Philippines Travel Bucket List: 19 Places to Visit When Everything Gets Better
This could have been a perfect time to travel. Gas prices have been the lowest for years but, we can’t hit the road. Airfares are becoming cheaper because seat sales are everywhere but we can’t fly yet. Travel costs are way down. We all have clear schedules. The weather is starting to warm up and the air and skies have never been so clear. The best part? There’s no traffic! But…everything is closed. Isn’t it ironic? But as much as we want to travel, we have to stay home and practice social distancing to flatten the curve.
We are all fighting against the coronavirus pandemic, and while it is such a challenging time, we are very certain that the world will overcome it. We will overcome it. Like all the past outbreaks, this one will eventually come to an end.
Travel may not be an option for us right now but if you’re looking for a distraction at home, perhaps you can just make your travel bucket list first and wander virtually… for now.
We’ve rounded up some places in the Philippines that you can include in your travel bucket list!
It is considered as the last ecological frontier of the Cordillera region as vast primary dipterocarp forests cover most of its landscape. In fact, the critically-endangered Philippine monkey-eating Eagle has recently been sighted on its remote forests, offering countless and hidden natural wonders. It is a sure hit for those looking to experience a rustic and simple life in the wilderness. You can also find an underground river here just like in Puerto Princesa, that’s why it’s called the Palawan of the North.
Places to check out: Dupag Rock Formation, Bayugao Falls, Lussok Cave & Underground River, Calanasan Philippine Eagle Sanctuary, Gololan Falls, Apayao River, Mt. Kilang, Maton River, Girgira Falls, Macota Underground River, Mt. Solo, Purit Cave, Anag-Sicapo Wildlife Sanctuary, Agora Wildlife Sanctuary, Banselan Cave, Buguit Falls
It is a lush, mountainous land that is rich in culture, history, and natural resources. Situated in the Cordillera mountain range, Ifugao is home to the UNESCO recognized Banaue Rice Terraces. It’s a province that’s best for travelers who are in-love with nature and culture. Ifugao is one of the few areas untouched by colonization, so many of the locals were able to retain their traditions and rituals. If you want to immerse yourself in how Filipinos lived before colonization, then you definitely have to visit this place.
Places to check out: Hungduan Rice Terraces, Bokiawan village, Pula and Cambulo Native Village, Apfo-or Tombs, Makaliwagha, Lumiang burial cave, Bintakan and Nah-toban caves, and Tocucan hot springs.
Kalinga is making waves in the ecotourism world. Mystic-seekers, hikers/mountaineers, adventurers, cultural advocates, and nature-lovers are frequenting Kalinga more than ever. Relevantly, Kalinga is now considered as a Tourism Development Area. It is also a land of untold beauty and bounty. Its hidden wonders echo in the wonderful songs and dances of its people. When in Kalinga, travelers make sure to see Apo Whang-od, the most famous Cordilleran known as the “last” and oldest mambabatok to get a tattoo.
Places to check out: Binasalan Falls, Sulfur Hills, Mt. Binuluan, Tumuyoc Falls, Laroy Falls, Buaya Caves, Lubo and Mangali Rice Terraces, Mt. Mating-oy, Palang-ah Falls, Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park, Padcharao Lake, Saltan River, Bonnong Lake & Asibanglan Lake, Pasil Natural Dam, Elephant Hill, Sungang Viewpoint, Dulag Historical Marker, Pungit Falls, Matabor Falls, and Guinaang Village.
4. Mountain Province
It is the only province in the entire country that uses an English name that offers unique destinations from cascading waterfalls, mystic lakes, towering peaks, mossy forests, uncharted rivers, to sacred graves, hot springs, rice terraces and many more. There is so much to see and experience here.
Places to check out: Mt. Amuyao, Mt. Binaratan, Mabarotbot Boiling Mud, Fowa-as Falls, Maligcong Rice Terraces, Mt, Kalawitan, Tagpeo Falls, Paradise Falls, Mt. Mog-ao, Siblaw Taraw Lake, Humuyyo Falls, Enchanted Eels, Angoten Cave, Mainit Hot Spring, Natonin Rice Terraces, Mapesak Falls, Pongas Falls, Bontoc Museum, Lake Angtadan, and Mt. Polis.
