There’s no place more beautiful than home.
We have been to quite a lot of places in my home country, the Philippines, and there are still a lot to see. It will take a lifetime to visit each of its over 7,000 islands.
Here are our six picks for our most-loved places in the Philippines.
Whether you are in a dire desire to see fresh pearls, or you just want to spend a quiet time in nature with your loved one, Davao is the perfect spot. Samal Island is the place to go to when you are looking for a beach adventure, accessible via ferry service or shuttle boats (there’s a docking area at the Waterfront Insular Hotel) for a very minimal amount.
On the island is an array of beaches you can choose from, depending on the type of adventure you would want to experience. We particularly love the quaint resort, Chema’s by the Sea , for its privacy and it’s rustic appeal. Davao also is home to the vast Eden Nature Park, (if you are an adrenalin junkie, try skycycle!), the Malagos Garden Resort, and the Eagle Conservation Center.
From Samal Island in Davao to the hundreds in Alaminos, Pangasinan, we love the Hundred Islands because of it’s over-a-hundred islands (haha!). It’s convenient and easy to get to (if you’re from Manila), very inexpensive, it’s a great snorkeling destination, plus, you can even camp there!
If you are “g na g” (gipit na gipit, trans: on a tight budget) and you would want to get a glimpse of Coron, the Hundred Islands is your best bet. We love snorkeling here! There’s a particular snorkeling area here where you could see ginormous clams which would make you wanna sing The Little Mermaid’s Under the Sea… or if you want, you can “just keep swimming” as you get lost in the beauty of anemones. Note: This place could get heavily touristy, especially in Quezon Island.
Another island’s on our list, this time it’s Calaguas in Daet, Camarines Norte. We hope this still rings true to date — the best thing about Calaguas is its rawness. We went there in 2014, and except for a resort that was being built there, the island was so innocent. At that time, you have to tent camp and sharing bath/restrooms with other campers. Aside from its powdery-sand beaches, and picture-perfect vistas, what we loved are the people on the back side of the island — where the locals are (which probably has now been converted to a port, as they had told us when we were there).
When you find yourself in Calaguas, don’t just spend your time on the beach. Go for a hike and explore the island’s hills, you might discover the same ground where this photo photo was taken, which I must say is a great spot to get lost in the island. *wink*
From snorkeling and island adventures, our next favorite is situated at an elevation of the Mt. Kitanglad Range in Bukidnon. If you are interested in agro-eco-forestry, you should check out the Mt. Kitanglad Agri-Ecological Techno-Demo Center in Barangay Imbayao just outside Malaybalay City, and the Binahon Farm in Lantapan. Nature-lovers troop to these places to experience and learn about organic farming, indigenous trees, birds, and sustainable living.
Both nature centers also has rooms for people who are doing more than just a day trip — which is most likely the amount of time you would be needing to absorb all the beauty (and learning) these places have to offer.
If you want a pack-filled weekend of nature adventure, our next favorite destination might be what you exactly need. This is mainly for the activities we love in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte – posing for “vintage-style” photos in Vigan; the Paoay Sand Dunes Adventures; going eco-conscious because of the windmills in Bangui; swimming in Pagudpod beach; admiring the Kapurpurawan and Pangil rock formation; exploring Bantay Abot Cave and Timmangtang Rock; and going for a really cold dip at the Kabigan Falls.
While you’re there, don’t forget to also check the Marcos Mausoleum and the Paoay Church.
Bucas Grande Island, Surigao
One of the most private island adventure we have had, and very well worth the recommendation, was our trip in Bucas Grande in the south. If you want to be enveloped by nature and experience crystalline lakes, underwater caves, and stingless jellyfishes — and be alone, Bucas Grande is the place for you. We have to warn you though, this is going to be nature-overload.
Don’t be a tourist in your own country! Love the Philippines!
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