Adventure Travels to Hidden Gems in the Archipelago

    This list is not for everyone. It is for people who prefer to lie under an open sky with 5,000 stars than lodge in five star places. Ours a country rich with many natural resources, a veritable paradise for the adventurous and the intrepid. It may seem that the landscapes or waters are pretty much the same, but each offers something unique and memorable for as long as there is a willingness to discover. Travels to these parts have increased an appreciation for the spellbinding beauty of nature and heightened a sense of wonder for a creation that is unmistakably divine.

    Bantayan, Cebu

    Bantayan, Cebu

    A long stretch of beach and one of the most amazing displays of a setting sun.

    Best Moments

    Watching one of the most stunning sunsets at Virgin Island.

    Playing Frisbee and football on a long stretch of white, soft sand.

    Riding a motorbike around the island and exploring Ogtong Cave and the different colored jellyfish.

    How To Get There

    Take a one-hour flight from Manila to Cebu.

    Book a van for a three-hour ride from Cebu airport to Hagnaya Port, San Remegio.

    Take a one-hour ferry ride from Hagnaya Port to Sta Fe, Bantayan.

    Badian Canyoneering, Cebu

    Badian Canyoneering, Cebu

    Journey through hidden canyons within the mountains of Cebu.

    Best Moments

    Jumping from cliffs of different heights directly from where the water falls below.

    Gliding down natural waterslides.

    Floating downstream on the river’s current.

    Ride a raft under the waters of Kawasan Falls and get a different type of massage.

    How To Get There

    Take a one-hour flight from Manila to Cebu.

    Rent a van for a two-hour ride from Cebu Airport to Badian drop off point.

    Splash House, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

    Splash House, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

    A playground in the middle of the water spikes adrenaline to new heights.

    Best Moments

    Bouncing up and down on a huge inflatable trampoline in the middle of the sea.

    Speeding down a giant inflatable slide into the water.

    Catapulting into the air 20 feet up on the “blob” before plunging back down into the sea.

    Riding a plastic play horse in the water.

    Competing in a three basketball game set up in the floating fish pen while waiting for lunch of coral groupers (lapu-lapu) and several breeds of lobsters cultivated on site.

    Jumping off a 12-foot diving board.

    Chilling behind Bat Island and catching the amazing sight of thousands of bats migrating to another island at sunset.

    How To Get There

    Take a one-hour flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa.

    It’s a 45-minute drive from Puerto Princesa airport to Honda Bay wharf .

    Get on the 30-minute boat ride from Honda Bay wharf to Splash House.

    Kalanggaman Island, Leyte

    Kalanggaman Island, Leyte

    This is simplicity at it’s finest with powder white sand and crystal clear, turquoise water.

    Best Moments

    Sunbathing in the middle of a sandbar that extends 100 meters.

    Falling asleep to the sound of waves under a sky with a million stars.

    Napping on a hammock in the afternoon swayed by the winds.

    Eating freshly grilled seafood and meats every meal.

    How To Get There

    Take a one-hour flight from Manila to Tacloban.

    Rent a car or a van and drive three hours from Tacloban to Palompon Port.

    Take a one hour boat ride from Palompon port to Kalanggaman Island.

    Panal Reef, Sagay City

    Panal Reef, Sagay City

    Be secluded with preferred company on a reef, sandbar and watch tower, located literally in the middle of the ocean with no land mass visible.

    Best Moments

    Being able to hang out with friends while having drinks on a white sand bar that disappears during high tide and reappears during low tide. It actually becomes a fun game of finding the last remaining spot where the sea cannot reach the sand.

    Snorkeling around Carbin Reef, a marine reserve 30 minutes from Sagay Port. The sandbar in this reef does not disappear during high tide, although its size reduces to fit only a limited number of people.

    Spotting different types of fish around the area.

    How To Get There

    Take a one-hour flight from Manila to Bacolod.

    Arrange for transport for the one-hour-and-a-half ride from Bacolod airport to Sagay Port.

    Get on the 50-minute boat ride to Panal Reef from Sagay Port.

    Nagtabon Beach, Palawan

    The only surfing that can be done is on the water. There is no signal for mobile phones.

    Best Moments

    Driving through rough roads to get the cove makes the journey more rugged and raw.

