Sorsogon is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a countryside ambiance with a good mix of adventures — from island hopping and surfing to trekking mountains. As it’s often overshadowed by the neighboring province of Albay in Bicol Region, it is more relaxed and it offers a breath of fresh air.
Moreover, it’s a family-friendly destination, with many hotels and resorts and activities ideal for children.
I’ve often said that Sorsogon is one of my favorite places in the Philippines. So I’m happy to present to you our travel guide to the province of Sorsogon!
How to get to Sorsogon
There are different ways to get to Sorsogon.
The closest airport to Sorsogon is Legazpi Airport in Albay. From there, take a bus or van to Sorsogon. Travel time is around 1.5-2 hours.
From Manila, there are various bus lines bound for Sorsogon. Fare is around P700-1300 and travel time is 12-14 hours depending on the bus type and your specific destination in Sorsogon.
How to get around
You can get around the different municipalities via jeepneys, but the jeepney schedules are limited.
The best way to explore Sorsogon is by bringing your own vehicle or chartering a tricycle, jeepney, or van.
Best Tourist Spots in Sorsogon
Sorsogon is a province in Bicol Region offering diverse attractions. Here’s a rundown of places you can visit in Sorsogon.
Sorsogon City is the capital of the province. You can stop here to visit some of the city landmarks, including the Provincial Capitol Complex, Baywalk, and Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. For those who want to know the history of Sorsogon, a visit to Museo Sorsogon is a must.
Several minutes away from the city, you can also find the Buhatan River which offers relaxing river cruises. Other nature spots include Paguriran Lagoon, Botong Twin Falls, and Mount Pulog which features a majestic lake at the summit.
Sorsogon City also has nice hotels and resorts for staycation.
Matnog is a top destination in Sorsogon. It has a busy seaport used to get to other places in the Visayan Region, such as Samar.
It’s also famous for its island hopping activity, where you’ll get to see the famed pinkish sands of Subic Beach and Tikling Island, as well as Calintaan Cave and Juag Lagoon Sanctuary.
Matnog highlights the beauty of the beaches in Sorsogon. It’s a must-see when you’re in this province.
Bulusan is a great place for adventure lovers.
You can trek to the summit of Mount Bulusan, one of the most active volcanoes in the country. It has a crater traditionally known as “Blackbird Lake”, which is a void surrounded by rocky ridges producing sulfuric stream. The activity starts by kayaking from Bulusan Lake until reaching the jump-off point to the trail to the summit. This climb is doable as a day hike but most often as an overnight hike.
As Mount Bulusan is active, it’s best to consult with the tourism office first whether it’s safe and open for trekking. As of the recent years, it’s been closed for safety purposes.
For the non-climbers, you can visit Bulusan Volcano National Park, which sits at the foot of the volcano, where you can ride a boat or kayak across the lake. Another destination that is worth visiting is Zoe’s Resort and Eco-Adventure Park, which offers various outdoor activities and also features three waterfalls (Kambal Busay Falls, Hidden Falls, and Hulugan Falls).
For those who like the off-the-beaten path, there are lesser-known waterfalls in the area, including Bayugin Falls, Nasipit Falls, and Palogtoc Falls.
Located close to Bulusan, Irosin is gifted with natural hot and cold springs where you can relax. Some of the resorts you can visit include San Benon Hot Spring Resort, Mateo Hot & Cold Spring Resort, Nature Hot Spring Resort, and Tropical Hot Spring Paradise.
You can also visit the Valley View Park, which offers a nice view of rice fields and Mount Bulusan.
Gubat is one of the lesser-known surfing destinations in the Philippines. Rizal Beach has strong waves that are ideal for beginner and pro surfers. This is generally a good place to chill, beach bum, and surf.
Most people visit Donsol to for its whale shark watching activity. Unlike that in Oslob (Cebu), here you will need to look for the whale sharks in the wild which makes it friendlier to the wildlife. This is a seasonal activity that runs from October to May.
Donsol is also used as a jump-off point to Manta Bowl, a prominent diving site nestled between Donsol and Ticao Island in Masbate. Manta Bowl features a huge colony of manta rays, that it’s tagged as the Manta Ray Capital of the Philippines.
