Words by John Peter Himor and Stephen Tantoco
There is no doubt that the Philippines is a beautiful country. We Filipinos are lucky we live in a place with pristine beaches, breathtaking mountains, lush greenery, and a rich culture that is unlike any other in the world. Each of our country’s islands (all 7,107!) offers a different kind of adventure, inviting the curious backpacker to come, get lost, and explore.
To help the inner nomad in you start exploring the different destinations the Philippines has to offer, here we’ve gathered 10 beautiful places you need to include in your PH bucket list. Skip the hassle of international traveling as it only takes a local plane ride, a ferry, or a hike to get to these amazing destinations. Have a look at our list below!
10. Kalanggaman Sandbar, Leyte
Located off the coast of Palompon, Leyte, the 750m long Kalanggaman Island is a white sand wonder to behold. A popular dive site and marine sanctuary, this island is also known for its extraordinarily long sandbars. With crystal clear waters and plenty of water sports options available on the island, it is easy to forget about the urban jungle and simply get lost in this tropical paradise.
9. Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bataan
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Still can’t believe this place exists in the Philippines! The owner of this resort is an avid collector of old houses that he buys these houses, disassembles into pieces, transports them to Bataan and builds them brick by brick. What an expensive hobby, e? #themommyroves #iphonexsmax #iphonephotography
Now famous around the country after being featured in the films Heneral Luna and Goyo, the Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar (literally “The Philippine Houses of Acuzar”) is the perfect place to see and appreciate old Filipino architecture. With real and restored colonial houses coming from different provinces across the country, Las Casas is a perfect weekend day trip for a complete immersion into Filipino heritage and culture.
8. Mossy Forest, Mount Dulang-dulang, Bukidnon
No, this isn’t the forest from The Lord of the Rings, but the Mossy Forest of Mount Dulang-dulang, Bukidnon is just as magical. The winding trees and mossy flooring are hauntingly beautiful, and they ultimately lead you to the mountain’s summit–the second highest peak in the Philippines, only after Mount Apo!
Mount Dulang-dulang’s peak also should not be missed, where you can bask in the breathtaking scenery of the Kitanglad Mountain Range. It’s going to be a challenging hike atop this severely tall mountain, but experiencing the magic of the Mossy Forest and the mountain peak is a challenge worth taking.
7. Masungi Georeserve, Rizal
Located just a few hours away from the busy metropolis, the Masungi Georeserve is a nature lover’s paradise. This conservation area is a celebration of adventure with nature, with different discovery trails and courses that complement the landscape rather than obstruct it. With various rope obstacle courses, hanging bridges, and lookout points, Masungi promises to be both a challenge and a one-of-a-kind experience for all who visit it.
6. Fortune Island, Batangas
Abandoned places carry a certain eerie charm to them, especially if they’re by a beautiful beach and are full of amazing cliffside scenery you can explore. Once an exclusive resort off the coast of Batangas, Fortune Island has since been abandoned and reclaimed by nature. Now, the island is open to the public for that deserted islander experience, feeling like a thousand miles away from the metro.
In Fortune Island, you get more for less–more time to soak and enjoy the island, but with less of the complexities of modern-day living. Just make sure to bring the essentials (especially water!) so you still get to enjoy your stay on this island.
ALSO READ: The Treasured “Fortune Island” of Batangas
5. Sirao Flower Garden, Cebu
Flowers may be seasonal, but our love for them is everlasting. Sirao Flower Garden in Cebu showcases a great variety of flowers, such as their popular celosias, sunflowers, and even LED roses! Often dubbed as the Philippines’ Little Amsterdam, the Sirao Flower Garden also features different decorative pieces scattered across, like statues and a windmill, to give a refreshing and lively charm to the flower garden. Make sure to visit on seasonal days to catch your favorite flowers in full bloom!
4. Mount Pulag, Benguet
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The pinnacle of Luzon. The recent changing of the winds- from Habagat (SW) to Amihan (NE)- brings crisper & colder mornings to the Cordillera mountains. We took full advantage of the good weather window yesterday (we were the only ones at the summit!), despite having bad stomachs the previous day. I really believe the mountains have a way of healing. 🌄 • The folks over at @urbanizeph were generous to let me pick up some outdoor gear, and something that stood out was this foldable water bottle by Hydrapak. It’s half the weight & a lot more compact than my usual water bottle; for these reasons, I think it will probably be the new go-to for my outdoor hydration!
