“It’s more fun in the Philippines”, reads the slogan on the Philippine Department of Tourism. If this is to be 100% true, then they should change it to: It’s more fun in the Philippines – if you know where to go.
Home to some of the world’s loveliest white sand beaches, the Philippines is a destination worth exploring in the summer. In addition to its fascinating geographic features, it is also a place where worlds collide. Basically, it is an Asian country influenced by Spanish culture — filled with people who can speak English functionally.
However, don’t plan a visit to the Philippines with rose-tinted glasses. A typical Philippine adventure starts like this: traffic is a bummer, pollution is a problem in urban locations, and the temperature can be very hot. But once you reach these locations, you’ll realize that everything is definitely worth it.
Calaguas Island, Camarines Norte
You’re probably expecting to see Boracay Island some where on this list. Who doesn’t know about one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines? But that’s part of the problem with Boracay – it’s too touristy.
On the other hand, Calaguas Island in Camarines Norte is quiet, peaceful, and astonishingly beautiful. Just imagine the most beautiful beach in Boracay, but without the vendors, droves of tourists, and the noisy party music at night. Instead, you can spend quiet and peaceful nights in a tentor cottage by the beach.
True, it may not be the most developed tourist spot in the Philippines, but that’s because this place used to be a “secret” – known only by devoted travelers.You may have to pump for water or wait in line for bathrooms, but remember that all these are part of the experience.Not to mention that this is probably one of the best beaches in the world for cliff diving, trekking, snorkeling, scuba diving,and island hopping.
Hinatuan Enchanted River, Surigao Del Sur
The water in Hinatuan “Enchanted” River, Surigao Del Sur,looks so ridiculously good that you’ll wonder if you’re still alive. You don’t even need Photoshop to beautify the pictures you take here. The clear, blue-green water allows visitors to admire the river’s variety of fishes.
Just like Calaguas Island described above, the only downside to this place is it’s still underdeveloped. But this is slowly changing, thanks to the increasing number of people visiting each month. A tip for those planning a trip to Hinatuan Enchanted River, you should leave at around 4-5am in the morning to make the most out of your trip.
Taal Volcano, Tagaytay
There are plenty of things to enjoy in Tagaytay; the line of bone marrow soup restaurants (informally known as the “Bulalo Belt”), the gorgeous mountainside,the Picnic Grove, the Sky Ranch, and the beautiful country club homes. Tagaytay also has one of the most unusual geographic features in the world – a small active volcano at a lake...with another lake inside it. Think lake-ception.
By taking a 30-minute boat ride, hiking the volcano, and reaching the Taal Crater Lake, you will understand why the best things in life require hard work.Well – not exactly in this case, because trekking the actual volcano is quite easy. You can even ride a horse as you enjoy the majestic view, but it’s still better to go by foot.It is also quite close to Manila (only around 2 hours away), which makes it an excellent spontaneous trip if you want to make the most out of your visit to the Philippines.
If you’re planning to hike the Taal volcano, here is a short checklist of the things you need:
- Sun Protection (hat, sunglasses, umbrella, sunblock, etc.)
- Extra Clothes
- Walking shoes
- Light Snacks
The Farm at San Benito, Batangas
The Farm at San Benitoor just “The Farm”is the epitome of tranquility and perhaps the most peaceful place in this list.Located in Lipa City, Batangas, The Farm is a resort that isspecifically themed forwellness and spirituality. Although it may not be the most natural locations, everything in it is nothing less than stunning.
There is only one thing to do in The Farm at San Benito; relax. There are pavilions for meditation, gorgeous pools, scenic views, and an atmosphere that can genuinely make you feel disconnected with the busy and stressful world. The vegetarian cuisine consists of homegrown ingredients to ensure quality and freshness. And most of all, the place is managed by a highly competent staff, which creates a one-of-a-kind experience.