Sorsogon is Luzon’s southernmost province, filled with nature-based adventures. It is famous for being the country’s Butanding or whale shark capital where tourists can freely swim and interact with the ocean’s gentle giants.
The province’s name was derived from the word Sogsogon which means tracing the river upstream. Locals share that upon Spanish settlement, one group came across a waterway that we now know as Sorsogon Bay and were given directions that included the word Sogsogon.
And if you wish to do the same and discover Sorsogon’s pristine beauty aside from its rivers, here’s a guide that can help you make the most out of your trip.
Day 1: Where To Stay
Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm
A combination of resort, bee farm, and restaurant, Balay Buhay sa Uma which means “Farm Life Home” is Sorsogon’s famed agritourism site. It has 16 rooms and 2 small houses ideal for big groups or families.
The cheapest accommodation is the Native Kubo without balcony at Php1,200 per night.
According to owner Luz Gamba, she considers this three-hectare farm as a peace center and ideal for those seeking nothing but quiet provincial living. The dishes served are all produced and harvested from the farm.
This includes Kinaluko, a Sorsogon delicacy, made from shredded yam soaked and cooked twice in coconut milk.
How to Get There: From Bicol International Airport, take a 21-minute tricycle going to Legazpi Grand Terminal. From there, take a bus going to Sorsogon Grand Terminal. Fare is at Php120 and the travel time is around one hour and 20 minutes.
From Sorsogon Grand Terminal, there are jeepneys going to Gubat. It will take travelers another jeepney ride from Gubat to Bulusan.
Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm is located at Purok Bacolod, Barangay Bulusan, Sorsogon.
Recidencia Del Hamor
Established in 2021, Recidencia Del Hamor is one of Sorsogon’s luxurious beachfront hotels. It boasts 16 rooms with a Presidential Suite Room at Php22,000 per night inclusive of breakfast for two persons, access to a mini bar with complimentary wine and cheese platter.
This hotel and resort is also 17 minutes away from Matnog port, the jump off point to island hopping in the area.
Guests may seamlessly arrange exclusive tours at the front desk and rates may vary depending on the number of joiners.
How to Get There: Recidencia Del Hamor is an hour and a half ride from Sorsogon Grand Terminal. Travelers may directly coordinate with the resort for assistance or shuttle services.
Recidencia Del Hamor is located at Barangay San Sebastian, Sta. Magdalena, Sorsogon.
Day 2: Matnog Island Hopping
Matnog is the southernmost municipality of Luzon and the gateway to Visayas. Through island hopping, tourists may visit different spots such as Tikling, Juag Lagoon, Calintaan Cave, and Subic Beaches.
Tikling is privately-owned and guests are only given 15 to 20 minutes to explore the island. If you wish to stay longer and use the caretaker’s cottages, you must first coordinate with the local tourism office.
The beach is filled with palm trees and several domesticated wild boars can be seen within the area.
Next stop is the Juag Lagoon Marine Sanctuary where tourists can swim and interact with different aquatic species including the endangered Humphead Wrasse or Mameng.
Make sure to not wear your sunscreens yet; travelers wearing lotions and creams are not allowed to enter to avoid contaminating the waters.
A quick stopover at Calintaan Cave is also recommended by locals.
Here, tourists will appreciate the tall palm trees and lush green mossy terrains above different rock formations. There are small cave openings where thrill-seekers will be allowed to swim.
The main destination, Subic Beach is actually composed of two adjacent islands separated by a short stretch of land. Locals refer to the bigger cove as Subic Laki (big). The other, of course, is Subic Liit (small).
Both beaches are known for the powdery rose sand due to crushed red corals.
Subic Laki has resort accommodations for overnight stays while Liit is known to be quieter, ideal for day tours and those who prefer to stay in open huts and benches.
How to Get There: Matnog Island Hopping starts at Php3,000 inclusive of boat rental. Registration fee is at Php 70-100.
It is highly recommended that tourists must coordinate with the Matnog Tourism Culture and Arts Office through their Facebook page or +632 967 231 8168 prior visit.
Day 3: Swim with Whale Sharks at Donsol
Plunge into the deep blue sea and interact with marine giants! A trip to Sorsogon would not be complete without visiting the Whale Shark Capital of the World.
