Ten Items for your Bucket List: Adventure Spots in the Philippines
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Before I became the traveler that I am now, I only had a very vague idea of how large the world is. I live in a very big and urbanized city, so I always thought that maybe the cities outside of my home couldn’t get any bigger—or different.
When I started travelling, my perception changed. Each city was vaster than the previous, considering not just geographical size, but also culture, language, food, and other traditions. Each time I travelled to a new place, I shrunk. I shrunk because I am amazed at how diverse and almost infinitely large the world is—and also because of the adrenaline rush.
My home country, the Philippines, is in itself, a vast world of discoveries. With thousands of islands to explore, one trip proves to be a different experience from the next, and I’m ready to continue marveling at the beauty of our big world. I haven’t explored every last island of the Philippines, but below are some places that are in my bucket list, some of which I have already crossed out:
1. Ziplining in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
One of the major eco-tourism destinations in the province of South Cotabato, Lake Sebu is a renowned body of water with the most breathtaking sceneries. It is one of the most important and largest watersheds in the region. Lake Sebu is also known for the seven waterfalls that are connected to the lake. Some are accessible via varying difficulty of treks. However, the best way to see all the waterfalls is by ziplining your way across all them like Superman.
2. Beach hopping and hiking in Capones Island, Zambales
Capones Island is one of the highlights of the municipality of San Antonio, Zambales. What makes Capones Island stand out among all the beaches in the area is its wonderful rock formations, coralline shores, and its lone, abandoned, Spanish lighthouse in the peak of its small stone hills. Getting to Capones Island requires a short boat ride, and getting to see the view up the summit requires a bit of hiking. This is definitely not your ordinary beach hopping activity.
3. Discovering Bolinao Falls in Pangasinan
Luzon is the largest of the three main islands in the Philippines. It has the shape of a head turned sideways, and Bolinao, a municipality in Pangasinan, is located at the literal tip of Luzon’s “nose”. But the best part about Bolinao isn’t the fact that it’s part of a nose. Bolinao is home to Bolinao Falls, the lesser-visited tourist destination in the municipality. Clear, chill waters that are far away from town… simply describing the cascading waterfalls doesn’t do it justice. Oh, and did I mention that there are two Bolinao Falls? They are located just a few minutes (of hiking) from each other.
4. Paramotoring in Polomolok, South Cotabato
Do you ever think about what it’s like to fly in the sky without the walls of an airplane? In Polomok, you can rent a paramotor and fly freely in the vast open skies like a drone. Set aside your fear of heights and marvel at the unique aerial views of fields of plantations, the distant Mt. Matutum, and South Cotabato.
5. Playing in The Sandbox in Porac, Pampanga
Awake the child in you by playing in the enormous playground of The Sandbox in Porac, Pampanga. Featuring a massive outdoor swing (it’s the tallest swing in the Philippines, by the way), a roller coaster zipline, a five-storey climbing tower, and more, you’ll surely run out of energy before you can explore this outdoor playground.
6. Unwinding in Sagada, Mountain Province
The entire municipality of Sagada is a paradise. Sagada’s perfectly cool climate (the hottest months only reach less than 20 degrees Celsius!) all-year round makes the agricultural industry of the municipality thrive. Its unpaved streets, small houses, and well-preserved sceneries are just spectacular. Travel to the cold Bomod-ok and Bokong Falls (if you can stand the cold), or maybe get a glimpse of the world-renowned Hanging Coffins. Saying the things that one could do here would make this article too long!
7. Paragliding in Carmona Ridge, Cavite
If you think hiking or beach hoping has become too mainstream, then you might want to go paragliding in Carmona Ridge, Cavite. The paragliding area is a huge, windy, open space that will surely elevate your levels of adrenaline. In Carmona Ridge, you can rent a paraglider and be accompanied by a skilled pilot.
8. Hiking Marathon in Mt Tapyas, Coron Palawan
Want to experience Adventure in Paradise? Try to run uphill till you reach the peak of Mt Tapyas in Coron Palawan. Coron, one of the municipalities in the province of Palawan, is one of the leading tourist destinations not just in the Philippines, but in the entire world. Coron’s unspoiled environments, like Coron Island, Mt. Tapyas, and Kayangan Lake, are simply majestic and shouldn’t be missed… just prepare your hiking and waterproof gear!
9. Exploring in Subic Bay
The best views in Subic Bay can be seen a few miles offshore, a few miles underwater. A formerly active United States naval base, Subic Bay’s waters are deep and are known for holding several shipwrecks that date to as far back as the late 1890s. One of the most active tourist activities in the area is diving, and there’s nothing better than seeing the ruins firsthand underwater with your SCUBA gear.
10. Hiking and swimming in Merloquet Falls, Zamboanga
The most picturesque waterfalls in this list is Merloquet Falls, two-tier waterfalls with delicate, chill waters gracefully falling down rows of rocks that have surfaces softened by the constant weathering. The falls is two hours away from the city center and getting there requires a short hike, but the slight difficulty of getting here is one of the highlights of the trip. Hearing the sounds of the waterfalls as you gradually near it is definitely one of the best motivations you can get as a traveler.