The Philippine Archipelago has a beauty bursting with colors and adventures. Some of these beautiful spots have been internationally acclaimed and have been visited by thousands of tourists over the time. These places are just waiting to be discovered by Pinoys, who are hungry for adventure.
A panoramic view of the Anawagin Cove.| Photo courtesy of
Anawagin Cove, San Antonio, Zambales
by Anne Kathleen Vicho

Probably the best cure for the stress brought by city life would be to go somewhere peaceful; away from the problems about budget, politics, and traffic.  I suggest you try Anawangin Cove. Anawangin is known for its white sand shore lined up with beautiful pine trees instead of the usual coconut trees. The fine white sand was mixed with ashes from the last Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Turn your eyes left and right and you will see picturesque rock mountains that made the place looked ethereal and absolutely perfect. With the clear blue sky, oceanic pristine water, white sand shoreline and the rock formations, you wouldn’t believe that this place is so near from manila and so accessible to many. 

In the small town of San Antonio in Zambales lies barangay Pundaquit, a small barangay wherein the main livelihood is fishing and bringing tourists in the cove in 45-minute boat rides. Deeper into the cove, a small lake-like body of water that is connected by the water from where the ocean is located. The fallen branches and needles of the pine trees rest in the base of the water formation and can be seen only because of its clear waist-deep water level.

The Strawberry farm in Baguio City.| Photo courtesy of Google Images
Baguio City
by Louise Maureen Simeon

To elude from the scorching heat in the metro, my mom and I toured the City of Pines last February 2011. We traversed the Kennon Road, the most well-known route going to Baguio City, where we saw at least a portion of the immense mountain ranges of the Cordilleras. The soaring trees in Burnham Park, the very heart of Baguio City, with its serene environment welcomed us. We also got to be in Cordilleran ensembles as we dropped by the Mines View Park and took photographs at the view deck with the mountain ranges, decorating our background. We stopped at The Mansion, the official summer residence of the President, for some minutes before heading to Lourdes Grotto where we climbed more than a hundred steps before finally reaching the shrine of the Lady of Lourdes. As Catholics, my mom and I took the chance to pray and meditate as well. Of all the tourist attractions and historical landmarks in Baguio City, there is one place that any traveler should not miss, and that's the Strawberry Farm. Picking, weighing and eating strawberries fresh from the farm is a one-of-a-kind experience. With its climate, its people and its amazing beauty, the Summer Capital of the Philippines is definitely among the roster of beautiful places to be visited in the country.

The Mayon Volcano embraced by clouds.| Photo by Cedrick Basco
By Karl Cedrick Basco

A twelve-hour bus ride with only two stop-overs may not be convenient idea for a summer vacation. I myself find it uncomfortable, but given the fifth time to visit Bicol since my father died, the inconvenience of these monotonous bus rides is the last thing I have come to care about.

I always knew it was worth it. The moment I step out of the bus and get a breath of fresh air, is the moment I always look forward to when we leave for Bicol. It’s a trip one will never forget, especially when a panoramic view of the majestic Mount Mayon awaits your first sight of the land. The name Mt. Mayon came from a native term, “Magayon” which means “a beautiful lady.” The term speaks for its own, for the land is indeed blessed with nature’s beauty. In Bicol, all your senses are in full operation: the lush green color of the rice fields radiates the eye, the chirping of birds echoes to the ears, the sweet touch of the gentle wind, and the delicate taste of pilinuts that completes your Bicol escapade. Well, their inclination to hot and spicy foods actually make Bicolandia more prominent. Bicol’s most popular laing and bicol express which have gata and sili are worth the sweat. To be honest, I always have a bottle of water whenever we eat, why so? Well, even their ice cream, which is supposed to cool people down, makes everyone feel hotter due to its chili ingredient.

Words cannot fully express the satisfaction I always get every time I return to the land of oragons. Even in the heart of mountains that surrounds the whole Bicolandia offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Its shores may not be as white as Pagudpud’s or as fine as Boracay’s, but the sea is beautiful enough to capture every tourist's heart. Its virginity surpasses what Palawan can offer.

Indeed, Bicol is a land of beauty.

The famous Chocolate Hills in Tagbilaran.|Photo by Charry Garcia
by Charry Fatima Garcia

Not a word can describe how much people love chocolates. But, what if the chocolate becomes a chocolate hill? Not a single hill, but thousands of them.

Bohol, an island situated in Central Visayas, is not only rich with beaches and perfectly carved hills, but also with rare wild animals and beautifully designed churches.