To manage visitors interacting with the whale sharks, locals established strict protocols. Before the trip, each boat has a designated Butanding Interaction Officer to ensure that rules are being followed.
Each boat is given a maximum of three hours to limit interaction with the whale sharks and only six tourists are allowed per boat.
Sightings are not guaranteed so locals suggest visiting during whale shark season that runs from November to June.
Swimmers must stay at least 3 meters away from the whale shark’s tail, touching them is prohibited and swimmers must never hinder or block the path of the whale shark.
Boat rental starts at Php5,000. Registration fee is at Php 300 per person while snorkeling gear rental is around Php200 to 300.
How to Get There: From Legazpi Grand Terminal take a direct minivan or bus ride going to Donsol Central Terminal. Travel time is 1 hour and 30 minutes and fare starts at Php100.
Day 4: Lola Sayong Eco-Surf
A surfing spot, camping site, and social enterprise rolled into one. Lola Sayong Eco Surf is manned by Sorsogon locals sharing the same passion of being active environmental stewards.
There are no lounge chairs in Lola Sayong, only hammocks tied around trees and benches made of bamboo which makes the spot ideal for destressing.
Amidst tall coconut trees are nipa huts that serve as accommodations for guests. The most affordable solo room with private CR starts at Php1,650, while a solo room with communal CR is Php1,450.
Aside from surfing lessons, the staff also organize programs such as Hawksbill Sea Turtle or Pawikan rescue missions, upholding Filipino cultural games with guests and foreigners, virtual farming, and more.
How to Get There: From Sorsogon City, Lola Sayong Eco Surf is a 30 to 45 minute jeepney ride. Tourists may drop off at Gubat Public Market and then take a tricycle to Barangay Buenavista.
Day 5: Relax at Irosin’s Hot Springs
More than just having a relaxing bath time, soaking in a hot spring can provide great health benefits as it improves blood circulation and reduces muscle stress.
Sorsogon is known for numerous rivers, creeks, and streams. The province’s hot spring capital is located at Irosin as the municipality sits at the bottom of Bulusan Volcano. Tropical Hot Spring Paradise is one of them.
This 2.9-hectare hot spring resort is surrounded by coconut trees. It has three free-flowing pools. Each pool is labeled as hot, lukewarm, and cold.
Entrance fee varies at Php55 for Day Swim and Php 60 for Night Swim. Open cottage rental starts at Php 250 to Php1,100.
How to Get There: From Legazpi Grand Terminal, take a Bulan-route bus going to Irosin. Rate is at Php350 to 400 and travel time is around 2 hours.
Day 6: Romantic Cruise at Buhatan River
This eco cruise is a community-initiated tourism program that offers a 90-minute trip along Buhatan River. The getaway lets tourists experience the river’s natural beauty, how it feels to just unwind, and listen to the sounds of local and migratory birds as well as cicadas. It is highly recommended to book a cruise before sunset.
Tamarind or lemon grass juice paired with local treats like roasted pili and pili polvoron are offered while tourists are lounging at the floating cabana. You may also opt for a feast after the cruise at the floating bamboo cottage.
How to Get There: Buhatan River is just a 7-minute tricycle ride away from Sorsogon City Grand Terminal.
Day 7: Take a stroll through history
A century-old provincial jail and courthouse converted into a museum. Sorsogon Museum is a two-floor building composed of ten galleries that display the rich culture and history of Sorsogon.
Each gallery is called Selda or jail cell and numbered accordingly. The Selda Uno houses information about Sorsogon’s geography, climate, and language while the other galleries showcase Sorsogon’s prides, history, product exports, and more.
A kilometer-long baywalk with picturesque views facing Bulusan Volcano. This is where the locals would usually unwind after a bustling day in the city and appreciate the nice breeze before sunset.
Outsource the Planning
For a seamless trip, you may leave the planning to DOT’s accredited tour operators in Bicol. Click on this link for a comprehensive list of agencies.
Explore Sorsogon responsibly by making sure that you comply with the province’s health and safety protocols, such as wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.
Ensure that you have acquired travel authority at https://s-pass.ph/ prior trip. Bring a copy or screenshot of this along with your vaccination card and valid ID upon arrival.
For the latest travel information about Sorsogon, you may visit their official website or Facebook page. You may also review updated safety protocols and requirements on Philippine destinations at www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel