Bulusan Lake

Guide to Sorsogon: the Eco-Tourism Destination You Shouldn’t Miss

There is more to see and do in Sorsogon beyond which it was famous for  –  “place where the largest fish comes.” Sorsogon has bountiful agricultural lands and serene coastlines which make it a great place for nature lovers. It is also home to Mt. Bulusan, the 5th most active volcano in the Philippines.

 

Sorsogon Pili Nuts

Sorsogon is also the number one producer of Pili Nuts that are high in fiber and Vitamin C.

Hope you’ll appreciate this reasonable guide I did to exploring
the eco-tourism destination you shouldn’t miss. 

 

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How to Get There


From Manila By Plane and Van (Average Travel Time of 2 hours and 10 min.)

    • From Manila, daily flights offered by Cebu Pacific and PAL express. It costs around PhP 3, 000 (or 62.14 USD) to PhP 8800 (or182.27 USD)  for a roundtrip airfare depending on the class and airline to Legazpi City.
    • From Legazpi, ride GT Express vans at the Central Terminal in Tahao Road which is a 1-hour ride to Sorsogon City.

 

From Manila By Bus (Average Travel Time of 12 hours): 

  • DLTB | PhP 900 (or 18.56 USD) per way for 2×2 air-conditioned bus OR PhP 1, 300 (or 26.80 USD) per way for 2×1 air-conditioned bus with CR/ restroom and lazy boy seats both at Ali Mall, Cubao, Quezon City bus terminal.



2D/1N Sorsogon Itinerary


Day 01
2:00PM  – Check-in at the accommodation.
5:00PM  – Buhatan River Eco-Adventure.
8:00PM  – Return to accommodation and rest.

Day 02
07:00AM – Proceed to Donsol for Whale Shark Watching (if in season) OR go to Panumbagan Sand Bar for swimming and sea urchin gathering.
11:00AM  – Freshen up and check-out of accommodation.
12:00NN  – Have lunch at Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm
1:00PM    – Proceed to Bulusan Lake for lake activities.
3:00PM   –  Visit St. Joseph Church and Barcelona Fort Ruins.
3:30PM   –  Return home OR travel to Legazpi City.


Sorsogon Itinerary


This is a suggested itinerary for those who wants to visit Sorsogon province on a weekend or wants to go on a side trip from Legazpi City. For those who have more time, you can tour both Sorsogon province and Legazpi City.



Must Visit Places and/or
Must Do Activities


Buhatan River Cruise with Dinner

People from Barangay Buhatan in a joint project with ABS-CBN foundation developed an unproductive 5-kilometer river into the now known, Buhatan River Eco-Adventure.

Buhatan River Cruise

The river cruise is done with guests riding the floating cabana pulled by a traditional outrigger fishing boat.

 

Buhatan River Eco-Adventure

According to the locals, the best time to do the river cruise is around 4:30 PM. We didn’t catch the sunset on our river cruise but, you have to admit, the sky is still stunning nonetheless.

 

Riding the floating cabana, we were comfortably seated under the canvas canopy while enjoying the lush scenery and listening to the live acoustic band on board.

Buhatan River Cruise
With fellow travel bloggers, Lydia Yang of Lydiascapes Travel, Tim Kroeger of Universal Traveller, and Edwina Dendler of Traveling German.

 

Buhatan River Cruise Snacks

We were also treated with refreshing lemon grass (or tanglad in Filipino language) juice. Meanwhile, for our snacks, the primary products of the area were offered. We specifically had pili nuts, tapioca chips, and polvoron (or Philippine powdered milk candy).

 

After around forty (40) minutes of cruising the river, we got down the Buhatan restaurant for our dinner.
Buhatan River Cruise Dinner

We had Halabos na Hipon (scalded fresh shrimps), fried chicken, Bicol region’s iconic dish called laing, and brown rice. Fresh pineapple slices were served as our dessert. We ate our dinner with our bare hands.

 

On our way back, we were delighted with the sight of a swarm of fireflies sparkling in a dark night. I was overjoyed as it reminded me of Dolce Amore, a Philippine television show starring my favorite actress, Liza Soberano. It felt so romantic that I wished Lloyd was with me to experience it.

