Legpazi City calls itself “the city of fun and adventure” and for good reason. This city is home to Mt. Mayon, a 20 million year old active volcano that offers both wild adventure and captivating history. While you’re here, you have the chance to explore around the base of the volcano with ATV tours, hiking, photography, and more. While capturing unbelievable views, you’ll learn about its active history of eruptions that have wiped out entire populations and desecrated whole villages.
Named after Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish conquistador, there is a lot of history and culture to be experienced in Legazpi City. You’ll have the chance to visit monuments which represent the many nationalities who have once called this island home or refuge like the Franciscan church, the Spanish pier, and the Japanese tunnels. From adventure to history and shopping to eating, if Legazpi City isn’t already on your list of places to visit in the Philippines, it absolutely will be after today.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Legazpi City:
1. Cagsawa Ruins Park
Built in 1587 destroyed in 1646, then reconstructed in 1724 and once again destroyed in 1814 (along with thousands of native people)- this Franciscan church certainly has some stories to tell.
On a clear day, Mt. Mayon sits perfectly behind the Cagsawa Ruins separated only by a plain of bright green rice fields.
The church ruins are what mysterious thriller movies are made of.
There is a unique juxtaposition between the crumbling brick church with rogue greenery growing out of its cracks against serene nature that feels pure and wholesome.
It’s an unexpected discovery that gets your mind racing.
You can take ‘the Leaning Tower of Pisa’ style photos or just gawk at the wonder that surrounds this ancient location.
2. Mayon Volcano National Park
You’ll see Mt. Mayon everywhere you go in Legazpi and eventually get curious enough to get a little bit closer.
You can hike along the base of the volcano, take an ATV tour, or go with a Jeepney tour that will take you up to the closes to the observatory.
There are plenty of ways to get a bit more personal with this insane natural wonder.
As Mt. Mayon is an active volcano, you’ll see a puff of smoke coming from its peak and a small cloud of smoke hanging just above it.
It’s so idyllic that it looks like a painting! The base of the mountain consists of flat plains, rice fields, creeks, and rivers, all waiting to be explored.
3. Vera Falls
This stunning waterfall is located between two volcanoes on the other side of Mt. Mayon where you’ll have to cross through a couple of small towns to get there.
You’ll hire a car or join a tour group to take a 40- minute drive from Legazpi center.
Take advantage of the small town prices and culture by asking your driver to stop for a bite to eat.
When you reach the car park, you’ll embark on a walk down a set of 100 jungle stairs that will lead you to the beautiful Vera Falls.
There is a cool and shallow pool of water at the base of the waterfall perfect for splashing about on a hot day in the Philippines.
4. Japanese Tunnels
As you may know, the Philippines were caught up in WWII with a Japanese invasion that has left its mark on the country in many ways, including left over infrastructure.
In Oriental-Legazpi, you can visit a Japanese-dug tunnel from 1941. Back in the day, the tunnel stretched all the way to city hall.
Today, the tunnel isn’t quite as long but still offers a decent amount of crawl space to get your heart racing.
Climb around through the tunnel where the height ranges from 3-4 feet tall.
It is set seemingly in the middle of nowhere; a jungle tunnel that the Japanese thought no one would ever find.
5. Quitinday Underground River
It’s worth it to visit Legazpi just to experience the Quitinday Underground River.
Hire a driver to take the 30-minute drive.
Get out and walk 500m along a jungle path until you get to a small watering hole.
At first glance, it looks like there’s not much to be seen…but this is only the beginning.
For ₱100, a tour guide on site will take you rafting through the underground river where you’ll see a complex system of natural caves that have been formed by water erosion.
Some caves you can walk through with small waterfalls at your feet.
Others you will raft through, like the Calabidongan Cave, otherwise known as “Cave of Bats”. If you’re brave enough, take a cliff dive into a pool of natural aquamarine water.
6. Daraga Church
This church is so majestic that it doesn’t even look real.
Set atop a hill with Mt. Mayon in the background, this white towering piece of architecture looks like every castle from a Disney movie ever.
But dig a little bit deeper and you’ll discover that this church has served as a pillar of faith in this community since it was built by Franciscan missionaries in 1773.
During the church’s 230-year life, it has seen so much including a devastating volcano eruption in 1814 that killed 2,00 people, as well as centuries of national instability with wars, invasions, and corruption.
7. Colonial Grill
In Legazpi City, there is a Filipino restaurant you have to try. It is mid-range in price, has plenty of space for big groups, and their food keeps them standing as a local favorite.
Check out Colonial Grill’s “Best Sellers” list full of dishes that never disappoint, such as Buko Chopseuy, Spicy Shrimp, and Tinapa rice.
