With a consistent presence in the world’s best islands lists and countless travel vlogger videos out on social media featuring the Philippines, it is undoubtedly becoming a tourist hotspot for both foreigners and locals alike. And while you are about to book that ticket to Palawan or that hotel in Boracay, you may want to take a look at these underrated but equally beautiful and emerging destinations in the Philippines you can explore (responsibly, please!) this 2018.
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Considered by many to be the heart of the Philippines (because of its geographical placement among the country’s islands), Marinduque is an island gem that is still almost untouched. It’s worth the visit—gorgeous sandbars and beautiful beaches like Maniwaya Island, century-old churches, and a laid-back, sleepy vibe you would want to have as a break from bustling city life. Marinduque is mostly popular during Holy Week for Moriones Festival, where locals in giant masks and costumes replicating Roman soldiers fill the streets.
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Okay, you’ve probably booked that flight to Boracay already. But if you have the luxury of time, a town just a few hours away is worth a visit. Antique holds a lot of delightful attractions under its name. The rolling hills of Malalison quite resemble that of Batanes with a bonus of beautiful sandbars. Want to heat things up some more? Visit the town of Tibiao and be literally soaked in hot water inside a big kettle called kawa. Looks novel but it is supposed to be a relaxing and therapeutic activity, the caretakers would sprinkle freshly picked flowers, herbs, and leaves that have healing properties.
Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
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It used to be Leyte’s best-kept secret but Kalanggaman Island is starting to gain more attention in the Philippine tourism scene. It’s not difficult to understand why: a sandbar with milky white sand, mirror-flat and cerulean waters, and a remote paradise feel. It is a great place to disconnect— there is barely any signal in the island and not much establishments. Another great thing about it is that it is only less than 2 hours away from Malapascua, a gorgeous island off the northern tip of Cebu.
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If mountains and dramatic landscapes are your thing, this province down south should be on your list. Bukidnon literally means “of the mountains” and vast, spectacular ranges are what will greet you once there. Bukidnon is also home of the largest pineapple plantations in the country and driving across these hectares of pineapple-paradise is already a sight to behold. Getting more popular nowadays is the Panimahawa Ridge because of its rolling hills, lush canyons, and breathtaking gorges. Celebrate music and culture with Bukidnon’s Kaamulan Festival, hailed as the “most authentic ethnic festival” in the Philippines.
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It is mostly known as a university town, being home to the one of the best schools in the country, Silliman University. This youthfulness of Dumaguete cannot be unseen: the vibrant (but not rowdy) nightlife, the booming art and culture scene, and the unending gastronomic adventures here are worth the visit. Sink your teeth into the sweet and irresistable Silvanas. Dumaguete is also the jump-off point to many underwater paradise especially Apo Island, a marine sanctuary where you can responsibly swim with huge sea turtles and dive to see its breathtaking marine life.