Aside from the majestic Mt. Mayon in Albay, the next popular active volcano in the region is Mt Bulusan. The 1,565 meters high active volcano has cracked and rugged peaks. Locals often refer to Mt Bulusan as the male counterpart of the “female”, Mt. Mayon. Bulusan Volcano may not have that picturesque cone-shape form but the volcano and its surrounding area of rainforest and lakes is declared a national park. And recently, I had the fortune of visiting the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park twice. Seeing for myself and experiencing what this rainforest natural park has to offer.
The Natural Park
The Bulusan Volcano Natural Park spans 3,673 hectares and was declared as a National Park by Proclamation no 811 on June 7, 1935. Later, under National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS), it was reclassified as a Natural Park by Proclamation 421 on November 27, 2000.
The natural park consist of Bulusan Volcano itself, estimated to have been formed more than 40,000 years ago and two lesser peaks – Sharp Peak and Mount Hormahan. It is possible to hike to these peaks during climbing season and when the volcano is not as active. The landscape has deep ravines and caves shaped by gradual eruptions and volcanic activity.
There are four main craters and four hot springs found at Bulusan volcano. The first crater has been named as Blackbird Lake where blackbirds made the crater as the habitat. Crater number 3 is the largest and deepest with a diameter of 90meters and depth of 20 meters.
Amidst the teeming rainforest rich in flora and fauna are two lakes. Aguingay Lake and Bulusan Lake. Aguingay Lake is considered as a dormant crater. A vast plain usually flooded during wet season and dries up during summer.
The Bulusan lake is at the heart of the natural park and where most visitors have access for eco-tourism and adventure activities. It is located at the southeast slope of Bulusan Volcano at the elevation of 360 meters. Access is through an impressive Visitor Center which I was pleasantly surprised looks world-class. Quite comparable to neighboring national parks in Southeast Asia. After paying our fees for entrance and activities, visitors are brought to the lake via an electronic shuttle. Private vehicles are not allowed inside the park aside from the parking area. On the way, the drivers would share quick information and trivia about the park.
The lake itself has an elevated platform and facilities for visitors. On the two occasions I visited, I was able to do two separate activities on the limited time we visited.
Bulusan Lake Loop Way
My first visit at the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park was on rainy afternoon. The lake has a mystifying veil of fog and rain. We were the only visitors at that time. I enjoyed the tranquility and the light rain. It is possible to hike around the 27.6 hectare area of the lake. There’s a pathway at least 2.2 km long looping around the lake. In our recent visit, I was only able to go as far as the eastern side of the lake.
Since we’re coming off a pandemic, the trail needs to be cleared and repaired again. The canopy walks needs to be rehabilitated and there were fallen trees that needs to be cleared caused by recent storms.
Kayaking at the Lake
On my second visit, the weather was much favorable and I made sure to kayak on the lake this time. Kayaks were available to rent and I gladly took one. I excitedly paddled my way toward the center of the lake. It was always easy to paddle on this type of body of water as there were no currents. It was late afternoon with some clouds rolling in. The weather was pleasant, the light soft and the breeze was cool. It was an enjoyable time. I looked back to see some of my companions already padding as well.
Bulusan Volcano Natural Park
Nature lovers will definitely enjoy the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park. If I had my way, I would walk the length from the visitor center to the lake. I’m sure I would spot some interesting birds and other fauna and flora in the area. There are birds like the Philippine eagle-owl, hawk-eagle and flame-breasted doves here. Other animals are the baboons, lizards and endemic frogs, snakes and reptiles.
I think there is something everyone can enjoy here. Whether it is trekking the volcano, hiking along the lake, birdwatching, kayaking or simply staying idle and enjoying the refreshing ambiance.
|Student (w/ valid ID)||Php 25|
|Bulusan Resident (w/ valid ID)||Php 25|
|Filipino PWD (w/ valid ID)|
Senior Citizen (w/ valid ID)
Children below 7 years old
|Environmental Fee||Php 10|
|CHARGE FOR SERVICES|
|Eco-guides Fee||Php 150/ hour|
|Shuttle Service||Php 35|
|Paddling Guide for Kayak or Stand-up Paddling||Php 100|
|Kayaking||Php 100 for 30 minutes|
|Stand-Up Paddling||Php 200 for 30 minutes|
|Boating||Php 600 for 5 pax (inclusive of 2 paddlers)|
|Fishing||Php 20 per person|
|PARKING FEES (max 4 hours)|
|Cars/ SUV||Php 50|
How to get to Bulusan Volcano National Park
The natural park is just 10 minutes away from Zoe’s Resort and Ecopark if you visited the Kambal Busay and Hidden Falls.
- From Sorsogon City, ride an Irosin-bound jeep then take a tricycle straight to Bulusan Volcano National Park
- Ride a jeep to Bulusan and asked to be dropped off at baranggay San Roque. Ride a blue tricycle to the natural park.
Via private transport
- Key in at Waze or Google Maps and follow directions.
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Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.