Albay, Philippines · 2 hotels available
Staying at a hotel in Tabaco City may not be your first option in the Bicol region. After all, this coastal town in Albay Province may not be the biggest. However, it actually offers a mix of beaches, mountain tours, and historical spots for many adventurous tourists. Learn more about them in this guide.
Tabaco is one of the three component cities of the province, along with Legazpi and Ligao. Even in pre-Hispanic times, the area is known for agriculture; this is reflected in the city’s name. Some say that the name “Tabaco” came from the Spanish term for tobacco. Meanwhile, other legends claim that it’s a portmanteau of the phrase “Tabak ko,” referring to a “tabak,” a blade that’s also used for farming.
Today, it’s a rapidly growing agricultural town with a thriving commercial center and port. It also has the only international seaport in the region, which is a vital asset to the city's economy.
Yet the most iconic feature of this city is the Mayon Volcano, the most active volcano in the Philippines; the place is a jump-off point for hikes up the volcano and also offers great photo opportunities.
There are four commercial airlines with daily flights to the airport in Legazpi City, the capital of Albay province. From there, tourists can book a bus ride to Tabaco City.
From Manila and Pasay, there are bus companies with regular trips to Tabaco and other main cities in the Bicol Region. The trip usually takes up to 10 hours.
Locals get around by riding the ubiquitous pedicabs or jeepneys. On top of that, hotels usually provide rides for their guests around the city. These include electric tricycles and shuttle transportation.
The highlight of any trip to Tabaco City is a stop at the Mayon Skyline View Deck, a recreational area that offers a great view of Albay and the Pacific Ocean. Tourists will also love the selfie-worthy backgrounds of the Mayon Volcano, the panoramic Tabaco Bay and the mountains of Malinao.
The Mayon Planetarium and Science Park is also one of Tabaco’s most visited tourist destinations. This particular spot offers a panoramic view of the city and its two islands, Natunawan and San Miguel. For tourists who are curious about the town’s history, Tabaco also has prominent churches and historical sites. One of these is the St. John the Baptist Parish Church, which was declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum in 2001.
It was first built in 1616, with the present structure completed in 1879. This church boasts of solid Baroque architecture, with stones bearing the marks of the Masons. It was also acclaimed as one of the stateliest religious structures in Albay. And speaking of museums, the Bicol region branch of the National Museum can be found in Tabaco City. Open from Mondays to Fridays, the museum has exhibits on the culture of the Bicol region plus a special showcase on volcanoes.
Since one of Tabaco's main attractions is the Mayon Volcano, adventurous trekkers can book a tour that shows more of its sights. One such service is the Mayon All-Terrain Vehicle tour, where everyone can ride a 4x4 vhicle get a safe and fun way to explore the volcano area.
If you're looking for a tropical island getaway, San Miguel Island is the place for you to visit. It features lush vegetation, rocky coves, and secluded shorelines for those looking for a quieter alternative to crowded beaches elsewhere in the country. Various activities, such as island hopping and diving tours, are on offer at the resorts around the area.
In Tabaco, one of the most famous establishments is Bona's Cafe, which takes pride in being one of the city first coffee shops. It offers authentic brewed espressos as well as a mix of American, Asian Fusion, Chinese and Filipino cuisine for an international clientele.
Another one popular option is Graziano's Italian Restaurant. It offers a reasonably priced menu of pizza, pasta, and even American burgers. Finally, you can also grab dessert at Bevsie's Cupcakes, which features customized cake jars, bite-sized cupcakes, and other sweet treats.
The most common options for Tabaco City's nightlife are videoke bars. However, those who want to watch live local performances and dance to their heart's content can opt for the Dabarkads Muzik Bar & Resto. This place also serves grilled food—perfect to match with a bottle or two of beer. Meanwhile, the rooftop Skyline Bar at Gardenia Hotel features a scenic view of the city while you enjoy your drinks. It’s a perfect way to end a long day of swimming and trekking.
Tabaco City has several hotel choices. Among them is the Hotel Fina, which boasts a scenic view of the province's beach and landscape, as well as offering tour packages to the city’s top attractions. The hotel also has a range of facilities and services such as a car park, shuttle transport, airport transfer, and public Wi-Fi.
Another affordable option is the Gardenia Hotel, which is located in the business center of the city. This hotel is the common choice for many celebrities who visit the city to stage performances. Finally, JJ's Midcity Inn is an ideal choice if you're looking for a mid-range hotel. It's recommended for business travelers who only need to stay overnight and get a free breakfast to start their day.
Pack your gear accordingly. Since Tabaco City has a mix of mountain trails and beaches, pack both swimwear and hiking gear if you want to experience the best of both.
Ready your cameras and binoculars. The mountain viewing decks offer great photo opportunities for tourists, so always have one ready for that next big selfie.
Pack your power banks especially if you’re traveling by bus so you won’t worry about ending up with a dead smartphone when you arrive at your hotel in Tabaco City.