City of Legazpi in Albay is known as the city of fun and adventure. But what can we expect from this town aside from the thrilling and nerve-wracking adventure experiences it can offer? The city was named after Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish conquistador who was the first Governor-General of Spanish East Indies. It is also the center of tourism, arts and culture, commerce, education, and entertainment in Albay. It was raining during my first day in the city but I didn’t make it a reason not to go out and check what Legazpi can offer. I got out of my room with my camera and my hoodie jacket visiting the attractions of the city one by one.
ALBAY PROVINCIAL CAPITOL
My City tour started at Albay Provincial Capitol where the Magayon Art Gallery is housed. For the month of February, the gallery featured the Ladawan Ko (Self-Portrait Show) displaying superb arts by Legazpi artists. The gallery is located at the capitol’s atrium. Across the capitol building is the Peñaranda Park where the statue of Jose Maria Peñaranda can be found. He is a military engineer who strengthened the province’s forts and offshore defenses against pirate raids, built roads and bridges, and helped with the construction of the Provincial Capitol and Cathedral of San Gregorio Magno.
Trylon Monument is located at the intersection of Quezon and Rizal avenues. The monument is a mark of respect to the Filipino rebels led by Antonio Reyes who bravely fought the American soldiers of the third battalion of the 47th Infantry headed by Br.Gen. William A. Kobie on January 23, 1900.
ST. RAPHAEL CHURCH
St. Raphael Church, also known as the Church of Legazpi, was built in 1834 through the generosity of Pedro Romero. From 1587 to 1616, the spiritual administration of Legazpi was under Cagsaua. The church together with several houses was burned in 1754. The Mayon Volcano eruption on February 1, 1814, destroyed the new church and half of the town. In 1856, the old name Pueblo Viejo was officially changed to Legazpi. A monument outside of the church was built in memory of the unborn with the “Thou shalt not kill” printed on the bottom.
ALBAY PARK AND WILDLFE
From St. Raphael Church, I took a jeepney ride to Albay Park and Wildlife where different species of snakes, birds, fowls, and other animals are being taken care of. An entrance fee of 20 pesos is being collected at the entrance and the operation hours start from 8AM to 6PM daily. Aside from the animals, the park also offers recreational activities such as biking and boating. Cottages are also available for families and group of friends for picnic purposes.
Albay Park and Wildlife is located at the foot of Ligñon Hill. The hill is known for as the 360-degree adventure zone of Legazpi. The site is famous for a zip line and a hanging bridge. Different attractions such as the Japanese Tunnel, Kapit Tuko Trail, and the Ligñon Hill Observatory are also available. A sweeping 360-degree view of Legazpi is waiting at the view deck of the hill.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE SHRINE
A 5-minute ride away from Pacific Mall is the Guadalupe Shrine. Located at Buraguis, the shrine was completed on December 8, 1995, through the initiative of Dean Nenita Goncena. It depicts the Stations of the Cross with human-sized statues starting at the bottom of the hill through its slope going to the top. On top is a 20-foot image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Adjacent to Trylon Monument is the Headless Monument located in front of the Post office near Legazpi Tourist Inn. The monument was built in honor of the Filipinos who died during World War II.
EMBARCADERO AND KAPUNTUKAN HILL
Located in Victory Village is the premier waterfront lifestyle hub in Legazpi. Open from 10 AM until 12MN, it gives local and foreign tourists an array of lifestyle options – dining, shopping, or entertainment. It is the perfect place to unwind, relax, and have fun. The establishment faces the Legazpi Bay and Kapuntukan Hill, also known as the “Sleeping Lion”. During late afternoon, Legazpi Boulevard is flocked by locals to unwind with food vendors available selling fish balls, kwek-kwek, and others. A free shuttle going to Embarcadero is available near the Trylon monument.
Visiting those places explains clearly that aside from the majestic beauty of Mayon Volcano, Legazpi City has a lot to offer to local and foreign tourists.