Blogs from Donsol, Philippines, Asia


Asia » Philippines » Donsol March 23rd 2014

Wednesday January 29 Flight 1 Day 1 traveling from China to The Phillippines I woke up at 6:30 am to get ready for my very long, but exciting traveling day. The previous night I was so excited I drank a late evening latte and stayed awake for quite awhile. I ended up falling asleep at around 3 AM so by the time it was time to wake up I was pretty sleepy. I got dressed, had my last cup of coffee with milk and double checked that I had everything and left for the Quing Guai ride to Jin Jia jie and then a taxi to the Dalian airport. (I should have triple checked because I ended up forgetting my athletic sandals ahhhh!) The train ride and airport wait was smooth and pretty normal . I ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Donsol April 24th 2013

Wow. I was floored. Not literally, of course. I couldn't be, since I was treading water in the middle of the sea. But the very first time I caught sight of the butanding (whale shark), it was swimming literally just one foot under me! And it was huge! A simply fantastic experience, as we managed to catch multiple "swims" with the butanding, which almost seemed unpeterbed by the dozens of snorkelling tourists bobbing up and down the surface, eager to swim alongside or catch as long a sight of it as possible. The water was quite murky, so in fact you couldn't really see past a few metres, which made it all the more incredible when you do catch sight of the butanding, because it meant that it was barely inches from you! I'm still a ... read more
The Lovely Seaside Town of Dancalan
Yes I'm Ready!

Asia » Philippines » Donsol January 25th 2013

Z bambusoveho domceka som sa vytratil 6/15. Vsetci este spali. Este ma napadlo skontrolovat maily,zla sprava,let do manily mi posunuli o 50 minut dozadu. Tiez to dali dost skoro vediet,keby mi to poslali este vcera,spal by som dlhsie ale takto sa mi tu uz nechcelo cakat tak som sa vybral na letisko. Po prejdeny polnej cesty som mal stastie,na asfaltke akurat stal tryciklista a naberal filipincov,pridal som do kroku,trocha sa pomackal a sup ho k aa hotelu. Tu som mal v plane hrncove ranajky,ale este nic nefungovalo,tak som skoncil len pri kolacikoch. Kedze som mal kopu casu,siel som na letisko pesibusom s tym,ze hadam po ceste bude dake jedlo. 5 km cesta presla v pohode,bohuzial ziadne jedlo,tak som aspon v supermarkete kupil vodu a corneto na osviezenie. Na mini letisku kalsika,najskor jedna kontorla pred vstupom,potom check ... read more

Asia » Philippines » Donsol January 25th 2012

Just three weeks into the New Year and already another adventure lined up, go, go, go! Next stop: Donsol, Sorsogon! Donsol is most popularly known for the locals, no, not those from Sorsogon, but the whale sharks (butandings, as they are locally called)! Every year they come back to the waters of the Bicol Region by the dozens! The most exciting part is that you can actually swim with them! After visiting many aquariums around the world, seeing aquatic life from behind a glass, this excited my heart more than anything (and also scared it, to be honest!). It’s quite a trip away from Manila. It’s an hour plane ride to Legazpi, Albay then another hour by car to Sorsogon. I was half-asleep and disoriented for most of the trip, plus it didn’t help that the ... read more
Good Morning Donsol!
Donsol Sunset
Mayon Volcano

Asia » Philippines » Donsol June 9th 2011

Goodbye Malaysia (at least for now, no worries Yean Yean, KL is still on our "need to revisit" list) and hello Philippines. Arriving to Clark airport we had to take a 2 hour bus, to get us to our first destination in the Philippines - Manila. As we were leaving the suburbs and getting closer to the city itself, I thought to myself "great, a couple of more minutes, and I will be enjoyin my well deserved shower, put my feet up, get some food..." Yeah sure, Manila is big people, BIG. The population in the capital of Philippines is 16 million and according to wiki it's the most densely populated city in the world! So, instead of arriving shortly to our destination, it started to look like we were never going to get to our ... read more
Street family
Fort Santiago
Pasig River

Asia » Philippines » Donsol May 24th 2011

Our trip to Donsol began with a 25 hour bus ride! We took another freezing cold night bus from Banaue to Manila (10hours) which arrived at 6am. We originally planned on spending the day in Manila and then taking another long bus ride to Legaspi (the main town near Donsol) the following day. However, because we were so tired from our first journey we didn't feel up to exploring the chaos of Manila and so decided to power through and take a local bus to Legaspi (13hours). The bus journey was great but VERY long, we left at 8am and got to Legaspi at 9.30pm so if you add that to our night bus we were traveling for over 25 hours! On the bus we were crammed into our seats (with 7 people squashed across one row), ... read more
Photo 3
Photo 4

Asia » Philippines » Donsol April 24th 2011

Dave and I are actually getting quite good at this traveling around business, it's a shame it's right at the end of our trip! After a short flight from Cebu to Legazpi, we managed to navigate our way to the local bus terminal by thriftily sharing a tricycle with another traveler. As with most places in Asia, there is no real timetable, buses just leave when they're full... Usually very full! We therefore squeezed us and our backpacks onto a (supposedly) aircon mini bus for the one hour drive to Donsol. Our hotel provided an airport transfer for 2000PP (£28), but we managed to do it for 170PP (£2.50) for both of us. It was sweaty, it was erratic, but it was a bargain! Paul would be proud. Our home for the next three nights is ... read more
The big guy himself

Asia » Philippines » Donsol April 1st 2011

Took a taxi to Ermita from the airport, the driver asked for 250PHP claiming his meter is not calibrated yet, we have to go to the departure lounge to get a cheaper taxi, anyhoo I bargained for 200PHP and off we go being dropped off at Cagsawa bus office. We got the last 3 seats for the 7pm bus to Legazpi. It's only 3pm so we walked to Robinson's mall to chill while leaving our big bags at the bus company office. We left on time, heavy traffic out of Manila, Celine Dion live in Vegas is playing in the movie screen, painful to watch, a relief when they shut it. Like any buses in Asia it seems they only have 2 settings, off and on, and on means 18 celsius, so we donned our winter ... read more
WWF crew taking footage of the butanding
our wet clothes after the encounter
fins fitting

Asia » Philippines » Donsol February 28th 2011

It was time to leave Manila to head east to the small town of Donsol. Since booking the Philippines we’d heard amazing reviews about Donsol and how it’s the only place where you can swim with whale sharks. So we thought why not?!! Donsol is basically a small rural coastal town that survives mainly on tourists coming to experience the ‘experience of a lifetime’ swimming with the huge elephants of the sea! We both kept this pretty tight-lipped from our families back home just to save any unnecessary worrying!! So here’s how it works… we registered with the tourist company the day before and during this time we were shown a 10 minute observation video to prepare us for our 3 hours interaction – the do’s and don’t!! The do’s – listen and follow your instructors ... read more
The 6 brave souls!!
The spotters!!
Nerves kick-in!!

Asia » Philippines » Donsol March 24th 2010

I am sitting in a bamboo style restaurant overlooking a moonlit sea at a resort called Coron. But let me back track a little… I am now in the Philippines… Oh that isn’t far enough is it; I left you the day before I was to dive Sipadan - it was amazing. I am not going to go on and on about it, but I will say it lives up to its reputation and I would recommend using Scuba Junkies if ever you want to dive over there… and definitely stay for a few days on Mabul, which, as it happened I liked just as much (or even more) than Sipadan. However I should mention that Sipadan has a massive Coral wall which drops to well 600 metres (!) and I felt so small and insignificant ... read more
taal volcano
the whale shark..

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