Buhatan River Cruise

It was impossible for me to capture the glow of the fireflies which lights the trees whenever we clap our hands. I, however, captured it with my memories and took a photo of the full moon that brightly shone our way.

 

Our river cruise experience was capped off with paper lanterns welcoming us back in the starting point.

Buhatan River Cruise

It was quite a beautiful experience that I highly recommend for you to try too.

 

Buhatan River Eco-Adventure

Duration of tour: 2 to 3 hours.
Rates:

  • Standard: PhP 2, 000 (or 41. 27 USD) for a maximum of 10 pax. Add PhP 250 (or 5.16 USD) per head for dinner with four (4) viands.
  • Overnight: PhP 3, 700 (or 76.36 USD) for a maximum of 10 pax. Add PhP 750 (or 15.48 USD) per head with organic breakfast and dinner.
  • Both rates include the exclusivity of the floating cabana, snacks, and live acoustic band on board for entertainment.

Location: Buhatan, Sorsogon City, Sorsogon.
Phone: +63 (939) 93 1215
Visit: Buhatan River Cruise Facebook Page.



Bulusan Lake and Bulusan Volcano Natural Park


Bulusan Lake

The Bulusan Lake lies at the heart of the Bulusan Volcano National Park which covers a land area of 3,673 hectares.

 

Bulusan Lake

It is sometimes dubbed as the “Switzerland of the Orient” for its picturesque view of tranquil waters with lush forests, the mountains as the backdrop and, of course, it’s accompanied by a cool breeze. Just because it is dubbed as such, please don’t expect alpine meadows, pine forests, or ice caps.

 

Bulusan Lake

During our visit, I learned that the Bulusan Volcano National Park has (3) Main Peaks which are the following:

  1. Bulusan Volcano (the highest among the three)
  2. Sharp Peak
  3. Mt. Jormahan

It also has three lakes which are the following:

  1. Black Bird’s Lake
  2. Aguingay Lake
  3. Bulusan Lake

It is currently supported by organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bantay Kalikasan and Oxford University because of it has become home to endemic species of fish, birds, mammals, plants and flowers. Most importantly, Bulusan has a rich eco-system making it one of the top eco-tourism destinations in the Philippines.

 

Bulusan LakeThe said organizations have also helped in measuring the age of the lake which is 2, 200 years as well as its depth which is 22 to 26 meters. As Bulusan Lake is the most accessible, there are different activities for everyone to enjoy.

 

Bulusan National Park

We did a soft trekking in the lake’s established trail to see various unique species of flora and even ancient trees. Make sure to have a guide with you when you do this. Not only are you kept safe but you also support the locals.

 

Bulusan Canopy Walk

We saw a canopy walkway that is set to be completed by next year so we still couldn’t set foot on it.

 

At the end of the trekking path, we rode a long boat not only to return to the entrance but also to explore the lake in a different way.

Bulusan Lake
With Tim Kroeger of Universal Traveller and Francine Roca of Tourism Promotions Board Philippines

 

Bulusan Lake

Riding the long boat is simply PhP 100 (or 2.06 USD) per person for thirty (30) min. or PhP 600 (or 12.37 USD) which includes boatmen to do the rowing for you.

 

If the long boat experience is still not enough, they also rent kayaks good for thirty (30) min. It’s PhP 50 (or 1.03 USD) per head for students and PhP 100 (or 2.06 USD) per head for adults.

Kayak in Bulusan Lake

 

Bulusan Lake

I preferred savoring the gorgeous view and watching everyone from afar enjoy the pristine green waters. By the way, on our visit, the Mt. Bulusan had minor eruptions. It was then on alert level 1 so activities within the 4-kilometer radius were ceased.

 

Bulusan Lake and Nature Park

Entrance Fee: PhP 10 (or 0.21 USD)
Location: Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, Bulusan, Sorsogon
Phone: +63  (919) 257 7183/+63 (977) 381 3797 of Debbie L. Eneria, LGU Bulusan Tourism Officer
Email: tourismbulusan@gmail.com
Visit: Bulusan Facebook Page



Barcelona Fort Ruins

I honestly never knew that we have a town named Barcelona in the Philippines.

