I don’t know if you have observed it but the heat of this year’s dry season seems to be more bearable compared to last year. I have already managed the now one-month quarantine with my ever-dependable hammock to start me up with my summer vibe. Unlike last year where my summer opener got cut short, I still have to catch the view of the beach this year.
While #NCRPlus residents are locked up inside their homes, the rest of the country have already started enjoying the sun, sand, and sea. I guess, it really boils down to the discipline of people in the midst of this pandemic. Well, that is how it is and we can only hope for a more relaxed quarantine in the coming months.
Some of us, me included, are probably back on the drawing boards for our summer plans. Hence, I decided to blog about 7 must-do dry season activities here in the Philippines. We will be going around the country to enjoy a full summer day here in Pinas!
Watch the sunrise at Binurong Point, Catanduanes
Let us start our day in the province known for its howling winds - Catanduanes. This island-province is located on the eastern side of the country and faces the Pacific Ocean. It is usually the first to be battered by typhoons coming from the Pacific hence its monicker. But the beautiful and rugged terrains of Binurong Point is a great place to catch the first rays of the rising sun.
The trek to Binurong Point takes about 30 - 40 minutes from the jump off point. It usually starts very early in the morning just in time for you to catch the beauty of the sun rising in the east. Once you get to the viewdeck, you can pick your spot and get ready to be amazed by the sun theatrics from its first morning rays to its play of golden yellow to finally bursting into full morning brightness. Expect to be awed by its beauty as you watch one of the first rays of the sun breaking out from horizon.
The sun’s early morning rays will also show you the rugged beauty of Binurong Point. You will be amazed by the views of its sloping hills meeting the waters of the Pacific. It gives you a glimpse of the rugged and pristine beauty of Catanduanes.
You can read about my Catanduanes adventures here: Howling with the Winds of Catanduanes
Watch the Blooming of the Lotus at Lake S’bu in South Cotabato
Another great morning activity is hopping on a boat and watch the blooming of the lotus at Lake S’bu. This activity offers a different kind of calmness and peace in the morning. The views of the pink lotuses against the rustic backdrop of South Cotabato make it a perfect way to start your day.
The blooming of the lotuses is an iconic tourism draw of Lake S’bu - the home of the indigenous T’boli group. To fully appreciate the view, one would need to wake up early, board a wooden canoe, and paddle through the calm
waters of the lake onto the site. The soft and warm morning rays and the cool weather completes the serene vibe of being surrounded by the beauty of the pink blooms. It is a nice way to enjoy the peace and quiet that Lake S’bu offers its guests.
But Lake S’bu is not just all about chilling and relaxing as it also has other activities that could get your adrenaline pumping. Its scenic waterfalls and its rich cultural heritage make it a unique destination that not only makes you smile but also fills your heart with pride. I seriously think that a trip to Lake S’bu should activity that every Filipino must make in his or her lifetime.
Read about my Lake S’bu travel here: Lake Bloomers of S'bu
Kayak around El Nido’s Big and Small Lagoon
El Nido is a beach paradise. The once off-beat destination, known only to adventurous travelers, has steadily captured the hearts of many until it has fully come out of its shell. Its amazing limestone formations, secluded beach spots, amazing underwater scenes, and local stories that go with these spots have easily made El Nido a favorite, not only among foreign tourists but, among local travelers.
But El Nido is not just about beach-bumming and island hopping. Paddling up on two of its most popular lagoons is one of the great way to enjoy the summer sun - the Small Lagoon and the Big Lagoon. These two major attractions in El Nido sits adjacent to each other on island of Miniloc and its names best describes its size relative to each other. The best way to explore its nooks and crannies is by paddling up aboard a kayak. The Small Lagoon can be accessed via a small rock opening while the Big Lagoon gives you a more majestic way of greeting as you wade through its wide banks on its entrance.
You can paddle around and explore the nooks and crannies of the lagoons before finding your own corner to relax and enjoy its peaceful vibe. You can also enjoy a quick and refreshing dip in its cool waters before heading back to your boat. Be conscious of the time though because once you get into the serene vibe of the lagoons, time seems to be on a standstill in El Nido.
You can read about my El Nido trip here: #ElNidoFortified
Swim with the Jellies in Surigao
We all love heading down to the beach at we have here in the Philippines. Beach is LIFE, especially during the dry season. Philippine summer is not complete without a quick beach dip!