It is in the northernmost province of the country with the smallest both in population and land area and just 190-kilometers south of Taiwan. Batanes gets more rainfall than other areas, so it’s best to visit from March to May. But if you want to experience the fun Batanes Day, make sure to book your flights in June. There’s no exact date of celebrating the feast but it usually happens around last week of June.
With nearly zero crime rate, it has a unique Honesty Coffee Shop that locals and visitors are welcome to come in and pick up goods that they need without any sales people looking after so you have to be “honest” by paying the exact amount or getting an honest change and recording it in their log book.
Places to check out: Racuh A Payaman (Marlboro Hills), Sabtang Island (where most of the traditional Ivatan stone houses are located), Morong Beach, Mt. Iraya, Vayang Rolling Hills, Homoron Blue Lagoon, and Diura Village.
Aurora is a province blessed with an abundance of tourist attractions. It has its share of historical sights such as the home and resthouse of former Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon. The province also has a beautiful Catholic church and several historical markers. Its natural attractions include picturesque waterfalls, lush greenery on mountainsides, and panoramic beaches. Surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, mountain climbing and trekking are only some of the activities a tourist can enjoy in Aurora.
Places to check out: Quezon House, Ampere Beach, Aniao Islets, Balete Park & Millennium Tree, Banju Springs, Borlongan Beach, Casiguran Sound, Cemente Beach & Reef.
7. Camarines Norte
Located in the Bicol Region, the province is well-known for its major produce, namely, pineapple, coconut, and fish products. Camarines Norte Queen is a pineapple variety that is extensively cultivated in the area.
Places to check out: Calaguas Islands, Bagasbas beach, Siete Pecados, Mampurog River, Malatap Falls, Mahabang Buhangin, Colasi Falls, Cadig Cave, Calalanay beach, Bulalakao beach, Paradiso Verde Organic Farm, and Pineapple Island Resort.
It is the 11th largest island in the Philippines and the world’s 155th largest island by area. It is also the world’s 70th most populous island. It is known as the ranch capital of the Philippines where cowhands on horseback herd cattle across wide and beautiful landscapes, It traces its industry’s roots to the Manila-Acapulco trade of the 16th to the 19th centuries.
Places to check out: Animasola Island, Halea Nature Park, Buntod Reef & Sandbar, Burubancaso Rock Formation, Skye Waterfalls, and Pawa Mangrove Nature Park.
Known as the “Mango Capital of the Philippines,” Guimaras is one of the country’s most amazing destinations, sandwiched between Panay and Negros Islands. It was once a sub-province of Iloilo before becoming a Western Visayas province on its own.
Places to check out: Guisi Beach & Lighthouse, Alubihod Beach, San Lorenzo Wind Farm, Smallest Town Plaza, Isla Naburot, and Isla Margarita.
Sorsogon is popular because of the whale shark watching or swimming with them in Donsol. Apart from this, it’s also a great area for activities such as hiking and caving. Though it’s a 12-hour drive from Manila, you’ll be in for such a great adventure in this province.
You can also see many stalls selling items made from abacá, that is one of the major products of the province. Sometimes known as Manila hemp, it is processed to make everything from banknotes to teabags.
Places to check out: Subic Pink Beach, Tikling Beach, Paguriran Island, Bagatao Island LIghthouse, Libanon Beach, and Dancalan Beach.
Siquijor is known as the “Island of Fire” enveloped by mystic traditions such as witchcraft, healing, spiritual rituals. For centuries, people have been brewing concoct special potions to cure physical ailments, treat emotional scars, and to dispel evil spirits. There are love potions available, too!
Places to check out: 400-year old enchanted Balete tree, Paliton beach, Kanheron Ranch, Kagusuan Beach, Cantabon Cave, Cambugahay Falls, Lugnason Falls, Marelle’s Underwater World Museum.
