FIVE DESTINATIONS IN THE PHILIPPINES TO ADD TO YOUR BUCKET LIST
With more than 7,000 islands scattered across the South China Sea, planning an adventurous vacation in the Philippines can be difficult to say the least. But if you want to be immersed in its natural wonders, from untouched marine sanctuaries to smoking volcanoes and beaches which exemplify “paradise”, here are just five of the Philippines’ most spectacular destinations...
This tear-drop shaped island in the far east of the Philippines’ archipelago has rapidly asserted itself as a surfing paradise, with legendary breaks such as “Cloud 9” and an enticingly laid-back vibe. The main town of General Luna on the southeastern tip of the island is today surrounded by surf camps and resorts, with plenty of places where you can rent boards or take your first surfing steps.
If you want to escape the crowds of the south, rent a motorbike and venture through the lush vegetation that blankets the island to discover picture-perfect beaches and natural swimming holes.
'The long wooden boardwalk that leads to the legendary Siargao surf break of Cloud 9 '
Famed for its Chocolate Hills, Bohol is an island in the Central Visayas that’s surrounded by magnificent coral reefs. But it’s the more than 1,000 perfectly symmetrical mound formations of the Chocolate Hills that are the biggest draw, with their grassy contours turning a rich brown during the dry season.
Soak up the views from the numerous lookout points that dot the main surrounding road or get an up-close look while trekking into the very heart of this geological wonderland.
Nestled on the eastern half of Busuanga Island at the tip of Palawan, Coron is a region of breathtakingly beautiful karst limestone islets and turquoise waters teeming with life. Island hopping excursions are the main activities here, with all-inclusive boat trips transporting you to crystal clear lagoons, uninhabited beaches and idyllic freshwater lakes. If you want to venture a little deeper below the water’s surface, it’s also a fascinating scuba diving destination, with countless wrecks littering the ocean floor just waiting to be explored.
'Island hopping through the dramatic karst islands of Coron to a beautiful beach'
Perched just off the tip of Cebu Island, Malapascua has become synonymous with diving and is ringed by coral reefs that are teeming with life. But it’s the cleaning station for thresher sharks that is the biggest allure and one of only a couple of places in the world where these beasts of the sea ascend to shallow enough depths that they can be observed by humans.
Wake before dawn for this once-in-a-lifetime encounter, then spend the rest of the day discovering the exceptional macro diving or lazing on Malapascua’s stunning stretches of white sand.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Situated in the Cordillera Mountains of Luzon Island, the Banaue Rice Terraces have been hand-carved by the indigenous Ifugao tribes over the last 2,000 years. They’re so extensive that it’s believed if they were connected from end-to-end, they would wrap halfway around the globe.
An ancient irrigation system transports water from the rainforests above to this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, which offers breathtaking hikes in the cool mountain air.
Something for the road…
No matter how organized I try and be with my packing, by the middle of a trip, the inevitable always seems to happen - my backpack slowly descends into disarray, I’m struggling to get it closed and something always leaks from my toiletry bag to destroy everything in its surrounds.
So these travel cubes come as a breath of fresh air, not only because they keep everything contained (and offer a little bit of compression so I can fit more in) but they’re incredibly light.
You can easily remove them to act like “drawers” once you arrive at your destination and they conveniently double as a pillow on long train rides and airport layovers.
I also love the addition of a few mesh-style cubes so your clothes can breathe while still feeling durable enough that they’ll survive the rough and tumble of life on the road.
You can buy me here!