|Welcome to Bulusan, Sorsogon! So peaceful and so green!|
12 hours later, I looked at my cellphone's clock register and it was 6AM. I was thinking we should be arriving Sorsogon soon. As we headed for our routinary bus break, I asked around and I can't believe that we have only just approached Camarines Sur! I wasn't prepared that we would be spending such a long time for this bus ride, after taking a quick breakfast, I prepared my back to proceed with the remaining four hour of butt-numbing bus ride to Sorsogon. And they were true to their word, by 10 in the morning, we were dropped at the bus terminal of Sorsogon City. Finally!!! We immediately hailed a tricycle to take us to Mercedes Country Lodge, the cheapest inn I could find in the city. We settled for a while and took our lunch before we decided to ask about the tourist spots and how we would be able to get there.
It was already past 1PM when we hopped on a jeepney heading to Gubat, and clueless me, I did not check any map, we were directed to transfer to another jeep this time, it will pass by Bulusan. I forgot to inquire if there were any jeeps from Sorsogon City that can take us there directly. After another tricycle ride, we were soon heading for the entrance to Bulusan Volcano Natural Park.
|le sisterette happily posing for the camera at Lake Bulusan|
One of Sorsogon's prized natural treasures, Bulusan Volcano Natural Park is a declared National and Natural Park and boasts of 3,673 hectares of rain forest thriving with various species of flora and fauna. There are different points of interest one can explore here such as Mount Bulusan, Lake Aguingay and our main destination for the day, Lake Bulusan.
The area was serene and I wasn't sure if I have to credit that on our selected travel dates or Lake Bulusan still being quite an unpopular destination given that the views here are just spectacular. It was quite a bummer when it started to drizzle as soon as we paid our entrance fees. We found a quick retreat in a small pavilion where we stayed for a while. I was reminded of my time at Lake Holon last 2013 and even though the lakes each give out a different vibe, both were just equally magnificent. Looking at the entire lake with the mountainscape and the lush vegetation on the backdrop, I can't help but to feel a bit kilig (ano nga ba ang english nito?! haha) These are the scenic views I thought I could only see in countries like New Zealand or Switzerland.
There were a couple of water activities that you can do here, such as kayaking or canoeing with a guide but they gave us a rate of 500 per boat. When we said we'll just go around the walking marked trail instead, we were again given the same rate to carry a guide for that 30 to 45 minute walk, I insisted that we don't need a guide since the trail looks easy anyway but they said they could not let us go without one. I would probably love to try but my wallet is screaming for help. It really is hard to budget a trip for two people if you only have the capacity for one. I actually forgot to ask if the fees we were given were the approved rates but I got lazy to argue. We decided to just stay in one place and just enjoy the tranquility of this picturesque lake, might be a long time again before we can come back to a place as like this.
|Colorful canoes at Lake Bulusan|
Thinking about Manila and the pollution around it made me hope I can stay here a little longer, but as I glanced through my phone I could not believe it was already 3.30 in the afternoon and we need to leave and move on to our destination. Taking a few pictures, we headed to our tricycle driver to help us get to Irosin, where the hot springs of Irosin awaits.
After a couple of tricycle transfers, we finally reached Irosin Public Market. Jeepneys plying the Bulusan-Irosin route are quite elusive during the afternoon so good thing for the reliable traysis. From Irosin, we hailed another tricycle to take us directly to San Mateo Hot and Cold Springs Resort. As we were hurrying, we actually forgot to drop by some tourist spots in this town. Irosin's Hilltop Church is said to provide a lovely view of Mt. Irosin so if you are going to Sorsogon and reading this post, make a note to visit there first. The town of Irosin is famous for its hot springs since it sits just by the base of Mt. Bulusan. We decided to head for San Mateo Hot and Cold Springs Resort at Barangay San Benon because it was recommended it by many of the local residents there.
|San Mateo Hot & Cold Springs Resort|
It was actually my first time in a hot spring and was very happy we found time to squeeze this in our itinerary. Nothing beats this type of relaxation after a 16-hour bus ride. San Mateo has three types of pool: cold, lukewarm and hot. I can't really remember how hot the pools were but I stayed in the hotter pool most of the time because most people believe the medicinal benefits one can get when staying in these types of springs.
What I also enjoyed most about San Mateo is that you are surrounded with a calming lush green scenery. Aside from the chitchat of other guests, you can also hear birds chirping and nothing beats natural music, right? The experience certainly helped relax us weary travelers, perfect for our aching muscles and sore feet. I'd really recommend visiting these two places if you are up for a day of stress-free and relaxing activities with the family.
How to reach Lake Bulusan/ Bulusan Volcano Natural Park:
From Sorsogon City, ride a jeeep heading to Gubat. There's a terminal nearby Chowking/Sorsogon Cathedral. Alight at Gubat and take another jeep going to Bulusan. Look for Irosin-bound jeepneys and you can reach the entrance to Bulusan Natural Park. From there but you might need to walk for about 10-20 minutes. What we did since we weren't able to see those jeepney was we hired a tricycle to take us directly to the entrance to the lake and he also took us to San Vicente where we rode another traysi to San Benon. Rate negotiated was 200 pesos.
How to reach San Mateo Hot and Cold Spring Resort:
From Sorsogon City, take a jeepney bound for Irosin and alight at the town proper/Irosin Public Market. Take a tricycle to take you to the resort in San Benon. Rate negotiated was 60 pesos. Please note though that after your stay at San Mateo Springs Resort, you might need to walk back to the highway that will take around 20 minutes since there are few to zero tricycles that pass by that route.
From Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, walk your way to the highway and wait for jeepneys going to Irosin. Other way is to head to a different barangay, what we did was to go to Brgy San Roque and waited for tricycle there that will take us to Irosin Market.