How to get from Manila to Donsol
Donsol is a small coastal village in Sorsogon province in the Philippines’ Bicol region. 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.
2 ways to get from Manila to Donsol
|Flight||3 hours||1 PHP ($20.50)||Check Flights|
|Bus||15 hours||1 PHP ($22.50)||Read article for more info|
The distance from Manila to Donsol is 510 km (317 miles). In this post, we compare the 2 best options to travel from Manila to Donsol: by Flight (3 hours) and by Bus (15 hours). Ticket prices range from 1 PHP ($20.50) – 1 PHP ($22.50).
The flight is the fastest option to go from Manila to Donsol. Because Donsol doesn’t have an airport, your best option is to fly to the nearest airport, which is in Legazpi City. From there, you need to take a minivan or a jeepney to get to Donsol. The total costs for the three-hour journey start from 1 PHP ($20.50).
Since the pandemic, there has been no direct bus trip from Manila to Donsol. The indirect option would be via Legazpi with more bus and schedule choices. This option costs 1 PHP ($22.50) to 1 PHP ($31.00) and there are three trips daily.
Manila to Donsol via Legazpi by Flight
The fastest way to go from Manila to Donsol is to book a flight to Legazpi. From there, you can take a minivan to Donsol.
Step 1: Manila to Legazpi by Flight
Cebu Pacific, CebGo, and Philippine Airlines (PAL) operate several daily flights from Manila to Legazpi.
The least expensive tickets are from Cebu Pacific or CebGo. Flights from Philippine Airlines (PAL) emit 36% less CO₂ than other airlines but are also the most expensive.
The flight takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Tickets cost normally cost between 1 PHP ($17.50) and 4 PHP ($71.00), but they can get cheaper during promotions.
If you book several months in advance, flight tickets can even get as cheap as 1 PHP ($17.50). During promo periods, airlines slash future ticket prices to Legazpi for as low as 200 PHP ($3.50).
Tip: Cebu Pacific offers regular discounts on advanced seat sales annually. Keep an eye out for these promotions so you can book a cheaper flight for this route!
Step 2: Legazpi to Donsol by Minivan
From Legazpi Airport, you can take a tricycle or jeepney to Legazpi’s Grand Central Terminal (GCT) near Ibalong Centrum for Recreation. A tricycle ride should cost you about 50 PHP ($0.80), although some drivers may charge slightly more. The tricycle ride only takes about 15 minutes.
Minivans bound for Donsol are parked at the Legazpi GCT. They don’t have specific schedules, but they leave once they’re full. Expect to pay 120 PHP ($2.10) for the 1.5-hour van ride.
Another option is to take a jeepney going to Donsol. Note that the last trip for both minivans and jeepneys departs at 17:00. Read more on how to go from Legazpi to Donsol.
Manila to Donsol by Bus
Philtranco Lines used to offer 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 PHP ($18.00) per person for a one-way trip. To buy 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. Combined travel costs start at 1 PHP ($26.00) and the total journey will take around 15 hours.
*COVID-19 UPDATE: The last time we checked (May 2022), the direct buses between Manila and Donsol are unavailable. The only way to travel overland by bus from Manila to Donsol is via Legazpi.
Note that public transport, like DLTB Co. buses, requires an original copy of your double vaccination card or a negative antigen result. Tests can be bought at the origin terminal for 850 PHP ($15.00). More information on domestic travel requirements can be found here.
Step 1: Manila to Legazpi by Bus
You can choose from 3 types of buses when travelling from Manila to Legazpi. The standard tourist is the cheapest at 1 PHP ($21.00), but we don’t recommend them because they provide regular seats that can be a bit cramped for such a long journey.
The DLTBCo VIP bus will definitely provide you with more comfort with its “lazyboy seating”.
There also used to be a sleeper bus operated by Bicol Isarog, but the last time we checked (May 2022), this bus hasn’t resumed operations.
Departure and arrival station
- Departure: The buses depart from the Parañaque Integrated Terminal in Manila
- Arrival: Buses arrive at the Legazpi Grand Central Terminal (GCT)
Bus Schedule from Manila to Legazpi
|1 PHP ($21.00) |
Check Bus Tickets
|DLTBCo (VIP)||20:30–09:40||1 PHP ($25.50) |
Check Bus Tickets
|1 PHP ($28.00) |
Check Bus Tickets
Step 2: Legazpi to Donsol by Minivan or Jeepney
At the bus terminal in Legazpi, you can transfer to a minivan bound for Donsol. A ticket costs 120 PHP ($2.10) and the journey takes about 1.5 hours.
You could also take a jeepney 70 PHP ($1.20). A great experience for travellers to the Philippines, but this might not be the best route for it because it’s quite a long journey.
The minivan and jeepney drop off passengers at the Donsol Centralized Shuttle Station. From there, you can walk or take a breezy tricycle ride to your accommodation.
See our page for Legazpi to Donsol for a more detailed guide.
Routes from Donsol
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Based in Bali, Maarten’s passion for travel is undeniable. In 2016, he decided to quit his job as a stock analyst and started doing what he always dreamed of: travelling through South East Asia and helping other people plan their trips. When he is not working on Gecko Routes, you’ll find him surfing in the ocean or exploring the best gems of Indonesia.