Welcome to some tourist spots in Albay, Philippines
After 11 years, we went back again to explore the hoyop-hoyopan cave, wonder about the Cagsawa ruins and just be amazed by the beauty of the Philippines’ perfectly cone-shaped Mt. Mayon. But this time, I can now really experience the adventure, especially in the Hoyop-hoyopan cave (and also not vomit inside the car). Since 11 years earlier when I was just nine years old, I was left out with my brother and other younger cousins in the waiting area which is in the hut a few meters from the cave entrance, while my older siblings and cousins venture inside the cave.
I can still remember wondering what it’s like in a cave and feel the goosebumps of pure childish horror after hearing the tales of my older brother about the bats that dwells inside the cave.
MODE OF TRANSPORTATION (From Nabua to Legaspi City, Albay)
Bus – Php 80.00 depends if air conditioned or not (ordinary bus)
Van – Php 80.00
Jeepney – Php 7.00
** We have our own ride so we had no problem with transportation
First stop: Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga, Albay
History of the Church
To all who have seen it, when you picture the church it’s almost inevitable not to put the perfectly cone-shaped Mt. Mayon in retrospect, but rarely the other way around.
The Cagsawa Ruins is the outcome of the once fortified stonewalled Cagsawa Church with all its people praying inside being buried by the lava of the Mt. Mayon eruption in 1814. Leaving only its bell tower to tell the tale.
With only its bell tower remaining, you can always see the picture of the Cagsawa ruins with a backdrop of the picture of Mt. Mayon. Since the famed volcano is quite visible around the area and perfectly accentuated the Cagsawa ruins.
How to get there
If you’re all the way from Nabua, ride a bus bound to Polangui, then hail a tricycle to get you to Cagsawa Ruins.
Note: There’s a Php 10.00 entrance fee per head
Other things to try
ATV Ride – Php 400.00 Cagsawa ruins to the foot of Mt. Volcano or a 1-hour ride
Souvenir Shops, and Sili Shake
Next stop: We kiss the sky in Mayon Skyline in Tabaco City, Albay.
Mayon Skyline Deck View
More than 1-hr drive from Cagsawa Ruins and a whirlwind of climbing up when you reach the starting point of the sign to the Skyline. I advise having your own car when you go to Mayon Skyline because of the long ride up and difficult turns. But once you reach your destination, the crazy ride up doesn’t matter. You can view half of Albay and the Albay Gulf from the Mayon Skyline View Deck.
There’s no entrance fee to go to the Mayon Skyline View Deck, but if you want to go inside the science center you have to pay Php 10.00. And unlike any other tourist spots, the food near the vicinity is not pricey. You can buy a Turon for Php15.00 and bottled water for Php10.00. You also have to pay Php 5.00 to use comfort rooms.
There’s also a small church, Heart of Jesus, a little further up, just a few steps. You can see it down the Mayon Skyline Park. If you want to go there, it’s a good place to meditate and connect with the Creator.
It’s free to enter, you only have to pay for a Php5.00 candle if you want to lit one and said your prayer.
Next stop: Hoyop – hoyopan Cave in Camalig, Albay.
Hoyop – Hoyopan Cave
Two hospitable and talkative tour guide greeted us at the cave entrance. They check first if we are in the right condition to venture inside a cave and gave us a briefing on what we will encounter and the condition inside the cave, and that we should wear some hiking shoes or something that’s good for a slippery path.
But unlike 11 years ago, we don’t need any gears(like safety helmets and flashlights or torch) since the inside of the cave is already lit with electric lights, which is a slight disappointment on my part since I’m looking forward to some thrill.
Just like any other cave, the ceiling of the Hoyop-Hoyopan is composed of crystal-like structures of stalagmite and stalactite making it uneven, wherein some parts are really low that you have to duck or crawl on your knees. And just like any other cave, it’s also unique, based on its name “Hoyop – hoyopan”, a Bicol term which means ‘blowing it repeatedly’ in English. Because you can feel the cold air blowing inside, making the cave colder.
Just a few walks from the entrance, there’s a hand-like stalagmite which according to our guides serves as a wishing station to explorers like us. And to make a wish, you have to place your forehead on the structure and make your wish silently, and never ever tell it to others. Or else it won’t come true.
There’s I think more than five small rooms which are just slightly bigger than the office cubicle. Which according to our guides, was made by Filipino guerillas during WW2. And there should also be utensils in the rooms but the government recover the utensils and other objects found inside the cave and place it at the museum as an artifact. But if you go there, you can still see the mark left by the utensils. You can also find a dance floor circular in shape made by the nearby community during the martial law in the Philippines, which serves as a secret place to start a party especially if it’s after curfew hours by that time.
Some residents from nearby area use Hoyop-Hoyopan cave as an evacuation area during calamities like typhoons and earthquakes, especially during Mt. Mayon eruption. There’s a hole as big as a coconut shell were evacuees looked to check if the situation is okay already.
For only Php 25 – 30 entrance fee. It sure is a very cheap price for a mystical place with great history. Great for adventure seekers on a budget.
But if you want to extend your experience, the tour guide said there’s another cave that you can discover before the exit but to go there you have to crawl. The other cave which is an underground cave can be access by a small boat and explorers are permitted to swim in the water. It has a Php 200.00++ something entrance fee.