The COVID19 health crisis cancelled summer here in the Philippines. Except for those living by the beach or the mountains, all of us had to endure the summer heat inside our homes. I personally had to make-do with setting up my hammock by our porch just to get a semblance of a summer vibe while on quarantine. Social media was abuzz with throwback pictures and with hopeful rants of wanting to hit the beach. And just like that summer was over.
As the rains are now slowly giving us the cooler weather and the quarantine slowly easing out, I am pretty sure that a lot of us are now starting to look into a “quarantine relief”. Most of us are probably checking out where we can go for a safe break after we are allowed to do leisure trips. The good thing about the Philippines is that we have destinations that can cover any season. Simplehan na lang natin... let me share with you seven Philippine destinations on my list that is worth exploring, rain or shine.
Imagine yourself walking along a cobblestone street and surrounded by Spanish-period houses, under a light drizzle. Dramatic, right? That is exactly the vibe that Calle Crisologo in Vigan can offer to its guests.
Vigan is an icon-city in the Ilocos region. It is a popular destination known for its well-preserved century-old “bahay-na-bato” that falls under the UNESCO Heritage Site. Guests would definitely enjoy walking down history as they explore these old houses in this once affluent district. But its rich history is not just confined in Calle Crisologo. You will find pockets of historical, as well as interesting spots, when you explore the city and its surrounding areas.
The city is also a popular destination for food lovers. One can enjoy the rich taste of Ilocos empanada and miki noodles just right beside the Vigan Church. Of course, you should not forget to bring home with you some Vigan longganiza, bagnet, and bibingka.
Read about my Vigan trip by clicking here: Vigan City
Baguio City is an all-season favorite of travelers. With an elevation of 1470 meters above sea level, the City of Pines boasts of a cool weather and rustic natural beauty. People visit the city to escape the sizzling heat during summer and head up there to enjoy the cold mornings during the Christmas season. But the city takes on a different personality during the rainy season where you get to enjoy a warm cup of coffee while watching the drizzle and the fog envelope the city.
History and creativity blends perfectly well in Baguio. Apart from the popular tourist spots in the city, it has a lot of pocket destinations that showcase either its rich history or its local artistry. Session road transforms itself every Sunday as a venue for creativity for its local artists and those who try to be one. Cafes and restaurants also double up as art spaces where you can enjoy a nice meal and getting a fill of local art pieces.
Baguio still has a long way to go in its efforts of reviving its former glory as urban development had taken over much of the city. Although it may not have that pine tree scent smell that I have associated the city with during my formative years, it has maintained its old charm and has become a hub for local artists and their work. It has gone beyond its usual tourism sights and sounds but has evolved to offer something new in its old charming ways.
Read about my Baguio trip by clicking here: Baguio City
If you are looking for a quick beach break, Zambales is one destination that you should check out. The long coastal stretch on the western side of the Philippines have a lot of beach spots to offer to any kind of traveler. From gray sand to cream colored sand, from beach coves to sand bars, the province has got one for you to enjoy.
Zambales’ beach spot destinations have different personalities to explore and enjoy. Silanguin Cove in San Antonio is serene and peaceful. You can enjoy the wind whistling while cooling off with the gentle waves of its waters. Liwliwa is very rustic and homey where surfers and off-beat travelers converge. Here everyone is a friend. Crystal Beach, on the other side, is the sassy and upbeat spot. It appeals more to the younger crowd because of its IG-worthy spots and charming appeal. Potipot Island on the northern part of the province is a crowd favorite for its cream-colored sandy shores. You get to enjoy its island vibe.
Zambales is definitely a good choice for a quick break. You get to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea depending on your weekend mood. And even with a little rain, you can always snuggle up to enjoy a cool and wet weather by the beach.
Click on the destination to read up on my travel: Silanguin Cove, Liwliwa, Potipot Island, Crystal Beach
The cold weather has a unique appeal among Filipinos. So it is not a surprise that Tagaytay City in Cavite is an easy favorite among metro residents for a day or weekend trip. Its cooler temperature, amazing views of Taal Volcano, and its gastronomical spots make it an appealing destination whether its sunny or rainy.
Tagaytay City has a lot to offer. Its main tourist draw is its amazing views of the world’s smallest volcano from the ridge where the city stands. Different view decks in the city offer a different look of Taal. Its cool weather and laidback vibe give the city a serene atmosphere that religious destinations are part and parcel of every Tagaytay trip. And of course, getting your tummy filled in the city is a definite must. The city can give you a nice meal with an amazing view to keep all yours senses satisfied.
