Two years after countless and fluctuating COVID-19-related restrictions, many travelers are raring for a comeback. Revenge travel is real!
And what better way to satiate your hunger for wandering than planning it this summer? Just the prospect of it will send excitement throughout your body. After all, our country has more than 7,600 islands waiting to be visited, explored, and marveled at.
But you can’t just pack your luggage without a destination. In case you’re still undecided on where to go, let these travel destinations in the Philippines spark your imagination and help you arrive at a practical decision.
Exciting Destinations in the Philippines for Your Revenge Travel Plans
From Luzon to Mindanao, you’ll always find not only tourist hotspots but also underrated gems. This list is an assortment of beaches, road trips, and adventures.
You can’t talk about Siargao without mentioning the words “surfing,” “beach,” and “beautiful.” However, these words aren't enough to perfectly capture the essence of this paradise. It’s hard to explain the allure of the island, though. You need to personally experience what this place has to offer!
What to Do in Siargao
If you’re a big fan of surfing, Siargao will definitely be your heaven on earth. Siargao's known for its gigantic waves that will give you the ultimate adrenaline rush. Getting wiped out by the waves will be something you’ll enjoy, too.
Thinking of where to go to next? Visit the Sugba Lagoon, a spectacular lagoon surrounded by the greens of the towering mountains. Dive, swim, and take life at a leisurely pace in one of the best travel destinations in the Philippines.
If island hopping's your thing, then head over to Siargao’s three popular islands. Guyam, Daku, and Naked Islands all have breathtaking beaches.
Sadly, Typhoon Odette leveled the island last year. Cloud 9, the iconic three-story hut that stands over the seawater, was destroyed. Nevertheless, the nearby beach still makes a good spot for viewing the sunset―your much-needed respite after your session with the waves.
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2. Ilocos Sur
History buffs and culture vultures will surely have fun in Ilocos Sur. It's home to one of the UNESCO Heritage sites in the Philippines, which is the city of Vigan. From Manila, you can reach the province via an almost 12-hour drive or one-hour flight.
What to Do in Ilocos Sur
One of the main attractions in the province is Calle Crisologo. The cobbled streets and well-preserved heritage houses will make you feel like you're traveling back in time. Everything looks like a postcard, and the place is teeming with history.
You can ride the calesa to tour around the vicinity or visit the shops for some souvenirs. Wait until nighttime to see the place in its full glory. It elegantly transforms under the warm street lamps.
Furthermore, you can also explore the Bantay Bellfry, more commonly known as the Bantay Watch Tower. It's truly an architecture marvel to behold.
Saint Augustine Parish Church is another architectural treasure of the province. It was built in 1590 and boasts of the beauty of Neo-Gothic and Romanesque style.
Love food? Ilocos Sur's also known for its tasty and iconic dishes. Don’t ever leave without feasting on empanada, bagnet, and longganisa.
Sadly, you can’t fly to Japan or South Korea just yet. But if you want to enjoy cool weather, the City of Pines can tide you over. Baguio City's perfectly built upon the mountains. And with its cool weather, it's easily a top-of-mind summer escape of the people from the lowlands.
What to Do in Baguio
The Botanical Garden, Camp John Hay, Mines View Park, Burnham Park, and the Lion’s Head are popular places for starters. But if you’ve been to Baguio many times now, seek out hidden gems that will make for new and memorable experiences.
Why not dip your toes into the warm waters of Asin Hot Spring? Furthermore, support Philippine contemporary art by visiting the BenCab museum. Here you can find masterpieces of National Artist Benedicto Cabrera.
Want to try ghost-hunting? The Diplomat Hotel and the Laperal White House are popular places for such pursuits.
Pangasinan's not just a pass-through location before you reach Baguio or Vigan. What many don’t realize is that the province has a wealth of beautiful spots, making it a great quick escape from the city.
What to Do in Pangasinan
First on the list is the Hundred Islands in Alaminos. Here, you can enjoy sightseeing and island hopping. You can also do water activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, and canoeing.
