With over 7,000 islands, deciding where to visit in the Philippines can be time consuming. Wherever you go, you will discover a multitude of places to excite and captivate you! To give you a head start in choosing where to travel this year, here’s a list of destinations that you may want to consider.
- Palaui Island, Cagayan - Back in 2010, a friend and I had our “Survivor ” moment in Palaui because of lack of information about the island, we got lost in its lush wilderness. At that time, when you try to search for Palaui online, the search engine will ask you “Do you mean Palau?”. Today however, this unassuming island is no longer a secret; it has gained worldwide attention as a new setting of Survivor USA. So before it gets battered by mass tourism, go visit the island. Do check out the weather first before visiting to evade the mad waves. Scale the peak crowned by the old-forgotten Cape Engaño Lighthouse to get a dramatic view of its coastline.
- Biliran - The inconspicuous province of Biliran exudes with immaculate natural attractions blissfully untainted by luxury trappings; from pristine waterfalls, vast pastoral lands, lush wilderness, and stunningly beautiful white sand beaches. Make time to visit the secluded Sambawan Island and snatch a decent spot for camping. Marvel at the beautiful blend of cerulean and turquoise waters. Frolic in the coral beach and make sure you bring your snorkel gears with you to explore its colorful marine life.
- Northern Cebu - This region has been badly hit by the super typhoon Haiyan, to uplift the depressed socio-economic conditions of fisher folks in this area, start visiting the stunningly beautiful islands in this region like Malapascua and Bantayan.
- Lake Sebu, South Cotabato - One of the most peaceful places in Mindanao that exudes such raw appeal, Lake Sebu invites you to choose your own travel experience with its varied tourist attractions and precious culture. Take a boat cruise or paddle on a traditional canoe around its emerald green lake. Chase the Seven Waterfalls and ride the scenic zipline. Meet Laang Dulay, a T’boli master dreamweaver and a National Living Treasure Awardee. Don’t forget to buy souvenirs; take home a piece of T’nalak cloth and other T’boli accessories!
- Biri Rock Formation - Biri Island‘s claim to fame is the magnificent Biri Rock Formations. Located in the province of Northern Samar, this rugged island is a photographer’s paradise. Untamed Pacific Ocean waves lapping on its eastern side, verdant mountains and mammoth rocks heavily eroded over time, etched with swirls and ridges, are the usual scenes in Biri. Surfers are also encouraged to visit the island due to the big waves crashing on its eastern coast that are ideal for surfing.
- Surigao Del Sur - It may feel like more of an adventure than you bargained for but endure the craggy roads and you will surely marvel at the natural attractions scattered around the province. Swim in the cobalt waters of Enchanted River in Hinatuan, scale the 3 tiered Tinuy-an Falls and explore the sandy beaches scattered around the province.
- Zamboanga City - After suffering from armed conflicts last year, Asia’s Latin City is struggling to rise again this year. You can help by visiting this once bubbly city. Marvel and ride the colorful vintas sailing at Paseo del Mar. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4 PM to 6 PM for a minimal fee of Php 50 (Adult), Php 20 (Student), Php and Php 15 (Children). Go sightseeing in the city and charter a boat to take you to the nearby Sta.Cruz Island. Get sun-kissed in its powdery pink sand beach. Take home some souvenirs like traditional textiles from the Yakan Weaving Village and Maranao brassware, gong, and wooden boats.