Editor Diaries: A 500km Scenic Drive To Albay
Let me take you in this road trip experience and discover the countryside charms of the Bicol region
In a time of travel restrictions and social distancing, 2022 is likely to be another year for road trips. Not that we’re complaining, after all, a vehicular vacation allows for fun, flexibility, and the added safety of minimizing in-person interactions with those outside of your close travel circle.
I grew up piling into the back seat of our family car sharing snacks with my cousins on long drives to visit my grandmother’s family in La Union or see the great views of the mountain in Baguio. I’ve always loved a good road trip as it’s a whole different kind of travel experience! You can get completely in tune with the area, dive deep, find hidden gems along the way, and actually experience traveling instead of just arriving.
Recently, I was given the chance to test drive Nissan Kicks e-Power, a Hybrid Electric Vehicle that doesn’t need plug-in charging, for a trip to Albay. I’ve been driving for nearly 5 years of standard automatic cars, and hearing lots of news surrounding EVs, I have always been so curious to find out more. So, when I got the opportunity, I jumped at the chance and thought it would be good to share my experience with other newbies and take my first road trip in a self-charging electric vehicle.
The main point of the drive event is to test its E-Pedal system. In a nutshell, it allows the driver to launch, accelerate, decelerate, and stop the vehicle through a single pedal. When you accelerate, the car uses the electric motor to turn the wheels. When you decelerate, the opposite happens—in what’s known as regenerative braking, the power from the momentum of the wheels turns the motor as the system goes into reverse, and this energy gets stored in battery. Small but mighty, it helps maximize the car’s efficiency by reducing reliance on the traditional braking system, which can also be translated to a more relaxing drive, especially on this 16-hour trip.
The approximate distance from Manila to Albay is at least 500 kilometers, but no need to panic as Nissan removes the most important factor of EV ownership—range anxiety. The car’s battery will not die mid-trip as it has its own onboard charging system. It will charge itself and won’t let you ruin it out during EV mode.
A trip to the majestic Albay province offer a one-of-a-kind experience with miles of fun—it’s famous for being home to the iconic Mayon Volcano, winding mountain roads, breathtaking views, unmatched outdoor recreation and more fantastic experiences that one could cram into a single vacation! So here, let me take you and discover the countryside charms on the way to the Bicol region and you’d be amazed at how much the breathtaking landscapes can change as you explore one, then another.
A bulk of our road trip involves driving through Quezon. This province is the 8th largest province in the Philippines and the largest in Calabarzon region. Several landmarks in Quezon include serene beaches and forests, sandy coastlines, rich culture of locals, and spiritual places, which draw many nature adventurers. Quezon is a good place for your first meal stop, their local specialties include pancit habhab, lucban longganisa, adobo sa puti, and many more.
If you don’t want to drive straight all the way to Camarines Sur, you can take a detour through Camarines Norte, the gateway to Bicolandia. Visit Daet if you’re a nature lover who enjoys adventure-filled activities like rising surfing and extreme water sports destination. When it comes to food trip, be sure to try bicol express, laing, sinantol, and pinangat!
Albay is located at the southern foothills of Mayon Volcano, the major landmark associated with the Bicol region. For a more scenic route, you can pass the Bicol 630, just like we did. Albay is your jump-off point for hiking up Mt. Mayon, ATV and mountain bike adventures on the lava trail.