Philippines: Bicol Region, A Gift of Nature

 Daraga, Albay

As our plane approached Bicol International Airport, I felt a surge of excitement at the thought of seeing the famous Mayon Volcano with its perfect cone shape. I'd been warned that it’s often shrouded in clouds, but with two weeks in Bicol, I was optimistic about getting a clear view of this natural wonder.  

Upon arriving and settling in Sorsogon, our first major excursion was to Daraga, Albay. Here, we explored the Cagsawa Ruins, a poignant historical site where the remnants of a basilica, originally built in the 1500s, stand. The church was buried when Mayon Volcano erupted, and today, the belfry still stands, with the majestic but elusive Mayon Volcano in the background. During our visit, Mayon was, predictably, hidden in clouds.

Despite the cloud cover, we made the most of our day. We embarked on an exhilarating ATV ride around the tourist area, which gave us a different perspective of the lush landscape. For lunch, we met up with some family friends, sharing stories and laughter over a hearty meal.  After lunch, we indulged in a quintessential Filipino dessert, halo-halo. This colorful concoction, a delightful mix of shaved ice, sweet beans, fruits, and leche flan, was the perfect treat as we waited for the clouds to clear. We were in luck; as we savored our halo-halo, the clouds began to lift, revealing Mayon Volcano in all its perfect conical glory. It was a breathtaking sight, made even more special by the day's adventures and the company of friends.

Sorsogon Province

During my trip to Sorsogon Province, I was captivated by the natural beauty and serene landscapes that this province has to offer. The journey was a refreshing escape, allowing me to immerse myself in nature's wonders, from cold springs and tranquil lakes to pristine white sandy beaches.

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting **Orok**, renowned for having the coldest spring water pool in the area. The crisp, clear waters provided a rejuvenating swim, a perfect way to beat the tropical heat. The invigorating chill of the water was a testament to the unspoiled and chemical-free environment.

Next, I explored **Burabod Farmstead**, a picturesque destination with a natural spring water pool nestled amidst expansive rice fields. The contrast of the vibrant green fields against the crystal-clear waters of the pool created a breathtaking view. Swimming here felt like a return to simpler times, surrounded by the soothing sounds of nature and the gentle rustling of the rice plants in the breeze.

Another unforgettable experience was my eco-adventure at **Bulusan Lake**. Encircled by a lush, verdant landscape, Bulusan Lake is a haven for nature lovers. The serene waters of the lake are framed by dense forests, where I encountered the rare jade vine, a stunning plant native only to the Philippines. Paddling across the lake, I marveled at the pristine environment, which is carefully preserved to maintain its natural beauty.

My journey also took me to **Santa Magdalena and Matnog**, where I discovered the unique pink sand beaches. These beaches are truly a sight to behold, with their blush-colored sands contrasting beautifully with the azure waters. As I strolled along the shore, I noticed a few upcoming resorts on the island, promising more opportunities for visitors to experience this natural paradise.

Throughout my trip, the common thread was the pure and untouched quality of the water sources and natural surroundings. Swimming in these chemical-free, natural spring water pools was a refreshing and invigorating experience, highlighting the importance of preserving such pristine environments.

Sorsogon, with its cold springs, scenic lakes, and distinctive pink sandy beaches, offers a unique blend of relaxation and adventure. Each destination I visited was a reminder of the incredible gifts of nature, leaving me with a deep appreciation for the natural beauty and tranquility that this region has to offer. 


Mayon Volcano & Cagsawa Ruins

Cagsawa Ruins


Orok Cold Spring Resort

Orok Cold Spring

Bulusan Lake

Santa Magdalena Beach

Santa Magdalena

Camp Burabod

NOTE:   All photos by the author



Philippines: Exploring the Wonders of Central Visayas

Sedona, Arizona