Another beach to visit is the Patar Beach, also known as the Boracay of Pangasinan. Located in Bolinao, Patar Beach features a long stretch of pristine white sand beach and a magnificent sunset view to boot.
In case you want a pensive trip with lots of room for reflection, the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag is the ideal venue.
Allied Botanical Corporation’s Sunflower Maze in Tayug is also worth a visit. Lastly, don’t ever leave the province without bringing home the famous puto Calasiao.
Boracay wouldn’t be touted as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world for nothing. There’s certainly a reason why people keep coming back to this island. If you haven’t been to Boracay, now's the best time to fly here!
What to Do in Boracay
Boaracay has a lot of beaches to choose from. One beach may look more beautiful than the next. For those who simply want to enjoy the island’s beauty, your best option is the White Beach. It's been aptly named for its powder-soft white sand. This beach is also divided into three sections.
Station 1's where the high-end resorts and restaurants are located. Next, Station 2's where you can shop and dine. Last but not the least, Station 3's where you can enjoy some peace and quiet.
Meanwhile, you can also explore other beaches like Bulabog Beach, a paradise for kite-surfers. After that, make your way to Puka Shell Beach, which is known for its privacy. And if you're feeling a bit adventurous, try Ariel’s Point.
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Still can’t get enough of Philippine beaches? Then head to Coron! Travel + Leisure Magazine even called Palawan, which includes Coron, among the best and most beautiful islands in the world. Needless to say, it's one of the best travel destinations in the Philippines.
What to Do in Coron
Coron has a wealth of beaches. Atwayan Beach is a famous spot for picnics and lunches. In addition, Banana Island features a stunning crescent-shaped lagoon and cream-white sand. Sangat Island, on the other hand, is a great spot for diving enthusiasts.
For freshwater adventures, check out Kayangan Lake. It's touted as the cleanest lake in the Philippines. Kayangan Lake's also popular with photographers and tourists because of the underwater rock formations. Snorkel, dive, and swim. You can also hike the nearby mountain to enjoy the majestic views.
Need a quick remedy for your work-from-home fatigue? A whiff of cold air will do you some good. And where else can you have that than in Tagaytay?
What to Do in Tagaytay
Tagaytay's just an just an hour away from Metro Manila. Aside from the vibrant nature, Tagaytay's warm hospitality also makes it a a great travel destination.
Marvel at the sight of the Taal Lake from the Picnic Grove and Twin Lakes. You can also go up to the People’s Park in the Sky for a 360-degree view of the highlands and the city’s neighboring towns.
Tagaytay's also known for its culinary delights. Visit top-rated restaurants like Breakfast at Antonio’s and Sonya’s Garden. There are also many coffee shops and dessert places along the highway.
For a grittier food adventure, stop by the eateries at the Mahogany Market. Warm yourself up with generous servings of bulalo. Enjoy the fried crispy goodness of tawilis and chicharong bulaklak.
In short, you can have a little bit of everything at this market. Make sure to come with an appetite because you'll want to try everything!
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8. Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor
Beaches within close proximity and warm people are among the things that cemented Dumaguete’s reputation as a laidback city. The Negros Oriental capital makes a good destination if you’re looking for alternative to more popular spots in Visayas, such as Cebu and Bohol.
While you’re at it, include Siquijor in your itinerary. As small as it seems, this island's packed with big surprises.
What to Do in Dumaguete and Siquijor
Dumaguete City's known for being a divers’ paradise because of its proximity to stunning diving spots. So, if you want to get a diver’s certificate, consider heading over to this city. Plus you may find that the cost of diving training here's much more affordable compared with the prices in other locations.
Around 45 minutes from south of Dumaguete is Apo Island. This is also a perfect diving spot since it’s a sanctuary for hundreds of sea turtles. You may walk along the white coast or hike to the view deck to see the panorama of the crystal-clear sea.
