At the southernmost of Luzon in the Philippines is Sorsogon: the gateway to Visayas and Mindanao and one of the most beautiful and captivating places you should go to.
Part of the Bicol Region, Sorsogon is subdivided into fourteen towns (municipalities) and one city, the capital Sorsogon City, this amazing place has so much in store for eager and adventurous guests. From mountain climbing to hot springs to old churches to magnificent beaches and whale shark watching, this province should indeed be on any intrepid traveler’s list of places to visit!
Means of Transportation
There are no direct flights going to Sorsogon so take a 45-minute plane ride to Legazpi City first. From the airport, go to the central terminal and hop on the bus or van going to Sorsogon City which will take 2 hours.
Another option if coming from Manila is to take a 10 to 12 hour bus trip to Legazpi City.
When traveling within the towns of Sorsogon, the most accessible way to travel is by jeepney and tricycle.
Old Barcelona Church and Ruins. Erected in 1874 at the behest of a Franciscan friar, with slabs of coral stones from the ocean and held in place with a mixture of egg whites, lime and coconut wine (locally called tuba) this amazing structure has already undergone several restorations yet still retains the original walls including the original bell tower pretty much intact. Visited and admired for its architecture and religious significance, this old church in Barcelona, is about 45 minutes away from Sorsogon City via jeepney bound for Gubat then take a connecting jeepney to Barcelona that takes another fifteen minutes.
Bulusan Volcano and Bulusan Volcano Natural Park. The Bulusan Volcano or Mount Bulusan, the southernmost volcano in Luzon is around 70km southeast of Mayon Volcano (the more popular volcano with its perfect cone), and is one of the active volcanoes in the archipelago, and also a favorite among mountaineers in the country for its beauty and eco-diversity.
Within the park there are three main peaks with Bulusan Volcano as the highest.The center of the complex forms a relatively large plain which is occasionally flooded and known as Lake Aguingay. There is also another lake called Lake Bulusan, as well as forest in and around the park. Having numerous habitats including grasslands, freshwater lakes and pools, the park actually supports various needs of the local communities with its forest products and agricultural land and irrigation, not to mention the hundreds of tourist that visit yearly who provide much needed revenues to the area.
Easily accessible via the ubiquitous jeepney from Sorsogon City bound for Gubat followed by another jeepney ride bound for Bulusan for around 1 to 1 and a half travel time.
Irosin Hot Springs. Irosin town is located at the foot of Bulusan Volcano. Hence it is not surprising that the area has a natural hot and cold springs. San Mateo Hot and Cold Springs is one of the popular resorts in Irosin. From Sorsogon City, hop on a local jeepney going to Irosin which will take 45 minutes. From the town center, a tricycle can directly bring you to the resort in less than 30 minutes. At the resort, you can enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating break. Since it is at the volcano’s base, most mountaineers gather here to rest after their exhausting trek.
Matnog Island. This picturesque island boasts of Subic Beach which is ideal for snorkeling and picnic, and Tikling Island, named after a bird that can be seen in the area. And some say, the bird resembles the shape of the island, is a gorgeous little island with a quiet beach that is just perfect for beach bumming. Beautiful and free of the vast crowds one can find in the more popular beaches like Boracay, this serene little hideaway was known only to a few people before but is now regularly visited for its white sand and tantalizing waters.
Old Houses in Juban. Locally called Bahay na Bato or stone houses, these old dwellings at the stretch of Juban town is made of concrete on the ground floor while the upper level is made of wood. Walking along the main street of Juban is like being transported back to colonial times.
Recommended Activities Attend Pili festival in Sorsogon City. In honor of the pili nut and tree indigenous to the province, the city hosts the street festival every year. Coinciding with the town’s fiesta, the festival features lively and colorful street dancers in artistic pili nut costumes, culinary competitions and fireworks display.
Whale Shark Viewing and Interaction. Whether you prefer to just watch from the boat or to swim side by side with the whale sharks, you will definitely be enamored and astonished with these highly intelligent and endearing animals.
Featured in Time Magazine article in 2004, Best Animal Encounter in Asia, these whale sharks frequent the area between November and June with peaks in February and May, in the town of Donsol. Known to the residents for around a hundred years, yet mistaken by them as being dangerous until December 26, 1997 when a group of divers intermingled with these gentle giants and filmed of their encounter proved this to the world. Now Donsol is known as the “Whale Shark Capital of the World” with most resorts open only during whale shark season with whale shark tours including scuba dive whale shark trips available.
Firefly Tour. Aside from whale shark diving and interacting, another very unique activity in Donsol is the Firefly Tour which speaks for itself and is literally a walking tour with fireflies. Uttterly amazing, romantic and spellbinding, the presence of fireflies in an area actually shows that the fragile ecology of the area is still intact and vibrant.