10 Exciting Things to Do in Sorsogon
Welcome to the land of the gentle giants.
(SPOT.ph) When you think of Sorsogon, what immediately comes to mind is the butanding, which is also known as the whale shark. These sea creatures—the world’s largest fish species—are mostly found in the coastal town of Donsol, which is now dubbed the butanding capital of the country. But, of course, this province in the southern tip of the Bicol Region also offers a number of other attractions, from the pink-sand beaches in Matnog to the heritage structures in Juban. Here are a few of the must-sees, in case you find yourself in this side of the country.
Swim with the gentle giants of the Philippine ocean
Most animal interactions are under fire for being harmful for both the creatures and the ocean—but not in Sorsogon, where Dive Central Asia prioritizes the wellness of the butanding. Now, you can marvel at these huge creatures without the guilt of exploiting them. The best time to go is from October to May when the whale sharks pass by the bay to feed on planktons, krills, and juvenile fish.
Marvel at the sight of fireflies
Complement your butanding experience with firefly-watching at Donsol and Ogod River in the evening. In 2011, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature planted 10,000 mangrove seedlings in the area, encouraging more fireflies to nest in the river. Now, it serves as a magical sight that look like stardust at night.
Dip your toes into Subic Beach's pink sand
Subic Beach on Calintaan Island is locally known as “La Playa Rosa” because of the color of its shores: A mix of creamy white and red-colored particles produced by crushed red corals. It has two segments: Subic Liit and Subic Laki, with the latter dotted with cottages where you can stay for the night.
Ride the waves in Gubat
Buenavista Beach in Gubat is considered a surfing mecca in Bicol—aside from Puraran Beach in Catanduanes and Bagasbas Beach in Daet. You can stay at Lola Sayong Eco-Surf Camp, which offers rooms and surfing lessons at affordable prices. After a surfing session, you can bask under the sun on the powdery beige sand of Rizal Beach in the adjacent cove.
Relax in the cold and hot springs of Irosin
Bulusan Volcano has gifted the towns around it with a number of hot and cold springs that can rejuvenate tired muscles. Check out Mateo Hot and Cold Spring Resorts, San Benon Hot and Cold Springs Resort, and Mapaso Hot Spring in Irosin. These resorts have picnic tables where you can enjoy a potluck meal with friends.
Paddle out in Lake Bulusan
The 16-hectare Bulusan Lake at the foot of Bulusan Volcano is one of Sorsogon’s most photographed tourist destinations. It is ideal for kayaking as guests can commune with nature and watch the coexistence of freshwater fish, plant species, and other wildlife. Fun fact: It's also the location of Lav Diaz' eight-hour film, Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis.
Travel back in time in Juban
For a glimpse of the province’s beautiful history, you can drop by the heritage town of Juban. It is dotted with well-preserved ancestral homes built in traditional bahay-na-bato architecture. One of these is Casa Feliz, which was built in the late 1800s by one of Sorsogon’s statesmen, Atty. Leoncio G. Grajo Sr. It hosted grand gatherings and accommodated distinguished personalities back in the day. Continuing this legacy, it has now been turned into a bed-and-breakfast by its new owners, the Lasala family.
Feast on fresh seafood while cruising along Buhatan River
Snack on local delicacies while on a panoramic cruise along the placid Buhatan River. The cruise's 3.9-kilometer route is punctuated by lush mangroves and bird sightings. It winds up at a floating bamboo restaurant at the mouth of bay where you can feast on fresh mud crabs, oysters, tilapia, and shrimps. You can either start the tour late in the afternoon to catch the sunset or in the early evening to see the glowing fireflies.
Indulge in Sorsogon’s luxurious resorts
Tucked in a coconut farm in Sorsogon City is Siama Hotel, a modern 30-room boutique resort which makes use of natural materials in its interiors—the handiwork of designer Milo Naval. It is most known for its stunning 25-meter pool surrounded by towering coconut trees, making it look like an oasis in the middle of a jungle.
Lounge around white-sand beaches in Bacon
In Sorsogon City, Bacon isn't just a breakfast staple for meat lovers, it is also home to some of the best beaches in the province. It’s where you can find Paguriran, a rock islet with a saltwater lagoon. It’s like a natural swimming pool in the middle of the ocean, which is easy to get to at low tide. A few minutes away is Pagol Beach, surrounded by lush vegetation; while nearby Lebanon Beach is perfect for beginner surfers. Tolong-gapo, so-called because of the three protruding rocks, is another popular haunt for beach lovers.
How to get there: Fly from Manila to Legazpi City. From there, you can take a van or a bus bound for Sorsogon.