floating restaurant.
It’s similar to the Palaisdaan restaurant we went to in Calauan, Laguna but this one is simpler but offers way better food. Some of the dishes that we ordered from what I recall are their fried chicken, pako salad, ginataang pilipit na suso, fried tilapia, sinigang na baboy, chopsuey, calamares, creamy pesang dalag, etc… We love all the dishes but the fried chicken was the best!
Here is the detailed breakdown of our expenses. We are 8 adults in the group plus one kid.
We brought two vehicles with us and we are 4 in my car (with me and a family friend as drivers) so I separated the transpo expenses from the other group.
We were also welcomed by the generous hospitality of a family friend in Calauag so you’ll see we didn’t pay for accommodation and dinner in our second night.
Please also note that we got a discounted price for the ATV activity. I just listed the standard price here so that it won’t affect the market price and competition between the ATV operators.
|Per Pax||Total 4 Pax||Total 8 Pax||Remarks|
|Balai Tinay Guesthouse||625||2500||5000||P3000 - Family room
P2000 - Triple Room
|Lunch 1st colonial grill||254.87||1019.5||2039|
|Lignon Hill entrance||20||80||160|
|Dinner Bob Marlin||287.5||1150||2300|
|Cagsawa Ruins entrance||10||40||80|
|ATV short trail||699||2796||5592|
|Lunch at carinderia||93.75||375||750|
|Lunch in Palaisdaan||296.25||1185||2370|
|Plus transpo expenses|
|SLEX Toll Fee||53.5||214|
|Calamba to Sto. Tomas Toll||6.25||25|
|Gasoline||782.75||3131||Total gas back and forth Bicol|
There you go guys, just around P3000 you can have a wonderful trip to Bicol. You can just adjust it accordingly like of course, you have to pay for your accommodation on your 2nd night whether it be in Bicol or any other place along the way. Budget also depends on the type of vehicle you’ll use. Bring one that’s fuel efficient and make sure to check your ride before hitting the road. Goodluck and happy road tripping!