The Return to the Lake that Had Inspired Recurring Dreams

Thursday, April 30, 2015

bulusan lake national park

March 27, 2015

When a place you've visited when you were but a child appears in your dreams every now and then, even well into your adult life, you know something metaphysical is going on. Perhaps there is a message in these reveries, a clue that could lead to solving the convuluted puzzle that is life. Or perhaps there is something amiss on the astral plane, (a glitch in the matrix, if you will,) and the only way to correct it is to return to the very same place.

The hazy memory of Lake Bulusan has always left me intrigued. For quite some time, I wasn't even sure how the place was called. It was much later, after numerous dreams about it, that I took to trusty Google to investigate. In all honesty, I was convinced for a time that I merely made this place up, but when I learned of its name, I gladly admitted that such a place was too magical to conjure with my own limited devices.

I don't remember much of how the place had looked like when I was eight, but it was very clear to me how being there had made me feel. I recall standing there, overwhelmed with awe, my young naive mind struggling to grasp what was before me. I had known then that wonder had taken over me and my standard of beauty had been forever changed. If I must pinpoint an exact moment that I decided magic is real, that would be it. And even then, it had been obvious to me that I wouldn't let my life go on without returning there.

Related Adventure: Why It's a Good Idea to Have the Springs of Irosin on the Top of Your Sorsogon Itinerary (Especially After a Fifteen-Hour Bus Ride)

When Kaye, Archie and I finished rinsing ourselves off of bodily and emotional grime, we negotiated with a tricycle driver to take us to Bulusan Volcano Natural Park. We all agreed that this was the best course to take since public transport in this part of Sorsogon is kind of an issue, i.e. jeepneys are rare and are only on the road until 3 or 5pm. I was able to sense that the dip in Irosin's springs did us all good. We were all in high spirits and felt so so much better. But the number of vehicles, or the lack thereof, plying the same route as us alarmed me to some extent. I mean, the roads were decent and they seemed safe enough, but I couldn't help asking myself why there was only a few vehicles passing us by. I figured I wouldn't get any decent answer so it was better to leave it at that and, you know, tiwala lang. I did leave it at that after a couple of minutes, and followed Kaye's example which was to go power-napping.

Later, the arch that served as the entrance to the park emerged from the seemingly endless rows of roadside greenery. We forged ahead, into another dimension.
This is a portal to another dimension.
The path to the lake has a mountain face on one side, and an intricate arboreal network on the other. The thick canopy of the towering, massive trees almost completely block out the sun. Branches jut out from both side where tendrils and vines hang like whimsical curtains. We went through a whole stretch of this and all the while I was thinking Alundra could use a landscape like this. Alundra, by the way, is a world inside my head where I call all the shots. I also thought that if the road was any indication of what was awaiting us, well, I should brace myself. Tears would inevitably make an appearance.
An intricate network of trees line one side of the road
Moments later, there it was. Lake Bulusan - in all its mystical, magical glory. The sight of it took my breath away, and, yes, a couple of tears fell. It was better than what I expected. Exceedingly so. Just thinking about it makes my heart beat faster.
I'm afraid all the photo I took couldn't give any justice to how eerily beautiful this place is

I don't know about my companions, and I don't know about you, but Lake Bulusan had such a tremendous effect on me. I stood there, gazing at the expanse of emerald water, and it was  as though a thirst I never knew I had was instantly quenched. We were in another world, I was sure. It was too damn beautiful and I couldn't believe that place I dreamt about truly does exist. I was eight years old again.
I'm forever grateful for Kaye for capturing this moment.
Maybe it was the silence that made Lake Bulusan so special. There was a silence there, a stillness that hovers over you like a warm embrace. That silence was not devoid of sounds. No, there were plenty of sounds in there. The flutter of wings, the chatter of monkeys, the murmurs of insects and the songs of the trees. These sounds were part of the silence, and that silence resounded with something in my being.
There is a silence here that resounded with my being.
Or maybe it was the enclosure of trees that engendered such a mystical air. The trees were lofty and innumerable, and they seem to hold a great and terrible secret. We are soldiers, the trees seem to whisper. They are your and the place's protection. And they know it. Maybe that's it. Maybe it's because, here, your soul becomes so at peace that it understands what the trees are saying. You become so humbled that Nature decides to speak to you again.
"We are soldiers," the trees seem to whisper.
Or maybe this reaction was just the certainty that here was my earliest definition of beauty. People always say that there is beauty in chaos but we all know, deep in our hearts, that true beauty is Order. Chaos creates beauty, sure. It is indeed when we make sense of all the cacophony, of the clutter, that beauty is found. And Lake Bulusan, for me, is that intrinsic definition of beauty. Not once did I question why there was a lake in the middle of a forest. I just knew that it was supposed to be there, that all that was before me was where it was meant to be. Here was Order. Here was Beauty.
Not once did I question why there was a lake in the middle of a forest.
Alas, that is the best way I could describe it. Not even a canoe ride across the Lake provided me with the right words to describe that place. All it did was make me want to be its guardian. I thought if I could be a diwata, I'd choose Lake Bulusan as my abode.

I did, however, take one important truth from my encounter with this otherworldly place, and it is that there are, in fact, pieces of heaven on earth. It all just depends on how we define it, and whether or not we allow ourselves to experience it.


For more photos, check out Celineism's Facebook page.

How to Get There
From Cubao Bus Terminal (near Shopwise), there are buses bound for Sorsogon. St. Martha Bus Line, and Elavil both have daily trips to Sorsogon. Get off at Sorsogon Town Proper. From here, walk to Chowking. There will be jeepneys that will pass by Irosin. For our trip, we took a jeep bound for Matnog, but I was told that there are ones that ply directly to Irosin. Ask the driver/conductor to drop you off at the Irosin Public Market. Hire a tricycle to take you to Bulusan Volcano Natural Park.

To get back to Sorsogon, ride a tricycle and ask your driver to take you some place where you can catch a jeepney to Sorsogon. In our case, it was nearby the Irosin Town Marker.

(Per pax, unless otherwise stated)
Bus Fare (regular, non air-conditioned, one way) - Php700
Jeepney Fare (Sorsogon to Irosin) - Php60
Entrance Fee - Php15
Boat Ride (Php600/roundtrip) - Php200
Tricycle Fare* - Php167
Jeepney Fare (Irosin to Sorsogon) - Php60

*We hired a tricycle to take us to Bulusan Natural Park from Irosin. It was a roundtrip deal that cost Php500, divided among three people.

Tips, Fact, Concerns and Reminders
Bathing is not allowed for visitors.
The lake serves as a livelihood for locals. Aside from being a tourist attraction, Lake Bulusan serves as a fishing ground.
The forest that surrounds Lake Bulusan is home to a diverse wildlife. There are monkeys, birds of prey, and an orchid called Jade Vine that is native to the Philippines.
Bulusan Lake Orchid
The Jade Vine
One of the birds-of-prey that graced us with its presence
The Tourism Office offers a package which includes a hike to Mount Bulusan, you may contact them through the info below:

Other activities that can be done within the area include kayaking, boat tour, trekking, and watercycling.

Cheers to the next adventure!

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