The city is a perfect spot to cool off during the summer and to sip a warm bulalo soup during the rainy season. Its close proximity to the metro, its attractions, and appetizing menu offers make it a favorite spot for Metro Manila residents. Tagaytay’s charm pulls off as an all-year rounder destination.
Read about my Tagaytay trip by clicking here: Tagaytay City
San Pablo City
Just two hours away from Manila, this quaint little city offers an interesting provincial vibe and a unique encounter with nature. San Pablo City is popular for its seven lakes that you can actually trek and/or explore in a day. What is great about the experience is that you get to enjoy these spots for free.
The seven lakes of San Pablo are believed to be craters of ancient volcanos. These lakes have been a source of livelihood for locals and have been an attraction for tourists. Sampaloc Lake, the biggest, is the most accessible and is located just right behind the city hall. Pandin Lake is the most developed in terms of tourism efforts. The locals have already organized themselves to offer scenic raft rides on its still waters while enjoying a sumptuous meal. Interestingly, the ladies of the community are the ones who navigate the raft along Pandin Lake.
Another attraction worth checking out in San Pablo is the infamous Villa Escudero. The 415-hectare coconut plantation was developed into a farm resort that showcases the beauty of Filipino culture. A museum, a heritage house, and a Filipino cultural show are the main attractions of the farm resort. But its biggest draw is the experience of having to eat lunch the Filipino way beside their dam with your feet submerged in water. It is definitely an unforgettable experience.
Read about my San Pablo trip by clicking here: 7 Lakes of San Pablo City, Villa Escudero
Cebu City is dubbed as the Queen City of the South. It is a great city to get lost in as you will get to see its rich history delicately intertwined to its urban setting. From Magellan’s Cross to its heritage sites and museums, the city keeps its colorful history alive for everyone to see and enjoy. The devotion of the Cebuanos to the Sto. Nino is very evident when you visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino de Cebu. The revered image is the centerpiece of the annual Sinulog celebrations every January.
Cebu City is not just about history and religious icons. It also has attractions that give the city a more urban feel. Cebu Tops offer a panoramic view of the metro and evenings are the best times to visit. Temple of Leah is a great spot to be creative with your pictures. And if you want a quick beach respite, Mactan has a number of hotels and resorts that you can choose from. Of course, a Cebu trip is not complete without getting a fill of their delicious lechon, a personal favorite.
I love Cebu City for its perfectly blended urban and rural vibe. It is a great destination to explore that knows no weather. The city allows you to re-live its history, appreciate its beauty, explore your creativity, and indulge in its gastronomic delights. Writing this down is making me want to visit Cebu soon.
Read about my Cebu trips by clicking here: Cebu City, Cebu Sinulog
Cagayan de Oro
Further down south is another favorite all-year-round destination, Cagayan de Oro - my hometown. The city serves as the gateway to Northern Mindanao and has its own history to share, its own brand of eco-tourism, and its own old town vibe.
Exploring the city center gives you a glimpse of its rich history. In the midst of its urban development, you will actually enjoy pockets of history tucked in some corners of the city. The old water tower of the city, near the St. Agustine Metropolitan Cathedral, was re-designed to house the city museum that showcases how the Cagayan de Oro was founded and developed to what it is now. Of course, the mighty Cagayan de Oro River played a huge role in the city’s history. You can try to take on the challenge of conquering its waters by shooting its rapids that has become its main tourism draw.
Cagayan de Oro has evolved from a rustic town to a bustling metro through the years. The city has now more to offer to its guests with a water theme park and huge malls to add to its eco-tourism attractions. It is one destination that you can enjoy whether you want to explore the city under sun or getting refreshed by the rain while making a run on a rubber raft.
Read about my Cagayan de Oro trip by clicking here: Historical Cagayan de Oro, Downtown CDO, CDO Whitewater Rafting
POST TRAVEL NOTES
The great thing about living in the Philippines is that exploring the many amazing destinations in the country is an all-year round activity. Although there are a number of destinations that are best visited on certain months (ahem... Batanes!), most of our spots are all-weather friendly. We get a balance of both the sun and the rain even when its monsoon season. There is always an activity that we can do or a place that we can explore whether its sunny or its raining outside.
As we slowly adjust to the new normal, I will keep on repeating the call for Filipinos to go local even with their travels. We have a lot of amazing tourist spots that you can explore and give you an amazing Pinoy experience. Our tourism is not just about white sand beaches or beautiful island spots. We have rustic destinations that give our country a different vibe. There will always be one Philippine destination that will fit your personality. And all you got to do is to find it.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.