Travelers looking to get transport from Manila to the magical Donsol have a couple of options to choose from when planning trip: Air or Bus.
There is no direct flight to Donsol as there’s no airport there, so Legazpi City will be the connection with ground transport onward. Air fares to Legazpi City can be had for as low as $23 per person + $4.65 airport tax, however those promo prices usually need to be booked at a physical travel agency in person a few weeks in advance, as a number of them don’t have websites or the ones that do are often informational sites with no booking functionality. Check out the second level of Global City’s Market! Market! mall for a number of travel agencies with flights servicing Manila to Legazpi. Standard airfare is between $35 – $58 per person, depending on time of year, how far in advance you book and who you purchase from. Once in Legazpi City, take a pedicab motorcycle or taxi to the bus terminal ($1.50 – $3.00), and from there a Jeepney ($2.00) shared minivan ($5.80) or an entire minivan ($23.00) to Donsol. All said and done you can expect to pay anywhere between $35 – $70.
Flights from Manila to Legazpi City leave early morning between 6:30 – 7:00PM at Terminal 2, and are airborne for about 45-50 minutes. There’s often traffic or other activity on the tarmac so expect delays. Make sure to get to the airport around 1 hour beforehand to confirm your flight details to secure your spot and clear any pre-flight confusion. The Legazpi City airport to the bus is about terminal 5-10 minutes. From the bus terminal to Donsol is around 2 hours or less. In total, around 4 to 5 hours from Manila to Donsol via air/ground.
Philtranco has one 2nd class direct bus a day servicing Donsol for $21.50 per person departing Manila at 4:30PM, with an approximate travel time of roughly 10 hours. This bus departs from the head office in Pasay City, Manila and getting to the office/terminal is about $3.50 by taxi depending on Manila traffic. If $21 is too much, you can take the 3rd class bus across the street for about $10 per person with variable depart times. Because it’s an overnight bus, the bus fare pays for itself since you don’t have to pay for accommodation, so this is definitely the most cost effective way of getting to Donsol. The 2nd class bus plays one movie and Philippine TV for a couple of hours, then silence around 10:00PM. The recliner seats in 2nd class buses are good for sleeping but AC can be very cold at night, so definitely bring socks and a blanket or hoody for a good nights sleep. 3rd class buses being very noisy, tons of music, dead axles and frequent stops, so don’t expect much sleep. Philtranco operates another 2nd class bus that departs from Cubao at 3:30PM. First class buses don’t exist.