Sky’s the limit! Trails and peaks in Bicol you should try out

Maria Leonor Euna Regaspi

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Sky’s the limit! Trails and peaks in Bicol you should try out
Bicol is home to beautiful mountains and terrains that are perfect for those seeking the thrill of the outdoors!

MANILA, Philippines – After taking you on a tour of Bicol’s best beaches, the sky’s the limit for the second leg of our Bicol adventure: the region’s best trails and peaks! 

Home to mountains and terrains, this region in the south of Luzon is perfect for adventurers seeking the thrill of the outdoors.

From an isolated hideaway, to a beginner climb, to the Magayon trio and an unspoiled wonder, this list will convince you to pack your bags and reach for the skies this summer szn – or whenever you feel like it. 

Kiudkad – The Last Resort

KiudKad is located “in the middle of nowhere” in Barangay San Ramon, Siruma, Camarines Sur. Despite its name, the place is not a resort but an artist commune managed by the “Daldagoons.”

This hideaway is the perfect destination if you want to escape the city and go off the grid. From trekking to surfing, you can enjoy ridge to reef activities while in isolation from the rest of the world. You can also try camping, trail biking, motorcycle trail riding, snorkeling, free diving, scuba diving, kayaking, island hopping, and fishing.

Strictly by reservation, KiudKad is only two hours away from Naga City by land. Most roads are concrete, but there’s a 7-km muddy trail on the latter part, so come prepared. 4×4 vehicles are recommended, with high ground clearance and terrain tires for the difficult path to Kiudkad. If you’re feeling more adventurous, dirt bikes are the way to go.

For accommodation, there are two solar-powered houses and two campsites in the place. Each cabin offers exclusive access to the beach and the pleasures that come with it, such as picnic spots, as well as a functional kitchen, running water, and a toilet. The Blackhaws can host 10 people at once – the same as the campsites – while the Brownhaus can accommodate eight people. There are also cozy cabanas, electrical outlets, a grill and food prep area, a shared toilet and shower, and utility water.

The cherry on top: there’s WiFi in case you need it! But just between us? I think you won’t. 

For more information, check out KiudKad’s official Facebook page to plan out your visit.

Buhawi Hills

Perfect for beginners, Buhawi Hills rises 330 meters above sea level in Panganiran, Pio Duran, Albay. You only have to go another 7 km from the town proper to reach the jumpoff point.

The trek is a two to three-hour climb to the top, which will bless you with a picturesque 360° view of the place’s mountain ranges. The lush greenery will surely make the hike worth it, topped by the perfect orange and yellow hues from the sunrise and sunset.

Photo from Albay Government website

Those who brave the journey, whether by themselves or with like-minded souls, can stay overnight to watch the stars and enjoy the wonders of nature. But make sure to bring the essentials such as camping gear, water, food, and extra clothes for the most enjoyable experience.

Now, how do you get there? From Legazpi City in Albay, ride a jeepney to Ligao City. After arriving at the terminal, ride another jeepney to Pio Duran and stop at Brgy. Caratagan Barangay Hall to register and ask for a local guide to Buhawi Hills. From there, ride a habal-habal towards the jumpoff point.

Magayon Trio

Composed of the three highest peaks in Albay, the “Magayon Trio” is something you shouldn’t miss if you are into mountaineering. Magayon is a Bicolano word that means beautiful. Expect no less because this trio surely got its fair share when the heavens rained with beauty.

The highest of them is the world-famous Mayon Volcano at 2,463 meters above sea level. The hike, which starts at the PHIVOLCS office in Tabaco, Albay, takes around three days to finish. The trail can get extreme – loose and steep – so prepare yourself.

MAYON VOLCANO. Photo from Bicol Tourism

The view at the top is a sight for sore eyes. Aside from the abundant greenery, bodies of water, and the excellent view of the sunrise and sunset, some of Bicol’s other peaks can be seen at the summit — Mt. Isarog on the northwest, Bulusan Volcano on the eastern side, and the province of Catanduanes northeast.

But tread lightly as Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines. For your safety, watch out for advisories and travel requirements before climbing Mayon.

The second of the trio is Mt. Malinao, which stands at 1,450 meters above sea level. It takes one to two days to climb, starting at Brgy. Tanawan, Malinao. From the Filipino word malinaw or clear, Malinao is blessed with clear, enchanting waters. One proof is the Vera Falls, which rests on the mountain’s slopes.

Surrounded by lush forests like Mt. Isarog and with a caldera rim similar to Mt. Asog or Mt. Mariveles, Mt. Malinao is perfect for day hikes and overnight climbs.

Unlike Mayon, Malinao remains a potentially active volcano, so there is no need to worry about unprecedented eruptions.

Travel to Legazpi City from Manila by land or air, then take a jeep or van to Tabaco City. From there, you can ride a jeep or tricycle to Brgy. Tanawan in Malinao.

For your safety and everyone’s peace of mind, coordinate with the local guides and register at the barangay hall before climbing to the top.

MT. MALINAO. Photo from Albay Tourism

The third highest peak is Mt. Masaraga. The journey starts at Sitio Sabluyon, Brgy. Amtic, Ligao City. Like Mt. Malinao, the hike takes one to two days as it is a major climb.

At the top, one can gaze at the stunning Mayon Volcano and marvel at the spectacular view of Mt. Isarog, Mt. Asog, and Lake Buhi. Great for both day and overnight hikes, the trail gets steeper to the top, but the view makes up for it.

To get there, go to Ligao City then ask for a jeepney to Sitio Sabluyon, Brgy. Amtic in Tabaco. It is a must to register at the city hall/police station before the climb. Come prepared with ropes and other hiking gear to make you feel as comfortable as possible on your adventure.

Mt. Labo

Mt. Labo is the pride of Camarines Norte at 1,544 meters above sea level. It is the highest point in the province, which rests at the boundary of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and Quezon. Amazingly, the mountain has preserved its pristine state despite being subjected to geothermal explorations in the past.

The jumpoff point for the climb is in Sitio Butan, Brgy. San Isidro, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Camarines Norte. It takes six hours from there to reach the campsite, where you have two options: climb back down or stay the night. 

If you choose the latter, you can continue your journey to the summit early the next day, where you will be blessed with diverse flora and fauna along the way. Endemic to the mountain, you might even be lucky to get a glimpse of the famed Rafflesia flower.

From Naga City, get to the jumpoff point to start the adventure and, as usual, make sure to come equipped: be physically fit, bring essentials (food, water, medicine, etc.), ropes, and other necessary gear.

To get the most out of Bicol’s tourism and the region’s many wonders, watch out for the latest IATF Alert Levels and Travel Advisory for tourist entry rules and requirements per province.

As cliche as it sounds, the most difficult paths lead to the most beautiful destinations. There’s nothing like being on top of the world, so this is your sign to chase that high and leave behind your lows. Take a step forward today! –

Traveling soon? Treat yourself to a nature getaway using this Klook promo code.

Euna Regaspi is a Rappler intern.

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