Bulusan is to Sorsogon as Mayon is to Albay. Active at a rate a dozen every hundred years, Bulusan Volcano towers at 1559m over the southern towns of Sorsogon. Bulusan National Park within the expanse of the volcano includes the 2 lakes formed on some of its inactive craters - Agingay Lake and Bulusan Lake. The place is a favorite mountain-climbing destination.
Update: Bulusan Volcano spewed smoke and ash in April 2006 covering the surrounding towns with at least 10mm of ash fall. The volcano tamed after a week of rumblings.
Paguriran Island is an island that you can reach by foot even during high tide. Since we went there on an ordinary weekday, the place was not crowded. Water inside the island is around waist to chest deep during high tide.
our final activity on our itinerary was a firefly encounter via a river cruise at night. at first i didn't really think it was such a big deal but when i saw it...wow! the sheer number and beauty was something else! they were like twinkling christmas lights in december! our boatman was nice enough to let us get really close and we were actually able to touch some and watch them land on our boat. our guide said the best time to go on a firefly river cruise would be when there isn't any moon and its absolutely dark so that they really stand out. timing has to be right! but what we saw was more than enough for us all to think...galing!
that's the main reason you're going to donsol anyway right? right! so go do it. its an amazing experience seeing a whaleshark the size of a bus swimming so fast with their white spots glittering underwater. its a sight worth seeing. and the best part of it all is that you don't just get to see one or 2 in one trip...you can even see as many as a dozen depending on the time you go (peak season would be from March to about the first week of May). plus you can stay as long as you want at sea, you just have to let your BOI (Butanding Interaction Officer) know.
1. once in donsol proceed to the Donsol Tourism/Vistor Center.
2. register and attend a brief orientation session prior to heading out to sea
3. rent boat, equipment, and guide
4. you're good to go!
do check out my packing list tip on stuff to bring when going on a whaleshark encounter.
we had to take a boat ride through a river/marsh and take a short hike before reaching the sanctuary. it was tiring (bring a water bottle and a small towel) but it was worth it when you reach the top of the hill. the view is breathtaking, the air so fresh...its truly amazing. and then there are the birds. the sanctuary actually is a huge converted pond and come sunset the birds (i just forget what kind they are, sorry) arrive individually or in groups. watch out for their flight and landing patterns...spectacular! i never thought the philippines would have this sort of natural wonder and so i was thoroughly impressed.
The refreshingly cool Masacrot Springs, complete with big swimming pool, are in the southern foothills of the volcano, near San Roque. Admission fee of P10 is required for sightseeing guests. Not much to see really.
Bulusan Lake is a small crater lake surrounded by lush vegetation, nearby Mt Bulusan. It has a 3-km long path around it called Lovers' Lane. For the walk around the lake, which in parts is fairly difficult and tiring, you will need 1 & half hour, including rests.
SR/DR/fan P150/300, SR/DR/fan/bath P300, cottage/fan/bath/kitchen P350. The rooms are basic, but acceptable. The resort has two pools (one lukewarm, and one hot) and there is a small restaurant and a variety of cottages set in a peaceful location in the forest. You'll find a signpost at the point where the path leaves the road, 3 km north of Irosin, and the resort is about 2 km from the highway.
We did this thing on the month of April. We arrived at the place 6:30 AM (the sea was very calm) considering to get over before the scorching heat of the sun gets intolerable. We booked a BIOman (Butanding Interaction Officer) with his corresponding boat and a partner-Spotter (the guy that stands at an elevated platform on the boat for a better view to scan the waters for that protruding shark’s dorsal fin in the water surface) at the Visitor Center. Boarding the boat, Mang Ute, the BIOman right away lectured us the basic rules of engagement. Within 15 minutes into the bay, we got the first alarm by the spotter. We got nearer at a slow quieter-motor speed up to about 2m away to the big black figure slightly submerged in the water >> now, the butanding resting on the side of the boat, then Mang Ute signaled us to jump into the water with our snorkel gears on. The animal was surprisingly not afraid of our presence as we get near just short of touching. My 12-year old daughter was as amazed as I am. “Wow!” The "big thing" swam slowly and we kept pace with it for about 30 seconds enjoying the very thrilling rare encounter. Then, it dived down.
Same encounters with other whale sharks happened in the next 2 hours around the bay. To my count, a total of 12 encounters. The thrill and enjoyment left me no time taking pictures from the boat because I was always wet and in the water. It’s good we bought a disposable underwater camera at the souvenir store and let Mg Ute did some of the best shots. I'd rather be swimming with the BUTANDINGS! What a great day it was. Btw, March to May is the Best time for these whale sharks to show up in numbers here.
Staying overnight at Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon; Olango Beach was the chosen place. Fine white sand and torquoise blue water reveals the inviting call of the sea for that refreshing dip. Farther just a few meters from the shoreline is a spread of shallow reefs that hosts a very rich marine life underwater - snorkler's and diver's paradise.
The tranquility of the place relieves anybody a complete detachment from the usual grind of busy everyday life. The occupants of our neighboring cottage, a European couple who opted to stay longer for 2 weeks admitted to have been charmed by the simple beauty and idyllic serenity of the place.
Relax and escape from the real world!
A few hike from the main road to Bulusan Lake, Palogtoc Falls is a favorite cooling place for locals come summer time. A wide pool is built on the base that is continuously fed by the modest-sized waterfalls. This is within the area of the Masacrot Spring - an alternative choice to suit your taste, just in case.
Located at the foot of Bulusan Volcano, Masacrot Spring is the most visited mineral spring in Bulusan priding of its naturally-carved pool of free-flowing cool clear water. A prolonged soak at the pool is claimed to be therapeutic for aching muscles.
The big pool is fed by the sprouting water spring on one end of the pool providing a continuous replenishment/replacement of the water - no worries for the freshness of the water all the time. Cottages built under a canopy of tall trees are for rent for a minimal fee for the upkeep of the place. Bring packed foods or cook on site. The place gets its usual throngs of picnickers on weekends.
Bulusan crater lake is located 635 meters above sea level and has a circumference of 2.6kms. It is sometimes referred to as Switzerland of the Orient due to the cool climate pervading the area and the adjoining Bulusan Volcano which is thickly forested.
The lake is part of the Bulusan National Park and other sites include the volcano, hot spring, lagoon, waterfalls, among others. An entrance fee of P10 per person is charged.
The resort is a popular destination of both locals and visitors to Irosin due to its "hot spring pool". Hot spring water from Mt. Irosin flows into the 5ft deep man-made pool. Underneath the pool are small to big rocks made slippery by green moss, thus diving into the pool is strictly prohibited.
Literally, stepping into the pool is like jumping into hot water. At first, I was afraid that I would burn my skin, but as I got used to it, the heat becomes tolerable. I would say, I found a natural way to detoxify.
Within the resort are cottages made from local materials where you can rest and have your meals. Bringing in of own food and beverage is allowed. You can even grill meat and fish as there are facilities available. A P15 entrance fee per person is charged, while cottage rental ranges between P50 to P100, depending on the size.
An old Spanish ruin is located across Barcelona Church. It is barren inside with only the external stone structure still standing.