Blessed as it is with thousands of islands, the Philippines offers a wealth of travel destinations, especially lately with the boom in low-cost flights.
The more adventurous —some say competitive— soon-to-wed couples welcome this development as they can customize their wedding ceremonies. After all, how else does one stand out in the Instagram universe, personalized hashtags notwithstanding?
Beach weddings are still popular, but garden and “old town” nuptials are also on the rise. Here are Lifestyle’s picks for nontraditional wedding venues and destinations.
1 Casa San Pablo, Laguna—Couples can choose either a Catholic church wedding or one set in the garden. The venue, which is also a popular bed & breakfast, offers a “Worry-free Wedding Package” where a team of professionals handles everything. All the couple and their guests need to do is show up for the ceremony. This is perfect for couples who are based abroad but want to get married in the Philippines.
2 Amorita Resort, Bohol—The popular beach resort offers stunning views of the sea and is equipped to handle guests of all ages. It has villas that can accommodate families or groups of friends who fly in for the wedding.
3 Balesin Island, Quezon province— Choose from the island resort’s themed villages with structures that recreate whitewashed Greek houses, Balinese villas or French chalets.
4 Sitio Remedios,Currimao, Ilocos Norte—Owner Joven Cuanang put together a resort made of old houses from all over Ilocos Norte. There is even a small chapel with buttresses similar to those found at the nearby Paoay Church. A “plaza” in the middle of the property can serve as the dining area for weddings held in the chapel.
5 Siama Resort, Sorsogon—The resort designed by Milo Naval is full of Instagram-worthy areas. The guest rooms are spacious if a bit spare, but the food—down-home cooking made with local vegetables and seafood—is topnotch.
6 Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, Bagac, Bataan—Old Filipino houses serve as a backdrop for the wedding festivities.
7 Caleruega, Tagaytay—This small church atop a hill is perfect for smaller weddings. Couples can then choose from a number of wedding reception venues including Antonio’s, Sonya’s Garden and Tagaytay Highlands.
8 LA Mesa Eco Park— Nature lovers are sure to like the lush greenery in this 33-hectare ecopark, with facilities that can accommodate up to 250 guests.
9 Pangulasian, El Nido, Palawan—This luxury island resort is equipped to handle intimate nuptials as well as bigger, splashier weddings. If you can imagine it, they can do it.