Local Travel

Summer Vacation in Sorsogon (May 13-16 2019)


May 13, 2019

Main event: Election Day

Photo above was taken at a famous budget-friendly Rizal beach in Buenavista, Gubat, Sorsogon. My brother, Joshua, the kids, hubby, and I went for a swim from 8 AM to 10 AM.  This is a little to hit the beach but my husband and I had had to vote earlier that morning. On a normal morning, I prefer going to the beach at 6 AM.

Rizal beach is famous for its very fine sand, gentle water, and gentle bathymetry.   You have to go more than 50 meters to reach water level around your neck especially during low tide.  If you are a newbie swimmer, I highly recommend this beach for learning the strokes because of the gentle waves. I actually spent most of the morning swim teaching my brother how to do breast strokes.    Although it looks almost white in the pic, the sand is actually grayish, thanks to the volcanic rocks that are pretty common around the area. If you go to Rizal beach from Payawin, you will pass by mangroves and marshlands as well as tidal creeks draining into the embayment. It is a sight to see for people who likes the beach a lot! I personally love mangoves because of the diversity of marine fauna that live there.  Mangroves also protect the inner land from storm surges. Correct me if I’m wrong but I read before that the presence of mangroves indicate a healthy marine ecosystem.

After lunch time, we decided to bring my brother to Sorsogon city to try the famous “sili” (chili) ice cream at Colonial Grill.  He was daunted by prospect of eating spicy ice cream and could not believe that such a thing exists. Haha!


This is a photo of my brother who survived eating the “sili” ice cream. It’s his first time to come to visit Sorsogon, hence, I was happy to see him enjoying the rural scenery and food.


Because my mom along with two brothers are coming from Catanduanes Island and we were to pick them up in Sorsogon, we decided to have early dinner and visit the Bay Walk.  Although I’ve been visiting the province almost every year since 2007, it was my first time to visit the bay.  I was not disappointed. The view of Bulusan, the Bacon-Manito mountain range, the sea, and sunset simply took my breath away. 

This is Mount Bulusan as seen from the city’s Bay Walk.

This photo show the northern portion of Bacon Manito Geothermal Field.

This light house inside the nearby park is under construction. Soon this will become one of the city’s landmarks.If you are on a budget and live in the area, I recommend this place for your pre-nuptial photo shoot! We posed on this spot so we could have Bulusan volcano for background and also to allow my brother to play around with my DSLR. We went to the city’s Bay Walk on a clear day so we were quite lucky to observe the sunset, Mt. Bulusan, and the mountain range of Bacon Manito Geothermal Field (where I used to work as Geologist).

If you’re in the city and looking for a place to escape to for some quiet time, the bay walk is the place to be. Luckily, it’s only a stone throw away via an access road beside the city’s catholic church.  It also now has food establishments around in case you need to eat.

May 15

The beach will always be the main reason why I visit the province whenever my schedule allows me to. Since its my mom’s first time to visit the main attraction of the province, I decided to bring her and my brothers to Rizal beach in Buenavista, Gubat. Here are two snap shots of Rizal beach:May 15, 2019

Paguriran Atoll

If you visit Sorsogon City and have the luxury of time, you MUST visit Paguriran atoll – a ring-shaped island formed by coral reef connected to the beach by a sand bar.   We rented a tricycle for only Php 700 to bring us there, while the kids went with my brother in his car. We got there at 8:30 AM. The beach resorts in Paguriran have limited water and food to offer so I recommend that you bring some with you.  My favorite part of the atoll is the living coral reef surrounding it and the small tidal pools that are only visible during low tide. If you’re brave, you could also do some cliff diving from the rocky isand into the water, just choose the part of the sea where it is deepest, obviously.  Because the island reefal, the bathymetry is uneven, there are deep and shallow sections of the reef.  If you don’t know how to swim, it is best to stay around the sand bar and middle section of the atoll.The sand is cream colored – a byproduct of waves crushing against the coralline limestone and erosion by river systems inland. Coralline limestone is the type of rock that is dominantly underlying the area. Whenever this type of rock dominates an area, expect the beach to have cream colored to white sand, take Boracay and Bohol islands for example.  During high tide, the sand bar connecting the atoll to mainland is submerged in water.  It was a good thing too that I brought my SJ cam with me so I was able to take photos of the corals and fish  .Here are some of the photos taken using my Nikon D3100, SJ cam and, Samsung mobile phone:If you haven’t guessed it, that is Mayon volcano in the background.This is the central part of the atoll.  This part is generally safe for kids to swim during low tide.   This part though is deep during high tide.An open tunnel in the atoll’s wall that leads out into these rock islets.My brother at the peak above the open tunnel.My youngest son does not like to swim so he only played on the sand and did this to cool down. He’s got this comical expression sometimes that I love.I owe my son’s swimming coach in UP Diliman a lot for his confidence in water. Such a water-loving baby, just like mommy.Find the fish in the pic! 🙂 It is there, I promise.This is Buboy, one of my brothers.Uhm, I haven’t figured out how to rotate the pic here in WordPress or if it’s even possible.

May 16

Road Trip to Irosin and Bulusan, Sorsogon

Sorsogon Province is also famous for its active volcano, Bulusan, and the hot springs of Irosin. I remember, one day in 2007, when I witnessed the volcano erupting while my husband and I were harvesting pineapples. It was a sight to see! I am a Geologist but believe me when I say that erupting volcanoes is not common even in Philippines so we are just as excited as the regular Juan when a mountain blows its top off! I have only seen another eruption so far – Mayon’s in 2006.

We hired a jeepney for only Php 3,000 to bring our large group to Irosin and Bulusan. We left home around 7 AM, stopped by Casiguran’s public market to buy fresh fish and fried chicken (for the kids who hate fish) then arrived in Irosin around 9 AM.  Since most of the newest resorts were already full by the time we got there, we decided to go to Paradise hot spring resort, one of the oldest resorts in the area which relatively far from the highway.My two boys, posing for picture by the hot spring pool.With my mom – having back massages from the strong flow of hot spring water from this open pipe.

After about two hours of swimming happily in the warm pool, we had our lunch of fresh mangoes, grilled fish, fried chicken, rice, and boiled sweet potato. Then we packed up and hit the road for Bulusan Lake.

Bulusan Lake

We were a big group consisting of my siblings, mom, hubby and his relatives.  The trek around the lake is easy enough for kids because the path is concreted.  I highly recommend this place for a real nature trip because the path is positioned right smack into the primary forest around the lake.  Occasionally, you would see large carps and “tilapia” on the surface of the lake and a few local swimmers trying to catch them during the course of the trek.   The trees are tall, ferns and orchids are abundant, and you could hear the sound of birds and insects living there. 

This was taken along the canopy walk around the southern section of the lake.

Prior to the trek, the guide showed us the model of Bulusan volcano, its geomorphological features and the town surrounding it.

We finished the trek in about one hour.  After cooling down for 15 minutes, we decided to hit the road again went around Bulusan town until we reach Dangcalan which is known local government owned beach resort.  The entrance fee is cheap at 10 pesos each so by the time we got there, the place was packed, and there was not a single cottage available for us.  We entered anyway and decided to just camp under a Talisay tree.

What I love about this beach resort is the  gentle (almost flat) sloping sand and shallow bathymetry. The water is waist-deep even if you go more than half kilometer from the coastline.   However, don’t go beyond the buoys near the crashing waves, the lifeguard will ring the alarm and call you out. It’s for everyone’s safety, of course.

And this is me of course.

That’s all for now, friends. Thank you for reading up to this point. 🙂