Back in the city, you may want to go downtown and explore Silliman University, perhaps one of the most beautiful universities in the Philippines. Come sunset, stroll along Rizal Boulevard and go people-watching.
The tiny island of Siquijor, on the other hand, is about 1.5 hours from Dumaguete City. Once on the island, you may charter a tricycle or rent a scooter to visit different destinations.
Popular beaches include Salagdaang, Paliton, and Tubod Marine Sanctuary. But if you booked a hotel or hostel by the beach and you don’t feel like touring, you may opt to just laze around there. This is because that beach will surely be stunning in its own right.
Make it a point to swim at Cambugahay Falls. These waterfalls are actually composed of three separate falls located on different levels. If you have a drone camera, use it to capture the entirety of the falls from above.
9. Tibiao, Antique
Panay Island's full of hidden wonders that’ll make you fall in love with the Philippines even more. Tibiao, which is located in Antique, should be among the first places you must visit.
Often called the Eco-Adventure Capital of Panay Island, Tibiao lets you immerse in the unspoilt beauty of nature. There are also lots of activities in this town that will make your stay worthwhile and memorable.
What to Do in Tibiao
The 30-kilometer Tibiao River makes a good spot for adventure. You can either swim or kayak here while admiring the greenery around you.
If you’re feeling a bit brave, why not go tubing? Just ride a flotation device and let the river current take you away. Don’t worry, as there are guides keeping an eye on you. They’ll help you in case you get stuck between rocks or if you start floating away from them.
Visit Bugtong Bato Falls if you’re in the mood for trekking. You can go here for picnics or for a refreshing dip in its cool waters.
If you want a unique bathtub experience, a kawa hot bath will give you that. The giant wok's heated for 30 minutes. The spring water used for the bath's usually infused with flowers, herbal leaves, salt, wine, and even coffee. What amplifies this experience is the uninterrupted views of the green mountains around you.
Got more time to explore this side of Antique? If you want to get a taste of the local life, you may try pottery making and lambaklad fishing.
For those looking for a tropical beach experience, you’ll find it in Seco Island, which is about three hours away from Tibiao. The powder white sand and the crystal-clear waters are easily worthy of a spot or two on your Instagram page.
Mindanao has a wealth of beautiful tourist destination in the Philippines. The small island of Camiguin, which is famous for its sweet lanzones, will wow you with gigantic fun.
What to Do in Camiguin?
Being surrounded by water, you’ll easily find a lot of picturesque beaches in Camiguin. Among those you need to visit are Mantigue Island and White Island. Activities in Mantigue Island include swimming and strolling through its dense forest.
White Island, on the other hand, is a white sandbar located about 1.4 kilometers from Mambajao, Camiguin’s capital. It’s a great venue for sunbathing and swimming. But if you’re into nature photography, you can get a good view of Mount Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano in Camiguin.
Still can’t get enough of marine adventures? Dive into the shoals of Jicdup and Burias and swim with tunas and even barracudas. For an otherworldly swim, try exploring the Sunken Cemetery. This is a real cemetery submerged underwater when Mount Vulcan (also called Old Volcano) erupted in the 1940s and 1950s.
After a day or two on the beach, you may want to conquer Mount Hibok-Hibok. The climb's quite challenging, but you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view when you reach the summit.
Bukidnon's a landlocked-province in North Central Mindanao. Its elevation is quite high, so expect cool temperatures and refreshing air. The province is blessed with natural features that draw in tourists not only from Mindanao but also from other parts of the Philippines.
What to Do in Bukidnon?
If you simply want to chill and experience a bit of adventure, the Dahilayan Forest Park and the Dahilayan Adventure Park have your back. The Dahilayan Forest Park will make you feel like you’re in a temperate forest somewhere in Europe. Surrounded with towering pine trees, the park's a great picnic spot for families and groups of friends.
Feeling a bit adventurous? The Dahilayan Adventure Park has two 840-meter ziplines with a drop of 100 meters. Razorback coaster, on the other hand, will remind you of the alpine coasters of Switzerland.
