Another long weekend is on its way, and we can only hope we could spend it travelling. But while we can’t, we’ll sure be spending the weekend imagining that we were. In all honesty, I already started daydreaming about travelling days into this coronavirus crisis. I’ve made a list of local vacation spots in the Philippines for when it’s safe to travel again — because let’s face it: Our passports won’t be seeing the light of day anytime soon. But with the beauty of our country, I’ll probably be fine with that.
If you, too, are looking for travel ideas outside of the usual Bohol, Palawan, and Boracay, look no further. Here’s a list of relatively underrated vacation spots in the Philippines for your post-pandemic trips.
Vacation spots in the Philippines for your post-pandemic trips
If you’re a non-believer of the itinerary, then Rizal should be on your list. While most vacation spots in the Philippines are best maximised with timetables and to-do lists, this province welcomes the most spontaneous of travellers. Book a stay in Rizal; allow your feet to tell you where to go.
You might want to explore the natural wonders of Rizal, too. Marvel at the windmills of Pililla. Have a refreshing shower in Daranak Falls. Climb up to the peak of Mt. Tagapo. Adrenaline junkies will enjoy the adventures in Masungi Georeserve, while art enthusiasts will appreciate the wonders of Pinto Art Museum.
Believe me, the list of things to do in Rizal goes on and on! But if you’re just wishing for a good staycation, we recommend getting an Airbnb in Antipolo or Tanay. Both provide excellent homestay options and are just a stone’s throw away from the Metro!
Whether you’re a beach bum or a coffee addict (or both!), Batangas is the place to go. Anilao is best known for its colourful marine life, so diving is a must in this area. Other remarkable beaches, you’ll find in Laiya, Tingloy, and Malabrigo. The province also offers easy hikes for novice mountaineers, so you can hike up Mt. Gulugod Baboy if you please.
Not a fan of nature and would rather strike a pose for Instagram? Ready your picture-perfect dresses, as Lipa City is also dubbed the “Rome of the Philippines.” Aside from visiting Batangas’ beaches or mountains and man-made wonders, don’t forget to have a cup of local kapeng barako to start your morning right!
Remember when your ultimate dream was to go to the Enchanted Kingdom with your barkada? Well, Laguna has a lot more to offer than thrilling rides. Historical landmarks sprawl across the province, with Calamba being Jose Rizal’s hometown and Pila being declared a National Historic Landmark.
But of course, the water forms of Laguna should also be a top priority. After all, the province was named after the country’s largest lake. We highly recommend going on a picnic in the middle of Lake Pandin, where bamboo rafts are available for use.
If you grew up in the Philippines, you’d agree that Ifugao is a popular history book destination. But with its remote nature, not many travellers have gone to this vacation spot in the Philippines. Those who’ve visited the province, though, would know that Ifugao is brimming with natural gems that might’ve been understated in our history classes.
Before anything else, Ifugao is known for the Batad Rice Terraces, a UNESCO-recognised World Heritage Site. Other than that, the province is also home to the Philippine War Memorial Shrine, a commemoration of the Ifugaos’ role during the events of World War II. Of course, there are many other reasons to visit Ifugao; but, we recommend you discover these on your trip to the province.
5. Ilocos Sur
When one thinks of Ilocos Sur, they most likely picture its capital city, Vigan. It’s only fair, because the Spanish Colonial town may be just the place to spend your long weekend if you’re a freak for Philippine heritage. Imagine walking on the cobblestoned Calle Crisologo, witnessing the beautiful ancient houses and restaurants lined up against one another!
But Ilocos Sur is much more than a home to the prominent historical tourist town — although we can’t deny the overwhelming presence of Vigan City. It, in fact, is also the domain of valued antique products, unique heritage food, and underrated, uncrowded beaches.
Catanduanes has everything a nature geek could ever dream of. Often compared to Batanes, the island has rolling hills, pristine waters, and howling winds that will certainly blow all your stress away.
Caramoan has an unbelievably clear ocean, while Pandan bristles with a lush expanse of grassy hills. Save for its relatively pricey airfare, Catanduanes also has economical options for budget travellers who want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Cebu is definitely not a stranger to travellers; after all, it’s one of the trendiest vacation spots in the Philippines! With that, you probably still haven’t exhausted its destinations at all — it’s impossible to experience everything Cebu has to offer in just one go.
