Postcards around the Philippines: Bulusan Volcano National Park

Bulusan Volcano National Park, Irosin, Sorsogon, Philippines
In Irosin, we inquired from locals places in their area we can visit. “Lake Bulusan” was mentioned. What can we see there? we asked. The lake, were the responses. That sounded like there was nothing of interest to see there. Still, we went. And didn’t regret it. We alighted the tricycle to ooh and aah at the individual giant trees (spotted red lauan and molave) and ferns. We were inside a rainforest! A cooler temperature and fresher air pervade the area no doubt because of the rainforest, a virgin rainforest no less. Noticeable too was the stillness which compels one to tread quietly, reverently. The forest is King here. The “lake” really is a part of the 3,673 hectare Bulusan Volcano Natural Park. Visible in the background is Sharp Peak, another mountain. We chatted up one of the guides who we learned is with the local NGO Aggrupation of Advocates for Environmental Protection Bulusan (Agap) that’s managing the Park. We learned that the eco trail actually takes at most three days to explore in it’s entirety, and that guides are a must. Also, that the Park connects or is part of the Sierra Madre ecosystem. Waters of Bulusan Lake (featured in this photo) according to the Agap staff serve as weather gauge. At the time, the lake waters were choppy and moving with the Easterly wind. That’s the habagat, the staff said. Not far from the guide’s post is what looked like a bamboo shack on a raft floating on the lake. We learned that it’s a spa which was still being completed in time for Ms. Earth contestants who were set to visit the Park for an event. Shame it wasn’t on the day we went. Leaving the place, we reflected on the response we got from the locals ie. the Park being just a “lake” that we almost didn’t go. Apparently the locals themselves didn’t know or haven’t been to the place. Or, don’t see the ecological significance and beauty of a rainforest. But, for the sake of local tourism, locals ought to know such things about their home place.

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