Bulusan, Sorsogon | More Than Just a Volcano
Since elementary days I already knew that Bulusan is an active volcano & that it is also a name of a town in Sorsogon. But what I didn’t know is that it’s also filled with beaches, lakes, waterfalls & historical sights. And surely they’re prettier than what we imagined from school textbooks.
I almost got the chance to visit it in the past when I lived in Bicol on a work assignment. But for 2 years between 2010 & 2012, the volcano had seismic activities everytime I planned a trip. Finally, I got the chance to step on Bulusan in mid-2017 sans the plume of ash & tremors.
Bulusan: The volcano, the lake, the town & the happy end-betweens
I have to admit that I wasn’t ready to leave Gubat yet when my hosts called that they were all prepped for my arrival. I was still having the time of my life hanging loose with super cool surfers in Buenavista.
But then the promise of overwhelming sea-to-summit panorama, relaxing hot springs & delicious food was equally irresistible! So I sped full of anticipation. True enough, just as I maneuvered on its winding approach, a stunning view of its graceful coastline welcomed me in awe.
Lunch was a feast of stewed vegetables, native chicken adobo & fresh seafood. Right there I knew burping would only be my rest time for the next few days.
First stop was a walking tour around the town washed in charming heritage houses, old-school cafeterias & lush gardens. But the highlight of the tour was Punta Diamante, a stone fort that dates back to 18th century. It encloses the parish of St. James the Greater, the rectory & watchtowers.
Called baluartes de piedra, these stone towers were used in the past as citadels against marauding pirates. One of it is now used as a belfry with its original bell still intact.
Just as the sun started to soften I headed to my beachfront accommodation at Dancalan Beach Resort. Lodging options in Bulusan are not many & mostly simple. But if having a beach by your doorstep is enough to make up for its modesty, then this one’s a treat. If you like the woodsy farm-feel, Balay Buhay sa Uma could be the high-end choice.
Dancalan is the go-to beach in town. Its shore is swathed in fine cream sand punctuated by a few cabanas & framed by yucca trees. Save for some murmurs of the sea & chirping birds—life here is otherwise quiet.
I prepped some cocktails & burrowed it half on the sand. While my toes flirted with the waves, my eyes were feasting on the lovely pastel sunset in the horizon.
I woke up early the next day to catch the sunrise creeping behind Mt. Bulusan. And I didn’t have to go far because the most perfect spot was just across the resort. If chilling between a beach & a volcano crouched by an emerald ricefield isn’t luxurious, I don’t know what else was at that moment.
The day was packed with adventures. I kayaked on the placid lake outlined by Mt. Bulusan in the background. I climbed treetops on hanging bridges. I picnicked under the age-old trees inside Bulusan National Park.
The lunch at Balay Buhay sa Uma was unforgettable. This mountain resort is actually a bee farm where they collect honey from local bees. They serve organic food & fresh juices harvested from their farm. I have to say it’s the best farm-to-table experience I had so far.
And what better way to cap the day than to COOL down in a HOT spring. Yes, Bulusan has lots of it because of its volcano. Some have made pools like in Masacrot. Others like Mapaso in San Vicente cascades almost to the sea where locals revere it as a healing spring.
Life in Bulusan is simple: swim-sleep-eat-repeat. But oh, I belted out a few songs in the videoke & joined a barangay disco to say it wasn’t really a dull night after all. I went home drunk from the good old “gin bilog”.
Nursing a little hangover the next day, I joined a local fisherman in harvesting seaweeds. I tried my best to hold my breath underwater but damn, those cigarette warnings are indeed true.
Driving further down to Irosin, I realized 3 days wasn’t enough to explore the town. There are still some waterfalls & hot springs that I did not see. There are more beaches to experience & lots of local food to sample. Really, you can’t have it all in one sweep.
So is it really fun in Bulusan? Yes, it’s more fun in Bulusan!
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