Summer is officially here! Where are you headed to, dear Single Belles? Most of the tourists' top-of-mind destinations would probably be the more famous vacation spots in the Philippines such as Boracay, Palawan, Bohol, Cebu and Davao. Local and foreign tourists alike flock to these destinations yearly. But much has already been said and written about these places. It’s about time we give the spotlight to uncharted places in the country and explore what these less known places have to offer.
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Palaui Island, Cagayan
How to get there
From Tuguegarao airport, ride bus or Van to Sta. Ana, Cagayan. If riding a bus, from Manila take bus to Sta. Ana, Cagayan. From Sta. Ana, ride tricycle to San Vicente Port. You have 2 options from here:
- Ride boat to Punta Verde where the trail jump-off point is located. Sign up for the “six for two” package or hire a guide for the 2-3 hour trekking to Cape Engano Lighthouse on your own
- Ride boat directly to Cape Engano Lighthouse (more expensive)only when the sea is calm
Baler, the capital of Aurora, is one of our country’s famous surfing spots. But there is more to see and explore in Baler aside from its beaches.
The majestic waterfall is approximately 140 feet high and the surrounding mountainous area is covered with tall hardwoods, green shrubbery and vines. Traversing to the waterfall is a 45-minute (2 km) hiking and trekking through the river over rough terrain, few steep mountain trails, river trail utilizing man-made stairs, wooden bridges, and sometimes old cut logs which serve as natural bridges.
Balite Park and Millenium Tree
The park contains a 600-year-old balete tree that was designated as the official "Millennium Tree" of The Philippines. It's the largest tree of its kind in Asia, and it would take 60 grown men, holding one another at arm's length, to encircle its gigantic trunk. Due to its age, the tree's thick roots have grown above ground, such that caves have formed under various sections of the trunk.
Dicasalarin Cove is privately owned by Sen. Edgardo Angara but is open to guests staying in Bahia de Baler. Visitor cabins and huts can be found in the area, as well as a mini complex called Ifugao Village composed of Ifugao-inspired guesthouses. This white sand beach lies along the foothills of the Sierra Madre and is continually pounded by the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. The cove is bordered on both sides by rock formations that add to its rough, unspoiled charm.
Local and international surfers flock to Sabang Beach for its majestic waves during the months of October-February which are perfect for surfing competitions. From March through June, the waves are relatively calm providing a good beachfront for swimmers and an excellent challenge for expert windsurfers. Located on this long stretch of gray sand beach are several resorts and accommodations which surfers and swimmers can choose from.
Casapsapan Beach in Brgy. Ildefonso, Casiguran, Aurora offers a magnificent view of the brilliant sunrise where one can watch the sun rising slowly from the eastern horizon almost as big as winnower. The place boasts of inherent beauty such as its white sand beaches, sparkling waters and five hectares of virgin mangrove.
Dumaguete, the capital of Negros Oriental province, is known as the Center for Learning in the Visayas region because of its world renowned Siliman University. Aside from its friendly and gentle people, Dumaguete also boasts of many tourist attractions - white sand beaches, exotic dive spots, aqua adventuring spots perfect for watching dolphins and whales, peaceful lakes, falls, and a vibrant night life in the city proper. Their yummy sansrival is also a must-try for visitors.
The Silliman Hall is the oldest known building in the campus. It was erected in 1903 when the need for additional classrooms arose. Today, it serves as a museum and a venue for university dinner conferences and the like.
Dumaguete Belfry Tower
The bell tower of St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral was constructed in 1811 which served as a watchtower for forthcoming aggressors. It was restored in 1985 and since then has become a very popular landmark.
One can never get bored in city while strolling along the beachfront pathway lined with different restaurants and establishments in Rizal Boulevard which makes it a popular place in Dumaguete specially at night.
Bais Dolphin Watching and Majuyod Sandbar
Bais is a small city around 45 kilometers north of Dumaguete. An approximated 45-minute drive going north will bring you to Capiñahan Wharf, the jump-off point for the motor boat ride to Tañon strait. Tañon strait is the home of a number of dolphin species including the famous spinner dolphins and occasionally some whale species (melon-headed whales).
The trip may end at the Manjuyod Sandbar, a crescent strip of white sand that appears when the tide is low.
Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao – Twin Lakes
In the mountains of southern Negros Island, 12 km west of the town of Sibulan, Negros Oriental peacefully lie the captivating Lake Balinsasayao and its twin lake, Lake Danao. The Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao is also the habitat of many birds and animals, some of which are also rare. Activities include swimming, fishing, boating, trekking and kayaking.
Casaroro Falls is lodged deep into the rock crevices of the rugged Valencia mountains. With an astounding height of 100 feet, the water plunges into a deep cold basin before it flows down to a stream. The waterfall is considerably narrow, instead of the usual wide cascade, but this is precisely what makes Casaroro unique.
