A Backpacker’s Guide to the Bicol Region: Albay, Catanduanes, CamSur & Sorsogon

diy backpacking guide to bicol region

Located in the southernmost part of Luzon island, the Bicol Region is famous for its whale sharks, pristine islands, breathtaking waterfalls, mouthwatering foods, friendly residents, and active volcanoes. With its breathtaking landscapes, underrated tourist attractions, cultural sites, and amazing historical discoveries, I must say that Bicol must be part of your bucket list when traveling around the Philippines. 

As I wandered around the region for 6 days and 5 nights, I truly fell in love with its beauty. It has its own charm that differs from other regions or places that I have visited across the country. I have been dreaming of exploring and going backpacking around the Bicol Region for a long time, and I am so grateful that it has finally come true! Truthfully, it made me quite emotional as I was exploring the region. Going backpacking is one of my favorite parts of traveling across the region, which I haven’t done since the pandemic.

camarines sur island hopping tour

In this blog, find out why Bicol is a must-visit region in the Philippines as I walk you through some of the best places that it offers. Apart from the popular Mayon Volcano in Albay, there is so much more to see in the Bicol Region. Here’s an ultimate backpacking guide to the Bicol Region with a bonus of a sample itinerary and expenses. 

Where is the Bicol Region located? 

The Bicol Region is designated as Region V and is located at the southernmost end of Luzon (the largest island in the Philippines). Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Catanduanes, and Masbate are the six provinces that make up the region.

Legazpi is the largest city in the Bicol Region, which is the capital of Albay. Meanwhile, Camarines Sur is the largest province in the area, while Catanduanes Island is the smallest island province in the region. Locals from the Bicol region are called Bicolanos, whose mother tongue is the Bikol language, which falls under four major groups of language.

How to get to the Bicol Region?

There are two ways to get to Bicol: by air or by road. Legazpi, Naga, and Virac have their own airports. If you travel by plane, travel time is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. Either way, you can reach the province by bus, which takes you around 10 hours or so.

By Air 

From Manila to Legazpi, Sorsogon, and Virac, you can book a flight via Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, or Cebgo Airlines. 

By Bus

From Manila, there are buses from Cubao or Pasay that travel to Bicol daily. Buses are bound for Legazpi, Naga, and Sorsogon.

Top Places to Visit in Bicol for 6D5N

If you plan to go backpacking around the Bicol region, here is an example travel guide to the Bicol region for 6 days and 5 nights. Check out some of the places to see and visit, things to do, and where to eat during our backpacking around the region.

Catanduanes Island

  • Bato Church
  • Bote Lighthouse
  • Maribina Falls
  • Binurong Point
  • Puraran Beach

How to get to Catanduanes Island from Legazpi, Albay?

From Legazpi, take any public transport bound for the SM Legazpi terminal. Then, take a van heading to Tabaco port. From Tabaco port, take a ferry bound for Catanduanes Island. The ferry is either bound for San Andres port or Virac port. 

Caramoan Islands, Camarines Sur

  • Bag-ing
  • Cagbanilad
  • Catanhawan
  • Cotivas
  • Lahos
  • Lahuy
  • Matukad
  • Minalahos
  • Pitogo
  • Sabitang-Laya

How to get to the Caramoan Islands from Catanduanes Island?

From Catanduanes Island, you need to rent a private boat from Codon Port. Codon Port is the starting point of the island hopping tour to the Caramoan Islands.

Legazpi City, Albay

  • Mayon Skyline ATV Adventures
  • Cagsawa Ruins
  • Cagsawa Church
  • Farm Plate

Getting around Legazpi City

Getting around the city is very accessible. If you want to travel around the city without breaking the bank. You can either take a tricycle or jeepney while wandering around the city. 

Sorsogon City

  • Bulusan Lake
  • Barcelona Ruins
  • Barcelona Church

How to get to Sorsogon from Legazpi City? 

From Legazpi City, take any public transport heading to SM Legazpi Terminal. Then, take a van bound for Sorsogon. Tell the driver to drop you off at SM Sorsogon. Travel time is around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Take note that you can do so much more in each of the provinces. In our case, we wanted to stay longer in every place that we visited. That’s why we didn’t really bother visiting a lot of places. I think it is also a sign of aging, wherein we get tired easily. Lol.

6D5N Bicol Region Travel Guide with Itinerary & Expenses

If you are also planning to go backpacking around the Bicol region, you may want to follow this sample itinerary which is good for six days and five nights. This also gives you an idea of how much budget you should bring with you for the entire Bicol region backpacking trip.

