Summer is just around the corner — at least this side of the world. And it’s probably the best time to come to the Philippines: glorious sunny skies, endless glass-like waters, tropical madness you’d wish it was all year round. So we’ll make it easier for you. Here are our recommendations of top summer destinations — mostly off-the-beaten — for you to visit this 2019:
Camiguin Island for Natural Charm
It may be the second smallest island province in the Philippines but it packs a lot natural wonders than one would think. This pearl-shaped beauty could be formed by magic but it was really because of many volcanic eruptions and geological events — thus its moniker “Island Born of Fire.” But the atmosphere is nothing close to chaotic as its geographic history: sleepy, laidback, serene. Because it’s everything you’ll see that will do the talking.
Waterfalls in every corner (Katibawasan and Tuasan Falls are a must); an immaculately white sandbar aptly called White Island that changes its shape depending on the tides; Mt Hibok-Hibok which is still active but provides for a picturesque adventure trail; Mantigue Island teeming with abundant marine life; cold and hot springs all worth a dip; and the famous Sunken Cemetery where a big cross was erected in 1982 and serves as a landmark for a town submerged in sea when Mt. Vulcan erupted centuries ago. Now wasn’t that a mouthful?
How to get there:
Fly from Manila to Cagayan de Oro. Hop on a van or bus from Agora Market to Balingoan Port and take a 2-hour ferry ride to Camiguin Island.
There are also direct flights from Cebu to Camiguin Island.
Malapascua Island, Cebu for Marine Life
On the northernmost tip of Cebu lies a gem of an island — Malapascua. While its name directly translates to “Bad Christmas” from Spanish, it just looks so good and features many amazing spots. It is mostly famous as being one of the few spots in the world that thresher sharks call home and where you can dive and see their magnificence in flesh. Apart from Monad Shoal where the sharks abound, there are also several coral gardens, coral walls, and an excellent dive site in nearby Gato Island. If you’re not into the underwater world (yet), Malapascua’s Bounty Beach is a sun-worshipper’s treat. But several visitors drive up to North Beach for its more idyllic and relaxed vibe.
You can also hire a boat for a few hours and take you to spots like Los Bambos which is known as a cliff-diving spot, a snorkeling area where you can see a Japanese ship wreck just a few meters down, and a chance to see a towering white light house.
How to get there:
From Cebu City, take a bus at the North Bus Terminal to Maya Port in Daanbantayan and from there, take a small boat to Malapascua Island.
Palaui Island, Cagayan for Rugged Coastlines
If jagged coastlines and wave-sculpted terrains excite the adventurer in you, then Palaui Island offers that and so much more. Way up north of Manila in the province of Cagayan, Palaui is a destination not yet frequented by many but is worthy of the long road trip. It’s a mix of white sand beaches, historic sites, and landmarks carved by forces of nature through time. The docking port of Punta Verde and where most inhabitants live has public beach areas.
It is also the jump-off point to one of the most famous spots in the island, the Farol de Cabo Engaño, a lighthouse built by the Spaniards during the 18th century. There are two ways to get to it: via a 2-hour hike or you can ask the boatman to take you there. And while you are in or going back to Tuguegarao City, don’t miss the chance to visit the Callao Caves.
How to get there:
Fly from Manila to Tuguegarao City and ride a van or bus to San Vicente Port in the town of Sta. Ana. Only special boat trips are available for visitors and price varies depending on spots you want to visit. Punta Verde and Cape Engaño is at P1,800 (for 8 people).