Let me tell you about one of my fave cities- Naga. It was exactly 10 years when I first stepped in Maogmang Lugar. It was a crazy idea to go there on an non-AC bus called Raymund Transit, seated with locals with their dogs and chicken. Times has changed and direct flights daily to Naga City is now available via Cebu Pacific. Local tourism is a boom and if you haven’t set foot yet this NAGA CITY TRAVEL GUIDE will be of great help for you.
NAGA CITY TRAVEL GUIDE COLLAB with Kara Santos of TRAVELING-UP.COM
1. Describe Naga City.
Kara says: Most people equate Naga City with religious & historical attractions as well as delicious Bicolano cuisine. But there are a lot of new eco-adventure attractions within or near the city as well.
James says: Ang maogmang lugar (happy place). Enter one of their collection of cathedrals and basilica would feel God’s presence. Taste their cuisine of “sili’t gata” and you feel like your in heaven. Other attractions are opening up too- Caramoan and CWC are very near the city center.
2. What do you like most about Naga City?
Kara says: I love Naga’s generally laid-back vibe combined with all the city comforts. I always love coming back home and discovering new activities and new places to eat. Everything seems to be just 5 minutes away from everything else and it’s very easy to get around.
James says: I like that Naga City is tourists-friendly. I remember their tourism campaign last year- NAGA SMILES to the WORLD and now NAGAX or Naga Excursions. Also, if you aer a budget traveler or a glampacker, Naga has its offerings for you. Whether you are into action-packed adventure or religious pilgrimage, you will definitely enjoy staying there.
3. Is there anything the local government can do (or stop doing) in order to make the place more tourist friendly.
Kara says: I think the new tourist campaign Naga eXcursions (www.nagax.com) is going in the right direction by offering alternative tours for those looking for something a little more adventurous aside from the usual church-hopping and food trip around Naga.
I hope that the local government can do something to resume operations of the Bicol Express train from Manila-Naga to encourage more tourists to visit. It would be great if there were freight carts so people could bring their own mountain bikes and motorcycles aboard the train.
James says: I think this NAGAX is right on target. A fusion of Naga City tourism stakeholders who wants to promote Naga City and the surrounding areas as a prime tourism destination in the country.
During my last visit in Naga, I was treated like a VIP. Although, I’m not into that kind of treatment (I want to blend in with the locals), I appreciate the gesture. They are really doing their best to welcome their guests. Very very good!
If there is one thing I want to see, I want a mountain bike guided tour around the city- going to old churches and classic Naga food hubs.
4. Don’t go home without seeing/visiting/experiencing _____________.
Kara says: Aside from wakeboarding at Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC), try riding an ATV to Malabsay Falls and Panicuason Hotspring Resort. Make sure to jump off the cliff into the water at the falls! (LINK: http://www.traveling-up.com/atv-ride-to-malabsay-falls-hotsprings-in-naga/)
James says: Yes, plus one on Malabsay Falls. Its very easy to reach and just an hour or less if you will DIY.
5. Don’t go home without trying/eating ___________.
Kara says: I always eat in Biggs and Geewan, two homegrown fastfood joints, which still serve the same dishes I grew up with. Favorites include pinangat, Bicol Express and toasted siopao. Those who are more adventurous can try fusion dishes like Laing pizza at CWC, pinangat rolls in White Bean Cafe or Red Platter’s Cordon Bleu stuffed with Bicol Express. Yum! Chef Doy’s and Bob Marlin also serve delicious fare.
James says: Kara, nagutom ako sa mga sinabi mo. Tara punta tayo Naga City ngayon na!
Here are my top 5 foods you should try- Bob Marlin’s Crispy Pata, Chef Doy’s Kare-Kare, Bolofer’s Kinalas soup, 3N Bakery’s Toasted Siopao and Avenue Plaza Hotel’s Abu (crisy daing). You can read my past article: 10 Food Destinations in Naga City
6. Traveler’s Tip:
Kara says: You’ll need to a lot more time in Naga City if you want to go to other destinations like Caramoan. Hook up with Kadlaggan Outdoor Shop if you want to hike up Mt. Isarog or go on an island-hopping tour.
James says: If you have 3 days to spare, don’t miss these on our itinerary: Malabsay Falls, Naga City Food Trip and Old Churches Hopping tour.
7. Recommendation Hotel, Inn?
Kara says: If you’re in a group, you could rent a container van room at the Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC). A more central location would be Nagaland Hotel along Elias Angeles Street.
James says: If you are on a budget, you can stay at the Old Sampaguita Inn (Php25o/room is their cheapest). If you want comfort, I definitely recommend Avenue Plaza Hotel in Magsaysay Avenue. Very close to restaurants and party scenes. They have a swimming pool, gymnasium, really good food and amiable staff. Website: www.theavenueplazahotel.com
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You can read my past articles about Naga City and Caramoan Islands below:
- JourneyingJames as a Luxury Traveler in Naga City?
- 10 Food Destinations in Naga City
- Badass ATV Ride to Malabsay Falls
- Caramoan Islands Challenge: Survive with only Php2,500 Budget
If you want to join the Travel Bloggers Collab, please do email me at journeyingjames(AT)gmail(DOT)com together with the place you want to talk about. I want to learn from you and see from your perspective.