Best Things To Do In Sorsogon, Philippines

things to do in sorsogon philippines

Located at the tip of Bicol Peninsula, Sorsogon is the southernmost province in the Luzon. Due to its location, travelers visit the province as it serves as the gateway to the Visayas, specifically to the province of Samar as well as to island provinces of Masbate and Romblon. The province with only one landlocked town promises beach getaways as well as other nature-inclined activities like trekking, kayaking and the likes. If you are thinking about visiting Sorsogon, here are the things to enjoy and places to go.

1. Swim with the whale sharks

Butanding Whale Shark (Donsol, Sorsogon) (794278440)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Shubert Ciencia used under CC BY 2.0

It all started in 1997 when these gentle giants were first spotted feeding on the plankton and krill in the waters of Donsol. Donsol is still a peaceful town and people still come here to swim with the whale sharks. Whale shark watching is Donsol’s top attraction. The “butanding” as the locals call them, are not hand-fed, unlike in Cebu and during the tour, so a guide and spotter are needed to accompany all eager tourists. The best time to see them is from December to May, with the busiest time being from February to March.

Whale Shark Interaction

Address: Donsol, Sorsogon, Philippines

Price: from 45 USD

Duration: around 3 - 4 hours.

Contact: +63 028938173

Near by Food: refreshments are included

Website: Whale Shark Interaction

2. Get in touch with Mother Nature at Bulusan Volcano National Park

Bulusan Volcano, summer 2013
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alma Gamil used under CC BY 2.0

For nature lovers, a trip to Sorsogon won’t be complete without visiting any of the attractions within this national park. Mt. Bulusan is one of the country’s most active volcanoes (2012 as its last eruption) and has produced various natural forms, from lakes to hot springs. Climb the peak of Mt. Bulusan, hailed as the “Jewel of Sorsogon”. Its trail offers scenic lakes, hot springs, and forests. Those who don’t have the endurance can find peace and enjoy nature at the park or go kayaking at Bulusan Lake. The national park offers a rich biodiversity as well as the famous Blackbird Lake, releasing sulfuric steam.

Mt. Bulusan Adventure Tour

Price: from 133 USD

Duration: 4 days required

Contact: +63 028023401

Website: Mt. Bulusan Adventure Tour

3. Watch fireflies along Donsol River

Sunset At Donsol River
Source: Photo by Flickr user dahon used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Want to enjoy a different kind of nightlife? Along one of the tributaries of the 100-kilometer (62 mile) Donsol River is Ogod River and as you silently sail along, you can see how fireflies illuminate the ebony night of rural Donsol. These fireflies call the mangrove forests, coconut tress, and shrubs along the river home. An enjoyable activity and one of the top things to do in Donsol for families to enjoy the sparkling beauty of the area.

Firefly River Tour

Address: Donsol, Sorsogon, Philippines

Price: from 16 USD

Duration: around 2-3 hours required.

Contact: +63 028938173

Website: Firefly River Tour

4. Chase waterfalls

Bulusan Volcano Natural Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jamesbourne1986 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Waterfalls in Sorsogon may not be as tall as those in Lake Sebu, but the clean waters and lush forests paint their own magical scene. Many of the falls are accessible to the public and can be found in and near the Bulusan National Park, like Bayugin Falls. Palogtoc Falls on the other hand, has a man-made pool for visitors to enjoy a refreshing dip. Some waterfalls remain undiscovered and off-the-beaten path, like Ubo Falls in Matnog.

5. Dive with manta rays

Manta in Manta Bowl Front View Donsol Philippines
Source: Photo by Flickr user amanderson2 used under CC BY 2.0

Between Ticao Pass and Burias Pass is Manta Bowl, Bicol Region’s top diving spot. Though geographically it belongs to Masbate province, most divers access Manta Bowl from Donsol. A diving spot reserved only for advanced divers due to the current, it is worth the trip and difficulty once you spot manta rays gracefully swimming in the ocean. Manta Bowl is also home to whale sharks and other ocean species.

