Lake Bulusan got me curious after reading how it has been described as the “Switzerland of the Orient.” I was excited to finally get to visit a sizable mountain lake for the first time. I would have already satisfied that goal in Lake Lanao if it weren’t for my major Marawi mishap :( It was already dark when I arrived in Bulusan (I came all the way from Caramoan) and I still had no idea where to spend the night. The van driver told me there weren’t much accommodations in Bulusan town proper and suggested I stay at one of the beach resorts along Dancalan Beach, located just before the town proper area. Since I wasn’t able to research about places to stay in Bulusan, I had to take his word for it :( I really just needed to find a safe place to spend the night so I can visit Lake Bulusan early morning the next day.
Colorful kayaks docked at Lake Bulusan in Sorsogon Province
Overnight at Dangkalan Beach Resort
I told the driver to drop me off at the cheapest beach resort in Dancalan, which turned out to be Dangkalan Beach Resort. Like most resorts in the Philippines, Dangkalan Beach Resort caters to the group/family vacationers. The resort had a few airconditioned cottages rented out for P1,000 per 12 hours. I managed to haggle it down to P800, which was still too high from my usual budget. Getting a room for the night was yet another blow to my pocket … thank goodness I brought extra money.
Nightshot of Dangkalan Beach Resort in Bulusan, Sorsogon
My room at Dangkalan Beach Resort was very spacious and could probably fit up to 8 to 10 persons (additional bedding). Obviously, it was too big for lil’ me … even their puny aircon unit couldn’t cool down the room sufficiently. My room also had a private TB and a 2nd floor balcony.
Try to look for better choices in the area if you’re bent on spending the night in Bulusan. If you have ample time, I suggest staying at Sorsogon City/Legazpi City instead and just do a day trip to Lake Bulusan.
I went to the shore to take some night shots of Dancalan. I really liked the calm waters and the (almost) white sand beach. I didn’t notice it back then but the coast of Bulusan, Sorsogon already faces the vast Pacific Ocean … cool!
I felt quite alienated being alone on the beach. Seeing groups / couples hanging out at the shoreline made me miss the company of my friends back home.
View of the Pacific Ocean from the 2nd floor balcony of my room at Dancalan Beach Resort
Early Morning Trip to Lake Bulusan
At 5:00AM, I went to the highway (just outside Dangkalan Beach Resort) and waited for a tricycle ride to the town proper. It was still dark at the time. It seemed the town was still very much asleep so I decided to walk towards the direction of the town proper. The sun was already starting to rise … darn! I was hoping to witness the sunrise in Lake Bulusan. A few townspeople were already up but it still took me a while to find a tricycle driver willing to take me to Lake Bulusan.
View of Dancalan Beach at dawn
Sunrise at the river near Bulusan town proper
A quaint Spanish-colonial (bahay na bato) house in Bulusan Town Proper
One of the locals offered me P300 for the chartered round trip ride to Lake Bulusan. It took 30 minutes to get from Bulusan town proper to the lake on a very very rough road. I was surprised to see developed structures at the entrance gate of Lake Bulusan. The scene was far from the remote natural setting I was expecting.
Finally getting a full view of Lake Bulusan, my mood lightened up drastically! It was really beautiful to see the warm colors of sunrise with such a nice view of thick forests and towering mountains. The colorful kayaks at the lakeside also added a nice “pop” to the picturesque view. If only I came an hour earlier, I would’ve loved to take photos of Lake Bulusan at dawn … the 6:10AM light was already starting to get too harsh.
Lake Bulusan lies at the heart of Bulusan Volcano National Park, which is home to Mt. Bulusan, one of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines. Mt. Bulusan has three peaks, one of which can be seen from Lake Bulusan. There was an established trail surrounding the whole lake. I was only able to explore part of it since I didn’t have enough time.
I could see how the cooler temperature, lakeside setting, and pristine natural beauty of Lake Bulusan could inspire the title “Switzerland of the Orient” but the resemblance is too far from visions of Swiss landscapes (don’t expect pine forests, alpine meadows, or ice caps here).
Forest trail surrounding Lake Bulusan
I would have really loved to spend more time in Lake Bulusan. A whole day actually! I want to follow the trail around the lake and see more of the old growth forest of the Mount Bulusan National Park. While I was taking photos at the forest trail, I remember realizing how my desire of being a traveler was starting to come true. I wasn’t crossing from nth country to nth+1 country yet but the thought of trekking in the middle of the forest while I still had a plane to catch a couple of hours later fascinated me.
Lake Bulusan Overnight Tips
- Overnight in Dangkalan Beach Resort – P800 per 12 hours (P1,000 original price; Aircon room with private TB)
- Morning Walk from Dangkalan Beach Resort to Bulusan town proper (20 minutes)
- Bulusan town proper to Lake Bulusan (30 minutes per way) – P300 roundtrip tricycle charter