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 to 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.
Top 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.
Sorsogon City also has nice hotels and resorts for staycation.
It also has nature spots including Paguriran Lagoon, Botong Twin Falls, and Mount Pulog which features a majestic lake at the summit.
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.
Here’s our Guide to Island Hopping in Matnog (Sorsogon).
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 Lake Bulusan 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 National Park which sits at the foot of the volcano, where you can kayak across the lake. Or explore 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.
Here’s our Guide on Whale Shark Watching in Donsol.
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.
– Take overnight bus from Manila to Matnog, Sorsogon
Day 1 – Matnog
– Island hopping in Matnog
– Stay overnight in Subic Beach
Day 2 – Bulusan and Irosin
– Kayaking in Bulusan Lake
– Visit Balay Buhay Sa Uma Bee Farm
– Overnight stay in a hot spring resort in Irosin
Day 3 – Barcelona and Gubat
– Stopover at Barcelona (Coral Chuch and Barcelona Signage)
– Surfing in Gubat
– Overnight stay in Gubat OR head home
(Optional) Day 4 – Side trip to Albay
– Head to Albay
– Breakfast at Cagsawa Ruins with view of Mount Mayon
– ATV Ride
– Quitinday Hills
– Jovellar Underground River
At the third, you can take an overnight bus back to Manila or continue your backpacking across the Bicol Region.
I have included a sample side trip to Albay, since most people always drop by here to take photos of Cagsawa Ruins. Cagsawa Ruins is one of the tourist landmarks of the Philippines. It features an old belfry and other church remnants which were buried in the deadliest eruption of Mount Mayon in 1814. It’s now a tourist spot where you can get a nice photo with Mount Mayon in the backdrop.
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 the best hotels and resorts in Sorsogon:
- (Sorsogon City) Siama Hotel: Book via Agoda
- (Sorsogon City) Residencia del Hamor: Book via Agoda
- (Donsol) Vitton Resort: Book via Agoda
- (Matnog) Juag Lagoon Sanctuary: Facebook
- (Gubat) Lola Eco-Sayong Surf Camp: Facebook
Budget and expenses
Here are the major expenses for the itinerary above:
|Transport||Manila to Sorsogon by bus (one way): P700-1300 per person|
When chartering a private vehicle to tour you in Sorsogon, you will need to haggle. To give you an idea, here are ballpark figures for a day:
– 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.
Has this Travel Guide to Sorsogon been helpful to you? If you have comments or questions, let us know in the comment section below!
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