With a few more provinces to explore to complete my #GOTPH81 project, it got me thinking on what PH destinations I would love to re-visit. The Philippines has a thousand reasons to make you fall in love with it but there will be destinations that will live an imprint on you. This are not the usual destinations that you frequently visit but these spots have charmed their way enough that makes you want to return and explore it again and/or discover more. In short, you got captivated and you want to see more.
In my case, eto yung mga lugar na tumatak sa akin as I went around getting lost around the Philippines. I have only been on these destinations once but I was captivated that I want to visit and explore it again, even if it has been years since I visited these spots. A common denominator among these PH destinations is having me fall in love with its laidback and rustic vibe, far from my usual day. These spots slowed me down and gave me a different understanding of the phrase “the best things in life are free”.
Sagada is totally a different world. It is rustic and ethereal where its culture and natural beauty perfectly blends homogeneously. Tucked in the rugged mountains of the Cordillera, Sagada got its reputation as a destination for those who are soul searching. The place is laidback where time seem to standstill. You get to be surrounded by the beauty of nature while getting immersed in their culture. Sagada slows you down and gets you grounded on yourself and nature.
What I loved about Sagada was its laidback community vibe. Visitors are treated like family and adjusts to the ways of the community. Locals were able to preserve their way of life and imbibes the same respect to its visitors towards their way of life. Its natural attractions are simply breathtaking. Whether you are an outdoor kind of guy or a food geek, there is always a corner for you in Sagada.
Sagada is developing and there are more attractions catching the attention of travelers. I would like to catch the sunrise at Kiltepan Point and then marvel at the beauty of its blue soil. I would like to delve my hand on Sagada culture. I would try my hand on pottery and then find my own corner in Sagada to enjoy the peace and quiet on this side of the Philippines.
You can read about my Sagada travel here: #GOT81MountainProvince: Sagada In Its True Form
Marinduque is the geographical heart of the Philippines. With that said, it is also interesting to note that the island is also shaped like a heart. It is an island province that was made popular by its Moriones Festival - a Holy Week celebration where locals go around town in their Morion outfit as part of their “panata” or faith promise. Part of the celebration includes the re-enactment of the suffering of Jesus Christ. But beyond this popular festival is an island that is proud of its history and natural beauty.
Exploring the eastern side of Marinduque on two separate occasions have given me a glimpse of its natural beauty, from its white sand beaches to a sandbar to an amazing rock formation. There is no doubt that it is a beautiful island that nature blessed and its laidback vibe complements its natural beauty. I guess it is safe to say that it is an island where you can choose to chill down in its beach spots as you enjoy a drink while watching the sunset.
There is more to this island that I want to experience. I would like to explore Boac and its collection of old houses. I would like to enjoy the beaches and the islands on the west side of the island. I would like to go face-to-face with one of its Morions and join in with the colorful celebrations of Marinduque.
You can read about my Marinduque travel here: The Unexpected Twist, Roadblock, and Detour of Marinduque and Natanaw Din Ang Summer Sa Catanauan
This group of islands is more than just its renowned marbles. From the high peaks of Guiting-Guiting to the clean spring waters of Catingas to the white sands of Cresta de Gallo, Romblon has something to offer to any type of traveler. This is destination where you get to enjoy the old town vibe as you immerse in its history and natural beauty.
Romblon is a no frills destination. It is a place where you get to enjoy the small town community vibe where everyone knows each other and everyone knows you are a “dayo” or visitor. You get to explore the town like a local and you get to eat like a local. If you feel like hitting the beach, you can just take a quick trike ride to Bonbon Beach. If you are up for a history and a view, you can go check out Fort San Andres that offers a panoramic view of the town and its waters. Don’t forget to swing by Cresta de Gallo where the island defines how getting marooned on an island can be fun.
I would like to see the different facets of Romblon. I want to explore their own version of Boracay and take the plunge by its cliff. I would like to enjoy a no frills trip where I get to experience the simple town life where you get to interact comfortably with locals. One where you can enjoy a really quiet evening. I would like to also to head back to Cresta de Gallo and once again enjoy the sunset on one side and the sunrise on the other side of the island.
You can read about my Romblon travel here: #LaBoRomblon
Among all the PH destinations that I have been to, Guiuan is turning out to be my favorite. This Eastern Samar destination perfectly blends my love for history, nature, and adventure. I think it is a place that I can always enjoy chilling down. It is a no-frills destination with a lot of beach spots to visit - from crashing waves to still waters.
Guiuan is an unassuming destination with a lot of activities that you can enjoy. You can choose a tame adventure of beach and/or historical church hopping to a more adrenaline-pumping activity like jumping off a bridge or sliding under it. These activities are just within reach from its laidback town center. It shouldn’t be a surprise that these activities seem to be a normal day-to-day life of locals.