Another difficult but rewarding hike, Mount Pulag is Luzon’s highest peak and the third highest mountain in the Philippines. It is most known for its breathtaking view of a sea of clouds if you’re lucky, covering everything but the highest peaks of the Cordillera. The trek to the peak across the Mount Pulag National Park boasts a wide diversity of flora and fauna which cannot be found anywhere else in the Philippines.
ALSO READ: What to Wear for a Mount Pulag Adventure
3. La Paz Sand Dunes, Ilocos Norte
If you are more of a sandman rather than a beach bum, this desert in the north is the perfect holiday destination. The La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag, Ilocos Norte is a coastal expanse of rich, golden sand, reminiscent of movies such as the Mad Max franchise. Go and explore the area via a bad-ass 4×4 or an ATV, or experience sandboarding on the tallest sand dunes.
2. Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte
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Forgive yourself for the times you forgot about your worth. . . Forgive yourself for the times you went after someone people told you to stay away from because they didn’t understand your heart and they didn’t understand you. . . Forgive yourself for the times you broke your own heart by loving people who were wrong for you. Forgive yourself for believing there was more to them and for putting them on a pedestal they didn’t deserve. . . Forgive yourself for the times you thought you could fix someone or try to change someone by loving them and giving more than you’re receiving. . . So instead of blaming yourself for trying, applaud yourself. . . Most times, all we need is just to forgive. Forgive even if they were never sorry. Forgive and after that, FORGET about them.❤️ . . This is my first post after a long hiatus on IG but I’m backkkk! 😂 And oh! @flypal is ON SALE now! Check out their latest promos guys! . . I’m also renewing my contract with @lifeproofasia @lifeproof guys! I was taking selfies here using my waterproof case from Lifeproof. Grab yours now. 🌊 . . . Shoutout to my brotha @clydegadayan for the Milktea. Charot! HAHAHA! . . . #BDteam #aov #artofvisuals #agameoftones #ourplanetdaily #estheticlabel #beautifuldestinations #lifeofadventure #modernoutdoorsman #pnwonderland #letsgosomewhere #livefolk #moodygram #liveoutdoors #freediving #wildernessculture @earthpics #visualgang #visualsoflife #hypebeast #neverstopexploring #peoplescreative #createexploretakeover #weliketotravel #awesomeearth #earthfocus #watchthisinstagood #liveauthentic #destinationearth #hsdailyfeature
Located off the coast of Surigao del Norte, this tropical paradise and surfer magnet boasts several destinations that would fit perfectly on your Instagram feed. From the famous Cloud 9 Pier to the Magpupungko Rock Pools, Tayangban Cave Pools, and Sugba Lagoon, Siargao offers an adventure for all of your islander dreams.
1. La Trinidad, Benguet
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First travel of the year 2018, my birthday travel. They called it spontaneous travel because the best moment are usually unplanned. . . . #driftwoodjourneys #sinopinas #bndonlinetraveldiary #wtnadventures #choosephilippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #philippines #govisitphilippines #cebupacific #ig_pilipinas #livelifeproof #allaboutphils #tripbefeatured #traluluphilippines #gopro #goprojectph #goproph #travelisnotexpensiveasyouthink #natgeotravel #philippinesecrets #woogoph #travel #theglobewanderer #mysmilesnap #seepilipinas #valleyofcolors #baguio #whenwithfilipinos
With its colorful houses that look like they came straight out of a South American village, La Trinidad is the best place to add some color to your pictures. Known for its markets, fauna, and a lively and homey culture, La Trinidad is the perfect place to visit if you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of the nearby Baguio City. Visit the vibrant Colors of StoBoSa community artwork or go strawberry picking in La Trinidad’s Strawberry Farm.
ALSO READ: 3 Things to Do in La Trinidad, Benguet
What places from our list are you most excited to visit? Did we miss any places we need to include on our next travel bucket list? Share them with us below!