Manila to Donsol

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Overview | Flight | Bus

How to get from Manila to Donsol?

Donsol is a small coastal village not far from Legazpi in the Philippines. It has become a popular destination for those wanting to swim with whale sharks (locally known as butanding). The best time to see whale sharks is from February to April, which is Donsol’s peak season.

When travelling the 500km distance from Manila to Donsol, you have 2 options: you can either book a flight to Legazpi and then take a van to Donsol for a total of 3 hours or take a direct bus for 14 hours. Fares start at 1,015 PHP ($20).

2 ways to get from Manila to Donsol

Transport modeDurationCostsAvailability
Flight3 hours2,250 PHP ($45)Check flights
Bus14 hours1,015 PHP ($20)Read article for more info

The flight is the fastest option to go from Manila to Donsol. However, you can only take the flight to the nearest airport, which is in Legazpi City. From there, you need to take a van or a jeepney to get to Donsol. The 3-hour journey costs about 2,250 PHP ($45).

With the bus, you can choose to take a direct or indirect option. The direct option costs 1,015 PHP ($20) and there is only 1 trip daily. With the indirect option via Legazpi, you’ll have more bus and schedule choices. We recommend taking a VIP or sleeper bus starting at 1,500 PHP ($30).

Itinerary from Manila to Donsol


Manila to Donsol by Flight

Duration: 3 hours
Cost: 2,250 PHP ($45)

The fastest way to go from Manila to Donsol is to book a flight to Legazpi. From there, you’ll need to take a van to Donsol.

Step 1: Manila to Legazpi by Flight

Duration: 1hr 20min
Cost: 2,100 PHP ($42) + 50 PHP ($1)

Cebu Pacific, CebGo, and Philippine Airlines (PAL) operate several flights from Manila to Legazpi daily. The flight takes about 1hr 20mins and fares start at 2,100 PHP ($42).

Check Flights on Skyscanner

From Legazpi Airport, take a tricycle or jeepney to Central Grand Station. A tricycle ride should cost you about 50 PHP ($1), although some drivers may charge slightly more. The travel time is approximately 15mins.

Tip: Cebu Pacific offers many promotions annually. Keep an eye out for these promotions so you can book a cheaper flight for this route!

Step 2: Legazpi to Donsol by Van

Duration: 1.5 hours
Cost: 100 PHP ($2)

Vans bound for Donsol are parked at the Grand Central Terminal. They don’t have specific schedules, but they leave once they’re full. Expect to pay 100 PHP ($2) for the 1.5-hr van ride.

Another option is to take a jeepney going to Donsol. Note that the last trip for both vans and jeepneys leave at 17:00. Read more on how to go from Legazpi to Donsol.

Bus icon

Manila to Donsol by Bus

Duration: 14 hours
Cost: 1,015 PHP ($20)

Philtranco Lines offers one trip daily from Manila to Donsol. The bus departs at 17:00 from the Philtranco Bus Terminal in Pasay City, at EDSA cor. Apelo Cruz Street.

They charge 1,015 PHP ($20) per person for a one-way trip. To purchase your ticket, you can go to their website. The journey takes 14 hours and the bus drops you off at the bus terminal in Donsol.

Alternatively, you can also take an indirect route via Legazpi. This indirect option allows more bus options and schedules. With a VIP or sleeper bus, you can enjoy more luxury for the first leg of the journey from Manila to Legazpi.

Indirect Route: Manila to Donsol via Legazpi

Duration: 15 hours
Cost: 1,590 PHP ($32)

Step 1: Manila to Legazpi by Bus

Duration: 12 – 14 hours
Cost: 1,500 PHP ($30)

You can choose from 3 types of buses when travelling from Manila to Legazpi. The standard tourist is the cheapest at 1,100 PHP ($22), but we don’t recommend them as they provide regular seats that can be a bit cramped for such a long journey.

VIP buses provide more comfort with their lazyboy seats. Fares start at 1,500 PHP ($30) when you book with DLTB Co. through 12go.Asia.

The most luxurious option is the sleeper bus, where you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep for 2,400 PHP ($48). Only Bicol Isarog offers sleeper buses and you can book a bed through BookAway.

All buses arrive at Grand Central Terminal in Legazpi City, near Ibalong Centrum for Recreation.

Below are our recommended bus companies and schedules:

Bus OperatorScheduleDurationCosts
(from Cubao)
19:30-10:10 (VIP)
14h 40m1,500 PHP ($30)
1,100 PHP ($22)
1,100 PHP ($22)
(from LRT Buendia)
17:30-07:10 (VIP)
13h 40m1,100 PHP ($22)
1,500 PHP ($30)
1,100 PHP ($22)
Penafrancia Tours07:00-20:40
08:30-22:10 (VIP)
21:00-10:40 (VIP)
13h 40m1,350 PHP ($27)
1,850 PHP ($36)
1,850 PHP ($36)
Bicol Isarog19:00-08:40
20:00-09:40 (sleeper)
21:00-10:40 (VIP)
13h 40m1,300 PHP ($26)
1,300 PHP ($26)
2,450 PHP ($48)
1,300 PHP ($26)
1,800 PHP ($35)
(not available)
14h 40m1,150 PHP ($21.50)

DLTB is an unpopular bus line for tourists, but one of the most trusted among locals. It has several departure points, including Cubao (along Aurora Blvd.) and LRT Buendia (which is about 15mins by taxi from central Makati). Check bus tickets with 12go.Asia.

Penafrancia Tours

Penafrancia is also a popular bus company. They generally seem to receive satisfactory comments from travellers. Penafrancia Tours departs from its terminal along EDSA Road in Cubao, opposite the Farmer’s Market. Check bus tickets with BookAway.


RSL Bus gets good reviews, aside from sometimes having broken seats and cold night buses. Check bus tickets with BookAway.

Bicol Isarog

Occasionally Bicol Isarog receives complaints that the buses are not very clean. Other than that, they provide good service. Its buses depart from the same bus terminal as Penafrancia along EDSA Road in Cubao, opposite the Farmer’s Market. Check bus tickets with BookAway.

Step 2: Legazpi to Donsol by Van

Duration: 1hr 30m
Cost: 90 PHP ($1.80)

At the bus terminal in Legazpi, you can transfer to a van bound for Donsol. A seat costs 90 PHP ($1.80) and the journey takes 1hr 30m.

The van parks at Donsol Centralized Shuttle Station, from where you can walk or take a tricycle to your accommodation.

See our page for Legazpi to Donsol for a more detailed guide.