Bulusan Lake and National Park
Bulusan Lake and National Park is a nature reserve located in the province of Camarines in the Bicol Region in the Philippines. The 3,672-hectare park, which is known as the “Switzerland of the Orient,” centers on the still-active Bulusan Volcano, which may be climbed by mountaineers, and the picturesque Bulusan Lake partway up the volcano. Also found in the green landscape are lakes and springs. Apart from being a scenic location, the park serves as a habitat for rare species and a water source for the farmlands of the area.
The park is located near the tip of the Camarines Peninsula in Bicol in southeastern Luzon. It is 10 kilometers away from the town of Irosin.
Apart from Mt. Bulusan, there are two other important peaks in the park: Sharp Peak and Mt. Jormahan. Bulusan is the highest of the three, at 5,077 feet above sea level. Between the peaks is a pool called Aguingay Lake, which dries up in the hot months. Bulusan Mountain Lake is located 2,084 feet up the side of Mt. Bulusan. With a concrete pathway circling it, the lake, which is 2,006 meters in diameter, is a popular tourist destination and a good place for a nature trek. A famous romantic legend has grown around the two lakes. The peaks, with their lakes and springs, provide the lowland communities with water and protect them from typhoons and floods.
Much of the park is covered with forest. Around the peaks grow montane forest while lowland forest covers the slopes. Some rare plants may be found in the forests, such as ground orchids and the endemic species Prenephrium bulusantum and Schefflera bulusanicum. There are also areas of secondary grassland in the park. There are some small settlements in the area, and the lower slopes are utilized by the local residents as agricultural land.
Philippine deer used to be plentiful in the area, but are now rare. A number of threatened and restricted-range birds that are endemic to Luzon can still be seen in the forests, including the Philippine duck, the Philippine hawk eagle, the flame-breasted fruit dove, and the Philippine eagle owl.
The forests and grasslands of the park have been threatened over the years due to practices such as kaingin farming, collecting of firewood, and illegal logging. Profligate farming and plant collecting have posed a threat to the animal and plant species in the park. It was declared a national park on June 7, 1935 and has been proposed as a natural park under the NIPAS.
The park is accessible from Sorsogon City through the Maharlika Highway, which passes through the towns of Casiguran, Juban, and Irosin. An especially scenic route to the area is a rough road that passes through the towns of Gubat, Barcelona, and Bulusan. The road is not completely paved but it provides an attractive view of the San Bernardino Strait. The access road to Lake Bulusan, which can accommodate heavy vehicles, branches off from the main road that connects Irosin and Bulusan.
- BirdLife International. on 3/8/2009 "Important Bird Area Factsheet: Bulusan Volcano Natural Park, Philippines.” In Bird Life Data Zone.
- "Bulusan Lake and Natural Park." In Waypoints.
- "Bulusan National Park and Bulusan Mountain Lake Resort." In “Sorsogon: Places of Interest.”