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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Philippines Day 18: Sorsogon - Hot & Cold Springs, Bulusan Lake, Barcelona Church & Rizal Beach

I woke up with a severe sore throat and eventually I can hardly speak. It's more like a squeak. I brought some Strepsils already and bought some in Manila. It has helped a bit. Fortunately, we had booked our reliable cab driver from the day before for another day trip, so it saved a call on the phone. After we visited the northern Albay area the day before, we now wanted to go south into the Sorsogon Province. We had to get up at 5 a.m., as our cab driver arrived at 6 a.m..

Our first stop was the Mateo Hot & Cold Springs Resort nearby Irosin, which is a 2,5 hour drive away from Legazpi City. It was still early we arrived, that we nearly had it all for ourselves. They have a huge outside hot water pool, that reminded us of the onsen in Japan and right next to it a crystal clear cold-water-pool. The pools are surrounded by the forest, which gives it a secluded, relaxing feeling. We stayed there for some time, bathing and having breakfast.



Next stop was the Bulusan Lake in the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park. There's a view of the active Bulusan Volcano and we were greeted with quite a background noise from all the insects inside the surrounding forest. We soaked in the tranquil atmosphere and even saw an exotic bird, a Tariktik, visiting from the forest. If you are staying in the area and have more time, you can also use walking trails into the forest or rent a boat to explore the Bulusan Lake. They actually try to develop eco-tourism, that also aims to preserve the forest. 


A young Filipino guy, who turned out to be a biology student, was also photographing. He came to us and told us about a beautiful flower he had seen on the way to the lake and asked if we wanted to see it too. So we followed him and his motorbike with the cab, until we came to an  indeed beautiful blue-green blossom (jade vine as he called it) just along the road.



Our driver asked us if we wanted to make a quick stop in the village, where he was born and we agreed. We met some of his friends and also got some snacks in a "sari-sari store" then walked to the beach behind the houses.


We continued to Barcelona to visit one of the oldest churches in Bicol. The Barcelona Church (St. Joseph Parish Church) was built in 1874 and has beautiful glass windows. We also took a short look at the beach opposite the church.


The final stop of our tour was the Rizal Beach in Gubat, Sorsogon. We stopped at a beach club. The entrance fee cost about 25 ₱ (or Php/Philippine pesos) and a picnic hut for 300 ₱, We ordered something to eat, rented a picnic hut and off we went swimming! The beach is huge, sandy and the weather was great. Only my friend got a sunburn after, he thought he didn't need sun protection for a short swim. He was wrong. We stayed a while, bathing, eating and relaxing, before we left to return to Legazpi. 

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