What are the perfect summer getaways to visit in the Philippines?
I’ve often been getting this question in my email, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. Of course, I already have a ready answer for this. And although my list of perfect Philippine Summer Getaways keeps changing every year, it is pretty much the same this year.
I’ve been so blessed to get the chance to visit some of the most amazing islands in this archipelago, but I have to admit, there are still a lot of places listed on my bucket list that I am yet to check out. To give you a list of perfect Philippine summer getaways you can visit and explore this year, I invited some of our helpful Filipino travel bloggers to this collaborative post.
This scenic upland town isn’t yet on the top of mainstream travelers’ lists but based on recent figures, it’s on its way there. This town of idyllic charm upstream of South Cotabato is SOX (SOCCSKSARGEN) Region’s cultural and adventure haven. What can you do there in summer? Try trekking 7 Falls Ecopark’s canopy trail to see all of the 7 waterfalls; take a private cruise around the 354-hectare lake; meet the Tboli indigenous peoples and be surprised by their culture and stories, or just take a daily dose of dozing off on your lounging chair at the balcony of your lakeside room.
Lake Sebu’s average temperature is around 22 degrees and could drop to 17 degrees. That’s enough chill you’ll need for a summer feel.
- Text and Photos by Louie Pacardo of Nomadperspectives.com
A Timeless Beauty and My One Great Love. This is how I describe Batanes. It is glorious. Simply magnanimous and certifiably breathtaking. Batanes is the ultimate summer destination for those looking for an exhilarating adventure. Nature has perfectly carved its rugged shores while its isolation has preserved the beautiful Ivatan culture. A visit to Batanes anytime between January to June is recommended. Allow a minimum of four days to explore the main island Batan and nearby Sabtang. For those up for the roller-coaster Faluwa boat ride towards Itbayat island, a longer stay is a must.
Batanes Isles is literally in the heavens; the people are the friendliest. Do not forget to have coffee in the Honesty Store and visit Dakay’s House. Go crazy for once in your life and hop around ala Julie Andrews just like in the Sound of Music when you visit the rolling hills. Let the crashing waves drown out your voice when you shout to the seas. Rent a bike and explore the streets of Basco. Eat healthily. Though expect that prices are a little bit higher than in other destinations. And one last thing. Talk to the cows and goats when you have the chance. It is your way of helping them to take a break from their non-stop grazing.
- Text and Photos by Paula Anntoneth O of Pondering Paodaolei
When it’s summertime, there’s one place I recommend again and again to people in Manila: Puerto Galera. Sure, it gets crowded during Holy Week, but it isn’t so bad on regular weekends.
What I love most about Puerto Galera is its range of options. Accommodations are aplenty, and activities abound. It’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, diving, jet skiing, and other water sports. You can also just walk along the beach or watch the sunset while drinking with your buddies.
If you’re into native products, buy some in the Mangyan Village, you help the people there with your purchase and, at the same time, have something unique to bring back home too. Check my 3day/2night itinerary!
- Text and Photos by Aleah Taboclaon of Solitary Wanderer
This piece of paradise is just one short boat ride away from foodie heaven, Dumaguete. It has been christened the Island of Fire, and rightly so; with tales of witchcraft and magical mischief, this magical place is one of Negros Occidental’s best-kept treasures.
It has white powder sand beaches and cold mountains to satiate even the pickiest adventurers. The only problem is how time never seems to stand still in Siquijor. And whether you have been there for five days or five months, that time will always feel as if it passed by in such a blur.
- Text and Photos by Lauren Gaile of Pandelicious
White Pebbles Beach at Minalabac, Camarines Sur
The perfect Philippine Summer Getaway for me is the White Pebbles Beach at Brgy. Bagolatao, Minalabac, Camarines Sur. It’s just approximately a forty-minute drive from Naga City.
The place offers an unadulterated scenery that will force you to put your mobile phone down, especially when you get to the hilltop, where you can appreciate the encompassing view of the shoreline. The white pebbles are guaranteed to be more picturesque than Schoolhouse Beach’s on Washington Island in the United States. You wouldn’t hesitate to dip in the cerulean, clean waters. There are other numerous exciting and adventurous activities, of course. What makes it all the more inviting is the absence of fancy real estates developments like hotels or air-conditioned native houses in the area. It defines a laid-back yet quaint beach, making a summer getaway easy on the pocket. Finally, the beach’s relatively obscure name makes the place sparsely populated even during peak season.
- Text and Photos by Sonyboy Fugaban of Stories of The Wandering Feet & Mind
Mt. Hugom, Batangas
This is recommended for those who want to combine a scenic hike and a trip to the beach in a day. Opened in the latter part of 2015, this new mountain trail near the beach resorts in Laiya is impressive, offering a variety of scenery – forested areas with enormous trees, rocky sections, and grassland.
The summit at 570 MASL can be reached within 3 hours at a relaxed pace and offers sweeping views of Laiya’s coastline and the Lobo-San Juan Mountain range. To avoid the sun’s heat, the suggested time to visit is early morning, ideally before sunrise. Guides can be secured in Barangay Hugom for 400/day. Local contact is Kapitan Boyet (+63 9167664936).
