“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if we only seek them with our eyes open.” -Jawaharial Nehru
The Philippines is a lush and vibrant country composed of more than seven thousand islands. It plays home to verdant landscapes, abundant marine life, crystal clear blue waters and some of the friendliest and warmest locals you will ever encounter in any of your traveling excursions. Without a doubt, the Philippines is one of the most popular exotic Southeast Asian destinations as it is known for its tropical climate and pristine beaches making it a land of perpetual summer if you may. Considering the myriad of diverse islands the country has to offer, the Philippines is without a doubt a premier vacation hub for foreigners and locals alike. The place has something to offer everyone, from the food connoisseurs, the daring adventurers, the first-time backpackers and the culture and history enthusiasts. So, if you are ever given the opportunity to bask yourself in the splendor of this country, include these places in your itinerary to make the most out of your trip.
1.) El Nido, Palawan
Without a doubt, Palawan is considered as the pride and joy of the Philippines. The crystal blue waters and the powdery white sand make it the best place for a summer escapade in the Philippines. In fact, Conde Nast Traveller magazine in 2015 has named this as the most beautiful island in the world which reinforces the appeal of the place. If island hopping tours, enchanting, beautiful lagoons, and gorgeous beaches are your things, Palawan should definitely make it to your list. The place is perfect for immersing yourself in nature and is the perfect backdrop for a relaxing vacation.
2.) Batanes Islands, Batanes
If you are looking for a quiet time in the countryside away from the eternal hustle and bustle of the city, Batanes Islands is for you. Even before it’s rise to popularity, Batanes was already a famed holiday destination in the Philippines and travelers, both foreign and local would flock to this place to enjoy the view of unspoiled islands and let themselves get up close and personal with nature. If you have a penchant for taking breathtaking photos, almost every nook and cranny in Batanes will give you an Instagram-worthy shot—from the towering cliffs overlooking oceans, powdery white sand beaches and the unspoiled cultural heritage of the place where the Ivatans reside.
3.) Malapascua Island, Cebu
Though Boracay might seem like it is at par with Palawan as a popular summer and beach destination in the Philippines, Cebu also has a gem of its own to offer. Though rarely given enough recognition, Malapascua in Cebu is also considered as one of the top best 20 islands in the world by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine. The island is relatively small which would make it easy to walk around in just under two hours. Divers frequent this place as its beaches are known to attract thresher sharks.
4.) Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
If you truly want to experience what it is like to brave the outdoors and go on a beach adventure, your itinerary should include an overnight stay in Kalanggaman Island, Leyte. Though the island has a noticeable lack of suitable accommodations such as resorts and hotels, it makes up for it with its beautiful and picturesque splendor. The island is known to have one of the most exquisite sandbars in the Philippines that international cruise ships are known to make a stopover on this scenic island. The waters are clear and translucent that it glows in the moonlight. If you are up for it, pitch your tents on this island and gaze at the stars at night and you will notice how much brighter they shine away from the light pollution of major cities.
5.) Taal Volcano, Batangas, Tagaytay and Cavite
If your schedule does not allow you to venture outside Manila, try visiting the provinces and cities in proximity to it instead of spending your downtimes in Manila shopping malls. Tagaytay is a popular holiday destination as it is near Manila and would not require an overnight stay just to enjoy its leisure and recreational activities. Horseback riding, ziplining, and picnics are just some of the activities you can enjoy while here. So, do not let your schedule stop you and explore what the cities close to Manila have to offer instead.
Article by guest writer: Mark Joshua Santos