Information about Sorsogon
Sorsogon is a coastal province that lies in the Bicol region. It is also the southernmost province in Luzon. If you visit Sorsogon, you will find beautiful natural wonders such as the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park and the pristine waters of Donsol town. The natural park comprises rainforests, grasslands, hot spring gardens, the Bulusan Volcano, and the famous Bulusan Lake, among others. The lake is bordered by lush forests that help protect it from strong winds, so the lake is often calm and still, perfect for a relaxing day trip.
Meanwhile, Donsol is known for being a spot frequented by groups of whale sharks from December to May. These gentle giants, which are locally called butandings, make their way to the town's waters to feed on the dense concentration of plankton and krill that appear here. Since whale sharks are known to be peaceful animals, tourists are allowed to swim with them as long as they are supervised by accredited tour guides and adhere to set rules that keep the whale sharks safe.
Since the province is part of the Bicol region, most locals speak in Bicolano while those in the southern communities converse in Waray. You also won't have to worry about a language barrier when visiting as the majority of residents also speak English and Tagalog. As for their religion, Sorsogon locals mainly subscribe to the Catholic faith.
Best time to visit
As a province rich in stunning natural sceneries and outdoor tourist attractions, it is best to explore Sorsogon from March to May. During these months, the Philippines experiences warmer weather and less rainfall, making it the perfect time to visit Sorsogon's best spots. This is also the best period to swim with the whale sharks in Donsol as it coincides with the months they swim to the town's surrounding waters to feed on krill and plankton.
Cheapest time to visit Sorsogon
Hotel rates are generally lower during the rainy season, which starts around July and lasts through November. However, the country may experience heavy rains and typhoons during these months, so you may not be able to visit all of the top destinations in Sorsogon if you plan to head here during the rainy season. Make sure to check the weather forecasts in the area before going on your vacation in Sorsogon.
Weather in Sorsogon
Like most other Philippine provinces, Sorsogon has a tropical climate, which means that you may visit at any time of year. Traveling to Sorsogon during the dry months, however, is still strongly suggested to avoid heavy rains. If you like colder temperatures, December to February is the ideal time to visit because the weather is cooler during these months.
Peak season in Sorsogon
Most tourists tend to flock to Sorsogon between December and May to swim with the whale sharks in Donsol. You should also expect bigger crowds towards the last week of October as this is when the whole province celebrates the Kasanngayahan Festival, an annual celebration of the founding of Sorsogon as a province.
Main festivals/events in Sorsogon
Sorsogon province celebrates the Kasanggayahan Festival every last week of October. This event honors the founding of Sorsogon as a province. During the festival, locals host various events that highlight the province's culture, history, and economy. The highlight of this event is the Pnatomina sa Tinampo, a street dance where the locals dance barefoot while parading through the streets.
Another widely-known event is the Pili Festival, which is celebrated every June in Sorsogon City. As the name implies, this festival commemorates the Pili nut and tree, both indigenous to Sorsogon.
When to avoid visiting Sorsogon
Travelers should avoid heading to Sorsogon during typhoon season in the Philippines, which usually starts in July and lasts until the latter weeks of November.
How to get to Sorsogon
You can reach Sorsogon either by air or by land travel. If you prefer to fly, you will have to catch a flight bound for Legazpi Airport in Albay, which is about 60 kilometers away from Sorsogon. For land travel, there are many bus lines based within Metro Manila that go to Sorsogon.
Safety in Sorsogon
Sorsogon is considered one of the safest provinces in the Philippines. However, it is still recommended to follow basic safety precautions, such as keeping an eye on your valuables during your trip.
Getting around Sorsogon
The most convenient way to get around Sorsogon is by hiring a private vehicle like vans and taxis or renting a car. The most affordable option, however, is by taking jeepneys. You may also opt to ride a tricycle if your destination is nearby.
Food and Drinks
One of Sorsogon's most popular products is the pili nuts that are indigenous to the province. These nuts have also become a crowd favorite and have been incorporated into many different dishes by the locals. The most common delicacies that use pili nuts are the roasted pili nuts and the pili nut brittle. Other must-try dishes in Sorsogon are the Timitim and Baluko. The Timitim is a dessert made with pili nuts, grated cassava, coconut, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Meanwhile, the Baluko is the local term for pen shells, one of the province's best seafood.
Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Sorsogon
If you're traveling to Sorsogon to swim with the whale sharks, it would be best to set up base at a hotel or resort already located within Donsol. This allows you to stay close to the beach so you can easily hop into a boat when the local tour guides catch sight of these gentle giants. For surfing enthusiasts, you might want to consider staying at a resort along Gubat town's coast as the area is a well-known surfing spot among locals. Irosin also offers various hotels and resorts, but the most famous ones are those that have their own hot springs or those located near public hot springs, which the town of Irosin is famous for. Lastly, Sorsogon City is also a great place to find accommodation if you prefer staying in a more urbanized part of the province.