This Hobbit Hill is Albay's Emerging Tourist Destination Amidst COVID-19!
Choose Philippines | June 24, 2020
Story and Photos by Jose Carretero
At the foot slope of a lush green Mt. Masaraga in Ligao City, Albay, a promising tourist destination blossomed amidst the scare of the dreaded coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
Named Hobbit Hill, this destination would take tourists as far as the Hobbit House of New Zealand or the bird's nest in Bali, Indonesia all in one convenient location. The hobbit house was constructed just in front of the perfectly shaped Mayon Volcano adding more excitement for those looking for a picture-perfect background. Local tourists cannot help but stare in awe at the beautiful architecture built to resemble the hobbit houses in the movie series, The Hobbit. On the other side of the hobbit house, the sculptured greenery of Mt. Masaraga will give tourists a soulful treat for their lenses.
Apart from the hobbit house, the bird's nest also drew picture-hungry tourists. Tourists will be treated to Bali feels with the intricately woven birds nest and Mt. Mayon as its stunning background. Local flowers in bloom also add vibrant pops of colors to an already picturesque surrounding.
Owner Melanie Bañares said her fixation towards Hobbit houses led to creating her own in Mt. Masarga. It was a dream come true for her especially now that she has a son. “Fixated talaga ako sa hobbit house from the movie The Hobbit so I dreamt of having one. If I can afford to, I really wished to have one."
The Hobbit Hill also caters to guests wanting to book overnight stays. Tourists can rent the nipa houses for 600 pesos overnight. The Hobbit house also welcomes visitors for 1,600 pesos per night. They may also opt to use hammocks for only one hundred pesos. Those who opt to stay overnight will be treated with laid back feels as no music from a sound system will be allowed. Instead, they will be serenaded by the singing of the cicadas and other nocturnal creatures that are nestled in the forest. Only solar lamps will provide lights at night since there's no electricity in the area.
It is best to visit the place around 4 o’clock in the afternoon to capture the full view of Mt. Mayon. Many have now flocked to the hobbit hill feeling revived after a long time of staying mostly just inside their houses due to the pandemic. Going to this destination needs a bit of endurance. It requires uphill trekking for 15 to 20 minutes. The view heading up, however, is refreshing. The vast land at the foot slope of the mountain is planted with different vegetables that locals here grow for their living. The trees radiate fresh air, welcoming tourists with its cool and soothing embrace. The chirping of birds reverberates with music seemingly composed for the nature lovers. The burst of adrenaline-pumping experience when traversing the stiff portion of the mountain is only a small part of the adventure, especially when rewarded with fantastic sceneries upon reaching the top. Destinations like these do not just give people the breather they deserve, but it also gives them a boost of pride for once again communing with God's perfect creation.