I never thought that I would have an incredible adventure journey in Legazpi and Donsol. Previously, I just wanted to see the Mayon Volcano in Legazpi, which is very famous for its highness and unique shape. However, except that splendid view of Mayon Volcano, I also had an unexpected experience of ATV ride in Green Larva trail, and had a dancing with Whaleshark in Donsol.
Before I recording this journey, let me put a Legazpi Tourism Supermarker picture of Mayon Volcano.
First Day: Mayon Volcano View, Cagsawa Ruins, ATV Ride, and Night life with new friends
When I arrive at Legazpi airport, I immediately noticed Mayon Volcano not far. However, there are too much cloud around Mayon Volcano, and you can not see the whole picture.
It’s 10am now, and still early to check in the hotel. So I asked the hotel reception what activities there are in Legazi, she suggest ATV ride around Mayon Volcano. The “Cagsawa Ruins” is also near ATV center.
When I arrived the ATV center, there was no available guide at that moment, so I just scheduled time with the reception, and went to “Cagsawa Ruins”.
This once was a church built by Spanish in 1500s, and ruins by several volcano eruptions and earthquakes.
Mayon Volcano is not far from here.
After staying 30 minutes, ATV center called me that there is available guide now, and I chose “Green Larva trail” which will take around 2-3 hours for its bumping journey.
There is something you need to note is that you should prepare long sleeve shirt and mouth mask, since sunshine is very strong and there is much dust along the road.
The driving experience is really exciting, but I got my skin sun burnt after finish the riding. The most important thing is fun!
In the afternoon, I had a short sleep and checked about the food restaurants around here in Tripadvisor. I chose “Small Talk Cafe” because it’s near my hotel and has good critics.
Inside this restaurant, there are many personal belonging decorated, and have a sense of home feeling.
I chose highly recommend “Bicol Express Pasta”, “Crispy Tilapia” and local food I forgot name. The food is good, and I very enjoy.
I thought I can not see the clear picture of Mayon Volcano that day, because the cloud is around the Volcano all day. Around 5pm, when I read book in the balcony in the hotel, I saw the cloud disappeared. I was rushing down, and took a tricycle to the”Cagsawa Ruins”. When I arrived there, I found out that there were much more people than this morning. Many people came here that time to take pictures.
In the night, the ATV guide invite me to have drink and experience Legazpi night life. He took me to the Puro Beach, there are lots of restaurants near the beach. We had dinner and drinking at MJM restaurant. The port and seafood is very delicious, and most importantly, I love the red horse beer and chatting with new friends. We had fun time to teach our own languages to each other.
Second Day: Dancing with Whaleshark in Donsol, Enjoy Sunset in Puro Beach.
In the second day, I checked out hotel at around 8am, since I was a little drunk yesterday. After I confirmed with the hotel owner about could I still see whaleshark if I went to Donsol today, she said it’s OK because it’s the peak season of whaleshark. So I took a tricycle to the bus station in Legazpi. Please be note that you need to tell the tricycle driver that you will go to “bus station in Legazpi”, otherwise, he will take you to the nearest bus station. The case applied to me that morning.
When I arrived to the bus station, the van driver told me that the van will leave once there were full of passengers. I am the second one at that time, and it took me additional one hour to wait, and made me want to quit because I had booked air ticket in the evening.
Around 9:40am, finally there were enough passengers for this van, and it took us around one and half hours to get to Donsol. Once arrived in Donso bus station, you need to take a tricycle to get to the whaleshark center. It’s really convenient and cheap to take tricycle in Philippines.
Since I have confirmed that the last van to Legazpi is at 2pm, so only 3 hours left for me. One girl in the center told me how to buy ticket, she was totally shocked that I was so hurry and have no preparation at all. Luckily, there is one group of 5 people waiting for addtional one people for one hour. Bingo! I was just in time and took the boat to see the whaleshark.
The guide told us when we are on boat about what need to care about once we jumped into the sea to see the whaleshark, and what instructions need to be followed. All of a sudden, my heart was beating so fast, because I don’t know how to swim. I can only swim in the swimming pool for several meters, jump into the sea to swim with the whaleshark, I really didn’t prepare it!
A boy stand on the top of a pole to find whaleshark.
I never forget the first time experience I jumped into the sea. When the guide found out there was a whaleshark near our boat, he said jump, all the other 5 people were jumping into the sea with the guide, and I was still sit in the boat. The guide and all the 5 people shouted at me: Jump! Hurry! Because all the people should stay together in the sea so the guide can take care of all of us. My head was empty, I did’t know how I found the courage, and jump into the sea. When I was swimming into the sea, I total panicked. I felt it’s hard for me to swim and I would fallen into the sea for just seconds! So I got all my strength to swim to the boat bar to hold firmly. All the people around my boat were laughing, totally embarrassed for me at that moment!
After I went to the boat, I told the guide that my swimming was bad and I didn’t have diving experience before. The guide gave me a lifejacket and said: I would hold you hand next jump, that will be OK, and please not afraid.
For the second jump, I was still frightened, but the guide hold my hand firmly, and pulled me into the sea. After we swam in a short time, the guide told me look into the sea. My god, I saw I was just above the whaleshark, it was so big, so vividly. It seems I can touch it if I dived a litter deeper. In the third jump, I was gradually erasing my scare, and I saw I was just in the face of whaleshark, and its mouth was just in front of me! There was one lady diving very deep towards the whaleshark, its really beautiful scenario. At that moment, I know why so many people bought “Gopro”. I would post the video if I got it from my team once. Anyway, it’s really once a lifetime experience for me!
This following video was taken by my team member and friend David Genesis Cruz, from Philippines but live in Japan now.
My team members with me after we went back to the boat. Have a really fantastic time with them!
In the three hours journey, we had totally saw 4 times of whaleshark, all of us were very happy.
When we finish this activity, I took a tricycle and got the last van to Legazpi, finally took the flight back to Manila. Wonderful journey in Legazpi and Donsol.
In Legazpi and Donsol, the most efficient transport vehicle in the city is tricycle and Jeepney. You can negotiate with the drivers about price when u took tricycle. Most drivers are very nice and friendly.
This time, I only lived in Legazpi for one night. I chose “Balay de la Rama Bed and Breakfast”, the owner was very friendly and gave me a lot of suggestions about going around Legazpi and the trip to Donsol. This hotel is not far from “Cagsawa Ruins”, however, a little distance from the downtown of Legazpi. This hotel is small and hard to find in the first time. The room was very clean, have a view of Mayon Volcano, and good breakfast.
Legazpi has a lot of good restaurants here and the food here has unique flavor. I have tried “Small Cafe Talk”, “Sibid Sibid Food Park”, and “MJM” in Puro Beach. I have introduced “Small Cafe Talk” and “MJM” in the above part. The following pic is about “Sibid Sibid Food Park”.
For my suggestion: if you want to try the local Philippines food, you can come to “Sibid Sibid Food Park”; if you want to try seafood and BBQ, you can come to “MJM”.