Barcelona Sorsogon

The town got its name from homesick Spaniards who called it such for the similarity of the place’s topography to Barcelona, Spain.

 

The Barcelona Fort Ruins is good for a quick visit. It is actually the stone ruins of a Spanish fort. There is also a lighthouse that guides fishermen at night but I no longer took a photo of it as it was already a modern lighthouse.

My thoughts are free to go anywhere, but it's not suprising it's often headed in your direction 😊 #ycmtravel #Clozette #herweytrip

A post shared by Love Food, Travel & Etc. (@yogoandcream) on

 

Barcelona Sorsogon

The fort served as an observatory against incoming enemies during the 19th-century Spanish period. According to the locals, beaten egg whites mixed with the native coconut wine and lime were used as an adhesive for the construction. Meanwhile, the slabs of stones were sourced from the sea and were stacked on top of each other to create the huge walls.

 

Barcelona Sorsogon

On the front side of the Fort Ruins, when you walk a bit further, you’ll see the St. Joseph Church, also known as Barcelona Church, which is the older church in Bicol region. I sadly wasn’t able to take a photo of it anymore since I felt sleepy and it suddenly rained for your reference.

Just to give you an idea, the Barcelona Church’s facade is still original and the church features a huge baroque-style dome-like structure. The walls of the church are interestingly made of coral rocks without cement or steel bars.

 

Barcelona Sorsogon

On the back side, it leads to a bay walk where the sea can be viewed.

 

Barcelona Sorsogon

That seems to be a lovely place to stroll in. Don’t you think so?

 

BARCELONA FORT RUINS

Entrance Fee: None because it’s FREE
Location: Barcelona, Sorsogon

*Note: I’ll definitely add Donsol Whale Shark as a must-do activity here once I’ve done it sometime in the future.



Where and What to Eat


Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm

Tucked away in the foothills of Mt. Bulusan, Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm is an agricultural resort that offers a glimpse on how stingless bees are grown.

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

 

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

This is the resort’s restaurant and also the place where the farm’s produce such as 100% raw bottled honey are being sold.

 

On the back side of the restaurant is the view of Mt. Bulusan. Since Mt. Bulusan was hidden in plain sight, I opted to take a photo of the side of the restaurant which was also beautiful.

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

 

The pond was actually brimming with fishes. I wondered if we were allowed to feed them.

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

 

For our lunch, we had their PhP 2, 100 (or 43.29 USD) per six (6) people lunch/dinner package which consisted of the following food and drinks:

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

TINOLANG MANOK (soup dish with chicken, green papaya and leaves of chili pepper)

 

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

ADOBADONG SUSO (tabagwang snail with coconut milk)

 

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

ENSALADA NA PAKU (fern salad)

 

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

DEEP-FRY NA TILAPIA (deep fried tilapia fish)

 

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

STAR FRUIT JUICE

 

*Note: The package includes a dessert which was banana during our visit. Tarragon tea is also available for those who want to drink tea after the hearty lunch.

P.S. If you’re done with the heavy, scrumptious lunch, walk around the area and you’ll discover this spring that is freezing cold even on a hot, sunny day.

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Sorsogon

Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm

SorsogonLunch/ Dinner Rates:

  • PhP 2, 100 (or 43.29 USD) package: Tinolang manok, Adobadong suso, Ensalada na paku, deep-fry na tilapia, dessert and drinks.
  • PhP 2, 400 (or 49.49 USD) package: Soup, Pandan Chicken, Adobadong suso, Kinagang na pukot or Calamares, Ensalada na paku, deep-fry tilapia, dessert and drinks.
  • PhP 2, 700 (or 55.68 USD) package: Soup, Tinutungan na manok, Adobadong suso, Choice of kinagang na pukot or Calamares, Ensalada na paku, Choice of deep-fry tilapia or steamed kirawan/putian fish, dessert and drinks.
  • Note: All packages above are good for six people.
  • Rates are subject to change without prior notice.
  • Reservations are required at least 24 hours before scheduled visit.
  • They also require 50% down payment.

