Solo Backpacking in Albay, Philippines

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor February 1st, 2015 Posted in Asia Travel Blog, Destination, Philippines Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 17 Comments

Honestly, it had never crossed my wildest dream to go on a trip in unfamiliar places, alone.

I heard about solo traveling from a friend and I found it weird and boring so I immediately brushed the thought away. When I had dealt with one of the toughest problems there is (yes, a heart break), I knew exactly what I needed, to pull myself together and a new breath of fresh air, thus, travel solo.

I had no idea why I selected Legazpi City, Albay, as my first destination when I booked my airplane ticket. Legazpi City is the capital of Albay province in the Philippines.

12go Asia

I did my research for a couple of months, prepared my itineraries, mustered all the courage I can, and read tons of female solo traveling tips. It was not a piece of cake, I tell you. I was scared but the fear I felt rather made me feel excited.

This breathtaking view of Mount Mayon jumpstarted my first ever solo trip for the next couple of days and the excitement was really hard to contain. Words failed me, my knees gone jelly and my heart was filled with different emotions rushing in all at the same time!

Solo Backpacking in Albay, Philippines

Philippines travel guide

After filling my starving stomach and unloaded some of my baggage at the hotel where I will be staying at, I headed off to the first leg of this trip – Ligñon Hill.  From the hotel, I took a tricycle but opted to trek my way up to the hill to enjoy the view. 15-20 minutes later, I’ve reached the top of the hill and I was drenched in my own sweat.

Filipina travel backpacker

Next stop was Daraga church. The tricycle driver waited for me at the foot of Ligñon hill and drove me here.  It’s a Roman Catholic church in the municipality of Daraga. You’ve got to get closer to appreciate its facade which made of volcanic rocks.

historical tourist spot
The facade of Daraga Church

Manong tricycle driver took me to my next destination – Cagsawa Church Ruins. I’ve seen a lot of pictures of this place but I never thought why it was called “Cagsawa Church Ruins”, thanks to my tour guide a.k.a manong tricycle driver who told me that the church was destroyed by the eruption of Mayon Volcano and only the church tower remained.

Tourist spot in the Philippines
The famous Cagsawa Ruins

It was part of my itinerary to try Albay’s famous sili (chile) ice cream at 1st Colonial Grill. It was very creamy at first but the kick of the sili quickly bursted inside my mouth. It was sort of addicting, that I took one spoonful after another.

Food travel

At the end of day one, I felt really proud of myself that I survived the first day of my first solo trip. But I cannot stay relax at all just yet, I have to finalize and prepare again for the next day of my trip.

I’ve met manong Noel while I was at Cagsawa Church Ruin and he offered to tour me around. I admit that I was very doubtful at first but I took a big leap of faith, trusted my instinct and took all the safety measures I had set for myself. I took a picture of his permit and training certificate and sent it all to my brother.

We roamed around using his single motorcycle and our first stop, which happened to be my favorite part of the trip – ATV around Mount Mayon!  The trail was not an ordinary ATV trail, it was very bumpy and rough and I had to navigate around the sharp curves, downhill and uphill. Braving and going against the wild flow of water from the volcano, getting stuck in the middle and roughly hitting huge stones along the way which all added to the fun and adventure! Your Legazpi trip won’t be completed without experiencing this extreme adventure.

Philippine travel guide
Pimp my ride! =)

My hands were still numb when we headed to our next destination – Hoyop Hoyopan Cave. I have enjoyed the chilly and fresh air inside the cave. It is multi-level cavern of natural limestone located in Camalig, Albay and it is  roughly 30 minutes away from the city.

Striking my best pose at the entrance of Hoyop Hoyopan Cave

Kawa-Kawa Hill was our next stop, situated in Ligao City. It was named Kawa-Kawa because of its shape resembling a cauldron (kawa). This hill is well known as a religious destination because of large stations of the cross, one station after another, as you ascend your way up to the hill. I did break a lot sweat here but it was all worth it because I’ve got to see 360 degree view of Ligao City and neighboring towns, as well as the greeneries surrounding Mount Mayon and Masagara.

