Friday, February 17, 2012, is our second day in Legazpi City, Albay. This is the day we intend to explore places where, hopefully, we could see the full, unobstructed view of Mayon Volcano. So on this day, we started with destination number 1: Ligñon Hill Nature Park. According to many blogs I've read, Ligñon Hill is the best location to catch the breathtaking view of Mount Mayon, the City of Legazpi, the town of Daraga and the Albay Gulf.
Our plan was to hike up the hill early morning to get the best chance of seeing Mayon in its full grandeur. With this in mind, I woke up as early as 5 AM only to hear the sound of pouring rain outside. Aargh! I started to get worried of our plans being derailed. Malou was still in deep slumber so I go back to sleep. Woke up again after one hour, stepped outside the hotel and ...hallelujah! The rain has stopped! So I quickly woke up my wife and in no time, we're up and ready to hike.
Nope! The Chowking branch is not located inside the tunnel. : )
From the Airport Hotel, we took a tricycle ride (50 pesos for two persons) up to the foot of Ligñon Hill where we started our walk. One good thing about going to the park early is that the entrance fee is free for joggers from 5AM-9AM. Along the way, we passed by the Japanese Tunnel, the Kapit Tuko Trail and a hanging bridge. Other outdoor activities offered in the park include zipline, binocular viewing, rapelling, paintball and ATV tour. However, lack of time and budget prevented us from trying out any of these activities.
Kapit Tuko Trail-a steep shortcut to the top of the hill
The hanging bridge
Since Malou and I are both into running, the 30 minutes hike to the peak of Ligñon Hill was literally a "walk in the park". The cool weather plus the well-paved road also made the trek easier.
Meeting joggers along the way
Viewing area before reaching the top. Mayon's upper half is all wrapped up.
The peak of Ligñon Hill is a well-developed park that has a souvenir shop and even a Chowking branch. Indeed, it offers the best view of Mayon Volcano standing proud over the evergreen paddy fields and coconut plantation.
The hill top
Overlooking view of Legazpi City
We stayed in the park for about one hour and Mayon still refused to show us her full glory. Her upper half was all wrapped up in clouds which seemed to have no plans of drifting away. Over in Legazpi City, the sun is already trying to pop out. But from where we stood, we can see rain in some places. As what we've seen in the TV news the night before, low pressure would still affect Bicol Region on this day. Meaning, our chances of seeing Mayon's full glory has become a hit-or-miss affair.
Mount Mayon--still far from being picture perfect at this moment.
After taking more photos of the park and the cloud-covered Mayon Volcano, we decided to make our descent. Going down the hill was much easier and upon reaching its foot, we hailed a tricycle which took us back to the Airport Hotel.
1. From any point in Legazpi City, you can hire a tricycle going to the foot of Ligñon (pronunced as Lin-yon) Hill. Fare is 50 pesos for 2 persons. Jeepneys with Legazpi-Daraga Loop 1 route also passed by the foot of the hill.
2. General operating hours is from 8AM to 11PM daily. The park is open and free of charge for joggers from 5AM to 9AM.
3, Entrance Fees:
P10 Educational Tour Rate (Non-Albay Students)
P20 Non-Albay Residents
P20 Foreign Visitors
4. Food and beverages are not allowed inside the park. But you can bring your own water to keep yourself hydrated during the uphill hike.
5. Make sure to wear your hiking shoes or other appropriate footwear to avoid blisters. My wife made the mistake of wearing her closed-type Crocs during our climb. Blisters forced her to walk barefoot more than half of the way upon going down.
6. If you're not up to walking uphill, you may hire a motorcylce near the park entrance to take you all the way to the peak.
This is the third part of my Chasing Mayon Volcano series. This chronicles our quest to see the perfect shape of Mayon during our brief stay in Albay. Stay tuned to this blog to find out if we did see it. : )