Location: Purok, Bacolod, Brgy. San Roque, Bulusan, Sorsogon.
Phone: 986 – 4355/ +63 (912) 790 7946/ +63 (947) 435 5203/ +63 (948) 219 1752
Email: balaybuhaybeefarm@gmail.com
Visit: Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm Facebook Page



Where to Stay


Nestled in a coconut plantation, Siama Hotel is a haven for those who want to unplug from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Siama Hotel

read hotel review

 

Siama Hotel

book now


Disclosure: This trip was generously sponsored by the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) of the Philippines as part of the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Bicol Express Familiarization Trip. Rest assured all photos were taken by me. Plus, everything I wrote is of my own opinion and insights except for the pertinent information related to an attraction or establishment.

16 Responses to “Guide to Sorsogon: the Eco-Tourism Destination You Shouldn’t Miss”

  1. Nice pictures! I would love to ride the floating cabana. Sorsogon looks like a great place to visit. The lunch and dinner rates are very well prices for that amount of food.

    Reply
  2. I have not heard of Sorsogon before this…but from what I see and read it here it is an amazing place… I will definitely be putting it on my bucket list of things to do when I head to Philippines…

    Reply
  3. I went to Sorsogon years ago but we only went to a resort for one event. We didn’t really stay there so I wasn’t able to really explore this province. I would love to come back though and maybe use your itinerary for a guide. I’d love to see the places that you went to especially Siama Hotel. That hammock over the pool is really cool!

    Reply
  4. I haven’t been to Sorsogon but my mom is from Bicol so pili nut is my favorite pasalubong. If ever I will visit this place, I will refer to your itinerary. Nice to know that they have river cruise too. 🙂

    Reply
  5. I love how detailed this post was! I’ll be using this as reference next since my friends and I plan on visiting some time in Feb. Got me all excited now!! Hehe. Love your photos too.

    Reply
  6. I haven’t been to Sorsogon and with this guide you have provided is sure help for me since I normally travel alone. I’ve been hearing good things about Sorsorgon and I’m excited to visit and what it has to proffer.

    Reply
  7. Sorsogon seems like an interesting place to visit! I wouldn’t mind taking the 12-hour bus, but would you say that it’s comfortable? Although if I take the bus, I would probably stay there longer! And based on your photos, I would want to stay longer, for sure! 🙂

    Reply
    • It’s comfortable so long as you take the bus with the lazy boy seats and comfort room inside. Take also an overnight bus so when you wake up you’re already at Sorsogon. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Is there anything not mesmerising about Philippines? 🙂
    Such an informative and wonderful post! I’m so looking forward to exploring this place now. Next year for sure!

    Reply
  9. I love this. Husband and I are experienced travelers always on the lookout for someplace new. it’s now on our list.

    Reply
  10. Admittedly I haven’t heard much of Sorsogon and I never thought that they are keeping this eco tourism gem. But this article is overloaded with info I might need for any trip. As a traveler, I always look forward meeting the locals more that a destination and foods. I wonder if you were able to meet a local that offer transient rooms or home stays?

    Reply
  11. Thanks for this very useful guide! I’ve always wanted to see Sorsogon because my grandmother is a local. So far the only place I’ve been to Bicol is Camsur (for our Caramoan trip) and Catanduanes. When I finally get to this place, I’ll surely whip out your guide. Also happy that you enjoyed TBEX!!! 🙂

    Reply
  12. Sam Journo

    It looks beautiful. But I’ve heard the whale shark diving is not at all eco friendly. Have you heard differently?

    Reply
    • Yes, it is, but from what I know, whale shark diving in Sorsogon is different as there is less interaction. They also don’t feed them so they’re only seen in season unlike in Oslob, Cebu where it’s seen almost all year round.

      Reply
  13. Whoah, I have heard about Sorsogon before but lo, I must only know a few about it. I didn’t know it comes with beautiful places such as the ruins. Also, the activities can be done in the place. I am sure this is a good guide to follow particularly for those who are planning to visit Sorsogon one day. Taking a land trip is much cheaper it’s just that it takes a lot of time. If ever, I should save up more when I visit this place.

    Reply
  14. Wow. The place looks so exquisite. Volcanoes and lakes? That’s definitely something I’d like to explore. Philippines is so blessed with natural beauty. Btw, Barcelona is so intriguing.

    Reply

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