Manta Ray Diving

Address: Donsol, Sorsorgon, Philippines

Price: from 100 USD (3 dives)

Duration: at least half a day

Access: 3 ½ hour boat ride from Donsol to Manta Bowl

Contact: +63 028938173

Near by Food: Packed lunch included

Website: Manta Ray Diving

6. Get a tan at Subic Beach

Heard about this beach with pink sands at the bottom end of Luzon. I confirm that it is indeed pink. #matnog #bicol #subicbeach #tiklingisland #itsmorefuninthephilippines
Source: Photo by Flickr user dahon used under CC BY-ND 2.0

White sand beaches with crystal clear waters seem too mainstream in a country like the Philippines, but these beaches without the crowds set themselves apart. Now how about a dash of pink with Subic Beach in the island called Calintaan, some 40 minutes from the port of Matnog. Named Sorsogon’s best beach with its long stretch of white sand, water teaming with marine creatures and most of all, camping, is the best way to enjoy an overnight stay under the coconut tress. A high-rise nipa hut (shack) can also be rented. For those who want to enjoy more modern amenities, spend the night at Holy Trinity Beach Resort located at the end of the beach.

7. Take a dip at Paguiriran Island

Sunset at Paguriran Island
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Norfolk18 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Something a little bit different is Paguiriran Island. It is not an island per se, but off-shore coral boulders shaped like a crater have accumulated water from the sea for day trippers to enjoy. During high tide, it resembles a saltwater lagoon. To get there, one has to walk from the beach, it can be easier during low tide but the best time to enjoy Paguiriran Island is during hide tide. You can also climb the spiky rocks and see the lagoon from above. The lagoon has a breathtaking backdrop too- Mt. Mayon, with its iconic perfect cone.

8. Go underground with Sorsogon’s wartime tunnels

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

For historical exploration, visit one of the tunnels in the town of Bulan. There are two tunnel systems in the town and they are believed to connected to each other. The first one is found in San Francisco, Bulan, Sorsogon, built to secrecy so that only one person can fit into its tiny entrance. The other tunnel system is in Sta. Remedios, with a bigger entrance. All tunnels were believed to be hideouts as well as storage for guns, ammunitions, and even the famed Yamashita treasure. Areas believed to be living quarters, containing makeshift beds and temple chambers, concludes that the Japanese spent a long time underground.

9. Visit the heritage church of St. Joseph Parish

Barcelona Church, Barcelona, Sorsogon, Philippines
Source: Photo by Flickr user Alma Gamil used under CC BY 2.0

For those who want some less active yet fulfilling things to do in Sorsogon, visit the fast-rising heritage town of Barcelona. Yes, this town is named after the Spanish City, just like most towns in the Philippines. The parish of St. Joseph faces the sea and is one of the oldest in Bicol region. Similar to other colonial churches, the main materials used were quarried coral stones, piled up using a mixture made from egg whites, lime and coconut wine called, “tuba”. Built in 1884, its façade, walls, and bell tower are still intact. Beside the church is a Spanish ruins called Presidencia Building.

10. Savor Bicolano cuisine

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ramon FVelasquez used under CC BY-SA 3.0

It is through food that you get to learn more about a place deeper. When in Sorsogon, you can enjoy local breakfast at small eateries near their local markets and town squares. Then there is the baluko, pen shell that some refer to as a hybrid of mussels and scallops. Usually cooked with coconut milk, baluko can be battered and then fried or baked. For local cake, try their Timitim, a steamed cassava cake with pili nuts.

A southern charm

Donsol, Sorsogon, Philippines - panoramio (1)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user jackylim used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Some might find Sorsogon not as accessible as other destinations in the Philippines, but it has saved its attractions from mass tourism and commercialization. Until this day, towns and islands in the province are still laid-back and untouched. Thus, Sorsogon is the destination for travelers who genuinely want to see what the Philippines has to offer - secret beaches, protected marine creatures, and delectable local cuisine.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Valerie Caulin is a travel and lifestyle writer and runs her own blog, She loves writing about hotels, family travel, and anything related to history and culture.

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