Only an hour away from the provincial capital of Albay, in the town of Camalig, is the place where you will find one of the hidden gems of the province. A prized possession of Camalig, it is a 400-hectare terrain which gives quite a similar impression of the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol. However, its fame did not come from its similarity with the Chocolate Hills, but it comes from its uniqueness; it has its own distinguishing factors. With its beautiful mounds, it gives off a kind of charm that leaves you speechless. But more than this, actually, the backdrop of the Quitinday Hills is the strikingly perfect Mount Mayon.
In the area, the hills are most commonly known as the “Pili Nut Hills” by the locals. With an elevation of 100-130 meters, the hills just has the right height to offer great view of Mayon. This is good practice for beginner climbers. There are only two known peaks that are open to guests. But both peaks provide a 360 degree view of the breathtaking scenery. And these two peaks can be easily accessed because of the single track trail that connects both of them. It is about a 15 minute trekking.
What makes this a very beginner friendly climb/trek is that because of how well-established and maintained it is to be tourist friendly, you would not need to hire a guide when you go here. But of course, to continue properly caring for the hills, funds are needed which is why there is an environmental fee; BUT, it is only P20 for each visitor!
The best moments to appreciate the hills and Mount Mayon is during the golden hours; sunrise and sunset. Make sure to get there early in the morning or late afternoon. You are not only going to catch the best moments of the sun for the day BUT you’re also going to catch the best atmosphere for the day, you’ll clearly see Mount Mayon. The trail opens at 5:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
- Wear something comfortable – Just because it’s a relatively low and fast climb, doesn’t mean it won’t tire you out. So wear clothing you can easily move in AND something that can protect you from the sun.
- Secure a permit (if you want to camp)- Want to camp there? Go to Camalig local government office and get a permit. Try to do this three or four days before your planned trip.
- Follow the rules – Basic rules in the area is do not litter and don’t have campfires.
- Reception for you mobile phone is no problem here. There are quite a number of areas with stable connection.
- Don't forget your camera/smartphone - perfect place for selfie shots!
HOW TO GET THERE
By Bus: Ride in a bus headed to Legazpi City from Pasay, Cubao or Alabang. Alight in Camalig Town Proper. From Camalig town proper, hire a tricycle or habal-habal that will bring you to Quitinday Hills – cost ranges from Php300- Php500 (back and forth). Rate depends on your haggling skills
If coming from Legazpi City, ride a jeepney with “Polanque” route and ask the driver to drop you at the Quitinday junction. From there, hire a tricycle/habal-habal for the round trip to Quitinday Hills. Travel time is, more or less, 45 minutes; and the cost ranges from Php300-Php500, depending on your haggling skills.
You can also hire a tricycle that will bring you to Quitinday hills directly from Legazpi City but the cost is a little bit higher – just use your haggling skills.
By Air: Take a flight to Legazpi Airport from Manila (then follow the instructions above).
Fly directly from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to Legazpi City (then follow the instructions above). Cebu Pacific Air and Philippines Airlines serve Cebu – Legazpi route daily as of this writing.
Option 1: Fly to Cebu then take Cebu to Legazpi flight (then follow the instructions above).
Option 2: Fly to Manila then take a more or less 12-hour bus ride or take the less than an hour Manila to Legazpi flight (then follow the instructions above).
On this Albay trip with my daughter, we chartered a tricycle for Php1200.00. The one whole day tricycle tour includes: Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga Church, Sumlang Lake, Quitinday Hills, Lignon Hills, and Legazpi Boulevard. Actually Hoyop-hoyopan Cave is also part of the tour but we decided not to continue because of our limited time. Fees and meals are not part of the tricycle tour.