Aside from these activities, you can also go on a firefly river tour at night.
The ones mentioned above are the most interesting spots in Sorsogon. There are other places you can see.
Barcelona is known for St. Joseph Church (also called Barcelona Church), an 18th-century church made from corals. Alongside the church are old ruins and the mandatory Barcelona signage. There are other tourist spots being established in Barcelona, such as Biyong Spring Resort.
Juban is known for its Spanish-era houses. The houses are designed with concrete ground floor and wooden top floors, with sliding windows made from capiz shells.
Prieto Diaz has caves you can explore: the Pinanaan Cave and Nagsurok Cave. With several coastal communities, it also has beaches including Lebanon Beach and Tutin Beach. You can also head to Sabang Beach and take a boat to Halabang Lapis, a naked island visible during high tide.
Magdalena also has nice white-sand beaches, including Olango Beach and Bigo Beach. Magdalena is off-the-beaten-path so this is a good option if you’re looking for a low-key beach destination.
For more places to see and things to do, here’s our compilation of the Best Things to Do in Sorsogon.
3 Days Itinerary in Sorsogon
Here’s a sample 3 days itinerary in Sorsogon.
|Day 0||Take overnight bus from Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon|
|Day 1 – Matnog||Island hopping in Matnog|
Check in at a hot spring resort in Irosin
|Day 2 – Irosin, Juban, Bulusan||Irosin Tour:|
– St. Michael Archangel Irosin Parish Church
– Vicky’s Pili and Food Products
– Walking tour of Juban heritage houses
– Lunch at Balay Bahay sa Uma Bee Farm
– Bulusan Lake
– Zoe’s Resort and Adventure Park
Check in at a hotel in Bulusan
|Day 3 – Barcelona and Gubat||Barcelona Tour:|
– Barcelona Coral Church and Signage
Gubat for surfing
Check in at Gubat OR head home
|(Optional) Day 4 – Side trip to Albay||Albay Tour:|
– Breakfast at Cagsawa Ruins with view of Mount Mayon
– ATV Ride
– Quitinday Hills
– Sumlang Lake
– Jovellar Underground River
On the third day, you can take an overnight bus back to Manila or continue your backpacking across the Bicol Region.
I have included an optional side trip to Albay, since most people prefer doing the Sorsogon-Albay route. Albay can easily explored by chartering your own vehicle (habal-habal or tricycle) or booking a day tour package.
If you’re looking for other things to do in Albay, I suggest heading to Tabaco Port for island hopping.
Where to stay in Sorsogon
Here are some recommended hotels and resorts in Sorsogon:
- Siama Hotel. Location: Sorsogon City. Book via Agoda | Read our review
- Residencia del Hamor. Location: Sorsogon City. Book via Agoda
- Vitton Resort: Location: Donsol. Book via Agoda
Check out this separate article for the Best Resorts in Sorsogon.
Budget and expenses
Here are the major expenses for your Sorsogon trip (Updated as of 2022):
|Transport||Manila to Sorsogon by bus (one way): P700-1300 per person|
These are just estimates for daily rate. Rates still depend on your haggling skills:
– Tricycle: P1000-1500 (good up to 3-4 people)
– Van: P4000 (good up to 12 people)
|Activities||Island hopping in Matnog: P1800 for day trip / P2000 for overnight stay (good up to 10 pax) |
Kayaking in Bulusan Lake: P100 per kayak
Surfing in Gubat: Surfing lesson for 1 hour – P500
|Accommodation||Depends on the hotel/resort type|
Total budget depends on your itinerary and how many you are in the group. As always, the bigger the group, the lesser the expenses.
Where to book a tour in Sorsogon
For organized tours, you can book a tour of Sorsogon via Klook.
Has this Travel Guide to Sorsogon been helpful to you? If you have comments or questions, let us know in the comment section below!
What to read next:
Here are our guides about Sorsogon:
- Travel Guide to Sorsogon
- Sorsogon Tourist Spots + Things to Do
- Island Hopping in Matnog, Sorsogon
- Whale Shark Watching in Donsol, Sorsogon
- Buhatan River Cruise in Sorsogon
- Bulusan Lake in Sorsogon
- Zoe’s Resort and Eco Adventure Park
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Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).