Philippine travel backpacking

The final stretch of our day was Busay Falls. On our way to Busay Falls, rain had poured down and I was freezing my arse off (lol), whole body went numb while I was riding the single motorcycle of kuya Noel. Busay waterfalls, also known as Seven Falls, situated at the inner most part of Brgy. Busay, Malilipot, province of Albay. Too bad I only got to see the first waterfall because it was getting dark. I felt every pores of my body screaming as I took a dip in the water but it was sooo refreshing! I’ve met here some locals who had enjoyed their selves as much as I did.

Philippine travel

I have truly enjoyed every hour of my trip in Legazpi City. Each day that passed increased my confidence that I can complete my trip and go back home in one piece. I’ve met a lot of locals, tasted some of their best food and explored different places which made my first solo trip an experience like none other.

After the trip I realized that it was not about soul-searching. It was more than that, waaay better than I have ever imagined. Being alone on the road made me more independent, self-confident, self-reliant, and it improved my sense of direction – which I really suck at. I have gained people skills, became friendlier, and more open. I became more aware of my surroundings, better handling of documents, money, belongings and the list goes on. I have also discovered that I can go to places relying on myself alone. The best thing is, I have proved to myself that I can be my own happiness and not being defined by someone else. I cannot wait to do it again!

Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices!

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Monkey DividersAbout the Writer:


Shay Ne is a solo female backpacker, foodie, nature lover, budget traveler, adventure seeker, and a dog lover. She works as a full time Software Quality Analyst during weekdays and on weekends, you’d most likely find her chasing Mr. Sun or staying at home cooking and baking for her loved ones.

This article is an entry for the Bali, Indonesia Writing Competition 2015!

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17 thoughts on “Solo Backpacking in Albay, Philippines

  1. hi,
    im planning to do my solo travel next month and this post is really helpful! I’m having 2nd thoughts about it but after reading this, it gave me confidence and filled me with excitement. Do you have Manong driver’s contact number?

    Thanks you! 🙂

  2. love your travel blog to albay and if possible I can I ask about the details how much was the total cost of the trip, how much is for the tricyle tour and stay. thanks to more travel

  3. Hi Shay. I will be traveling to Albay solo soon. How did you book the ATV ride? Were you alone when doing that or did you have a guide?

  4. Hi shay ne, im also planning to do solo backpacking in albay. How much did you spend on this travel?

  5. Hi! 🙂 read your post and it seemed na kaya magmotor to visit hoyop hoyopan, kawa kawa hills and busay falls. Is that right? if yes, long drive ba yoon? buong araw ba ang gugugulin just to visit the three places? thanks! Will go to Legazpi thia March eh. DIY lang rin IT namin. 🙂

  6. Been reading this post several times already. Will be going to Legazpi this Feb. May I know if how much is the rent for the motorcycle for all the places you’ve been to.

  7. hello, i have a plan to travel solo end of feb 2016, can i know that manong who toured you there? if he can b my tour guide as well.. do you have a contact number of him? thank you!!!

  8. your blog inspires me to try to go solo atleast once in my life,
    it has always been one of my dreams, but the fear of life we have here in manila cause me
    to think twice of trying.

    i love travelling so much and this give me atleast an idea what to expect as you travel solo.
    i hope i will be able to do well just like you,
    by the way what truly interest me more and made me really curious is that chili icre cream . cause im a certified dessert lover ^^

    wish you well…

  9. This one looks fun! I’m planning to go here as well next month, by myself. LOL. I’m trying to do my DIY itinerary as well. 🙂 By any chance, do you have Kuya Noel’s contact information? Hope someone will reply, thanks! =).

    1. Hi. can you please me the contact number of Manong Noel. Im doing my Solo Backbacking of Catanduanes-Albay-Donsol-Malapascual-Cebu Mainland-Dumaguete-Apo Island IT. Need trusted guides. Thanks.

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