    Being able to disconnect with the absence of mobile signal.

    Not having any tourists adds to its charm—perfect place to chill and detach.

    We were surprised we were able to catch decent waves in an area that is not well known for surfing. Surf boards were for rent.

    There were no corals or urchins on the beach, which makes it safer for first-time surfers.

    Renting a motorbike to go around the long stretch of virgin beach until you run out of gasoline.

    How To Get There

    Take the one-hour plane ride from Manila to Puerto Princesa.

    Arrange for a 45-minute car ride from Puerto Princesa to Nagtabon Beach. 

    Sohoton Cove, Bucas Grande Island

    Sohoton Cove, Bucas Grande Island

    Amidst little islands is an underwater wonderland of sting-less jellyfish.

    Best Moments

    Facing down fear and having a surreal moment, swimming with thousands of sting-less jellyfish during their mating season.

    Entering dark caves through small pools, where no one can hear you outside no matter how loud you shout.

    Going on mini rock climbing sessions inside the caves surrounded by beautiful stalagmites and stalactites before jumping off a 10-foot platform into a transparent sea.

    Just looking at the gorges and islets with different types of vegetation and wild ornamental flowers, and being filled with a sense of wonder.

    How To Get There

    Take a one-hour-and-a-half flight from Manila to Siargao.

    Make arrangements for the 30-minute van ride from Siargao airport to General Luna Port.

    Board the two-hour bangka ride to Bucas Grande Island from Gen Luna Port.

    Mount Kanlaon, Canlaon City

    Mount Kanlaon, Canlaon City

    Feast on an amazing view of mountains on the climb to the volcano’s crater.

    Best Moments

    Climbing up the roots of big trees, using vines to pull us up towards an active volcano.

    Beholding a scenery of mountains with different types of flora and fauna.

    Looking with disbelief into that massive crater of Mount Kanlaon, which is as big as SM Bacolod, and thinking it could erupt anytime.

    Enjoying 18-year-old Macallan whiskey naturally chilled by the temperature high above in the mountain.

    Forgetting the fatigue from the climb up to the camp site and just moving forward to the peak.

    How to get there:

    Take the one hour flight from Manila to Bacolod

    Drive one hour and a half drive from Bacolod City to Canlaon City to the starting point of the climb.

    Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

    Nagsasa Cove, Zambales

    A beach, surrounded by pine trees, is reached after a two-hour hike up, followed by a two-hour hike down.

    Best Moments

    Hiking up Mount Anawangin, where the trail is surrounded by mountain ranges, ornament grasses and trees up to the grand view of Anawangin Cove.

    Hop on a 45-minute bangka ride from Anawangin Cove to Nagsasa Cove, where you are greeted by a massive beachfront of ash gray, yet very fine sand.

    Hundreds of pine trees towering over the camp site provide a natural, cool shade from the heat of the sun. It felt as if we were in Camp John Hay in Baguio! We did not realize how hot it was until we stepped out.

    Taking selfies and groupfies made better with the sand, sea, mountains and sky layered perfectly as a picturesque background.

    Inflatables were manually blown up to complete this little playground in a private paradise.

    How To Get There

    Drive two and a half hours from Manila to Pundaquit, Zambales.

    Climb two hours up to Anawangin Peak, then descend two hours down to Anawangin Cove.

    Take the 45-minute boat ride from Anawangin Cove to Nagsasa Cove.

    Subic Beach, Matnog, Sorsogon

    Subic Beach, Matnog, Sorsogon

    A cave opens up to your own private beach.

    Best Moments

    Taking a boat to Calintaan Island.

    Swimming in a cave that disappears as the tide rises and diving into a small hole to reach a picturesque private beach.

    Somersaulting, doing back flips and front flips from the cliffs into clear, cold waters.

    Pitching tents in the southern most tip of the island of Luzon, looking out to a three-kilometer stretch of pinkish white sand.

    Listening to the waves.

    Getting lost stargazing and counting shooting stars.

    How To Get There

    It’s a one- hour flight from Manila to Legazpi.

    Arrange for transport for the two-hour drive from Legazpi to Matnog port.

    Get on the 45-minute boat ride from the Port to Subic Beach.

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