Should the time come where you need to do some soul searching or just have some R&R by yourself, then going to Naga City, Camarines Sur is a good idea. Naga is the third Spanish Royal City after Iloilo and Manila and is a key city in the Bicol Region of the Philippines. It is where all the good stuff is found, too – business establishments, centers for art and culture, medical institution, premium education, and a growing economy. Because of this, there is surely something for everyone. So, to Naga’s visitors, a word of encouragement – if it feels right, then jump right in and do it!
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Naga, Philippines:
1. Have some R&R at the Caramoan Getaway
Do you need the sun to warm up your oh-so dull skin from being stuck in the office all the time? Caramoan is simply the best place to get some sun. Experience the summer breeze all year round and get a tan on its beautiful seashore. You can also go snorkeling and island hopping from one beach to another, too. The best Instagrammable places to go sight-seeing are the Manlawi Sandbar, Guinahoan Island, Lahus Island, and Matukad Island where you can spot what the locals call the “enchanted” milkfish. Out here, it is a rule to relax and unwind. It is also a good idea to get some perspective and write your heart out on the beach until you feel that life makes sense.
To get to Caramoan, you can take either take the 8-hour bus ride from Manila to Naga or take the one hour plane ride. Once in Naga City, take a van to Sabang port where you can rent a boat to go experience the Caramoan Getaway.
Address: Brgy. Captain Emilio Victor Avila (III) of Brgy. Tawog, Caramoan CamSur
Website: Caramoan Travel and Tours
2. Visit Mt. Isarog National Park
Trek your worries away and at the end of a journey, you’ll feel lighter (both literally and figuratively, that is). Mount Isarog is actually a potentially active volcano. Its highest point is about 6,600 feet (2,011 m). Historically it is a spot where the troops of the Philippine Army and Bicolano guerillas hid at the time the Japanese conquered the country. Today, it is a national park, home to natural waterfalls, springs, and nature. The best time to visit is between January to April. By this time, the mountain’s forest is cold and refreshing even if it is hot elsewhere.
One must-see is the Magragobrob Waterfalls located inside Mt. Isarog’s crater. It is 131 ft (40 meters) high that flows until the Rangas River. If you feel you need a spa treatment, then it is pretty cool to know that the Hiwacloy Sulfur Springs is also located here. To enjoy this all-natural spa treatment, you can the 45-minute flight from Manila to Pili Airport. After that drive to Naga City.
Mt. Isarog National Park
Address: Brgy. Panicuason, Naga City
Website: Mt. Isarog National Park
3. Be enchanted by deer sightings in the Ocampo Deer Breeding Farm
Whoever makes their way to Mt. Isarog in Ocampo is in for a treat. Who knows? Maybe, just maybe, you will get to meet one of Santa’s most favorite creatures – the deer. The Ocampo Deer Breeding Farm is truly a place to behold. Since 1996, the 12.3 acre (5 hectare) lot has been a home to the Australian species. If you take stroll on the foothills of the mountain, be ready to be in awe of the gentle deer.
The deer farm is located ni Brgy. Sta. Cruz, Ocampo, Camarines Sur. Taking the mini bus from Naga City to Sn Jose, Go, Tigaon, or Sagnay. Just ask the bus driver.
Ocampo Deer Breeding Farm
Address: Santa Cruz,Ocampo Cam.Sur, 4419
Facebook: Pacific Santas
4. Go on a pilgrimage journey at the Penafrancia Museum and Shrine
As the word “soul searching” is mentioned, the Penefrancia Museum is a must on any devotee’s list. Every item here was carefully curated to reflect the Catholic faith. A number of these items include the crowns, the Aureol and Mantos of Ina, as well as some devotional writings. The two-storey building houses the museum. Just a few meters away is the Penefrancia Shrine. The Shrine is a Roman Catholic church that is one of East Asia’s greatest sites for Christian pilgrimages. This is because of its symbolic holy image, the Divino Rostro.
Our Lady of Penafrancia Museum
Address: Magsaysay Ave, Naga City 4400
Facebook: Our Lady of Penafrancia Museum
5. Go wild at the Pinacuason Hot Spring Resort and Adventure Park
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Bliss is within reach at the Pinacuason Hot Spring Resort and Adventure Park. Families from all over come to enjoy picnics by the pools and other water activities. For those going solo, however, the bike zipline is the ultimate adventure to experience. You get to pedal the modified bike on a cable-wire that is suspended about 100-feet (30.5 m) from the ground. The thrill is real once on these bad boys. Another attraction is the Tarzan swing aside from the usual rappelling, wall climbing, fishing, or swimming.
Panicuason Hot Spring Resort and Nature Adventure Park
Address: Panicuason, Carolina, Naga, Philippines
6. Feel refreshed at Malabsay Falls
Hidden at the foot of Mt. Isarog is Malabsay falls – one of Mother Earth’s best kept secret. To reach the falls, you would need to trek for about 15 minutes first. It is a pretty easy route and an enjoyable one at that because seeing nature up close is an experience that makes anyone forget they are trekking in the first place. So, if you want to be refreshed, visit Malabsay Falls. Take a jeepney ride from Naga to the terminal of Panicusan and walk straight to Mt. Isarog National Park’s entrance.
Address: Zone 6, Brgy. Panicuason, Naga, Camarines Sur
Website: Malabsay Falls
7. Discover History at the Plaza Rizal
If going on a cultural-heritage tour sounds interesting to you, then paying a visit to Plaza Rizal and then to the Metropolitan Cathedral is the best way to go. Plaza Rizal can be found at downtown Naga and has been put up in honor of the country’s National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. It is at this very spot where families enjoy picnics together. One interesting fact about Plaza Rizal is that it is where you can witness the best debaters engage in witty discourse. It is quite reflective of what the life of Dr. Rizal stands for, if you ask me. Just near it is the Metropolitan Cathedral.
Address: 61 Elias Angeles, Naga, Camarines Sur
8. St. John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral
Prominently known as a Latin Rite Roman Catholic Cathedral, St. John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral (also known as Naga Metropolitan Cathedral), is found on Elias Angeles Street in Naga City. As a work of art, it is Romanesque in theme and actually follows a cruciform plan. Its grandeur is made unforgettable because of its galvanized iron sheets as roofing and its hailed with a cupola-topped rectangular dome above its crossing. The interior columns and ceilings are decorated by trompe-l'œil paintings. Stained glass windows also give that elegant touch. Although the cathedral has been hit by typhoons and earthquakes, it still stands strong.
St. John The Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral (Naga Metropolitan Cathedral)
Address: Elias Angeles Street, Naga City
9. Take an “I-was-here” Instagram photo at Porta Mariae
Built to commemorate 300 years of devotion to Our Lady of Penafrancia, the 36-foot (11 m) tall arch is the perfect backdrop for a Naga City escapade. It looks like the Arc de Triomphe in France. Its width of 59 feet (18 m) supports the 10-foot (3 m) brass image of Our Lady of Penafrancia and its two angels. Just behind it is the Metropolitan Cathedral Parish making it one of the most beautiful pilgrimage destinations in the region. The arch is located on Barlin Street in Naga City.
Address: Iglesia Street, Naga City
Caramoan Island Hopping Private Tour via Catanduanes
Duration: 7 Hrs Duration
Naga City is a great place to relax and unwind
For any weary soul, Naga City is the most ideal place to visit. Not only is it a place for spiritual or personal reflection through its pilgrimage destinations, it is also the best choice to get away from the humdrum of a stressful life. So, be sure to include this on your bucket list of “Things To Do Before I Retire.”
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