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The Philippines is rich in beaches with sands of varying shades: from blinding white to warm and golden. But jet-black sand beaches are very rare. The province of Albay, because of its volcanic origins, is home to beaches with distinct black sands of the deepest ebony color.
The black sand is a product of millions of years of natural erosion that pulverized the mighty volcanic rocks into fine-textured sands. Albay’s black sand beaches stretch across the province’s eastern seafront with the best ones found in the towns of Bacacay, Tiwi, Sto. Domingo, and the city of Legazpi.
In other parts of the world, black sand beaches are priced because of their unusual and exotic beauty. The Hawaiian Islands are famous for its beautiful black sand beaches, some of which are considered the best black sand beaches in the world (See list of Top Ten Black Sand Beaches here). One doesn’t need to visit Hawaii or Iceland to experience the beauty of black sand beaches. Here are some of the best black sand beach destinations in Albay:
The small town of Bacacay lies on the eastern slope of Mayon volcano. It has several kilometers of irregular coastline of mostly black volcanic sand and smaller white sand beaches in the Cagraray Island. Most of these black sand beaches are to be found in Brgy Sogod, which is less than 5 kms from the Poblacion.
There are several resorts offering day and overnight accommodations as well as other amenities.
Driving to Bacacay is not a problem as the turns are clearly marked. From Legazpi City, Bacacay is approximately 20.3 kms, about 30 minutes of travel. There are two marked entry points to Bacacay, in Brgy Bonga and in Brgy. San Jose. To get to the beach Resorts, make a right at Brgy San Jose Junction. A marker “Beach resorts” will be sited before the said junction. Then drive straight about 3 kms to reach Brgy. Sogod.
From the Legazpi City Central terminal, ride the jeep going to Bacacay. Ask the driver to let you off at Brgy San Jose junction. Then hop in to a tricycle to take you to the resort of your choice. You can also ride a van or GT Express to Bacacay.
The beaches in this area are best for viewing. Resorts along the Sto Domingo coastline offer a wonderful view of the black beach, the Albay Gulf and a part of the Legazpi City area. It is also the best place to watch the rising of the full moon. On a full moon, you will have the unobstructed view of the water, moon, night sky and the city lights. Some resorts offer entertainment facilities like videoke and billiards. Some have private pools. This is the perfect escape from the hubbub of the city life.
Drive approximately 11 kms north of Legazpi. The marker for the turn to Sto. Domingo is visible on your right. From the turn to the Church is another 2 kms. From the church just go straight and make a right heading towards Kalayukai beaches, where you can find a string of resorts.
From the Legazpi City Terminal, take a jeepney or van going to Sto. Domingo. Get off at the last stop at the Poblacion. From the town proper get a tricycle to take you the Kalayukai Beaches. Before going there make sure that you have a specific resort in mind. Tell the driver exactly which resort you want to go to.
Tiwi lies on the northern part of the Mayon volcano and is approximately 40 kms from Legazpi City. Beaches in this area specifically those in the Joroan shore are best for swimming as the water on this part is not too rocky. On this portion you will have a superb view of the Lagonoy gulf and the islets of Camarines Sur. The scenic drive to Joroan is also a big plus on this travel. For a really satisfying black sand beach swimming experience this is the place to go.
Legazpi City to Tiwi is about 45 minutes to an hour of travel. If you reach the poblacion just go farther north about 2 kms to reach the turn for Joroan. Signage can be spotted. Another 5 km drive on paved and winding road will take you to the resorts.
From the terminal in Legazpi City, take the van going to Tiwi. Get down at the Tiwi poblacion or at the final stop. From there ride the jeep going to Joroan crossing which is right in front of the San Isidro Labrador chapel. Then get on a tricycle to take you to the Resorts.
View Black Sand Beaches of Albay in a larger map