Portions come out huge in family-style serving dishes so you and your crew can try a little bit of everything.
But, you mustn’t leave without trying the Sili Ice Cream made with chilies- it is to die for.
The staff is friendly and accommodating, so if you have any questions about the menu or want some recommendations, they are happy to oblige.
8. ATV Tour
You’ll find many ATV tour companies in Legazpi City but Your Brother Travel and Tours is the most popular. These friendly and experienced tour guides will take you on the ride of your life around Mt. Mayon and the gorgeous scenery below.
Visit the ruins, ride along the river, check out some free flowing lava- it’s really an unforgettable experience.
There are plenty of tours to choose, some lasting 45-minutes and others lasting 4 hours! No matter your skill, experience, or age, the tour leaders will find a way to comfortably accommodate you.
Fun Fact: Zac Efron went on an ATV tour with Your Brother Travel and Tours when he was last in Manila for a concert.
9. Pacific Mall
Get an everyday local experience by shopping or perusing at Pacific Mall.
Although the mall isn’t massive, you can find any basics you need here: flip flops, backpacks, sunscreen, etc.
There’s also a Robinson’s Supermarket so you can stock up on snacks and toiletries, too.
But the real reason to visit the Pacific Mall is the food! There are plenty of small food stands selling Filipino and western (ish) food, along with pots of authentic Legazpi dishes where you can point and choose what you’d like.
10. Lignon Hill Nature Park
Up a 156-meter high hill in Legazpi City, you’ll find only the most carefree, spontaneous, and brave souls ready to take on some adventure.
Jump on the 320-meter long zipline where you’ll soar down the mountain with an incredible view of Mt. Mayon on your left and the green grassy plains far below.
Lignon Hill Nature Park is up so high that it offers a breathtaking 360-degree view of the valley and is the perfect place to watch the sunset and sunrise.
You can hike up the steep hill anytime you’d like with the Kapit Tuko Trail (Lizard Grip Trail) taking just 10 minutes- but I must warn you, it’s a challenge.
11. Bar 101
If you’re looking for a little nightlife in Legazpi City, you’ve got to go to Bar 101. This is the spot where locals go to play billiards next to a huge backdrop of the Beatles, listen to live music under fluorescent lights, get loose on the dance floor, visit the private karaoke room and drink some cold beers with some friendly strangers.
Technically, you’re not supposed to smoke here but it seems that no one really follows that rule.
Open until midnight!
12. Albay Park and Wildlife
Albay Park and Wildlife has everything a family, couple, or even a solo traveler would need to have an unforgettable day.
With over 300 animals belonging to 75 different species, there is a lot to see here.
You’ll find the rare Philippine Hawk Eagle, iguanas, pythons, deer, pigs, crocodiles and more.
A very interesting feature here is a museum with embalmed animals like a two-headed baby Carabao and a Megamouth Shark.
Rent a bicycle and tour the park which offers shady trees that are perfect for when you need a rest.
Take a small boat out on the lagoon, rent a cottage for a nap or overnight stay, or even go fishing on designated days.
13. Albay Capitol Atrium Art Gallery
Get in touch with your inner art critic at Albay Capitol Atrium Art Gallery.
While the space is small, the talented exhibitions fill it easily.
You’ll see work from local artists in many different forms.
There are paintings and photographs, live music, body art, and sometimes you’ll catch an artist in the act of creating a masterpiece right before your eyes.
This is a perfect place to go and chat with local artists who are more than happy to socialize with museum-goers.
14. Bob Marlin Restaurant
Down on Rizal Avenue is Bob Marlin Restaurant that serves local style of Filipino food called ‘Bicolano’ as well as, traditional Filipino and Western dishes- there’s something here for everyone.
Try Ziggy’s Sisig Krispy for the best sisig you’ve ever had or the Kare Kare with oxtail and Beef Laman for a traditional dish you’ll never forget.
This is your chance to try true Filipino food!
The atmosphere here is super laidback where you can just rock up and have a seat.
If you’re rolling in a big group, feel free to call ahead to reserve a table.
If you’ve looking to have a party in Legazpi with catered food, Bob Marlin Restaurant has got your back.
15. Legazpi Boulevard
Yes, Legazpi Boulevard offers stunning views of Mt. Mayon across a glistening lake that reflects the sunset in the evening, but there is so much more to be enjoyed.
Sit down at one of the many restaurants and cafes that line the boulevard with gorgeous views, go on a 3 kilometer run, or join in on some of the cities athletic events that take place here like the Mayon Triathalon, Ultramarathon, and dragon boat festivals.