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Spend this year’s Christmas at these 6 offbeat Philippine destinations

Six equally gorgeous but less crowded Philippine destinations to visit this coming Christmas

When Christmas rolls around, it’s easy enough to mull about places like Baguio and Boracay as top spots for a holiday getaway. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with heading for these locations again and again; there’s a reason why these places are considered tourist magnets, after all. But if you want to take the road less traveled for this year’s Yuletide out-of-town trip, check out’s list of six unique vacation spots to visit.

Lake Sebu Photo by Peter V Sanchez via Wikimedia Commons
Lake Sebu Photo by Peter V Sanchez via Wikimedia Commons

#1 Have a Yule that’s cool at the chilly surroundings of Lake Sebu

Located in South Cotabato, Lake Sebu has a consistent climate said to be comparable to that of Tagaytay. The municipality is relatively cool throughout the year, with temperatures usually ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, perfect for anyone seeking a winter-like getaway for the holidays. Start your adventure by visiting the Seven Falls in Barangay Siloton, which you can view either by trekking or riding a zipline. You can also enjoy the natural sights around Lake Sebu aboard a boat that features cultural performances. If you want to support local entrepreneurs, you can learn about T’nalak weaving, a traditional craft practiced by T’boli women.

#2 Christmas got you seeing green? The biodiversity of Palaui Island is waiting for you

Palaui Island photo by Yvette Tan via Flickr
Palaui Island photo by Yvette Tan via Flickr

More than just the filming location of US reality TV show Survivor back in 2013, Palaui Island is a virtually untouched, ecologically diverse area found at the northeast part of Luzon. The island has 50 hectares of undisturbed corals housing 21 commercial species of fish, contains over a hundred wood species and 25 imported shrubs, and attracts over 90 species of migratory birds each year. During your stay, you can visit the ruins of the Cape Engaño Lighthouse, swim at Anguib Cove, or go trekking at Punta Verde.

#3 Experience a white Christmas by traversing the snow-like sands of Cagbalete Island

Cagbelete Island
Cagbelete Island

Cagbalete Island in Mauban, Quezon, measures 1,640 hectares and has an incredibly diverse ecosystem that any outdoorsy type will enjoy, but what sun worshippers love about the place is the white sand of the beach. When low tide occurs, the water can recede up to a kilometer from the shore, which exposes the rippled stretch of compact, fine white sand. Once you’re there, don’t forget to trek to other must-visit spots too, like Bonsai Island, a rock islet that appears only when the tide is low.

#4 Give love on Christmas day by interacting with the locals of Kalinga

Kalinga Province
Kalinga Province

It’s common knowledge that the Yuletide season is a time for being extra friendly toward your neighbor, but why not go the extra mile by visiting the indigenous tribes of Kalinga? Located in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Kalinga is home to various tribes, each of which has traditions and histories worth learning about. In the middle of immersing yourself in the province’s rich culture, head to Pasil for white water rafting, Tinglayan for biking, or Buscalan to get a tattoo from the world-famous Kalinga mambabatok (tattoo artist), Apo Whang-od.

#5 Complete your Noche Buena spread with bibingka from Ilocos Sur

Vigan City
Vigan City

This year, skip the typical bibingka being cooked alongside puto bumbong outside Metro Manila’s churches. Instead, opt for the bibingkang malagkit made special at Ilocos Sur. Don’t worry, Ilocos Sur’s fame isn’t just for their attempt at setting a world record for cooking the biggest rice cake. The province is also famous as the home of the heritage city of Vigan, as well as several scenic beaches, historical churches, and nature spots, so you’ll definitely have a lot to do as you snack on a slice of local bibingka while awaiting the stroke of midnight on December 24.

#6 ‘Rock’ around the Christmas tree by visiting the rock formations of Biri Island

Biri Island
Biri Island photo by Retrac04 via Flickr

Biri Island is the largest island of the municipality of Biri, which is located in Northern Samar. Frequent travelers who have been lucky enough to visit this island would probably be unanimous in saying that its main attractions are the large, unusual rock formations scattered all over the island. There are a total of seven—Bel-at, Caranas, Macadlaw, Magasang, Magsapad, Pinanahawan, and Puhunan—and each one is as Instagram-worthy as the next.

Written by Melo Villareal

Melo Villareal is the Online Publisher of He is an Accountant by profession who left the corporate world at the age of 23 to explore his beautiful country and the rest of the world. Today, Melo works as a part-time Social Media Manager for local and international clients. His full-time work focuses on discovering interesting culture, explore different cuisines and take memorable photos from local and international destinations he's visiting.

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