As an archipelago with more than 7000 islands, the Philippines is known by travellers worldwide for its beautiful beaches and natural wonders. Listed by Forbes as one of seven countries with the potential to become major travel destinations once COVID-19 is contained, all over the country, the Philippines offers unique experiences for all kinds of travellers looking to shake off the fatigue that comes with travel restrictions and closed borders.
From sandy shores to historical cultural heritage destinations, here are some of the places worth seeing the next time you’re in the Philippines:
Baguio and Benguet
Popularly referred to as the “The City of Pines”, Baguio is a city in the province of Benguet, accessible by a 4 to 6-hour drive from Manila. Known for its pine trees and cool weather, Baguio has always been a welcome respite for Filipinos looking for a break from the heat.
The Mirador Jesuit Villa in Baguio City offers an enriching historical and spiritual journey with attractions like the Mirador retreat house, a bamboo trail, weather station, labyrinth, and outdoor café overlooking the city with breathtaking sunset. Also, one of Baguio’s most popular go-to spots is the Bencab Museum, which oozes with creative inspiration from some of the masterpieces of National Artist for Visual Arts Ben Cabrera. Meanwhile, the Winaca Village in the province of Benguet also gives tourists a visual 101 on the history and culture of the indigenous Igorot tribe.
Also new in Benguet are eco- and agro-tourism destinations like Armando’s Lemon Farm and Polig Berry Farm. With activities like lemon and strawberry picking activities, guests can reconnect with nature by enjoying its fruitful bounty first-hand.
The province of Ilocos Norte is home to many attractions that showcase the Philippines’ colorful culture and ecological diversity. In the town of Paoay, the famous Paoay Sand Dunes gives tourists a thrilling desert experience with activities like sandboarding, ATV and 4×4 truck riding.
For history buffs, the St. Augustine Parish Church, better known as Paoay Church, is one of the oldest Catholic churches in the Philippines and in Asia built in the 1600s. This UNESCO Heritage site has kept its unique architectural charm through regular upkeep and provides a good visual representation of the influence of the Spaniards in Philippine culture.
The same goes for Sitio Remedios Heritage Village Resort in Currimao, which also gives a glimpse into life in the past, but with the convenience of modern leisure for a relaxing vacation.
In neighboring Ilocos Sur, the famous Calle Crisologo in Vigan City remains to be a delight for tourists and shoppers alike. The thoroughfare’s old-world charm is beautifully preserved, and a spectacular sight to behold at night once the street lamps come on. With every edifice lining the street decorated with details straight from the Spanish colonial era, walking along Calle Crisologo’s cobblestone pathways is almost like taking a trip back in time.
A visit to the Philippines would not be complete without a trip to the beach. The island of Boracay, of course, is one of the most famous and most awarded in the world, and a definite must-see when in the country.
After intensive rehabilitation projects in the island which began in 2019 and continued throughout 2020, a good number of hotels, restaurants, and other tourism establishments are now ready to serve guests looking to enjoy the island life.
Famous for its lush marine life, the diving spots of Anilao in Mabini, Batangas are a hit with tourists who need a breather from their usual stay-at-home set-up. As the ideal diving season happens from November to May, there is a big window for adventure seekers from all over the world to dive into an unforgettable under-the-sea adventure.
For tourists with an appreciation for the arts, the famous Pinto Art Museum and Art Sector galleries in the Province of Rizal offer some of the best from the Philippine contemporary art scene. The former is famous for its exhibitions set in mission-style buildings surrounded by lush relaxing gardens. The latter on the other hand offers stunning, picturesque views of the mountains and Laguna Lake.
Rizal’s hidden gem, the Burrow Cafe, aims to bring people closer to nature by situating diners in a lush space surrounded by a dense forest. Accessed by going down a 76-step staircase from the main road, this spot is well-known for its all-day breakfast and lunch menu full of Filipino-infused international favorites.
Lastly, for folks looking to experience a taste of “the sweet life”, come to Bacolod, the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental – fondly referred to as the sugar capital of The Philippines.
In Bacolod, cosmopolitan tastes come together with rustic living. Stay in at Casa Gamboa, enjoy taking pictures of The Ruins, and take in visual art exhibits at the Bacolod Art District, before settling down to enjoy some classic Visayan cooking from Emma Lacson’s House, Ann Co Cakes, and El Ideal Bakery.
In preparation to ensure safe travels for future visitors of the country, under the direction of the Philippine Secretary of Tourism, Berna Romulo-Puyat, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has actively implemented new public health and safety guidelines and protocols for the future influx of tourists. By the time the world opens up again, new and previously celebrated attractions across the nation will be ready for people across the globe to come and experience just what makes the Philippines a fun and memorable travel destination.
For the latest updates and travel advisories about the Philippines, please visit http://www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at the Google Play and App Store.