Seven Philippine summer destinations to explore in 2018 |
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Seven Philippine summer destinations to explore in 2018

by Jillian CariolaPublished: January 24, 2018Updated: January 29, 2018

Make this a year of exploring new places; skip Boracay and Bantayan and opt for these lesser-known paradise-like getaways.

The Philippines is a treasure trove of vacation-worthy hotspots, whether you are a beach bum or a mountaineer. But while famous places like Boracay, Palawan, and Ifugao do deserve their badges as must-visit sites, much should also be said about some lesser-known places that have yet to reach the status of the previously mentioned tourist magnets. Keep in mind: we are a country composed of 7,641 islands, so imagine what you can discover if you step out of your holiday comfort zone and venture out to where few have been.

This 2018, why not put off your typical vacation sites for a later date and map out a trip to remember in one of these destinations? The following locations may not be as famous yet, but a little more push from tourism officials and even travelers like you and the country might be looking at new places the country ought to be known around the world for.


Seven Philippine summer destinations to explore in 2018 Camotes Island Cebu MyProperty
Camotes Island. Photo by denise narciso via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Camotes Islands, Cebu

Known to many as the “Lost Horizon of the South,” Camotes Island is a group of four islands—Pacijan, Poro, Ponson, and Tulang—located at the east of the mainland of Cebu. To a city person, this is their chance to disconnect; electricity is limited resulting in daily rotational brownouts, mobile signal is weak in certain parts, and there are no ATMs. However, this bit of sacrifice is worth what you get in return: you can laze about along the white sand beaches of Mangongodlong and Santiago Bay, test your limits by cliff-diving at Buho Rock, snap photos of the serene Greenlake Park, and explore (and swim in) caves like Tangub, Timubo, and Bukilat.


Balut Island, Davao Occidental

Balut Island is one of two major islands that make up the town (not the province) of Sarangani in Davao Occidental. It has remained generally unspoiled and hidden from tourists partly due to its remoteness; a ferry ride from the Puting Bato Wharf in General Santos City takes between six and eight hours. But those willing to take the leap are treated to a nirvana like no other. One can take in the flora and fauna during a hike across Balut Volcano, cool off in the waters of Paras Beach, Tuke Nunsol, and Bolae Cove; island-hop to nearby Olanivan Island and Marorong Islet, and check out the impossibly scorching water of Sabang Hot Spring.


Seven Philippine summer destinations to explore in 2018 Maligcong Rice Terraces Bontoc Mountain Province MyProperty
Maligcong Rice Terraces. Photo from Depositphotos

Bontoc, Mountain Province

Sagada may be taking the lion’s share of the spotlight when it comes to trekking the natural beauty of the Mountain Province, but it’s fair to say that capital city Bontoc deserves just as much attention. The municipality’s most famous attraction are the Maligcong Rice Terraces, but hikers also recommend waiting for the sunrise at the top of Mount Kupapey, where one can also witness a blanket of clouds cover the terraces below. For a better grasp of the province’s history and traditions, stop by the Bontoc Museum, where genuine artifacts are on full display, along with a replica of an Ifugao village. In the village Alab Oriente is Mount Data, where one can see not only prehistoric etchings referred to as the Alab petroglyphs, but also traditional burial caves called Ganga Caves.


Calayan Island, Cagayan

Another paradise seemingly overshadowed by a more popular destination, Calayan Island is near the immensely popular Batanes Islands. But another factor may be the reason why this destination is not as well known: it is not for the faint of heart, as one would have to battle treacherous waters to get here. A five- to nine-hour travel by boat is literally rocked by giant waves, but brave travelers are rewarded with the large rock formations and blue-green waters of Sibang Cove, a front row seat featuring the magnificent sunset courtesy of the Nagundungan Hills, and a spelunking/swimming escape at Lussok Cave and Malangasi Falls and Cave.


Seven Philippine summer destinations to explore in 2018 Kaparkan Falls Tineg Abra
Kaparkan Falls. Photo via

Tineg, Abra

Want to take on a physically challenging trip? According to visitors, the municipality of Tineg is known for having rough roads that are often only accessible via 4x4s or dirt bikes, making the journey both tedious and somewhat costly. On the other hand, what you get once you overcome the trip is the majestic view of the Apao Rolling Hills, as well as the Piwek Rock Formations. Time your trip around the rainy months of August or September to access one of Abra’s most popular attractions, the 500-meter-long and 60-meter-wide Kaparkan Falls. Prior to flowing into the Tineg River, the water gushing down Kaparkan Falls collect into little pockets of pools on the side of the mountain, looking like limestone rice terraces where you can take a dip.


Seven Philippine summer destinations to explore in 2018 Crystal Cave Mabinay Negros Oriental
Crystal Cave. Photo from

Mabinay, Negros Oriental

Dubbed “Cave Town,” Mabinay is said to be home to over 400 caves, although only about 100 are known and half of these have been explored. One of them is Odloman Cave, the second longest cave in the Philippines at 8,870 meters long and 82 meters high. Inside the 157-meter-long Crystal Cave is an impressive collection of stalactites and stalagmites. For adventurous visitors, camping is most ideal in the 143-meter Panligawan Cave, with its dome shape and the opening in the ceiling that lets in natural light. Swimming is not out of the question in Mabinay; the land-locked municipality houses the cool blue waters of Mabinay Spring.


Seven Philippine summer destinations to explore in 2018 Mount Guiting Guiting Sibuyan Island Romblon MyProperty
Mount Guiting Guiting. Photo by rjabalosIII via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Sibuyan Island, Romblon

Why travel to Ecuador when the country has its very own version of Galápagos? According to local and international natural scientists, Sibuyan Island’s ecosystem has remained isolated from the Philippines and the rest of the world since its formation, a trait shared with the Ecuadorian province. Said to be one of the world’s diverse forests, a study conducted by the National Museum found 123 species of trees in a single hectare, 54 of which are only found here. One of its most popular sites is Mount Guiting Guiting, said to be the most technically challenging Philippine peak to climb due to its jagged terrain. For sun worshippers, there’s the Cresta De Gallo Islet, and its powdery white sand and clear water. For fresh water swimming, Cantingas River is a must-see; aside from providing power to the hydroelectric power plant that lights up the island, it is said to be one of the cleanest rivers in the country.


Main photo via Depositphotos


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