When we speak of visiting and enjoying the beauty of Mt. Mayon, the usual places that come to mind are Cagsawa Ruins, Mayon Resthouse, Embarcadero and Ligñon Hill. These are the currently popular destinations to take photos of Mayon Volcano.
Recently, a new site has emerged – the Quitinday Green Hills. Dubbed as Pili Nut Hills, it was first “discovered” aboard a Legazpi flight where the hills appear as mounds on the ground. Prior to 2014, they were virtually unexplored and no one knew how to get to them.
But the thirst for a new way of enjoying Mayon saw the site being discovered and developed for tourists.
After reading countless blogs (Turista Trails, Juridical Panda, No Juan Is An Island and Lagalag) about the place – and there arent’ many – and after contacting Jed Villanueva (0927.621.3315) of Camalig’s Local Tourism Office, I was finally able to craft an itinerary that will include visiting these famed hills.
The hills are famous because they have been likened to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills. The difference though is that these hills are covered in lush green grass – hence the term green hills.
According to other travel bloggers, to reach the place, you have to hire a tricycle from Camalig Town Proper. They already know the way to Quitinday and will charge P500 for a round-trip fare. Getting to Camalig is as simple as riding a jeepney from Legaspi or a bus from Naga and getting off Camalig Town Proper.
We had a rented van when we went around Albay so I had to find out via Google Maps how to reach the place. Thankfully, Google Maps had a record of Quitinday Greenhills and a search showed us the various routes we can take.
What we didn’t know was the condition of the road. Travel blogs said to expect a bumpy ride since majority of the way were rough roads. They weren’t lying. Sedans and other smaller vehicles will have a hard time navigating the terrain but along the way we saw a Toyota Vios on its way back.
The road is not steep. Though you are going to a hilly place and the road normally inclines, the inclination isn’t steep and there are no sudden zigzags. But there are patches of rough roads in between paved ones though these roads are slowly being developed thanks to the frequency of visitors to the area.
The map said it would take us 20 minutes from Camalig Town Proper but the drive felt like more than that. The 20 minutes was actually double since we had to thread the road carefully and when there’s a vehicle coming from the opposite side, we had to figure out how to let each other pass because the roads are also narrow.
Best Time To Go
The best time to go is early morning or late afternoon. The “viewdeck” in Quitinday Greenhills is open from 5:30AM to 5:30PM. The best time to enjoy the scenery is from 3:30PM – 5:00PM just before it gets dark.
We got there late due to a miscalculation of time so we had to cut our trip short and our photos were devoid of light. But the view was still breathtaking.
They don’t offer camping in the vicinity as of writing so they are really strict with getting tourists out of the place before it gets completely dark. Plus the way back is very dark since there are scarcely any houses along the way as well as street lamps.
The Trek Uphill
The trek is easy. Even first timers will not have a hard time. They carved stairs along the side of the hill so getting up is like climbing a long flight of stairs. Leisurely, the climb will not take more than 10 minutes.
Once you’re up the hill, you are rewarded with a panoramic view of lush hills with the perfect cone of Mayon in the background. There are two peaks you can climb further to see a more unobstructed view of the surroundings.
Just be careful because the pathways are narrow and when there are a lot of tourists taking pictures, one wrong step and you can tumble down the cliff.
But don’t be afraid. The place is generally safe.
They charge a minimal P20 fee per head as an environmental charge. You can probably get a guide too but the trek is not too steep or hard to navigate and when you get up, it’s pretty easy to explore on your own.
A New Place to Enjoy Mayon
For those in search of your new adventure, drop by these majestic hills before they have been fully developed. Though I doubt they will be as commercialized as Ligñon Hill, there’s a unique thrill about discovering a place before everyone else.
Mayon never fails to amaze us and seeing her nestled before rolling lush hills is certainly treat. I’ve seen her before the city (Ligñon Hill view), before the sea (Embarcadero view) and before farmlands (Cagsawa Ruins view). Now I’ve seen her before rolling hills (Quitinday Green Hills view).
And the epic drive to get there was well worth it.
*Epic because on our way there, we felt like we were driving into the unknown. Every vehicle we come across – especially a Grandia – elicited a sigh of relief that we were going in the right direction.