The best way to get to know Naga City is to take a history and heritage tour. This will take you around the city where you will get to visit some of its top destinations and know their deep histories as well.
The Carmen Hotel is only a few minutes’ walk away from these tourist spots if you want to explore the city on foot. Exploring the city on foot is a good way to get to know the locals’ culture, soak in the city’s sights and sounds, and discover hidden gems like quaint cafes and bars.
You may avail of The Carmen Hotel’s Downtown Naga History and Heritage Tour if you want a cool and comfortable ride. Rent their van which can accommodate 10 to 15 people. Or if you want to be adventurous, rent their taxicle, instead. This can accommodate 3 to 4 people. For a large group of 20 or more, The Carmen Hotel can provide a minibus.
The Carmen Hotel tour package comes with a DOT-accredited tour guide who is knowledgeable about the city’s history.
Below are some of Naga City’s top tourist destinations.
Naga City Metropolitan Cathedral and Porta Mariae
A Downtown Naga History and Heritage Tour will not be complete without a stop at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral. Not only is this the biggest church in Bicolm, but it is also considered as one of the oldest cathedrals in the Philippines. During the Peñafrancia Festival, the cathedral becomes home to Our Lady of Peñafrancia for nine days.
While in the area, you should also visit the Porta Mariae. This landmark was constructed to commemorate the 300th year of devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia.
San Francisco Church
Another must-visit destination is the San Francisco Church. The church was built during the 17th century and played a significant part during the 1890s Philippine Revolution. It was used by the Spaniards to detain, interrogate, and torture captured Filipino rebels. And it was also at the same church that Bicolano rebels placed their Spanish overlords under siege – the historical event that led to the end of Spain’s power over the region.
There are four plazas worth visiting while in the city. These are Plaza Quince Martires, which honors the 15 Martyrs of Bicol; Plaza Quezon, which is the largest and is the venue for some of the festivities during the Peñafrancia Festival like Voyadores, Military Parade, Civic Parade, etc.; Plaza Rizal, which is the city’s oldest plaza and is dominated by a commemorative statue of – you guessed it – Jose Rizal; and Plaza Barlin, which commemorates the first Filipino Bishop, Bishop Jorge Barlin, who was from Baao, Camarines Sur.
You should also visit the Basilica Minore. “The Basilica” – as the locals call it – is home to Our Lady of Peñafrancia. Each year, millions of pilgrims and devotees flock to the Basilica to celebrate their devotion to Ina.
These local tourist spots are just some of the places you can visit when you take a history and heritage tour of Downtown Naga. Some other places you can visit downtown include the Naga City People’s Mall and the Archbishop’s Residence. The Naga People’s Mall is the city’s main dry and wet goods market. It’s a great place to find pasalubongs. You should also check out the Archibishop’s Residence (right across the street from the Cathedral); you may request to see the birds and other creatures they keep at the back.
If you are hankering for something less citified, go uptown and visit the Panicuason Hot Spring Resort (Panicuason, Naga City) and the Malabsay Falls (Mt. Isarog National Park).