A true son of Camalig, I grew up in this rural town sitting idly at the foot of the majestic Mayon Volcano. Dubbed now as the heritage town of Albay, Camalig is slowly gaining popularity as an up-and-coming agro-ecotourism hotspot in Bicol.
- Learn about Camalig’s past.
Discovered in 1569 and founded as a parish and a town in 1579, Camalig’s rich history dates back from the time Capt. Luis Enriquez de Guzman; a Spanish official, reached the town in search for food supplies. He arrived at an already progressive community where inhabitants stored their farm products in grass-roofed huts called Kinamalig, hence the town’s name. Spaniards referred to it as Camarin, which later became the name of the neighboring provinces in Bicol.
- Take me to Church!
Camalig’s iconic St. John the Baptist church is one of the most impressive structures in the province. Made from volcanic rocks and local materials, it was recently declared by the National Museum of the Philippines as one of the Significant Structures of the Philippines under the category of Important Cultural Property last December 2016.
- Take a gander at Camalig’s beautiful ancestral homes.
Located at the town’s Poblacion, these Spanish colonial houses serve as time capsules of the past.
- Visit its natural wonders.
Camalig sits on a sprawling land mass composed of hilled terrains, caves and lakes.
a. Quituinan Hill is a perfect place for a quick respite. Atop the hill, one can do atv and horseback riding. It also makes a good campsite where one can marvel at the stars. You can also get a glimpse of Albay and its gulf while you are in Quituinan.
b. A little like Bohol’s Chocolate hills, Camalig’sQuitinday green hills captivates you with its rhythmic undulations. Best part of being here is the undivided view of Mayon amidst the green hills formation. Perf during sunrise and sunsets.
c. You’ve read about this in your Sibika at Kultura books. It’s now time for you to finally see all the stalagmite and stalactite formations in Hoyop-Hoyopan cave.
d. Unlike Hoyop-Hoyopan, Calabidongan Cave is more strenuous. Get ready to do some spelunking in order to discover this Cave of Bats. Calabidong is the Bicol translation for bats.
e. Camalig also has Solong caves and Japanese tunnels which you can trek with the help of guides from the town’s Tourism office.
f.Take a breather at Sumlang Lake while you lounge around the ingeniously made furniture pieces aboard the floating bamboo rafts. Catch Mayon Volcano again in its full glory while coasting in Sumlang Lake during sunset. <
- Shop for handicrafts and native products at Natural Carpet Industries and other pasalubong stores along the highway.
- Sample some Baligang.
Baligang(Jambolan Plum) is a fruit with a distinct purple to black color. Our version of berries, baligang is a favourite among locals and tourists looking for that sour taste (and salt, when you bathe it in salt)
- Cultivate the mind.
Raffi Banzuela’s titles include Camalig: IstoryaHistoryaMemorya, Durungan: MgaRawitDawit and Albay Viejo.
- Go on a hot date.
Visit a sili farm and be like Bert Gonzales. Camalig’s pride, Gonzales can eat 350 pieces of sili in three minutes making him Guinness book of World records’ Sili King. If you get a little overwhelmed by the labuyo, you can simply hang with the Sili King and take inspiration from his arts and illustrations.
- Eat’s special.
Equate Camalig with Bicol’s famous Pinangat because social media in this case is telling you the truth, putting Camalig at the center of Albay’s culinary spectacle. Camalig’sInulokan, Pili Nuts and Marcasotes(a classic sweet bread loaf specialty) are definite must-tries.
- Party with the locals.
Camalig celebrates its Pinangat Festival during the month of June, culminating on the 24th which is St. John the Baptist’s feast day. Celebrate the town’s local delicacy and colorful culture through countless events and festivities prepared by the local government. Check Camalig Tourism’s Website or Camalig’s facebook page for further details.