Sorsogon Diaries: Dancalan Beach, Bulusan

After camping for a night in Subic Beach, our journey continued to explore another famous town in Sorsogon, the sleepy town of Bulusan. Our target was to visit the Bulusan Lake National Park.

How to go to Bulusan:
By Air
  • From Manila, take a flight to Legazpi City, the nearest airport to the province of Sorsogon. Travel time is less than an hour. 
  • At the airport, you may ride the tricycle in front of the arrival area (Php 50 per trip) and tell the driver to bring you to the van terminal. Alternatively, you may also walk outside the airport onto the main highway from where you can ride a regular tricycle at Php 8-10 per person. 
  • Look for a van going to Sorsogon City. Travel time from Legazpi to Sorsogon is about two hours. There are also non-airconditioned buses to Sorsogon, however, travel time can be longer and the trip can be a bit uncomfortable.
  • From Sorsogon City, there are two route options: one via Gubat, and another, via Irosin. If your target is to go to Bulusan Lake National Park, taking the Irosin route is the best option. Otherwise, if your goal is to go surfing in Dancalan Beach or Rizal Beach, take the Gubat route. From Sorsogon City, take a jeep bound to the route you prefer.
  • If taking the Gubat route, you may take a jeep bound to Irosin from Gubat town proper. This route is actually the fastest and more scenic way to go to the town of Bulusan, but farther to the lake as the lake lies between the towns of Irosin and Bulusan. The jeep from Gubat to Irosin will pass by Rizal Beach (a famous surfing destination) and Dancalan Beach.
  • If taking the Irosin route and you plan to go to the lake, hire a tricycle from Irosin town proper, which shall also bring you back to your accommodation in Irosin or Bulusan after your tour. Jeepneys seldom ply the Irosin-Bulusan route, especially in the area where the lake is.
By Land
There are buses that ply the Manila-Bulusan route, as well as the Manila-Legazpi route. Travel time from Manila to Bulusan is about 12 hours.

From Matnog

  • If you are like us who spent the night in Matnog, or if you are from the nearby islands in the eastern Visayas, you may go to Bulusan via the Irosin route. At the Matnog town proper, ride a jeep to Irosin. Fare is Php 30 and travel time is about an hour. 
  • At Irosin town proper, ride a jeep to Bulusan. Fare is Php 25 and travel time is another hour. The jeepney will pass by Bulusan Lake National Park, and in our case, the jeepney brought us all the way to Dancalan Beach where our accommodation is located.

Where to stay in Bulusan:
It was a bit hard to research about accommodations in Bulusan, and most of what I've read directed me to stay in the town of Irosin instead of Bulusan. It is in Irosin where you can find the famous San Mateo Hot and Cold Springs, and it is where tourists to Bulusan Lake National Park usually spend the night. However, I find their room rates a bit steep, so I tried searching for other accommodations. 

To my luck, I came across Villa Luisa Celeste Resort on Dancalan Beach, which offers airconditioned rooms for as low as Php 1,000, as opposed to the same room category of San Mateo Hot and Cold Springs, which is priced at Php 2,200.

The gate

Villa Luisa Celeste Resort is a home-turned inn located in Brgy. Dancalan. It looks like an old, albeit well-maintained house, and has a retreat-like feel. The property is not beachfront, but the beach is just across.  It is managed by the owner, Ms. Luisa Frayna ( +63910.429.0975), who was so accommodating, soft-spoken, and very efficient.
View from the main veranda
The place is quiet and is a perfect place to recharge. Everything was perfectly fine except for one thing...our target--the Bulusan Lake National Park--was farther from this side of Bulusan town. There are jeepneys to Irosin which would pass by the lake but there are only a few jeepneys going back, most are already full. Renting a tricycle from Villa Luisa Celeste costs way, way more than hiring one from Irosin. Plus, it was already 2:00 pm when we arrived in Bulusan and the park closes at around 4:00-5:00 pm. Sad.

Our triple room at Php 1,150

Oh, and did I mention there's a pool?
Because we were sad that we were not able to go to Bulusan Lake National Park, we just explored the beachfront, and guess what we had found? A resort named Eva's Beach Park, which has a restaurant with the best Bicol Express and a videoke machine! The place was empty so we had it all to ourselves. What else to do but sing our hearts out!
The restaurant

Beachside tables
Native cabanas
Sunrise at Dancalan Beach

The owner of Eva's Beach Park is also accommodating and friendly, and while we only spent a few hours in her restaurant, we felt instantly at home. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise that we were not able to visit the lake because then, we had time to relax, chillout, and experience the true essence of a vacation--pausing for awhile as time stood still.


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