If it’s your first time visiting Cebu, we suggest you drop by its famed historical landmarks: Sto. Niño Church, Magellan’s Cross, Fort San Pedro, Casa Gorordo Museum, Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, among all others. Luckily, it’s possible to visit all those sites in a day.
But if you’ve already gone to the city centre, try spending some time in Cebu’s beautiful beaches and mountain peaks.
Although not as popular as its neighbouring Visayan provinces, Guimaras deserves to be on your list of must-visit vacation spots in the Philippines. Aside from boasting of the world’s most delicious mangoes, Guimaras is also Western Visayas’ agri-tourism capital. (In other words, your dream farm stay might come true in this area!)
As its title suggests, Guimaras has a chock-full of land tours you can enjoy. Don’t miss the Mango Research Center, the Balaan Bukid, and the Trappist Monastery! You can also explore its beaches, coves, and mountains — they surely won’t disappoint you.
They say that November is the best month to travel to Siquijor, so the next long weekend is prime time to go on a trip to the “Island of Fire.” In four days, you can already visit the Enchanted Balete Tree, take a shower in Cambugahay Falls, relax and sunbathe in Salagdoong Beach, and tour around the centuries-old churches.
Be ready to stand in awe of the enchanting gifts of Mother Nature to Siquijor, because the province will surely take your breath away.
In the year’s past, Albay has been giving us increasingly more reasons to visit it. First, there was the viral Sunflower Farm in Camalig. Then, the Cagsawa Ruins in Daraga started blooming with vivid flowers. Also last year, the Department of Transportation gave us a peek into the Bicol International Airport in Daraga, which is anticipated to be the “Most Scenic Gateway” in the Philippines.
Needless to say, Albay is definitely one of the up-and-coming vacation spots in the Philippines. Having been known for years as the home to the Mayon Volcano, the province is now making a name for itself beyond this particular tourist spot.
If you haven’t been to Leyte, you should definitely consider it for your next trip post-pandemic. The beautiful island province will welcome you with its endless tourist attractions, including the Kalanggaman Island, the San Juanico Bridge, and the MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial.
Like Cebu, the Visayan province also has so many things to offer travellers. Aside from its famed historical landmarks, Leyte has its own share of ethereal natural wonders, from white-sand beaches to emerald lakes.
12. Camiguin Island
If Siquijor is called “The Island of Fire,” Camiguin Island is known as the “Island Born of Fire.” While the former derived its name from the swarms of fireflies around the island, the latter’s name has a more literal meaning. Due to volcanic eruptions, Camiguin is now a pear-shaped island with hot springs, waterfalls, and a sunken cemetery to boast.
Because of the size of Camiguin, you can certainly enjoy the tiny island province in four days. It has the best diving points in the Philippines, some breathtaking stargazing spots, and rich biodiversity for everyone to admire.
As of late, Siargao has certainly risen to fame among travellers — both local and foreign. And it has so for a reason. The paradisiacal island, now dubbed the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” gives beach lovers the idyllic island experience. With world-class waves and endless well-kept secret spots, Siargao is definitely on everyone’s radar nowadays.
Aside from surfing, travellers can also go island hopping, food tripping, or simply beach bumming in Siargao. Interested in visiting this paradise? Learn what you should know before travelling to Siargao here.
Museums, waterfalls, nature parks, beaches and man-made attractions are common among most island provinces in the Philippines. So, if there’s one thing that separates Davao from the rest of these places, it might as well be the durian. Dubbed the “King of Fruits,” durian is so significant that a dome was built in its honour.
But aside from this one-of-a-kind attraction in People’s Park, Davao also houses the Philippine Eagle Center, the Kublai Art Garden, the Monfort Bat Cave Sanctuary, and the Tagbaobo Ecotourism Site. Without a doubt, this province is a must-visit vacation spot in the Philippines — we even have more reasons why.
15. Zamboanga City
While not a new name to Pinoys, I truly believe that Zamboanga City is an underrated vacation spot in the Philippines. With its beaches, rivers, lakes, and other hidden gems, the province has so much unexplored potential!
If you’re an avid local traveller, you might have already heard of Zamboanga’s spectacular pink-sand beach, Sta. Cruz Islands. But beyond this spot, you’ll be delighted to know that the city offers a great deal of cultural immersion. Don’t miss out on the endless Tausug food options; and if possible, join in the Magayen Festival every September.
Needless to say, the Philippines is full of incredible islands that can serve as your next vacation spots. Sometimes, all we have to do is take a closer look.
Featured image credit: Scopio via Canva Pro