With its wide array of white sand beaches, pristine waters, impressive mountain ranges, and other natural and manmade wonders, the Philippines truly has a lot to offer to local and foreign tourists alike. Instead of just viewing and appreciating these beauties from afar, however, wouldn’t it be nice to fully immerse in them? If you are ready to get out of your comfort zone and make the most out of your next trip, here are a handful of recommended tourist spots in the Philippines that are sure to bring out your inner thrill seeker.
Scale Mount Hibok-Hibok in Camiguin
Mount Hibok-Hibok — Image Credit: PostScriptAdventure
Mountaineering and hiking are fast becoming the favorite past times of many young Filipinos. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, knowing that the country has some of the best mountains and trails that readily await visitors who embrace nature and its wild side.
If you are in for a good hike that will leave you with sweaty palms and palpitating heart, Mount Hibok-Hibok in Camiguin Island is one of the best tourist spots in the Philippines to visit. Unlike any other hiking trail, this one is an active volcano that is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Although there are no signs of volcanic activity here, a special permit from the DENR office in Mambajao is necessary to make the hike. At 1,332 meters, scaling Hibok-Hibok make for a challenging day trip because of rapid altitude gain and minimal coverage from the sun. Reaching the peak may take anywhere between 3 and 5 hours, but rest assured that your struggle won’t go in vain as you will be greeted by the spectacular views of Ilihan Crater, the nearby White Island, and even Bohol to the north, Surigao to the east, and Siquijor to the west.
Go Canyoneering in Cebu
Kawasan Falls Canyoneering — Image Credit: Cebu Bohol Travel Tours
Cebu is best known for its beaches and coral atolls, which explains why it’s one of the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines. Beyond these natural wonders, however, Cebu also boasts lush foliage and rough canyons that appeal to thrill seeking tourists. If you happen to be one of them, Matutinao River Kawasan Falls won’t disappoint.
Located in Badian, which is a 3-hour drive from Cebu City, Kawasan Falls and its surrounding area are best explored through canyoneering—an activity that combines various techniques such as walking, climbing, jumping, swimming, and rappelling. Imagine yourself trekking through thick foliage, rappelling walls, jumping off a waterfall, and swimming down rapids. What more adventure could you ask for?
Dive with Whale Sharks in Sorsogon
Whale Shark in Donsol — Image Credit: Mambulaoans Worldwide Buzz
Sharks may have that fearsome reputation as bloodthirsty man-eaters, but the species of whale sharks (locally called “butanding”) that frequent Donsol in Sorsogon are the exact opposite. These gentle giants of the sea are known for their timid and curious nature. Due to this, it is not dangerous to interact with them at all. In fact, “magical” is probably the best term to describe an encounter with these swimmers up close.
Go to Donsol between the months of January and July, as these are the times when unknown numbers of whale sharks gather in the waters of this coastal town to feed on planktons and krill. Prior to getting into the deep, you will have to attend an orientation to know the guidelines that must be observed during your interaction with whale sharks. Once you are familiar with the rules, get into your assigned boat complete with your life jacket and snorkeling gear, and be ready to swim in the middle of the sea and be in awe of these wonderful creatures.
Ride Down the Sand Dunes of Ilocos Norte
La Paz Sand Dunes — Image Credit: Wikipedia
If extreme adventures that involve water is not your cup of tea, sandboarding is something worth your consideration. The sand dunes in La Paz and Paoay both in Ilocos Norte are the best tourist spots in the Philippines to live this adventure. You can grab a board and slide down the steep, powdery dunes, while taking in the beautiful view of the ocean nearby. If you haven’t had enough of the sand but are too tired to go up and down the dunes, continue your adventure by hopping on a 4x4 or ATV that will take you through those sandy slopes with a bit of wiggle and shake.
Be Carried Away to the Skies by a Hot Air Balloon in Clark
Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta — Image Credit: Ninjakeg (Wikimedia Commons)
Ready to finally conquer your fear of heights or perhaps give in to your desire to soar through the air? Riding a hot air balloon is the first step to make that a reality. Each year, Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City, Pampanga hosts The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, making the area one of the premier tourist spots in the Philippines. The festival, which occurs between January and February has been running for over two decades and is known for featuring more than a hundred of multi-colored hot air balloons flown by pilots from around the world.
Flying exhibitions are usually done early in the morning. Soon after, there are a number of flying activities where attendees can take part in, including hot air balloon riding. Discovery flight tickets can be booked through the fiesta’s official website prior to the event. Be sure to get one so you can conquer the skies and get an unbeatable view of Pampanga and other towns from above. Aside from a hot air balloon ride, you can also go on tandem skydiving or paragliding or airplane and helicopter rides.
Casually Bike 60 Feet Up the Air in Davao
Skycycling at Eden Nature Park — Image Credit: Eden Nature Park
Who knew biking can be done on air, too? That’s the point of Skycycle in Eden Nature Park in Davao. The bikes here are supported by a bunch of cables that are suspended 60 feet up in the air. You then pedal through a distance of 200 meters (400 in total back and forth), with only a harness and helmet to give you that little sense of security. Sure enough, this one is not for the faint of heart. Yet, if you are brave enough to cross those cables, you will be rewarded with an exhilarating view of the greenery below. That is if you still have the wits to look down.
Skycycle aside, Eden Nature Park is one of those tourist spots in the Philippines known for offering a range of other activities that will have you pumped up for hours. These include the Skyrider, a zipline ride, and Skyswing, which is basically a swing that will sway you 80-95 feet up in the air.
If you’ve had your fill of regular strolls and sightseeing activities, it’s about time to take your trip to the next level by visiting the above mentioned tourist spots in the Philippines. Get out of your comfort zone and give yourself an all out thrill you won’t get from a typical trip.