Have you been to Tabaco City, Albay? If you haven’t yet, you’re definitely missing out on a great destination in Bicol! This place is charming, with a wonderful view of Mount Mayon and warm, hospitable locals. Here we’ve compiled a guide on the top things to do in Tabaco City, Albay!
1. Visit St. John the Baptist Parish Church
Also known as Tabaco Church, St. John the Baptist Parish Church is is a historical piece that dates back in 1864. It is made of dark volcanic soil and stones, with distinct mason marks on stones built for its construction. It also has a beautiful bell tower which you can climb up (with permission). It is considered a Natural Cultural Treasure of the Philippines.
St. John the Baptist Parish Church is easily located in the town center.
Other notable churches you may want to see in the area include the Cimburrio (a cemetery church) and St. Vincent Ferrer Shrine.
2. Visit Bahay na Bato
Bahay na Bato is the oldest house in Tabaco City. It was a commercial establishment built in 1868 and then eventually bought by a local artist as a home. Bahay na Bato is built using stone blocks adjoined with mortar and molasses. It has withdstood more than a century of typhoons and volcanic eruptions.
Same as Tabaco Church, Bahay na Bato is located in the town center. As of our visit (June 2019), Bahay na Bato is not yet opened to the public but can be accessed with permission from the tourism office.
3. Ride a padyak
Tabaco City is known as the padyak capital of the Philippines. You can see padyak offering rides to short distances literally everywhere.
It’s a must to ride this at least once when you’re visiting Tabaco City. It’s also convenient too as it can get pretty hot especially during the summer. Fare is P10 per person.
4. See tabak making
Tabaco City’s icon is the tabak, a type of local knife created by the blacksmiths in the city. To see how tabak and other cutlery is made, you can visit Barangay Cobo where you can find blacksmiths on their forges.
You can also take home a tabak for P500-1000 per piece.
5. Taste local delicacies
As with other Bicol areas, Tabaco City is home to coconut milk-based dishes such as laing, pinangat, bicol express and ginataang santol.
Other native food you can find includes the marcasotes, a chiffon cake that is cooked in a claypot in an open fire for 30 minutes. Marcasotes is made only in Tabaco City.
6. Island hop via Tabaco Port
From the port in Tabaco, you can go on an island hopping trip to see various islands: Vanishing Island, Pinamuntogan Island, Sitio Maliktay and San Miguel Island.
Make sure to allot most of the day for island hopping and bring your own food with you. Also, it’s best to go in a group so you can save on island hopping expenses (P3000-4000 rate).
7. Swim at Oras Falls
Oras Falls is a small waterfall found in Barangay Oras. It’s located in a forest, with a cool, green basin for swimming.
To get here, you need to take a jeepney ride from the town center to Barangay Oras. From the highway, ride aa tricycle to the jump-off point. From there, it’s an easy 15-20 minute trek to Oras Falls.
While in Oras Falls, you can also buy fresh coconuts for drinking from the locals.
8. See the views at Mayon Planetarium
The Mayon Planetarium and Science Park is a planetarium and geology museum where you can enjoy a panoramic view of nearby towns and see the geological features of Mount Mayon up-close.
This is one of the most popular attractions in Tabaco City due to its cool weather and breathtaking views, as well as the scenic drive going here. It’s commonly visited for picnics and field trips as well as photo-ops by tourists in the city.
To get here, from Tabaco City, ride jeep going to Ligao City and then get off at the corner going to the Mayon Planetarium. From there, you can rent habal-habal and then ask the driver to wait for you.
Tip: If you want to see a sea of clouds, visit early at about 6AM.
9. Relax at Adelaida Farm and Resort
Adelaida Farm and Resort is the perfect nature resort when in Tabaco City. It’s located in a farm with a view of Mount Mayon, Mt. Malinao and Mt. Masaraga. You can stroll around, see livestock and sunflower plantations or swim at a natural spring water pool.
Day-tour cottages and overnight rooms are available. Caretaker: Peter Buban – 09305511975. Walk-in rate is P30 per head.
It is beside Agriculture Office in San Vicente, Tabaco City.
10. Witness the Tabak Festival
Each June, Tabaco City holds the Tabak Festival — a celebration of everything Tabaknon. The festival lasts for several days and includes games, competitions, music & dance performances and of course a street parade. Some of the highlights include Mutya ng Tabak and Tabak Festival Street Dance.
You can also shop around the bazaars setup for this festivity and eat your heart out with the delicacies offered in various food stalls.
Read more about our experience at Tabak Festival here.
What other things to do in Tabaco City will you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!