But you can actually spice up your beach trip by going on a swim with sea creatures in the wild. You can start off with that experience with the stingless jellyfish of Sohoton in Surigao del Norte. Located at Bucas Grande Island, the sanctuary gives you the unique experience of being able to swim with the stingless jellyfish - a perfect way to get close with nature. The laidback and serene atmosphere of the sanctuary adds up to the experience of being close to nature. It makes you experience that oneness with nature.
Surigao del Norte is a destination that has something in store for any kind of traveler. From the adrenaline junkie to the nature-tripper, they got everything covered. On top of your preferred adventure, you get to enjoy that unique and warm provincial hospitality that only Surigao can offer.
Read about how I enjoyed my trip in Surigao here: #SiargaoNaNgaAngHinahanapNgPuso
Get relaxed and warmed up in Tibiao, Antique
Getting your muscles relaxed after a long day full of activities is definitely a must. Nothing beats an aromatic warm bath to slow down your day before enjoying a nice and calm evening. And the best place to get that is where the kawa bath was born - Tibiao in Antique!
Tibiao is a rustic municipality on the western coast of Panay Island. This is where the original “kawa bath” was born. The process begins with a large cauldron that is filled with water that is heated over fire. Flowers, herbs, and leaves are added as aromatics. Once ready, guests take a dip in its warm and fragrant waters to relax their body after hustling the whole day. The kawa bath is soothing for both mind and body as you get relaxed while being surrounded with nature and disconnected from the rest of the world.
The rustic mountainside of Tibiao is a perfect getaway when you want to disconnect. It allows you to unplug from your busy city life and connects you with nature to get you refreshed and energized. It makes you realize that the simple joys are the best part of living.
Read about my Tibiao adventure here: Alamat ng Gintong Takipsilim At Mainit na Kawa
Bar Hop in Lakawon Island
Imagine yourself getting onto a floating bar just to unwind as you prepare to watch the sunset. Nice, right? This is why you should not miss out Lakawon Island in Cadiz City. It has redefined bar hopping with one of the largest floating bars in the country.
Conveniently anchored a few meters from the island, the Lakawon Floating Bar is one of the major attractions of the island. The barge was redesigned into a bar complete with a bar and lounging chairs that faces the sea. You can enjoy sipping on your favorite drink and munching on your fave snack while enjoying the view of the island and the waters around it. If you want to take a quick swim, you can just jump off from the lounging chairs into the inviting waters of the island.
Lakawon Island grew out from the devastation of a typhoon. The island was, initially, popular among locals who go to there to camp out. It took a typhoon to unwrap its beauty to a larger audience and it has grown from a mere camp site to a world-class resort island.
Read about our Lakawon adventures here: Lakaw Lakawon
Watch the Sunset at San Vicente
They say that every sunset is unique and I would have to agree. I love watching the sunset more than the sunrise because it tends to be more dramatic and poetic. And one of the best spots to catch the drama of the setting sun is at Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan.
San Vicente prides itself with having the longest white sand beach in the country, with a length of 14.7 kilometers. It faces the West Philippine Sea and is one of the best spots to watch the sunset. You will get an amazing light show as the sun sets on the horizon. The shifting colors of pink, orange, and blue hues will keep you awe. Interestingly, the beach also comes alive during that time when locals go out and enjoy the waters of the beach. You’ve got locals walking by the beach, fishermen preparing for a night’s work, kids skimboarding, and tourists enjoying the view of the day ending. All these adds to the drama of the sunset. It gives you that peaceful vibe that tomorrow is going to be another exciting day of adventures.
San Vicente is a rustic destination where you get to enjoy the bucolic life. The people are friendly, life is laidback, and there’s so much beauty around. It is very easy to fall in love with the place because, for a beach person like me, it has the recipe for a perfect beach day.
Read about my San Vicente trip here: SanVic sa Pagbabago
POST TRAVEL NOTES
The Philippines is a country that has a lot of amazing destinations. Some of these spots are enjoying its popularity, others are starting to get recognized, and there are still those that needs to be given the attention. No matter what kind of traveler you are, there will always be a Pinas destination that will be perfect to your taste. I guess with more than 7000 islands to choose from in the Philippines, one can never go wrong.
I would have to say that this new round of community quarantines can be frustrating especially for a traveler like me and on a season like this. This is the perfect time to explore and discover. But I also understand that part of being a seasoned traveler is understanding that we also have to be responsible when we go around. This is the time when being a responsible traveler matter. Traveling can wait for the safety of others, especially for those who have limited access to healthcare facilities in the province. While waiting, I choose to reminisce the fun in traveling while planning my next adventure rather than sulking and complaining. That is where the fun of traveling begins!
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.