I would like to visit Homonhon Island one day and immerse in its history. I would like to see what Magellan saw. It would also be nice to try riding the waves on this side of the Philippines. I would like to stay here for at least a week and enjoy living like a local and enjoying the place like a local. Guiuan locked me in its charm with its laidback and rustic vibe. This is the kind of place where you get to chill and enjoy the best and simple things in life for free.
You can read about my Guiuan travel here: #GOT65EasternSamar: Guiuan And Only and #GOT65EasternSamar: Guiuan And Only Pa Din or you can check out my YT travel channel here: #ByahengOffTheGrid Guiuan
This island is on fire! Siquijor exudes a different kind of appeal with its charm and its mysticism. Blessed with the beauty of nature, it is this same nature that fueled the fire of its local folklore - the mambabarangs. This destination was once feared but was weirdly interesting for me because of these beliefs and stories.
My visit to Siquijor was a quick one. You can enjoy the island in a day by tricycle or motorbike where you get to see the island’s highlights. I enjoyed swinging into Cambugahay Falls but conked out in Salagdoong cliff jump. I loved the history of Lazi Church and the mystery that surrounds the church in Maria. I love its chill beach vibe while swinging on a makeshift swing made from a used rubber tire. Siquijor is a real beauty shrouded in “mystery”.
Dark tourism is something that really interests me. This is the reason why Siquijor has indulged my curiosity. I would like to visit this island again and come face-to-face with a mambabarang, not to ask for charms or potions but to get an understanding of this unique island culture and belief. I mean, Siquijor is an island that is really beautiful and the mysticism that surround it makes it more appealing.
You can read about my Siquijor travel here: De-mystifying Siquijor
Siargao was a birthday treat and the trip did turn out to be a treat. Located on the eastern side of the country, this teardrop-shaped island initially gained popularity as a surfing destination. But beyond its rolling waves is a collection of natural attractions that will sweep you off your feet. It did not come as a surprise that, once these photos and videos hit social media, Siargao will be on almost everyone’s bucket list.
One thing that I loved about Siargao is being a one-stop shop for its guests. It is an all-in-one destination for adventure, nature, party, and food. Yet, it still manages to keep everything “under the sheet” to maintain its rustic and laidback vibe. This is a place where you can walk barefoot along the road to your favorite restaurant or party the night away, in hidden in plain sight. You can face your fear of heights at Sugba Lagoon or enjoy a nice dip with the jelly fish. You can watch surfers catch the waves or be one of those catching the wave. Better yet, you can choose your own solitary spot to just enjoy the laidback vibe.
More than just a treat, Siargao is a place that teaches you that there is a proper time for everything. There is a time for work, for your family or friends, and for yourself. It is a place where you can stay within your comfort zone or get out of it. It also teaches you to be nice to others because you would need the others to find out where tonight’s party will be.
You can read about my Siargao travel here:
#SiargaoNaNgaAngHinahanapNgPuso (Part 1)
#SiargaoNaNgaAngHinahanapngPuso (Part 2)
or you can check out my YT travel channel here:
#ByahengOffTheGrid Siargao (Part 1)
#ByahengOffTheGrid Siargao (Part 2)
My trip to Hinatuan would always be well-remembered as this was where I received the news of the country’s COVID19 lockdown. The announcement cut short a trip that was suppose to take me across the eastern side of Mindanao. Hinatuan was the last destination that I visited pre-pandemic lockdown. I vividly remember having to stay out at a 711 store at 8pm as I toned down on the news. Why 711? It was the only store open at that time. That’s how provincial the vibe was of the place.
The “entities” of Hinatuan must have blessed the place so much that its natural beauty continues to enchant its visitors. Its river, where fresh water meets sea waters, amazes you with its blue hues as you enjoy a quick dip in its cold waters. Further out to the sea, you can also enjoy interacting with stingrays at the Sibadan Fish Cage. You can also choose to just enjoy a day by the beach in one of the islands that dot the Hinatuan Bay.
Although my trip was cut short, it gave me a glimpse of the rustic town of Hinatuan and its surrounding areas. There’s much to see and enjoy in this place. It would be good to one day go beyond the usual and enjoy the lesser known attractions in the area.
You can read about my Guiuan travel here: Suri-WOW-ed or you can check out my YT travel channel here: #ByahengOffTheGrid CARAGA
POST TRAVEL NOTES
These are 7 destinations that gives you a glimpse of why I #LoveThePhilippines and the destinations of my preference. These places are just 0.09% of the total spots that you can explore in the Philippines. Our country has cities and provinces that cater to any kind of traveler, whether local or foreigners. You just need an eye for appreciation and a sense of Filipino pride.
You can find your own reason to #LoveThePhilippines and you can always start in your home city or provinces. Do not be afraid to go out and explore the areas around you. Travel should start from your “home” because that is where you get to appreciate spots that on a regular day looks just the usual.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.