The Chocolate Hills, more than 1,268 grass-covered domes that turn brown during the dry season, are one of the best that Bohol can offer. But, before you see these sumptuous confectionery-treat-inspired hills, you have to climb at least a hundred steps to get to the top and have a panoramic view of the hills. Once you get there, you’ll never want to go down.

The Philippine Tarsier, the second-smallest primate in the world, is also found in this island in the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary. These nocturnal animals are also known for their large, round eyes.

Upon visiting these two places, have a feast at the Loboc River Cruise. These large boats carry with them all-you-can-eat meals, while serenading their guests with local songs performed by their live band.

Before heading to the hotel for a good night’s rest, have a serene moment in Baclayon Church – a national treasure that dates back to the 16th century.

Bohol is an entire different place for a Manila girl, like me, and it is a good place to relax after a stressful week at work or at school. 

Boracay at sunset.| Photo by Jaries Villavicencio
Boracay: One in a Million
by Jaries Villavicencio

Out of all the islands in the Philippines, Boracay Island has got to be the most interesting one. With its wide variety of shops, resorts, and restaurants, this island will give you excitement anywhere you go.

Named as the best overall island of 2012 by Travel Leisure Magazine, this four-kilometer stretch of white sand is composed of three stations that varies from different kinds of activities such as parasailing, windsurfing, and kite boarding, to name a few.

Got too much energy? Ariel’s point is surely accommodating enough to drain that off. This daytime activity for adventure-seeking travelers is rated by Cosmopolitan Magazine as the top Boracay attraction. With five cliff-diving sites overlooking some of the most beautiful spots the island can offer, it will surely leave the visitor in full awe of the natural elegance of the ocean.

There will always be a room for everyone, whichever side of the island you choose. And with over 25 dive sites available, anyone can have a look of the sea’s stomach.

And after all the activities, reward yourself with the most famous and healthiest fruit shake in the island, Jonah’s.

This island paradise has no limits to what it can give to you, as long as you have the energy to do it.

Over 100 life-sized statues that awaits you inside Amana Waterpark for an exciting weekend-getaway.| Photo courtesy of
By Angelica Abello

As a girl deeply in love with her hometown, I cannot think of any place that I love more than Bulacan.

Bulacan is only a two-hour ride from the Metro yet it takes one to a completely different realm. Green meadows will be waiting to welcome you and surely, the serene feeling will take its toll on you.

I admit that sometimes, Manila’s just way too busy for my life and when I feel like taking a break, I will always find a safe haven in my hometown.

Growing up in the province with no malls or amusement parks to go to during weekends, I came to fall in love with resorts and luckily, Bulacan has a lot to offer! From wave pools, bubble pools, olympic-sized pools and a long slide ride – you name it, we have it! One cannot resist dipping into the inviting waters of swimming pools especially during the dog days of summer.

Personally, my favorite resort would be Amana Waterpark which is located at Pandi Bulacan. They claim to have the largest wave pool in the country and they have a number of amenities that I really love! Amana also offers horse-back riding and will soon cater to the public a zip-line! Adding up to the already-adventurous atmosphere are the life-sized statues of different characters which were strategically placed around the resort. There you will come face to face with Shrek, Captain America, King Kong and Son Goku just to name a few. And, oh! Food and drinks are allowed inside the vicinity of the resort so no worries! You could still bring your liempos, barbecues, hotdogs and grill them to perfection – with their appetizing grill marks of course!

The shores of the Hundred Islands.| Photo courtesy of
Hundred Islands, Pangasinan
By Christine Fel Viernes

When thinking of a summer escapade, I wouldn’t want to miss the friendly-nature of beaches. I love being in the beach because it gives me a relaxing atmosphere that any other place cannot give. That’s why when I was told by my parents that we’ll go to Hundred Islands after attending the babang luksa of my deceased Aunt, I rejoiced as if it is my first time to see a beach.

Hundred Islands, one of the most famous tourist destinations here in the Philippines, is located at Alaminos, Pangasinan. To be able to get to one of the islands, you have to ride a boat from the port which costs around ₱80-₱100 per person. I can’t remember the name of the island we went to, but all I could remember was that islet used to be a location for Marina, a TV- fantaserye of ABS-CBN.

It was really spectacular seeing those islets while we were on the boat because I felt like I was touring world. The island was 30 minutes off shore, so when we got there, I wasted no time to soak myself in bluish, salty water. One of the things you dare not to miss is collecting lots of shells and stones, varying in stunning colors and unique shapes.