12. Southern Leyte
Southern Leyte has world-class dive sites, caves, extreme adventures sites, waterfalls, safari, river trekking, crater lake trekking, fish feeding, rain forest tramping, scuba diving and whale shark interaction, island escapades, beach fun, religious journeys and, soon, bungee jumping, zip lines, wall/column, cable car/lift experiences at the tallest bridge in the Philippines, which is located in the Municipality of Sogod.
Places to check out: Limasawa Island, Monte Cueva Shrine, Silago Beach, San Pablo Beach, Napantao Marine Sanctuary, Bituon Beach, Tangkaan Beach, Tahusan Beach, and San Pedro Island.
13. Dinagat Islands
This province has beautiful white powder-like sand beaches, clear cool waters, and an idyllic easy-going town. Its shores have yet to experience the commercialization and modernization of more popular destinations, making it an ideal place to visit for those who want to experience something new.
Places to check out: Biray-biray Beach, Cab-ilan Beach, and Bita-og Beach, Sta. Cruz Beach, Lake Bababu, Babas Cove, Duyos Beach, Gealan Beach, Pagkawasan Beach, Cabacungan Cove.
This place needs no further introduction anymore. Siargao is among the most popular destinations in the Philippines frequented by travelers across the world. Most people come here to surf and feel the thrilling waves of the Surfing Capital of the Philippines.
Places to check out: Sohoton Cave, Mabua Pebble Beach, Magpupungko Tidal Pool, Sugba Blue Lagoon, Cloud 9 Siargao, Bucas Grande, Guyan, Daku and Naked Islands.
15. Surigao del Sur
Surigao del Sur is one of the provinces in the Philippines that is famous for having mysterious yet amazing tourist spots. Facing the Pacific Ocean, its stunning islands are inviting for some island-hopping activities.
Places to check out: Enchanted River, Tinuy-an Falls, Britania Group of Islands, Cagwait Beach, Lanuza Marine Park & Sanctuary, Magkawas Falls, Cantilan Islands, Laswitan Falls & Lagoon, and Cabgan Island.
16. Zamboanga del Norte
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Dubbed as the Twin-City Province, Zamboanga del Norte (ZANORTE) has been made famous by the beauty and charm of the Orchid City of Dipolog and the historic, rustic quaintness of the Shrine City of Dapitan.
Places to check out: Jose Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape, Dakak Beach Resort, Gloria’s Fantasyland, Aliguay Island, St. James Church Dapitan, and Dipolog City Cathedral.
17. Davao Occidental
Davao Occidental has vast agricultural lands, though mountainous but could grow almost all kinds of crops. It also has rich fisheries and marine resources, aside from its lengthy coastlines where beautiful beaches with towering waves can be found. Most of the destinations are off-beaten, thus, remain in pristine condition. It is basically blessed by nature that yielded enough food and its people don’t have to toil very hard for meeting basic needs.
Places to check out: Sleeping Dragons, Mt. Kiyawa, Balut Island, Sabang Hot Spring, LIttle Boracay, Boale Cove, Kepiya Falls, Tuke Nonsul, Malita Museo, Olanivan Island, Kioto Mountains, and Titus Paradise Hilltop Park.
Sarangani is located at the southern tip of the Philippines. It is named after the Sarangani Bay, one of the country’s richest fishing grounds, the province is dissected by General Santos City, thus creating the so-called “east” and “west” coasts.
Places to check out: Gumasa Beach, Tuka Marine Park of Kiamba, Lemlunay Dive Resort, Paragliding at Saffi Ranch, White Water Tubing (Maitum), Century-Old Houses (Gian), Capitol Park (Alabel).
Tawi-Tawi is a place with refreshing scenery and heritage sites. It harbors unspoiled island beaches, unexploited dive sites, mountains and other natural tourist attractions that are still in their raw state. It is also the birthplace of Islam in the Philippines, with Simunul Island being home to the first ever mosque built in the country.
Places to check out: Floating market of Sitangkai, Panampangan Island, Omapuy Island, Sangay Siapo Island, Boloboc Cave, and Bud Bungao.
While we can’t travel yet, let’s take time to bond with our loved ones during these challenging times and virtually explore your travel bucket list destinations for now.
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