Day 1 – Catanduanes Island

07:30 AMArrive at Bicol International Airport
07:40 AMDepart to Tabaco Port
08:30 AMArrive at Tabaco Port
09:00 AMDepart for Catanduanes Island
11:00 AMArrive at San Andres Port
11:10 AMMeet up with the Tour Guide (Kuya Michael)
11:15 AMProceed to Virac
11:45 AMCheck-in at our hostel
12:30 PMHead out for lunch
01:00 PMHalf day tour (this includes Bato Church, Bote Lighthouse, and Maribina Falls)
05:00 PMGo back to our hostel
06:00 PMDinner
07:00 PMGo back to our hostel
08:00 PMFree time, rest

Day 2 – Caramoan Island

07:00 AMPrepare for our tour
08:00 AMBreakfast
08:30 AM
Proceed to Codon Port (Gateway to Caramoan Islands)
09:00 AMArrive at the port
09:10 AMLeave for Caramoan Islands
10:00 AMStart of island hopping tours around the Caramoan Islands
03:00 PMEnd of Caramoan Island Hopping Tour
03:50 PMArrive at the port
04:00 PMHead back to Virac, Back to the hostel
05:00 PMOut for dinner
07:00 PMHead back to the hostel
08:00 PMLights off

Day 3 – Catanduanes Island

04:00 AM
Catch the sunrise at Binurong Point
05:00 AMArrive at the registration office
05:30 AMTrek to Binurong Point
06:00 AMArrive at the Binurong Point, Photo-op, Sightseeing
08:00 AMBack to the registration office
08:30 AMRest
09:00 AMHead to Puraran Beach
09:30 AMArrive at the Puraran Beach
10:00 AMLunch
11:00 AMBack to Virac
12:00 PMHead to San Andres Port
12:30 PMArrive at the port
01:00 PMLeave for Tabaco Port
04:00 PMArrive at Tabaco Port
04:30 PMHead to Legazpi Terminal
05:00 PMArrive at Legazpi Terminal, Proceed to our hostel
05:10 PMCheck-in to our hostel
05:20 PMDinner, free time

Day 4 – Legazpi, Albay

07:00 AMBreakfast
08:00 AMHead to Cagsawa
08:30 AMArrive at Cagsawa, Mayon Skyline
08:40 AMOrientation for Mayon ATV Adventure
09:00 AMStart of Mayon ATV Adventures
11:00 AMEnd of ATV fun
11:20 AMHead over to Cagsawa Ruins
11:30 AMSightseeing around Cagsawa
12:00 PMLunchtime
01:00 PMBack to hostel, rest
04:00 PM
Proceed to Farmplate
04:30 PMArrive at the Farmplate, sightseeing
06:00 PMDinner
07:00 PMHead back to the hostel
07:30 PMRest

Day 5 – Sorsogon

07:00 AMBreakfast
07:30 AMOut for another tour
07:40 AMArrive at the Legazpi Terminal
08:00 AMLeave for Sorsogon
09:00 AMArrive at SM Sorsogon Terminal
09:30 AMLeave for Bulusan
10:30 AMArrive at Bulusan
10:40 AMHead to Irosin
11:00 AMArrive at Bulusan Lake, Lunch
12:30 PMStart of Bulusan Lake Tour
01:30 PM
End of Bulusan Lake Tour
01:40 PMBack to Bulusan
02:00 PMHead to Barcelona
02:40 PM
Arrive in Barcelona, go sightseeing
03:20 PMHead back to SM Sorsogon Terminal
04:00 PMDepart to Legazpi
05:00 PMArrive at Legazpi Terminal
05:10 PMRoam around SM Legazpi
05:30 PMHead back to hostel
07:00 PMDinner at SM Legazpi
08:00 PMBack to the hostel
08:10 PMFree time

Day 6 – Back to Manila

07:00 AMBreakfast
07:30 AMCheck out at our hostel
08:00 AMGo to the airport
08:30 AMArrive at the airport
10:00 AMLeave for Manila

Budget for a 6D5N Bicol Region Backpacking Trip

bicol region itinerary with budget

Kindly note that prices are subject to change and that this budget is for two people. The breakdown of expenses could change depending on how many of you are traveling. This budget doesn’t include food expenses because we mostly splurged on food.