- Text and Photos by Christine P. Fernandez of Jovial Wanderer
Magalawa Island, Zambales
If serenity in seclusion is a prized possession, consider Magalawa Island off the coast of Palauig, Zambales, your own whisper-quiet coastal retreat. Accessible after a 6-hour bus ride from Manila and a short boat ride, it is often devoid of tourists and noise. The 50-hectare strip features a mangrove forest, pretty starfishes, and a vegetated cream shore that slopes gently to still and glassy waters.
Rustic seafront huts open onto expansive views of Mt. Tapulao, Matalvis Island, and San Salvador Island, which houses giant clams and vibrant reefs 10 minutes away from Magalawa. Trips to the latter and nearby Bakala Islands can be arranged from Ruiz Resort on-site. For the whole back-to-basics experience, pitch a tent and camp out under the stars.
- Text and Photos by Gretchen Filart Dublin of Filipina Explorer
Cantabaco and Poog in Toledo, Cebu
This year, why not try something that pushes you to your limit? Why not try rock climbing in Cantabaco and Poog in Toledo, Cebu? These neighboring crags are two of the country’s finest sport climbing destinations- all made of pure, clean limestone.
Pump up your adrenaline as you attempt to beat yourself and reach the anchors of over 100 climbing routes. Enjoy a great view from the top of the crag. Skilled local guides have all the necessary equipment and skills to ensure you are safe and having a great time.
- Text and Photos by Gian and Sheila of Adrenaline Romance
For those based in the metro, Tanay in the province of Rizal is a nearby destination offering many adventure activities for weekends and summer excursions. With portions of Tanay hidden in the Sierra Madre mountain ranges, the town has several waterfalls, rivers, and caves worth checking out.
Camp out, hike in Daraitan, or marvel at the naturally carved white rock formations along the Tinipak River. A newly opened site gaining popularity is Masungi Rocks. This mountain rock formation was converted into Georeserve, with a conservation area and hiking trail with a hanging bridge, cave, giant hammock, and viewing deck.
- Text and Photos by Kara Santos of Travel Up
In the town of Badian, 130 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, the crowd drawer is a gorgeous waterfall named Kawasan. There are three major waterfalls with their own unique appeal. The first is the most photographed and also the most crowded. If you have the luxury of time and want to spend the day in front of a good view, you can rent cottages and tables for your meals. Nature is in full force. The gargling sound of the water as it makes its way to the pond and the river is joined by the rustling green foliage, the sleepless crickets, and the jolly birds.
Another fun activity to try in groups is canyoneering. Although it can be extreme for beginners, the whole adventure is fun and may just be your most unforgettable experience in Cebu. You don’t need to be the best swimmer; that life vest can do the magic in the water. All you really need to go through the “obstacle course” is energy and enthusiasm to survive the challenge.
- Text and Photos by Aris Mape of Dyan Lang
In a tropical country of over 7,000 islands like the Philippines, it can be tough to whittle down the must-visits this summer. For people who want to be away from the world for a while and those who want to spend a relaxing day lounging in the hammock with views that look like screen savers, then Guimaras is for you!
This island province in Western Visayas Region has remained relatively untouched by modern life, despite its close proximity to Iloilo City. Trappist Monastery, Guisi Lighthouse and Guisi Beach, Raymen Beach, Turtle Island, and Mango Research Institute are attractions you can enjoy on this idyllic island. And do not forget to take home some Guitars Mangoes with you!
- Text and Photos by Milet Miranda of Project Gora
San Agustin, Surigao del Sur
Britania Group of Islands is located in Brgy. Britania in San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. It comprises 24 islands and islets in the crystal clear waters of Lianga Bay in the eastern part of Mindanao.
Most of these islands are uninhabited, and only a few have a beach. Even during peak season, you can have an island all to yourself. It’s one of Surigao del Sur’s best-kept secrets.
- Text and Photos by Tob Castaneda of TheLostKids.ph
Bolinao in Pangasinan
Just about a 4-5 hour drive from the metro, Bolinao has been my kiddo’s yearly summer craze. The long stretch of white sand and the turquoise sea is an irresistible temptation for young and the once young visitors.
Apart from the beaches, the caves of Bolinao are another must-see, and a dip at Enchanted Cave will surely complete your trip. For me, the best way to end a Bolinao day is a sunset by the lighthouse, a reminder of daily life ending and a new day ahead.
- Text and Photos by Jho VD of Mountainsnbeyond.com
With 7,107 islands to explore, these Summer Getaways need not be splurges. In fact, many go-to places in the country are perfect for value-seeking travelers. Looking at how millennials are shaping the tourism industry today, splitting expenses with friends is the newest and hippest way to go.
While availing of tour packages is still the best way to enjoy a hassle-free vacation, some travelers prefer to conduct do-it-yourself (DIY) trips to enjoy the tourist spots at their own pace. Thanks to online travel resources, everyone can now book online or plan their own itinerary in just a snap.