Indeed, #itsmorefuninthephilippines! There’s never been a better time to explore our own turf with the low fares and discounted rates offered by airline and travel agencies! While it’s almost an impossible feat to step foot on all 7,107 of our islands, at least you can start with these local destinations we’ve rounded up for our readers—we believe these places should be visited by every Filipino at least once in their lifetime!
Why visit: Because you love nature.
Bukidnon is reachable by land travel from jump-off point Cagayan de Oro, which you can access by plane. Bukidnon is usually a two-hour drive from Laguindingan airport. Many people have sworn to falling in love with the place because of its clean and serene landscape. A great place to include in your Bukidnon itinerary is Dahilayan Adventure Park. It boasts of having the longest Dual Zipline in Asia. Be your own Superman or Wonder Woman while zooming from point A to point B, hoisted securely on a line which is more than 4,000 feet above sea level. You can actually see the lush greenery of the place from where you’re ziplining. Visit the Del Monte Pineapple farm as well. If you’re a nature-oriented person, this is definitely a place to visit.
2) MOALBOAL, CEBU
Why visit: Because you want to relax and forget about work momentarily.
Moalboal is a small town in Cebu and is a city person’s perfect refuge from the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan life. They’ve got great food at cheap prices. In fact, your five hundred pesos can already buy you really fresh, off-the-boat seafood and puso or rice boiled in coconut leaves. The scenery is superb and the locals very warm; they would smile at you even if they barely know you. Their beaches have pristine white sand that could definitely give Boracay a run for its money. The place may not give you a lot of things to do but you can spend your time there diving, swimming, or snorkeling. If you’re after relaxation, unwinding, or even a little soul-searching, then you should definitely consider going to Moalboal.
3) DUMAGUETE CITY
Why visit: Because you’re into snorkelling and bonding with marine life.
Dumaguete has the right amount of country and city mix—not too urban, not too rural. It also has a very rich and solid historical foundation that makes it a very interesting location to explore. The people here are so warm and gentle that you just can’t help but smile and wave at every local you meet. Take a side trip from Dumaguete to visit Apo Island and marvel at the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary and Protected Seascape. The water is so clear that you get this feeling that you’re instantly bonding with marine life while snorkeling around the area. Remember to eat Silvanas in Dumaguete because that’s their delicacy. And tourists from all over the world have been falling in love with this pastry for many years now.
Why visit: Because you want to unplug from your highly wired life.
Batanes is a place with a very old soul. Prehistoric, if you will. The calmness, the serenity that the place offers–it can whisk you away from your fast-paced city life and into the most fundamental way of life that you can ever experience. The place is very laid back that some people attest to forgetting about their problems while in the island. Because life here is very simple, you can actually forge human connections with the Ivatan locals. Take a side trip to Basco and visit the Basco Lighthouse for a better view of Batanes’s open sea. If you’re up for a challenge, try slurping on some Lumot Soup, which is a local delicacy in Batanes.
Why visit: Because you want to see postcard scenery IRL (in real life).
People who say ‘Bohol Is Just Chocolate Hills’ know nothing about the vast beauty that this place has to offer. You can get to Bohol either by plane or by ship, and from the airport or port area you can roam around the place by bus, taxi, or jeepney. Visit the Tarsier sanctuary and see these cute little creatures go about their business inside their natural habitat. You can also go island hopping from jump-off point Panglao Island, where you can explore a number of uninhabited islands, or go on the Loboc River cruise where you get to enjoy not just the view of the river, but also the friendliness of the people. But of course, don’t forget the Chocolate Hills. They are not Bohol’s most famous tourist attraction for nothing. The hills are covered in green grass that turns brown during dry season, hence its name. Take a picture and be blown away by this seemingly magical land formation nature has brought us.
6) SAN VICENTE + PALAWAN UNDERGROUND RIVER
Why visit: Because you need peace in your life.
To get to San Vicente, you have to fly to Puerto Princesa and take a road trip. Be prepared though, the “road trip” usually means three to four hours of bus or habal-habal (motorcycle) ride. San Vicente is considered a virgin beach, so untouched that even electricity has not reached this place. But for a traveler wanting peace and quiet to do some soul searching, San Vicente may offer just that. While you’re in Puerto Princesa, you might as well maximize your stay by taking a side trip to the Puerto Princesa Underground River and experience the beauty of their local caves that is renowned worldwide.
7) ILOILO CITY
Why visit: Because you want to pig out.
If you’re after food and leisure walks to see different sights, then Iloilo City is a highly recommended travel destination! Better if you can plan your vacation there during the Dinagyang festival. Dinagyang festival is a religious and cultural festival in Iloilo City that honours the Santo Nino and happens every fourth Sunday of January. A lot of street parties happen during Dinagyang festival so it’s the perfect activity to start your year right. Don’t pass up on the opportunity to try the real La Paz Batchoy, and bring home some sweet goodies for your family from RGies Delicacies.
8) BACOLOD CITY
Why visit: Because you want to par-tey!
Make your trip to Bacolod City strategic: ensure that it falls under the Masskara festival dates, which happens every third week of October, so you can experience the fun and happiness that this non-secular festivity brings. While you’re in Bacolod, make time to visit The Ruins and see what was left of the mansion that Bacolod’s sugar baron Don Mariano Lacson built for his family. You might as well make time to visit Calea Bakeshop—they have the best-tasting, reasonably priced pastries that you can bring home with you.
Now you can enjoy these great travel destinations as well! Enjoy big discounts on airfares, accommodation, cruise options and tours for international and domestic destinations at The Great BDO Travel Sale. Book and buy your holiday getaways and travel plans until May 2016. The event is exclusive to all BDO Rewards, Debit and Credit Cardholders.