Who doesn’t love Bali? From its sublime beaches to incredibly lush jungles, we can’t deny that this famous destination in Indonesia is every nature lover’s dream. But for those who might not be able to visit the “Island of the Gods” at the moment, the Philippines has its own share of rustic treehouses, white-sand shores, and verdant rice fields that are just as alluring.
While some of these tropical attractions are inspired by Balinese culture and design, they add their own unique Filipino twists as well. Ready for a glimpse of Bali in the Philippines? Let’s dive into them!
Order of collage: Philippines (left); Bali (right)
1. Pugad Viewing Deck in Silay = Ubud Mesari in Ubud
Some of the most Insta-worthy sights you’ll find in Bali are the wooden nests and swings. A good example of these attractions can be found in Ubud Mesari, where one of our fellow travellers discovered a beautiful spot in the middle of a thriving garden.
Overlooking a rainforest, the Pugad Viewing Deck in Silay City comes with many design features that will remind you of Bali as well. At this forest lodging in Negros Occidental, there’s a hanging bridge you can walk on, traditional huts made of bamboo, and even a nearby waterfall that you can trek to!
In Tagalog, the word “pugad” refers to a “bird’s nest.” Similarly, the Pugad Viewing Deck acts as a safe haven for native bird species in the forest. Moreover, the bell-shaped swings on the deck resemble tiny bird’s nests among the treetops. Sitting on your own perch at the viewing deck, you can enjoy a panoramic lookout over the mountain range and feast on traditional Negrense cuisine over banana leaves.
2. The Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao = Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Gianyar
Whether you recognise the slopes from a postcard or you remember the landscape of Thanos’ exile at the end of Infinity War, the Banaue Rice Terraces are a breathtaking sight from any angle. Situated at the foot of the Cordillera mountains, these elaborate terraces were hand-carved by the ancestors of the indigenous Ifugao people around 2,000 years ago. The stair-like paddies ascend to thousands of feet, earning the reputation of the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
More importantly, the Banaue Rice Terraces offer hope for sustainable tourism in the Philippines. Much like the Tegalalang Rice Terraces in Bali, these bountiful rice terraces preserve the cultural traditions and complex farming systems of the people who live there.
3. Sirao Pictorial Garden and Camping Site in Cebu = Wanagiri Hidden Hill in Buleleng
Everyone knows that some of the best Philippine souvenirs you can take home are the photographs from your trip! Luckily, there’s plenty to fill your camera with at the Sirao Pictorial Garden and Camping Site in Cebu City. And just like the selfie park at Wanagiri Hidden Hill in the Buleleng Regency of Bali, you can have a friend take a photograph of you at a hanging Bali-style nest at Sirao, too.
Another highlight of the pictorial garden is its sculpture of an open palm facing the sky. Climb the stairs towards the middle of the hand, where you can enjoy a fairytale backdrop of the mountains!
However, take note that the Sirao Pictorial Garden and Camping Site is different from the nearby Sirao Flower Garden, which is known as the “Little Amsterdam” of Cebu. In any case, you won’t find a shortage of things to do at these attractions!
4. Coron in Palawan = Diamond Beach on Nusa Penida Island
If the resemblances between Bali and the Philippines still look a bit fuzzy, head to the province of Palawan! Anyone who adores the beaches of Bali is going to have a blast in Palawan. The pristine coves, undersea shipwrecks, and dramatic limestone formations ensure that no island is exactly the same.
Boasting enchanting seascapes and idyllic retreats, Bali and Palawan regularly top the lists of the world’s best islands every year. In Palawan, the white sands of El Nido will charm you and make you think of Pasir Putih Beach in East Bali. Meanwhile, the steep cliffs of Coron can’t help but draw comparisons to Diamond Beach on Nusa Penida Island.
Judging from the photographs above, it’s true what they say! Indonesia and the Philippines offer some of the best island-hopping adventures on the planet.
5. Villa Jovita in Batangas = Bali Swing in Bandung
Oh, to be relaxing on a swing without a care in the world! If you love soaring over the trees at the Bali Swing in Bandung, then you’re going to fall in love with the gorgeous views at Villa Jovita. Designed like a love letter to Bali, this tropical villa in the Philippines is known for its relaxing ambience and the enchanting swing that lets you admire the fields of Batangas. Don’t miss out on the many photogenic opportunities in the area, like the riverside pool to the nest-like pods!
6. Neri’s Ville in Cebu = Danau Buyan Selfie Park in North Bali
Drawing inspiration from the Danau Buyan Selfie Park in North Bali, Cebu’s Neri’s Ville has carved out a nook of its own — a picturesque corner showcasing the natural scenery around Barangay Lusaran! At this little slice of Bali in the Philippines, visitors can wander around the site and appreciate the panoramic views. From the viewing deck to the giant bamboo nest, every spot comes with a photo opportunity waiting to be snapped. No wonder this place is such a viral sensation on social media!
7. The Forest Camp Resort in Valencia = Hideout Bali in East Bali
Similar to the famous Hideout Camp in East Bali, the Philippines offers eco-friendly accommodations that are beloved for their harmony with nature. Up in the mountainous town of Valencia, the Forest Camp Resort combines spring pools, recreational activities, and breezy wooden cottages to give visitors a Bali-esque experience! Guests can swing leisurely on a hammock or splash into the waters for a swim. Adventurers won’t run out of the activities either. You can go horseback riding, ziplining, wall climbing, biking through the forest, and more!
Additionally, this wellness retreat also serves as a popular jumping-off point for nearby attractions like Casaroro Falls and Pulangbato Falls. And that’s where the similarities with Bali end. Once you step out of the camp, it’s entirely the Philippines from there.
When circumstances permit us to travel safely again, we definitely have a lot of ground to cover! But no matter where we go between Bali and the Philippines, one thing’s clear. It’s paradise, either way.
This article was originally published on TripZilla.