From Sri Lanka to Namibia–travel destinations off the beaten path | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

We asked some of Cebu’s passionate travelers for their top reasons to leave home and hit the road, just to see what’s out there. Their answers have stoked our wanderlust, and we hope they send you planning your next getaway also.

Nikko Plaza, 26 years old, chef

The Slow Room, coffee

shop in Toronto, Ontario

The Slow Room is a small, independent coffee shop run by an Italian couple. Their barrista, Drew, is named one of the top three baristas in Toronto and delivers amazing espresso-based coffee. The mantra of The Slow Room is to take your time. Espresso beans are freshly ground to give you the best aroma, and on Saturdays, it serves the best porchetta sandwich in the city, which is served fresh, not pre-made.

El Capitel restaurant, Banyoles, Spain

My favorite neighborhood restaurant, El Capitel is run by a couple. The husband runs the kitchen and the wife takes care of the service. It is nothing fancy—just extremely good, unpretentious food that will blow away any discerning diner. I once had a dish with tenderloin topped with 2 generous slices of foie gras, served with shoestring fries and a beef reduction. What was even more impressive was the price—the dish only cost 30 euros.

Chloe Ong, 28, real estate developer Arima Onsen

My favorite off-the-beaten-path destination would be Arima Onsen, the oldest spa area in Japan and one of Kobe’s hidden treasures. Known for its onsens (hot springs) with exceptional healing properties, we stayed in a beautiful members-only resort hotel called XIV Arima Rikyu.

Jon Eric Quisumbing, 29, managing head of Haojue Motors Philippines, Norkis Group of Companies, and Janeen Almendras-Quisumbing, 30, co-owner of Sweet Surprises

Taikang Lu, Tianzifang Shanghai, China

Located in bustling Shanghai’s French Concession, this former traditional Shikumen residential area has transformed into a labyrinth of narrow alleyways full of quaint coffee shops, bistros, craft stores, and trendy art studios. We enjoy spending quiet dinners in any of the many small restaurants around Tianzifang to soak up the scenery and local culture.

Chateau Montelena Winery, Napa Valley, California

The Chateau itself is a stone castle carved into a hillside and overlooks a Chinese garden and lake. We not only enjoyed touring the beautiful orchard and tasting their award-winning wines, but we also definitely loved taking our sweet time walking around the garden and enjoying the scenic view from their pagodas.

Tim Ho Wan Restaurant, Kwong Wa Street Mongkok, Hong Kong

The world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant is a must-go for us whenever we are in Hong Kong. Great dimsum and awesome steamed pork buns!

LANI Pasquet in Bagan, Myanmar

Lani Pasquet, 25, general manager at La Galuche furniture factory


Stepping foot here is like going back in time. You are surrounded by old cars, men and women running around in sarongs, pedicabs, and the smell of charcoal wafting from the restaurants. We explored the ancient city of Bagan by bicycle with the kids of the village as our tour guide. One of the most magical moments ever was riding a hot air balloon over the city to catch the sunrise. It’s like you are rising with the sun.

Hiking in the hill town of Kalaw was unbelievable. Trekking through the mountains allowed me to sleep in Buddhist temples and local villages, and to experience the local tea and ginger culture in the plantations firsthand. We ended the trek by Inle Lake, a lake trap

ped up in the mountains, surrounded by floating villages and stilted monasteries.

PASQUET in Big Q’s Mountain Horseback Riding Adventure, Cebu City

Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil

I spent a year traveling throughout Brazil, but my favorite place by far is this enormous park with high dunes and pristine lagoons overlooking the Atlantic surf in the Northern part of Brazil. The walk into this wild space will give you the most incredible sensations. Under the scorching sun, we could almost be in the Saharan desert, except that we could dive into a lagoon anytime!

Big Q’s Mountain Horseback Riding Adventure, Cebu City

For my 25th birthday, my uncle, Anton Quisumbing, organized a special two-day horse trail ride going through rivers, up and down hills through the forest and cultures in the mountains and camping by the river. It’s a real adventure into the mountains of Cebu. The end of the trail is in the farm where we enjoyed a hot shower and hot chocolate by the fireplace.

Jane Ong, 41, entrepreneur

Positano, Italy

A very colorful town on the Amalfi coast, Positano sort of reminds me of Santorini in Greece. It’s a very relaxing place to eat, window-shop and just laze around. It has a gorgeous beach, too.

Siena, Italy

A medieval city near Florence, an Italian friend of mine couldn’t have described it better in 3 words: Sienna’s got soul.

The small villages and towns in Provence, France

We rented a car and drove from one village to the next and had a great time exploring the area. As my favorite guide Rick Steves would say, “Getting lost is half the fun…”

DAN Douglas Ong in Mt. Bromo Sand Dunes, Indonesia

Dan Douglas Ong, 26, photographer


Myanmar is a photographer’s dream. I went to Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, and Yangon, the capital. Every angle was a photograph and the Burmese are one of the kindest and most gentle people I’ve ever encountered. Despite the political climate, which probably makes most people hesitant to visit, I felt completely safe there and cannot recommend it enough for others who want to travel off the beaten path and especially for photographers like myself.



The Sea of Sand by Mt. Bromo was spectacular. I also went to Borobudur, a Buddhist monument in Central Java. Even Bali, which I expected to be touristy, was lovely. I thought the architecture in Indonesia was superb and I can’t wait to go back and see more of the country.


I went to Ladakh, Jaipur, Delhi, and, of course, Agra, for the Taj Mahal. Ladakh was particularly interesting because its culture is so similar to Tibetan culture; I didn’t feel like I was in India at all.

Raymund Basubas, 30, entrepreneur

RAYMUND Basuubas taking in the view at the GreatWall

Huang Hua Great Wall, China

For a wilder experience of the Great Wall with a view unobstructed by tourists and peddlers, go to Huang Hua, north of Beijing. To get to the wall, we walked along the side of a frozen river, climbed a mountain then a small ladder to enter a small window of one of the towers of the wall. It was spectacular.

Mikele Ugarte-Aujan, 29,

PR consultant

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka isn’t so much a “hidden” destination but I would definitely call this place underrated—one of the best holidays I have had. We went to a place called Galle in the South, around a 2-3 hour car ride from the capital Colombo. Apart from the amazing food (think pineapple curry) and friendly people, part of our amazing trip was our stay in a beautiful boutique villa on the tiny Taprobane Island.


Not on most people’s “top countries to visit” list but Lebanon is surely coming up as a tourist destination. Beirut in particular is one of the hippest cities I have visited. There’s an energy in this city that I can’t explain. The people are so creative and love to have a good time. Everyone is beautiful, and the food is one of the best in the world, in my opinion.


My trip to Mozambique was everything I had hoped it would be. I visited the North of the country in a private game reserve called Lugenda and then headed to Indigo Bay on Bazuroto Island and another stop in a smaller private island called Medjumbe in the Quirimbas Archipelago. The perfect “bush and beach” experience, and the seafood in Mozambique is by far the best I have ever had!

VITO Selma in Iceland

Vito Selma, 28, furniture designer


Luang Prabang, Laos, is the spiritual and religious capital of the country. If you like your days long and slow, and if you want to spend your days soul-searching, this is the destination for you.


It may not be your ideal vacation, but Iceland is a country everyone has to see. You won’t find a place more clean, refreshing and exciting. Every 5 minutes you find a rainbow and every blink of an eye feels like a dream.


There is no place like Namibia. It’s rich in culture, beauty and color. Even the sky turns into a bright orange-red.

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