Sorsogon, the province at the southern end of the biggest island of Luzon in the Philippines, seems to be an unlikely tourist destination because of its distance from the capital. It is a 12- 15 hours journey by car, approximately 500 kilometres or more than 300 miles away from the bustling city of Manila. Unknown to many, it offers an array of spectacular natural sightseeings and wonders.
One of the provinces of the Bicol region, it is a perfect place to find new beaches to die for, visit and play with nature, and take a chance to discover and enjoy delicious food and delicacies.
Sorsogon City, the capital of the province.
- Buhatan River Tour- chill and enjoy the lush greens while traversing the river in a posh make- shift raft complete with cushion and sofas. While on- board, you can enjoy some of the delicacies of the Sorsogon, the Pilinut candy. You will be serenaded by a local. Also included in the tour is the harvesting and tasting fresh oysters. Lunch awaits in the floating restaurant where you will taste local dishes and seafood. Rate depends on the number of persons that normally starts at Php 750. The more participants, the more you save.
- Paguriran Island and Lagoon– swim in the lagoon enclosed in big stone formations. Cliff jumping is one of the highlights. Best to visit during sunrise while low tide. Cottages and rooms are available for rent.
Matnog, famous for its port and the gateway to Visayas in the Philippines.
- Subic Beach- 30 to 45 minutes from the port, famous for its whitesand and clear waters. Activities you can enjoy here are swimming, snorkeling and camping. At night, you can enjoy stargazing. Cottages and rooms are available for rent. It is advised though to bring your own food during visit since there is no restaurant available. Boat rental for back and forth trips ranges from Php 1,000- 2,500 depending on the number of persons.
- Juag Lagoon Fish Sanctuary- swim with different fishes and spot other marine species.
Bulusan, a small town sheltered by tropical green forest and mountains.
- Bulusan Volcano National Park- be awed with the beauty of Bulusan Lake where you can swim in its emerald green waters or paddle a kayak. The park is a sanctuary to different species of plants and birds. For adventurous souls, you can climb to the peak of Mt. Bulusan. Guides and porters are available for hire. Rates start at Php 500.
- Balay Buhay sa Uma– famous for its Bee Farm and honey production. Perfect to enjoy its garden and natural pool from a stream. Its restaurant offers perfectly cooked dishes native to the region. Take note, all ingredients are organic and produced in the farm. Different accommodation types are available for overnight stays.
Donsol, renowned to be a perfect location to enjoy whale shark encounters, this once sleeping town has transformed as one of the major tourist spots of the province.
- Registration fee is Php 300 paid at the visitor center. Then rent your boat for the day. The boat package cost between Php 3,000- Php 4,000 depending on the size of the boat. By the way, whale shark is known locally as Butanding.
- Home to the hot springs at the base of Mt. Bulusan, an active volcano that naturally heats the underground water source of the spring.
- Pack your rashguard and swimwear, to learn and enjoy surfing this small town just a few kilometers away from Sorsogon City. Head to Brgy. Buenavista and meet the locals to be your guide and surfing instructors. The place is also known for its long strip white beach, at Brgy. Rizal.
- If you are into ruins and history, just 15- 30 minutes from Gubat, is the town of Barcelona. Home to ruins of a Spanish era building and one of the oldest catholic churches in the Bicol Region.
Despite the beauty and richness of nature of Sorsogon, it is usually out of the radar of many tourists. Hopefully the eco- tourism will be promoted and developed.
Food and delicacies to try
Staying in Sorsogon is not complete without trying its food and delicacies. Number one on the list is Pili nut candies. Also, try the linantang pili, the fibrous edible covering of pili shell. Do you know that 85% of the production of pili in the Philippines come from Sorsogon?
Shellfish should be next. Don’t forget to try skid- skid, baulk and dalu- halo. These are conches or sea shells which are pointed on both ends with edible meat inside cooked with creamy coconut milk with fresh malunggay leaves. These conches are abundant on the shores of our town near the mangroves.
Your trip is not complete without experiencing Kinunot, a fish dish cooked with main ingredients of shark or manta ray sauteed in onions, garlic and malunggay leaves and coconut cream. Its aroma and unique taste is delicious with the mixture of coconut milk, kalamansi, onions, red chili and malunggay leaves.
Of course, don’t forget the Bicol Express and Laing. Not the typical way of cooking you see in cities, though. Here, you will taste the real richness of freshly grated coconut milk and the real spiciness because chili is the star.
Where to stay
Hotels, resorts and inns are mostly in the city of Sorsogon. For accessibility reasons, best to book your accommodation here. If you want to relax, enjoy the beach and nature, Gubat is the best place. There are different beach resorts that offers decent accommodation. The town of Casiguran is home to luxurious garden resorts.
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