Energized by my venture into Albay, I was pumped into looking for my next destination. After scouring the net, this beach in Sisiman, Bataan kept calling to me. And as we say here in the Philippines, I’m very agreeable so I packed my bag and spent a weekend there.
Sisiman’s beach is rocky and even has hardened lava in some sections. Although sandwiched by two factories, the beachfront itself is a beauty and the local community surrounding it is charming in its own way. Fishing and making dried fish appear to be the main livelihood. Videoke is very much alive as early as 7 am too! Hahaha 😀
Until now, pitching tents there is free, and the local community also rent cottages for a minimal fee. Toilet and bathroom are communal, and they charge per pail.
The best time to go here is either by sunrise or sunset; it looks like it gets pretty crowded later on in the day. In fact, groups of people started arriving by 7:30 am. Not by the busload, but it’s getting challenging to take decent landscape photos.
How to get there?
Take the bus going to Mariveles
Alight at Baseco
Take a tricycle–tell the driver to drop you off at Sisiman Beach.
No ATV rides, no sili ice cream, but it was still quite an experience.
I swore that this year, I’ll explore Philippines more, so one seat sale or so ago, I looked for a place to go to and decided on Albay. I want to see Mt. Mayon up close! But after this trip, I found gems, both in places and people. So enough with the narratives and on to the pictures!
Even if you end up sitting at the wrong side of the plane, you’ll still get a nice view of Mayon after the plane lands. One of the best runway views I’ve seen so far 🙂
Lignon Hill is just behind Legazpi Airport, so I hopped on to a tricycle right away. Manong was very helpful; he was actually teaching me where to go, how to go around and he practically got that I prefer experiencing the place like how locals do. He assured me that I, with no exercise at all and practically sits all day in the office, can reach Lignon Hill’s peak. He said he even jogs there in mornings. Okay then, I thought, I’m ready!
The road was paved, yes; you won’t get lost, yes; but it was steep. Not exaggerating here, but I was tempted to crawl up at some parts of the trek haha^^ I was that out of shape. Thankfully though, I was able to reach the peak and was rewarded with these views:
Lignon Hill boasts of a 360-degree view of the city. This is just a nice snapshot of Legazpi City. At the far end is Sleeping Lion, or Kapuntukan Hill.
It’s been a while since I last saw a bed of cosmos so I had to take a pic!
Mayon was practically covered, but the cloud formation surrounding it was pretty interesting. It’s as if it took the volcano’s shape
A lot of people were exercising there too and there was someone selling coconuts.
Lignon Hill has a minimal entrance fee after 9 am but it’s free in the mornings (and personally, considering how hot it can get later on in the day, mornings are the best time to go there).
After Lignon Hill, my next stop was Cagsawa Ruins. Two jeepney rides away from the foot of Lignon Hill, Cagsawa is hard to miss since there’s a sign pointing to the park. About half a kilometer’s walk and you’re already by the entrance. They charge a fee of 20 pesos and you’re free to stay there as long as you like.
There are plenty of souvenir shops and some restaurants inside, and I don’t really like to say this, but it’s a little too touristy for me. There are plenty of locals too offering to take pictures for visitors for a fee. What I appreciate about them is they just ask you once and then if you say no, they leave you alone. Here are shots of the bell tower, the church hall’s remnants and a rice field:
If I could, I would have waited til the clouds cleared away but it was starting to get hot when I got to the park
Here’s the path leading to the back of the bell tower.
Through the walls of Cagsawa church’s ruins
Mt. Mayon + rice fields, one of my favorite things to draw back in elementary school. It’s really something else seeing this sight up close^^
After about an hour, I headed back to Legazpi City to check out Starbucks in Ayala Mall Legazpi. I chose the seat with the best view of Mayon, but I wasn’t satisfied because a column was blocking the view. So no picture from there. After recharging, I headed to Embarcadero de Legazpi, but upon reaching the mall, I realized it’s not worth killing time here for the rest of the afternoon, so I did a quick research and stumbled upon Quitinday Hills. And I’m glad I chose to go to this place.
From Embarcadero, jeepneys going to Camalig pass by. So I got on one, and the jeepney driver guided me and had me alight at Sentro, where the tricycles are. The roundtrip fare costs PhP350 – 500 pesos, and the tricycle drivers will allow probably just 2 or even at most 3 per ride. It takes about half an hour before you reach the drop-off point. That half-hour though is through a grueling rough road, so as a tip, don’t eat too much before heading off to Quitinday, and make sure you don’t have stomach problems.
Quitinday is a relatively new attraction which boasts of two viewing points where you can see Mayon (and the rest of the hill formations as well). According to one of the locals, Quitinday is better than Chocolate Hills because you actually get to climb its hills, while with Chocolate Hills, you just get to see it from a viewing deck. From my trip, Quitinday is definitely my favorite stop. Why, you ask? Here’s why:
I wish I had time to check out Quitinday falls and Hoyop-hoyopan cave which was on the way, but I had to go back to Embarcadero to view the sunset and I had to be within Legazpi City so I won’t miss my flight back home. Still no luck seeing Mayon, and the sunset was on the other side of the port, but I still enjoyed the scenery.
After I had my fill of shots from the port, I had dinner at a local coffee shop then headed to the airport.