At first glance, you would think this place is a privately owned one – clean blue waters, powdery white sand and all. But Dangkalan Beach Resort in the town of Bulusan in Sorsogon is managed by the local government. Hard to believe, but the entrance fee is at ten pesos each and a cottage is only worth a hundred bucks. For a very minimal fee, you’ll get the feel of a secluded, pristine beach resort.
The beach is not much of a discovery. It’s already popular among foreign tourists as it is included in the Wow Phiippines program of the Department of Tourism. But according to Bulusan Mayor Juan Guysayco, not too many Filipinos are aware that this resort is just hiding in the southernmost part of mainland Bicol region.
The town sits at the foot of Mt. Bulusan, an active volcano which recently spewed ashes after a minor explosion last March 21. Luckily, winds were blowing to the west during the eruption and the town of Bulusan is on the eastern side of the volcano.
But then, it seemed that tourists got scared despite the fact that only the area four kilometers from the center of the volcano has been declared off-limits. This also added to the negative impact of the mercury scare in Rapu-Rapu Island in Albay which is several kilometers from the beach.
I was lucky my news team and I had the chance to “discover” Dangkalan Beach after our coverage of the minor eruption of Mt. Bulusan. At least, it was a good way to start this year’s summer season hehehe.
Now how to get there? You may take a bus from one of those bus companies along Edsa in Pasay City, but be ready to spend some 14 hours on the road. Or if you have enough money to spare, take a plane to Legazpi City in Albay and rent a van for a two-hour road trip to Sorsogon - though this defeats the purpose of experiencing a “cheap” vacation in an “expensive” resort.
But if the beach doesn’t satisfy you enough, there’s Bulusan Lake also in Bulusan town and countless hot springs in different municipalities around the volcano. And if you want the best vista of Mt. Bulusan, you can have it in the town of Irosin where there are also several resorts you can choose from.
You can also visit the observatory of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in Sorsogon City and learn a few interesting things about the volcano. One thing I found out, Irosin town is encircled by mountain ridges because actually, the village was one of the ancient craters of the volcano.
So if you haven’t decided on where to reflect this Holy Week, Mt. Bulusan and the towns around it may be a good choice this year. You can have some quiet moments and savor the beauty of nature at the same time.