Day 1

  • Bicol International Airport to SM Terminal: Php 220
  • SM Terminal to Tabaco Port:  Php 76
  • Terminal Fee: Php 30
  • Ferry to Catanduanes Island: Php 300
  • Hostel for 3days and 2nights: Php 2000/2
  • Lighthouse Tour Guide: Php 260
  • Habal habal tour guide: Php 1500/2

Day 2

  • Caramoan Island Hopping Tour (Day Tour): Php 2000/2
  • Habal habal ride: Php 1200/2

Day 3 

  • Habal habal tour guide: Php 750/2
  • Binurong Point Entrance Fee: Php 150
  • Ferry: Php 300
  • Terminal Fee: Php 10
  • Environmental Fee: Php 6
  • Tabaco Port to Van Terminal: Php 20
  • Terminal to SM Legazpi: Php 50
  • SM Legazpi to Aurelle Inn: Php 25
  • Hostel (3D2N): Php 1950 (per pax)

Day 4

  • Aurelle Inn to the Main Road: Php 10 (ride a tricycle or not)
  • Jeep to Cagsawa Ruins: Php (Busay) 20
  • ATV Black Lava: Php 1850
  • Mayon Black Lava Entrance Fee: Php 50
  • Tour Guide: Php 200
  • Zipline Fee: Php 300
  • Tricycle to Ruins: Php 15
  • Busay to Aurelle Inn: Php 15
  • Jeep to Busay: Php 20 (drop off at Caltex Gas Station)
  • Tricycle to Farmplate: Php 25
  • Farmplate Entrance Fee: Php 75

Day 5

  • Aurelle Inn to SM Legazpi: Php 20
  • Van to SM Sorsogon: Php 140
  • SM Sorsogon to Busulan: Php 63
  • Bulusan to Irosin: Php 30
  • Bulusan Lake Tour: Php 170
  • Bulusan to Terminal: Php 75 (ride a habal habal)
  • Bus Bulusan to Barcelona: Php 36
  • Barcelona to SM Sorsogon: Php 56
  • SM Sorsogon to SM Legazpi: Php 140
  • SM Legazpi to Aurelle Inn: Php 20

Day 6

  • Tricycle to Airport: Php 500/2

Total Expenses: Php 10,614

FAQs

Is it safe to travel around Bicol?

Yes, it is safe to travel around Bicol. Most of the locals are very approachable and helpful whenever you ask for directions or anything you need to know about the place itself.

When is the best time to visit the Bicol Region?

April is the best time to visit Bicol since this is the driest month of the year. The perfect time would be around April to May. 

Is the internet connection good in Bicol?

Definitely! The internet connection is pretty much stable around the region. You won’t have any problems with connecting your data to your phone while traveling around the area.

Is it worth visiting the Bicol region?

Yes! It is worth visiting the region. The fact that it is not so expensive to travel around the place, the locals are very kind, and the food totally tastes good! I would really love to keep coming back to this place.

Where to stay in Legazpi, Albay?

We stayed at Aurelle Inn during our entire stay in Legazpi, Albay. The hostel is just 5 minutes away from SM City Legazpi. The cost is about Php 1200 per night, which is already good for two pax. With free breakfast!

Where to stay in Virac, Catanduanes?

We stayed in Rakdell Inn during our stay in Virac. It only cost us around Php 1000 per night. Location wise, it is very accessible since it is just located in the town.

Do I need a tour guide when traveling around the region?

Not necessarily. You can mostly do DIY backpacking. On the other hand, you may need to avail a package for ATV Mayon Volcano adventure and hire a tour guide on Catanduanes Island. For reference, you may reach out the following:

It has been a dream to have finally visited and gone backpacking around Bicol region. This is definitely one for the books. I’d love to come back and stay longer next time! If you are planning to visit the region soon, I hope this ultimate travel guide helps! 

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About the Author

Ara Patria

A half-travel blogger in the Philippines (based in Cavite) and a half-K-pop enthusiast, Ara Patria (The Adventuress) pursues her passion and love for traveling. She’s been blogging for years, where she writes about her own travel experiences and promotes the wonders of the Philippines. Not only does she promote the beauty of her country, but she also focuses on promoting sustainable tourism. She dreams to travel the world and inspire other people through her own written works and captured moments with her camera.

The Adventuress is a travel blogger with a purpose. She aims to inspire other people through her personal experiences, stories, and lenses. Outside her blogging world, she is an English teacher, an SEO specialist, and TEFL/TESOL certified.

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