All you need to know about Bicol
At the southernmost end of Luzon island, the Bicol region has six provinces composed of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate.
Why it’s more fun in Bicol
Swimming with whale sharks (known locally as butanding), the world’s largest fish, is the activity most people associate with this part of the world, but there’s plenty more outdoorsy fun to be had in the Bicol region – both on the water and on land. And when you need to relax, there’s a lot of scope for that on the white-sand beaches.
Masbate Island Lorenz Narbs
Culture & Food
The Bicol Region has an array of cultural sites that showcase its rich history. Originally descended from incomers from China, the inhabitants of Bicol often mix Chinese, Arab and Spanish ancestry, and most are devout Catholics.
Bicol is also famed for its spicy food, which is based largely on coconut and chillies – as evidenced in the likes of gulay na lada or Bicol Express (pork and local chillies cooked in coconut cream). Other dishes not to miss are laing (taro leaves with meat or seafood in coconut milk, spiced with chilli, lemongrass and more) and local specialities featuring local pili nuts.
Top Events & Festivals
- Tinagba Festival, Iriga City – February
A harvest thanksgiving including parades, street dancing and sporting challenges.
- Ibalong Festival, Legazpi – August
A celebration of a local legend, with masked and costumed reconstructions of classic battles.
- Peñafrancia Festival, Naga – September
A barge procession, fireworks and more, celebrating Bicol’s patron, Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
Tropical, without pronounced dry and wet seasons in the western and southern areas and no dry season in the eastern and northern areas. The average temperature throughout the year ranges from about of 27°C to 30°C. Minimum monthly rainfall occurs from March to May.
Check out the weather today in Bicol
Top 10 things to do in Bicol
Whale Sharks Sam Kolder
1. Whale Sharks
See and snorkel near whale sharks in Donsol in Sorsogon.
Go island-hopping and snorkelling around Caramoan and its islands in the east of Bicol.
Surf on Catanduanes Island and swim in its waterfalls and lagoons.
Caramoan Caloy Llamas
4. Visit a Volcano
Take an escorted tour by ATV to the active volcano Mount Mayon.
5. Explore Legazpi
Explore Bicol’s main city, Legazpi, with its Franciscan church, Spanish pier and Japanese tunnels.
6. Cagsawa Ruins
Tour the Cagsawa Ruins – the atmospheric remnants of a 16th-century Franciscan church.
7. Quitinday Underground River
Take a boat-ride through the Quitinday Underground River, a natural cave system.
8. Daraga Church
Visit the imposing Daraga Church, set on a hilltop against a backdrop of Mayon volcano.
9. Zip-line at Lignon Hill Nature Park
Head for Lignon Hill Nature Park with its zip-line, hiking trail and valley views.
10. Albay Park and Wildlife
Relax in Albay Park and Wildlife with its bike hire, lagoon boating and fishing.
Where to stay in Bicol
Bicol: The most popular places to stay in Bicol are the business centres of Naga, Legazpi, Tabaco, Daet, Iriga, Sorsogon, Donsol and Masbate, with generally simple, clean and affordable accommodation including homestays.
Naga and Legazpi: have some upmarket options.
Albay: For an upscale beach holiday experience, there’s the luxury Misibis Bay Resort & Spa on Cagraray Island in Albay.
Casa Simeon Albay
Getting there & away
There are short flights (roughly 75-90mins) from Manila to Legazpi in Albay, Naga City in Camarines Sur, Virac on Catanduanes and Masbate island. CALABARZON’s Quezon province is also a gateway to Bicol.
By road, it’s about 475km/9hrs 30mins from Manila to Legazpi. Buses, jeepneys and cars are popular means of getting around the region.
More travel info
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Wake up in Bicol
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Book a holiday
Dreaming of heading to the Philippines? Plan your next adventure and book your ultimate Philippines holiday today. Check out some of the great packages that are currently on offer from tour operators below.
Grand Tour of the Philippines
Grand tour of the Philippines’ is a comprehensive 23-day exploration of the most important islands in the Philippine archipelago. Visit the famous rice terraces, picturesque Negos, Bohol and Cebu islands taking in both history and pristine beaches.
23 days from £4,785pp
Classic Tour of the Philippines
Culturally and geographically removed from the rest of Southeast Asia, this green archipelago is best known for its pristine beaches. Spend time in the capital city of Manila, trek to an Ifugao village or visit the stunning rice terraces of Banaue.
15 days from £3,725pp
Philippines Northern Explorer & Beach Escape
Explore the majestic scenery of the north and gain a real insight into the traditional cultures and warm hospitality of the Philippines. Tour highlights include the stunning Banaue rice terraces, Sagada’s ‘hanging coffins’ and Boracay’s white-sand beaches
13 days from £1,879pp
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