We love taking road trips and this time we decided to explore further down south Luzon, Sorsogon City. After doing a multi-day Albay Food Crawl we decided to spend 48 hours in this town.
Sprawls of beautiful mountains, lush groves of rice fields, and not to mention all the coastal landscape you could ever dream of. Come away with we share our travel narratives.
How to Reach Sorsogon
By Car From Manila
This road trip series is part of our Bicolandia journey and that’s why we opted to drive from our place in south o Metro Manila to Sorsogon. Having multiple stopovers along the way.
- Drive time/KM: 10 h 32 min (507 km)
- Map driving direction here
By Bus From Manila
By bus: Buses are available in Pasay Bus Station and Cubao Bus Station. Travel time takes 12-14 hours depending on the traffic. Take the AC bus as non-AC buses are slower.
By plane from Manila-Legazpi/ Cebu- Legazpi/ Tagbilaran-Legazpi
Major Airlines have daily flights to Legaspi City, Albay. From Legaspi City, you can take the van or buses that go to Sorsogon, travel time more or fewer 2hours.
A #DayOut in Sorsogon
Note: This itinerary is based on our architected list. Get this self-guided tour activity on our Google Trip
A Pili Farm
We went to a Pili farm to understand to better understand how these nuts are being cultivated, harvested, and processed. We learned that the majority of the Pili produce comes from farms in Sorsogon.
We had the opportunity to try the freshly harvested Pili. Once you take them from the tree you will need to soak the pili in a bowl of warm water. It’s key to make sure that it’s warm and not boiling as it makes the pili hard as opposed to soft when soaked in warm water. When the Pili is soft, you can now peel it revealing this yellow pulp that resembles ginger in appearance. You can eat the pulp by itself or dip it in fish sauce. The taste is a very mild and nutty flavor that is very subtle.
Once you finish the pulp this will reveal the seed that, when you crack the seed of the pili fruit that reveals the pili that we typically find sold in stores. Fresh pili nut has a nice fresh and light flavor. It’s better than what we’re used to with ones that are usually made into a candied snack.
The visit to the farm was such a learning experience where we were able to harvest the pili fruit, try the pulp, crack it open, and taste the nuts right out of the seed.
Have Lunch in Mango Grill
One of Sorsogon’s best family-style restaurant that serves Filipino comfort food is Mango Grill. Originally known as Kristina’s pub and delicatessen they first opened in 1986, before finally settling on the name Mango Grill in 2004. Today, they are even known in Manila for serving their very cheesy Casava cakes. So if you were wondering, where that came from if you’ve tried those cakes, it comes from Sorsogon.
Whenever you order for a big group or group meals, its usually a combination of items you love and like. Here at Mango grill, their family boodle comes with your favorite Filipino dishes: Lechon Manok, Kare Kare, Crispy Pata, and Fresh Lumpia that comes with Adobo fried rice.
It is imperative that you order their pork sisig to compliment your meal! No need to add any more sauces here, it’s crunchy, flavorful, and perfect with mounds of rice.
Warm melted cheese on casava. If you haven’t tried this before it’s a must! You have this nice melted cheese complimenting the flavor of the sweet cassava. The texture itself is soft and smooth. Definitely one of our favorite desserts.
Lola Sayong Eco-camp Surf Resort
- Location: Gubat, Sorsogon
- Surf Lessons: 350php/7USD per hour
- Accommodation options here
There was plenty of buzz hype about this eco-surf resort for the past 2 years. This eco-surf camp brings you back to basics where you are provided with a backpacker type accommodation.
Their advocacy is for this eco surf camp is to help make it financially possible for the boys and girls of their community to go to school and college and helps to fund health and environment educational projects for the area.
Opportunities for improvement:
- Accommodation: We booked a cottage for 4-8 pax, but the allotted mattress and linens were only for two people.
- They need to do a beachfront clean-up. There were plastics littered randomly along the shoreline.
- The Food Experience: During our visit, we tried their specialties the smoked fish out of hell, their adobo, chicken sheet, and their pork with salted egg. Unfortunately, the smoked fish just tasted like atchara sauce mixed with bottled smoke tinapa that is then served with rice and a side of atchara. The taste was uncanny and unnatural. The chicken adobo was served raw at the center that we had to send it back to the kitchen. The other dishes were also a bit strange. We suggest bringing your own food and cooking it there, just know there is a corkage fee at 95 PHP or 2 USD per head.
Visited an Old Spanish Ruin
- Free entrance
The town of Barcelona in Sorsogon served as an important port stop during the Spanish rule. The watchtower and the “a Presidencia” was used as the office for the Governdocillo. The structure was used as a fortress to look out for Moro raids during the 18th-19th centuries. You might be wondering why “Barcelona”? Because of homesick Spaniards because it reminded them of home.
Marvel at Mount Bulusan National Park
One of the key highlight destinations of this trip would be finally seeing Lake Bulusan. We drove up the mountain to reach this elevated lake – don’t worry the roads are well built and wide enough. The edge of the forest will lead you to the flourishing canopy of lush forest circled around the lake making it appear as nature’s grand amphitheater
- Entrance fee is only at 10php
- Kayak Fee is at 200php/4USD
- Boat good up to 5 pax is at 600php/6 USD. Comes with your own designated boatman and guide.
It is remarkably beautiful. The kind of beauty that will make your heart flutter with excitement as you approach the main barge. Deep emerald green waters gave that feeling of mysticism and tranquility both at the same time by which I haven’t felt by any body of water we’d previously experienced.
We circled the lake for a good 30-25 mins. boat ride.
The Best Public Beach
- Location: Bulusan, Sorsogon
- Entrance Fee: 10php
- Cottage Fee: 100php
Before heading back to Daraga we were hoping to find a good swimming beach and luckily as we drive back to the town proper we came across this public beach call the Dancalan Beach. It is literally beside the main highway!
This beach resembles the shape of a crescent moon. The first few meters are still shallow and the waves aren’t that strong by making this beach the perfect swimming beach.
The sun basking over you but you won’t mind the heat because it’s gorgeous rays compliments the azure water.
A Quick Visit To a Bee Farm: Balay Buhay sa Uma
- Location: Brgy, San Roque, Bulusan
- Entrance Fee: 100php/ 150php use of swimming pool
- Overnight accommodations available. Check rates/book here.
This bee farm is a 3-hectare property tucked in the foothills of Mt. Bulusan that resembles a typical retreat house in Tagaytay City. You can enjoy quiet garden walks, organic meals, and learning activities related to agriculture and stingless bee farming.
Always Explore The Local Market
If you want to hear the local heartbeat of a place you make it a point to head over to the town’s local fresh market. The typical route for a tourist is to visit the “must-see” places, but the markets are where the grit, grunge, and rawness of a place represents its townfolks.
This also goes without saying that local markets are the best places to buy fresh produce, straight from the source. In this way, you contribute as a traveler. You are able to support the families who depend on agriculture for their livelihood.
We travel to search for inspiration from the people that we interact with along the way. To be put in situations that don’t make sense, to push our minds to think beyond our daily routine, to learn, and ultimately become awake from our daze. Traveling grounds us and gives us awe with the world that we live in.
The exhaustion from the very long drive went away as the Sorsogon’s beauty immediately welcomed us with its open arms and our heart jolted with excitement. We had fallen in love with instantaneously and we wish we had more than 48 hours to stay.
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