Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Soaked in Sorsogon Day 1: Bulusan and Irosin

Soaked in Sorsogon Day 1: Bulusan and Irosin
Soaked in Sorsogon Day 2: The Beaches of Matnog
Soaked in Sorsogon Day 3: Paguriran Island
Side Trip: Camarines Sur Water sports Complex

April 19, Friday, in a bus along EDSA, 6:30 PM.  

'Twas a reminder of why I would never consider working for a company that would require me to pass by EDSA. Coming from Alabang, I've been stuck in traffic for more than two hours and I am still three MRT stations away from Cubao. 

And after what felt like a thousand curses, I finally arrived at Araneta Center. As what I've said, I am not an EDSA-type of person so I don't know where the Bicol bound bus stations are. I asked a couple of sidewalk vendors, and even they do not know where it is. WTF. I felt like they are playing some scheme on me, no one seems to want to help and they would just blankly stare at me and then look at each other. 

Oh, Metro Manila. Your polluted air had affected the minds of the people that inhabits you. Thankfully, in a few hours I will be free from you and I will be once again reunited with fresh-air-breathing genuine people and their warm smiles. This is one of the reason why I travel, to remind myself that there is more to this country than the insurmountable amount of shit, literally and figuratively, in the Metro.  

The Bicol bound bus stations are just along the south bound lane of EDSA, near the Cubao MRT station. At 7:00 PM, we still don't have a bus ticket for our Southern Luzon escapade. The popular bus companies: Penafracia, Isarog and DLTB are all fully booked. Me and my travel buddies thought our Bicol trip will be doomed until we came across the Piltranco Bus Terminal. 

The bus conductor of Amihan Bus Lines told us that they still have plenty of seats for the bus bound to Legazpi and that the one that we will be riding is an express bus with only one stop after 5 hours. We thought we were so lucky to find this bus by chance until we were halfway along the trip. It isn't an express trip. It stopped in Makati, in Alabang, in Turbina, in Quezon, in Daet, in Naga, and in every person needing a ride in Legazpi. It took us more than 13 hours to get to Legazpi. I am not complaining though, I still think the two hours bus ride along EDSA is much worse than the 13 hours shakey ride to Legazpi.

This is our planned itinerary for our first day:

-Arrive at Irosin

-Check in at Mateo's Hot and Cold Spring
-Freshen up
-Go to Bulusan Volcano Natural Park
-Trek, Kayak, Pictures
-Go back to Mateo's Hot and Cold Spring
-Swim in Hot and Cold Springs

Based on my internet research, upon arriving at the Legazpi bus terminal we were suppose to ride a jeep to Sorsogon City and then ride another jeep bound to Irosin. Luckily, we found a bus bound to Bulan, Sorsogon. It will take us straight to Irosin from Legazpi. Bus fare is Php 155 with more than 2 hours travel time. We asked the bus driver to drop us off Irosin. And indeed we were dropped of at Irosin "Centro". 

There is a tricycle terminal at the bus stop, they could take you to the hot spring resort of your choice.  In our case, we decided to stay in Mateo's Hot and Cold Spring because it has the best pools. It is the farthest resort though, fare is Php120 for 3 persons. We got the non air-conditioned room 1 day rate for 3 persons which is Php 1,100 + 200 (additional person) = Php 1,300. Even if it's summer, it is not hot in Irosin so the non aircon rooms are fine. The room is very spacious and the toilet is clean.

Room Rates
So at the Irosin tricycle terminal, I picked a random tricycle driver, I don't know why I chose to talk to him but he instantly caught my eye and he turned out to be one of the best thing that happened to us in our trip. Kuya Jovan Guela helped make the most out of our stay in Irosin. He became our personal tourist guide, driver, bodyguard, photographer, trek guide, showbiz and politics chismis source, clown, older brother, etc.

We agreed to pay him 380 pesos to take us to and from Bulusan Volcano Natural Park. The price is very reasonable because Bulusan and Irosin are two different towns that are quite far from each other. Also, kuya Jovan took good care of us, made sure we are safe and not taken advantage of, and he shared with us everything that he knows about the places we went to. He shared stories about Senators that are often in Irosin when they are wanted in Metro Manila.

Bulusan Volcano as seen from St. Michael the Archangel Hilltop Parish Church

Kuya Jovan took us to a church first before going to Bulusan. 

St. Michael the Archangel Parish Church 

The signage above leads to the Bulusan Lake.

I rented a kayak with a tour guide for Php 150. 

Me and my guide, I forgot his name :(
The water in Bulusan Lake is green because of the reflection of the trees surrounding it. Not because of algae as what I thought. The trip around the lake is very calming and my guide has the answer to my every question about the lake. 

After kayaking, we decided to trek the trail around the lake. This activity is for free if you want to do it yourselves but it is advisable to have someone from the area to guide you because if you are a city person who is not used to the forest, the trail might freak you out. The path is very noisy due to the multitude of cicadas and other insects in the area. We even saw a snake along the path. The trek will take around 45 minutes to 1 hour and it is very tiring specially if you are sleep deprived from a 15 hour bus ride. Kuya Jovan accompanied us in the trek. According to him, he was able to climb Mt. Bulusan a couple of times already. He was even able to climb it at night and he saw things he is not supposed to see. 

Mt. Bulusan

The scary trail

After finishing the trail, we were dead tired, even kuya Jovan is close to giving up. We decided to head back to Mateo's Hot Spring resort at around 5pm. After dinner at the resort, we soaked our exhausted selves in the Hot Water Pool for a couple of hours. 
After getting our skin wrinkly, we decided to finally lay our backs on a flat bed and catch up on our lost zzz.

Mateo's Hot and Cold Spring Resort

I got the idea of this day's itinerary from Pinoy Adventurista. To start the day with an exhausting journey to Bulusan and to end it with the hot springs of Irosin. It is a clever idea, the hot spring is so relaxing, it rejuvinated our "katawang lupa" from the beating of a 15 hour bus ride and a 1 hour trek around Bulusan Lake.  


1. There is little to no signal of Globe in Irosin and Bulusan. 
2. Kuya Jovan Guela's contact number is 0948-9244878 but he said he doesn't bring his cellphone much so just ask around for him, you will not regret it.
3. People in Irosin and Bulusan are very friendly, and they do not overprice for tourists/travelers so if you don't know something, just ask around.  
4. If you want to climb Mt. Bulusan but is inexperienced or lacks camping gears, the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park offers tent rentals and eco-guides to accompany you. Had I known this, I would've probably included it in our itinerary.

Soaked in Sorsogon Day 2: The Beaches of Matnog


  1. Isn't great to visit Sorsogon? Thinking of visiting the place was boring but I was wrong. There are so many good spots to visit. Last August my friends and I visited San Mateo or some calls it San Binon, don't know which is the right one and it was really awesome and relaxing. Both have cold, warm and luke water. I also blogged about the place. You can read my personal experience at

    1. Hey Andrew! Yes, Sorsogon, particularly Irosin is such a nice place. Peaceful but not boring. Also, the people are friendly, honest and very helpful. :) and I love the hot spring in San Mateo! :)