Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Philippines: Gateway To Pristine Beaches And Adventures!

I love my tropical country. Aside from the warmth of the people, what really makes the Philippines special is the fact that we have 7,107 beautiful islands to explore and experience.

While a lot of people say that Boracay is overrated and has become too mainstream, it still remains to be my favorite place in the entire world---the white sand, and aqua clear water is just too amazing. Plus, it's where B proposed to me, so, I'm pretty biased.

I don't think I have to further sell Boracay to you because CNN Travel, Lonely Planet , Travel + Leisure and all other top travel media outlets and publications continually rave about this amazing island year after year.

White Beach, Boracay

However, aside from Boracay, here are 2 other places that I love and recommend for travelers and adventurers alike.

Coron, Palawan

This place is more for the adventurous, nature loving kind. Coron undoubtedly offers the best island hopping spots in the country.My favorite spot in Coron has got to be Kayangan Lake. I mean, look at this.

Entrance to Kayangan Lake

Kayangan Lake is dubbed as the Cleanest Lake in Asia. After seeing the turquoise, cool water, I never doubted it. It takes 10 minutes to hike to the lake and this is the view from the entrance way.

Kayangan Lake

After the short hike, you will be welcomed with this. Kayangan Lake is one of the seven majestic lakes of Coron. It was once off limits to tourists because the indigenous Tagbanua tribe of the Calamianes Islands considered it sacred. It is believed that spirits lived in the lake and a ritual had to be performed before it was opened to visitors.

Photo Credit: Traveller's Couch

Banaue - Sagada

The Philippines may be world famous for its pristine beaches but, the archipelago also boasts of amazing mountain ranges. One such place is Banaue, home of the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. The trip is pretty long coming from Manila. When I last went there--- Almost 5 years ago, It took 12 hours... Perhaps they have better routes now? After a long bus ride, we were rewarded with breathtaking views of the Banaue Rice Terraces, making the trip worthwhile.

Banaue Rice Terraces

The Rice Terraces are considered as the 8th Natural Wonder of the World by many Filipinos. The terraces were first constructed as a practical solution to the problem of growing rice on land that falls away in front of you at vertigo-inducing angles.

While NY may have its beautiful skyscrapers, the Philippines have these terraces that are around 1,500m above sea level.

Photo Credit: Chris Ong

Sagada Mountain Province

We stayed for a couple of hours in Banaue but went to a smaller mountain town called Sagada where we did Cave Exploration, Spelunking and a whole lot of Hiking. Sagada is now very popular among adventure travelers for the plethora of activities it offers.

I underestimated the amount of workout my body will get during the trip and for an entire week, I was in blissful pain. Blissful because the experience was something out of Survivor and, I won't mind doing it again in the future.

Echo Valley, Sagada

Echo Valley, Sagada, a beautiful place where it echoes... A lot.

Hanging Coffins at Echo Valley, Sagada. People of Sagada believe that the higher they "bury" their dead, the closer they are to God. Some of these coffins are over 100 years old! However, not everyone is qualified to be buried this way; among other things, one had to have been married and had grandchildren.

Sumaging Cave, Sagada

Entrance to the cave. Some of these "woods" are actually coffins. You don't get as true to life as this in Disneyland!

Entrance to the cave, where the adventure began.


We had to go to scary holes and passage ways!


The view deep inside Sumaging Cave, Sagada

Photo Credit: Slim

Bomod-Ok Falls, Sagada 
Nothing good comes easy, especially when you want to experience the beauty of Bomod-Ok Falls. It takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the falls from the town proper. However, your exhaustion will be distracted along the way because you'll be looking at beautiful surroundings and trekking over the luscious rice terraces.

It took us 2 hours to hike to the Bomod-Ok Falls (Big Falls) but, it sure was worth it. That's me enjoying the view!


Sagada Bomod-Ok Waterfall


I wish I traveled more domestically when I was living in the Philippines. Now that I'm at the opposite part of the globe, it's going to be more expensive to go to its other beautiful islands! However, I am glad I did travel as much as I could!

Have you been to the Philippines or are you planning on going there?

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