And upon leaving, I noticed that my skin is a little rough. My aunts explained that this is because of the salt contained in the water. But, having been to the Hundred Islands has been one of the best experiences I had. It became more special because I shared the experience with my family.

A kalesa or a horse-drawn carriage in front of the Manila Cathedral.| Photo courtesy of
Intramuros, Manila
By Andressa Flores

Taking a stroll around Intramuros is like being shuttled by a time machine back to Spanish-era Philippines, where your feet make their way through cobble stone streets, your eyes marvel at well-preserved houses and churches, and a ride on a kalesa or horse-drawn carriage is a simple thrill.

Breaking free from the usual mall hangout my high school friends and I do to catch up on each other, we decided to wear our most comfy shoes and take a walk trip in the historic Walled City earlier this year.

Like little girls on a field trip, we kicked off our tour at Fort Santiago, the 16th-century fortress, considered to be the most iconic attraction in Intramuros. A visit in Fort Santiago will never be complete without checking out the Rizal Shrine, where an extensive memorabilia linked to the national hero are housed.

We then headed to the Manila Cathedral (which was under renovation at the time) and hopped to San Agustin Church, the oldest Roman Catholic church built in the island of Luzon by the Augustinians.

To chill off a bit from walking, we crossed the road to Casa Manila, a reconstructed 19th-Century Spanish colonial home that boasts of its exquisite antique collection, and had some afternoon merienda at Barbara’s.

Ending our tour around Intramuros, we took a pedicab ride to Puerta de Parian, where we sat on a nearby wall that overlooks the Club Intramuros Golf Course and the Manila City Hall. Students, families, lovers, friends, and tourists alike were all around us, playing music, telling stories, doing homework, and simply having a great time.

The Kapurpurawan or White Rock Formation with its captivating and surreal beauty.| Photo by Precious Atriginio
Kapurpurawan or White Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte: Sculpted in Beauty
By Precious Atriginio

One can’t help but be in awe of the wonders of nature.  One of these wonders is the White Rock Formation or simply the “Kapurpurawan”  which hails from the rocky coast of Burgos, a fifth class municipality in the province of Ilocos Norte and is located on the most northwestern tip on the island of Luzon.  Strong, captivating and mesmerizing, ‘Kapurpurawan’ which means white,  is a popular tourist destination in the region because of its unbelievable boat-like structure and unseemingly enchanting surroundings filled with uneven rocky surface, swamps and the breathtaking view of the refreshing bonsai plants which had grown out of these rocks. Adding to the ethereal view is the creamy white portion of the area which seemed to be the streamlined limestone formations sculpted by nature or some kind of weathering factors like the ocean.

It actually takes an approximately two-three hour drive coming from the capital, Laoag, to get there. But when you’re from Manila, expect a longer travel time. From the drive you still have to cross the Patapat bridge, a long highway stretching throughout the region but patience can be rewarding when you get there. This bridge is connected to Pagudpud, another beautiful tourist spot known for its white sand beaches.

Enjoy the sunset at Tulong Gapo Beach, Bacon, Sorsogon City. | Photo by Ma. Joan Paula Dino
by Ma. Joan Paula Dino

They say the small things count big time and Sorsogon City definitely has some of those.

This small quaint city is an escape from all the busy life of Metro Manila. The city’s quiet nights, the fresh air, the simple living, it is a place where all can relax.  It’s a place where one’s desire is easily accessible. 

A need to burn some calories is easily done. At around 5:30 in the morning, just walk, jog, ride a bike or tricyle to the Sorsogon Pier to join the city’s very own exercise club and dance along to the music. After exercising/jogging to your heart’s content, drink some buko juice directly from the coconut or sip some hot taho. Or if you want to cool off in the blue Pacific, just take a 10-minute jeepney ride until you reach Bacon Beach. It’s the nearest beach where both locals and tourists can enjoy the warm or cool breeze, the breath-taking sunsets, and splashing around the water. 

If your stomach is growling then don’t think about eating at McDonald’s because you won’t see a golden arch anywhere. Instead drop by at Una Pizzeria or Mango Grill if you want something classy. Or better yet go to the wet market and eat at Eppie Jazmin Carinderia. I highly recommend everything they have on display, seriously. 

Going beyond the city is also an option. The province of Sorsogon offers more adventures like swimming with the whalesharks or riding a boat at night to see some fireflies in Donsol, or riding a kayak in the Bulusan lake. 

However there are still so many things to do. One day is not enough to explore and do everything. 

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