When you think of tourist destinations in the Philippines, Abra is not often at the top of most traveler’s bucketlists. In fact, it remains one of the least visited provinces in the country. For outsiders, there’s still an air of mystery surrounding the place. Like a lot of provinces in Mindanao, Abra has a reputation for being “unsafe” mostly because of political wars and election-related violence in the past.
I admit, I didn’t know what to expect before my trip to Biliran. This island province in Eastern Visayas wasn’t even on my radar of places to visit. Formerly a sub-province of Leyte, Biliran is one of the country’s newest provinces, having only become independent in 1992. Biliran is also apparently the fourth smallest province in the Philippines, after Batanes, Camiguin and Siquijor, and it has the same laid-back vibe. It’s compact enough to explore by motorcycle and you get coastal roads with amazing views.
Biilran’s smaller islands have beautiful beaches and sandbars. Inland, there are natural attractions like waterfalls and mountains to hike. Locals are friendly and accommodations are generally affordable for backpackers. After canyoneering, island-hopping and motorcycling around Biliran for 3 days, I left really fulfilled with the raw beauty and general uncommercialized feel of the province. If you’re interested in visiting Biliran, here are some basics to help you plan your trip
The province of Pangasinan has a lot to offer. Located on the western area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf and South China Sea, it’s best known as being the home of the Hundred Islands National Park. But that’s not all it has. As the biggest province of the Ilocos Region in terms of land area, Pangasinan has lots of natural attractions that will appeal adventure-seekers looking for a getaway relatively near Manila. Here are 10 exciting activities you can do here.
Cover of North Bound Magazine Issue 15. Photo by Martin San Diego.
Home to a network of amazing caves hidden beneath the region’s lush jungles, including the biggest cave system in the country, Samar is a rugged island where adventure seekers can experience something out of the ordinary. Though most of Samar Island remains off-the-radar for local tourists, many international spelunkers have been drawn here since it’s been dubbed the “Caving Capital of the Philippines.”
Thailand is the travel hub of Southeast Asia. Known for its rich culture, tourist-friendly facilities, accessibility and affordability, Thailand is a great destination for first time travelers and seasoned travelers alike.
Its capital Bangkok is one of the major regional flight hubs for Southeast Asia. Filipinos can easily enter Thailand because no Visa is required for ASEAN passport holders and flights are pretty affordable coming from Manila.
Aside from the famed beaches and temples, shopping is a major tourist draw and the food is arguably the best in Asia. For international travelers, this country is often the start of the backpacking trail as you can travel overland to other countries like Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia.
Antique is a province of the Philippines located in the region of Western Visayas. Just a couple of hours away from the gateway to Boracay, the country’s most famous beach party destination, Antique offers a different kind of getaway.
Sabtang Island is one of three inhabited islands of Batanes, the northernmost province in the Philippines. With its well-preserved culture, beautiful natural landscapes, and friendly people, this remote island is such a refreshing escape. It’s one of the most laid-back and peaceful places I’ve been to in the country. Most people who travel to Batanes visit Sabtang Island on a day trip just to see the main tourist spots. During my last trip here, I got to spend three days on the island, while covering a local festival. If you want to experience how it is to live off-the-grid, I recommend you stay here a few days.
The province of Bataan is most often associated with its rich history. The Battle of Bataan is famous for being one of the last stands of American and Filipino soldiers before they were overwhelmed by the Japanese forces during World War II. The Bataan Death March was also named after the province, where the infamous march started. Recently, it’s become more popular because of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, the first and only heritage resort by the sea.
But aside from its historical attractions, Bataan is a rising eco-tourism destination with beaches, mountains, turtle sanctuaries, bird-watching sites, springs and waterfalls. Bataan lies within two major peaks, Mount Natib and Mount Mariveles, which are ideal destinations for adventure-seekers. If you’re a mountain biker or hiker, you’ll want to check out the natural trails that Bataan has to offer. Continue reading
Caramoan is a rugged getaway in the Philippines best known for being the filming location of several seasons of the hit reality show Survivor. The TV show often chooses exotic locales with stunning scenery. With its clusters of islands lined with white sand beaches, limestone cliffs, coral reefs, diverse marine life, serene lagoons, subterranean river and caves, it’s easy to see why the production crew chose to film here.
UPDATE: After a temporary closure, Canyoneering in Cebu has resumed operations again starting September 1, 2016 according to tour operator Kawasan Canyoneering
Canyoneering seems to be one of the most popular activities to do in South Cebu these days. While the naturally beautiful Kawasan Falls has been drawing tourists for years, the whole area has become even more popular ever since canyoneering tours were introduced. The extreme sport also known as canyoning involves walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, rappelling and swimming through a river either upstream or downstream. It’s one of the most fun and unique outdoor activities you can do in Cebu.