Still on the adventurous side, Mount Kitanglad Range Nature Park lets you explore Bukidnon’s enchanted side. Mossy forests and wild flora, such as rafflesia, are all found here.
Bukidnon's also home to large pineapple plantations. So while you’re in the province, visit Camp Philips, a community in the town of Manolo Fortich that houses Del Monte’s pineapple plantation. Dine at Del Monte Clubhouse and get a taste of steaks that are sourced from pineapple-fed cattle.
12. Samal Island, Davao del Norte
The phrase “Island Garden” is always incorporated into the name of Samal City for a reason. This Davao del Norte city is home to some of the country’s most majestic beaches. This is a must-visit tourist destination in the Philippines for beach lovers.
What to Do in Samal Island?
There are a lot of nature activities to partake in on the island. Among the very first things that you may want to do is visit Pearl Farm Beach Resort. While it’s a luxurious spot, it offers tourists a day tour. Nevertheless, you can simply chill and enjoy the resort’s white sand and turquoise waters.
Samal Island also has a lot of diving spots where you can explore the region’s rich marine biodiversity. Include the following local tourist destinations in your list: Coral Garden and Marine Reservation Park, Giant Clam Sanctuary, and Aundanao Fish Sanctuary. In one of your dives, you may even spot sunken World War II ships.
Other destinations and activities on the island are obviously intended for adventurers. Nevertheless, non-adventurers can try them, too. You can explore the Monfort Bat Cave and Hagimit Falls.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While the travel restrictions have already loosened up, keep in mind that some tourist spots may still be closed to the public. Coordinate with your destination’s local government unit (LGU) or your travel agency regarding this.
Important Travel Requirements This New Normal
Travelers are rejoicing these days, as the pandemic restrictions have been put on Alert Level 1. This means that intrazonal and interzonal travel will be allowed without regard to age and comorbidities. Moreover, all establishments are allowed to operate.
However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be lax when you travel. You still need to keep in mind the requirements imposed by the government regarding travels. Here are some of them:
Among the documents that you need to present is the S-PaSS or the Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage. On its website, you can check the travel policies of different LGUs:
- Restricted: Needs Travel Coordination Permit (TCP)
- Unrestricted: No TCP Needed
- Unrestricted But Passing Through Restricted: Needs Travel Pass -Through Permit (TPP)
You can also apply for the necessary travel permits on the website. Approval's fast, especially if you have the required documents. Remember, though, that not all LGUs are using S-PaSS. In such cases, you’ll need to coordinate directly with your destination’s LGU.
2. Proof of Vaccination
The LGU of your destination will certainly require proof of vaccination. You can present your original vaccination card or your original vaccination certificate
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3. Government-Issued ID
This is needed for validating your passes and even your proof of vaccination. Recognized valid IDs include passports and voter’s ID.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Different LGUs may require different sets of requirements. So, before you travel, make it a point to get in touch with your destination’s LGU. That way, you’ll be able to avoid hassles, delays, and inconveniences.
4. Negative COVID-19 Test Results
If you’re unvaccinated or only have the first dose, anticipate that the LGU of your destination will require an original copy of your COVID-19 test with a negative result. You may be asked to produce a copy of your test result up to 48 hours prior to your arrival.
Finally! Travelers will be able to see the beauty of different travel destinations in the Philippines once again. However, don’t be too lax with certain government restrictions. Despite the fact that many towns and cities are already placed on Alert Level 1, the virus is still among us.
In short, you still need to observe health and safety protocols whenever you go out. For instance, wear your face mask and observe social distancing wherever you go. Enjoy your travels, but not at the expense of safety. Make sure that you and your fellow travelers are safe, too!
-  From 7,107 to 7,641 (Inquirer, 2021)
-  Condé Nast Traveler Names Boracay, Palawan Among World’s Famous Island Beaches (Inquirer, 2021)
-  DOH Alert Level 1
-  S-PaSS Website
-  VaxCertPH Website