A few minutes boat ride away from Dumagute is the famous Apo Island which is frequently visited by divers for its coral reef formations and marine wildlife. It is considered as one of the best diving sites in the world and has been protected as a fish sanctuary since 1982.
When we hear the province of Samar, the first thing that comes to mind is the famous San Juanico Bridge that connects to its neighboring province Leyte. But aside the famous bridge, Samar is also rich in unexplored wonders of nature. From mountain and caves to pristine beaches and waterfalls, a trip to Samar will surely surprise you.
Sohoton National Park
Sohoton National Park is the home of different caves namely the Panhulugan Cave 1 and 2, Sohoton Cave, Bugasan and Kapigtan Caves. The park is situated in Basey, Samar (2-hour ride from Tacloban City) that houses different geological features such as the caves mentioned, limestone boulders, rockholes and underground rivers (Yes, similar to the famous Palawan Underground River).
Malajog or Lo-ok Beach
Located in the Tinambacan District of Calbayog, the beach offers cold blue waters which differentiate it from other beaches. It is considered the most beautiful beach in Samar which is often visited by VIPs, foreign dignitaries and celebrities.
Falls and Caves
Samar is also home to many amazing falls and caves. Spelunkers will enjoy exploring the magnificent caves and wade in the cool and clean waterfalls.
From Brgy. San Jaoquin, Tinambacan district, where Lulugayan Falls is located; it will take an additional 20-minute ride to reach Brgy. Tinaplacan and another 30-minute walk to the vicinity of the falls. Following the stream by ascending to the upper level, one will be amazed to see a circular pond of about 30 meters in diameter, wide enough for swimming and deep enough for diving.
Pan-as Falls is located at Brgy. Pilar, Oquendo district and is surrounded by the mighty stands of rare timbers and wildlife that abound in the area. An hour drive from the Calbayog City proper and a 30-minute hike from the village can easily visit the place. Seen from afar, it's like a long constructed boat by the mountainside and at a close up, a series of long drop of crystal water to another.
Mawacat Slide is an hour ride from the Calbayog City proper to Brgy. Mawacat, Oquendo district and a 20-minute walk thereafter along a foot trail, shaded by lined tall trees. It is a natural spoon-like formation, which inclined more or less by about 45 degrees and stretching a length of about 50 meters. Water flows along this giant cistern and from the top, one can slide through the mossy lane to the cool inviting pool below.
Lulugayan Falls is a series of towering altars of rugged stones. Flowing between its depression is the cool water which old folks say cleansed the hair of a legendary lady. The site is an hour ride from the Calbayog City proper to Brgy. San Jaoquin, Tinambacan district and a 10-minute hike onward.
Its cathedral door-sized entrance leads one to wade fresh, cool water into a natural tunnel stretching through, uneven ceiling with some portions touching one’s head, giving an adventurer an eerie trip through the dark cave which can be explored by carrying lighted torches.
Spelunkers will surely enjoy exploring the Langun-Gobingob caves of Calbiga, Samar, said to be the 2nd largest Karst cave in the world.
Dubbed as the "Summer Capital of Southern Philippines", Lake Sebu is an inland sea tucked in South Cotabato. This hidden destination is home to a number of tribes including the T'boli. A number of lakeside resorts in the area offer both an atmosphere of fun and relaxation. You can enjoy the scenic views of nature like breathtaking waterfalls or dine in at one of the restaurants known for sumptuous tilapia recipes (Punta Isla's floating restaurant is a must-try!). If you're in for some adrenaline rush, zip-lining sites are available. Local and foreign visitors alike have been drawn to the thrilling adventure.
Lake Sebu is a 2-hour drive from General Santos City. Thanks to TV exposure like Trip na Trip's and Sports Unlimited's features, it is slowly gaining its much-deserved attention.
Tinago Falls, Iligan City
Iligan, dubbed as the City of Majestic Waterfalls, is home of the famous Maria Cristina Falls. But there is a hidden treasure that is now becoming famous as well which is the Tinago Falls. It is literally hidden in a deep ravine, the falls flowing beautifully into a basin-like pool, clean, and deep and icy cold. It has an elevation of approximately 420 feet. It is 13.8 kilometers away from the city proper. Access to the falls is through the Iligan Tinago Mountain Resort, managed by the City Tourism Office with an entrance fee of P10.00.
Sources and References (Photos and Descriptions):
philippinebeach.blogspot.com; flickr.com; palaui.blogspot.com; thepinaysolobackpacker.com; aurora.ph; aurora.gov.ph; travelbook.ph; travelphil.com; samar.lgu-ph.com; calbayogko.tripod.com; samartours.blogspot.com; exploredumaguete.blogspot.com; dumagueteinfo.com; dumaguetegallery.com; iligan.gov.ph; thinkphilippines.com; markmaranga.com