Sorsogon is a place photogenic enough to visit for that reason. But if you’re making the long way there, we recommend you make the most of your trip with these sites.
Where to stay, what to do, and what to see.
Siama is the place to be if you’re looking to hop around the different towns of Sorsogon. It’s an easy, relaxing rest stop. Of the many reasons we can list for staying here—each handsome piece of bespoke furniture being another one—the rooms make a case for themselves: simple, tasteful, and cozy. There is no Wi-Fi or television in the room; guests have to go to the lobby in order to connect to the online world. But we like it that way; there is a quiet, provincial charm about Siama. The 30 rooms remain private, little havens—some equipped with balconies and a perfect view of the pool. Every meal is a treat, mainly home-cooked Bicol recipes; ginataang sigarilyas, malunggay pandesal, clam soup, fresh vegetables daily, and always some dessert to cap it off. Be prepared to feel pampered, and to hate the moment you have to leave. Make your reservations on siamahotel.com.
Bantigui Beach Resort
If you’re feeling greedy and want more than one island on hand, Bantigui Beach Resort is the place to be. The town of Matnog boasts of great access to the water, and as the only closed- cottage beach resort, Bantigui is a great jump-off point. It’s close to both the marine zoo Juag Lagoon and the underwater Sea Caves. But there’s every kind of water imaginable nearby, including the pristine pink sand beach of Calintaan Island or Tikling Island just a boat ride away.
Built in 1898, Casa Feliz was then the office residence of Don Leoncio Grajo, the First Representative of Sorsogon in the Philippine Assembly of 1912. It has since been restored and turned into an old-fashioned lodging house for guests. There are eight rooms available for accommodations, and breakfast is included. In the pre-Hispanic period, the road in Juban was used to get to Magallanes, and the town is littered with restored ancestral homes.
It’s a cool story: one board, shared between ten or so guys. Eventually this small gathering of wannabe-surfers became a surf hostel with a story for the books. Right in front of the wide, untouched beaches of Gubat, Lola Sayong has everything for a retreat to the sea. Stay in breezy open-air cottages, and after a day of riding waves, take the night to drink at their bar or chill at the quirky relaxation area complete with hammocks and their personal take on “Do Not Disturb” signs. This the kind of place meant for hanging out and staying a while. You can even find the original communal surfboards that started it all, which are now living a new life refurbished as tabletops in their drinking area.
Buenavista Surf Camp
Looking to learn how to surf? With its cool, friendly community, Buenavista Surf Camp is a good place to start. There are comfortable cottages for accommodations and a beach up front for frolicking; on good days, there are waves out for riding. They also host beach cleanups and events that promote the conservation of marine wildlife, so you can be an educated guest of the sea.
Gubat, Sorsogon 4710
+63 947 803 1259
While Sorsogon City is one to walk in, there’s no better place to sit down and enjoy a view than at the boardwalk of Rompeolas: on one end, Mt. Bulusan across Sorsogon Bay, and on the other, a scenic mountain range. This is a good place to end your lazy afternoon stroll, and the stretch is usually occupied by a few lovestruck hand-holding schoolkids.
Mang Lupito used to be a fisherman. But we have enough fishermen, he says. Juag Lagoon was his passion project, now turned mariculture center. It’s become home for different species of fish, even the endangered emperor snapper. These are not little fish; some of them have grown to their maximum, and they’re not afraid of humans. Expect to swim in what is essentially a huge protected aquarium, with rules in place to protect its inhabitants. If you’re planning to drop by, don’t wear any sunblock.
Bulusan Volcano Natural Park
The rainforest that surrounds Mt. Bulusan is protected area, but within this 3,673 hectare park, guests are allowed to trek around Bulusan Lake, found at the foot of the volcano. When conditions permit, hikers are allowed up the summit, which is the highest peak in Sorsogon, standing at 1,565 meters high. Expect to see a whole lot of green—the park is lush in vegetation, and the lake’s water shines a deep green, spotted with a few colorful kayaks.
Calintaan Sea Caves
One of the more understated, stops for island-hoppers, this series of caves needs to be on your list if you’re going out to sea. It’s a bit of a swim to get inside the chambers, and there won’t be too much action—but the crystal clear waters meeting the light from the holes in the cave ceilings will make a case. Inside the coves, you’re likely to find zen rocks left behind by other visitors, signaling that yes, this is a place of peace.
Provincial Capitol Complex and Park
The capitol complex, fronted by tall, gothic columns, has remained preserved since it was built in the 1930s, during the American period. Nearby stands the Sorsogon Provincial Prison, which boasts of the same classic architecture, and may be in the works to be turned into a museum. Sorsogon City tries to follow an institutional design, and it makes for a great walk in the park, literally. The park is right in front is the complex, and is said to be one of the biggest in the region.
STORIES OF SORSOGON
ISSUES FEATURING SORSOGON
Design by Nature. Nina Unlay sees Sorsogon as both a design problem and a design solution.