Welcome the new decade with a bucket list filled with new travel destinations. This 2020, it is so easy to score affordable flights to Palawan, discounted Cebu accommodations, and reduced tour rates in Bohol. So hear me out, frugal Filipinos (and Filipinos at heart), because you no longer have an excuse to postpone those long overdue vacations.
24Seven created this list of the top 7 Philippine destinations to help you plan a year full of unforgettable getaways.
1. Quirino Province
Quirino may be out of the radar of travelers making rounds of the country’s 81 provinces. But if you wish to really commune with nature away from the tourist crowd, this underrated province is what you’re looking for. Lakad Pilipinas perfectly describes Quirino as a place with “massive and pristine caves for spelunking, river rapids for canoeing and tubing, exquisitely carved mountain gorges, verdant rolling hills that can rival those in Batanes, and as of last count, twenty waterfalls all within its land area.”
Must-visit attractions include Aglipay and Pensal Falls, Nagbukel Cave, Governor’s Rapids, Bimmapor Rock Formation, Landingan Viewpoint, and Siitan River.
No, there’s more to Camiguin than the famous sunken cemetery. It may be Mindanao’s smallest island and the country’s second smallest province, but it is home to numerous waterfalls, natural springs, unspoiled beaches, and spectacular diving spots. Dubbed as the “Island Born of Fire,” as Our Awesome Planet puts it, “Camiguin is the perfect place to get away and lose yourself, a more chilled and laid back type of island that still has plenty of activities for those who crave a bit of adventure.”
Must-visit attractions include White Island Sandbar, Mantigue Island Nature Park, Ardent Hibok-Hibok Hot Springs, and Tuawasan Falls.
Palawan first received the coveted Travel + Leisure’s No.1 spot in 2013. In this frontier, visitors are greeted with mountains rising out of impossibly turquoise waters, where shipwrecks and reefs make for prime scuba diving and snorkeling. Palawan is every beach lover’s dream destination. The province is also home to a five-mile-long underground river, which is considered one of the world’s wonders of nature. You shouldn’t miss the chance to boat through its limestone caverns.
24Seven pro tip: Organize your Palawan trip early and get rewarded with a special rate that is exclusively available on the website of Dos Palmas Island Resort, https://www.dospalmas.com.ph/promo/. Grab 12% discount from their published rates by reserving a room 30 days or more in advance.
This island is relatively inaccessible compared to other destinations with direct flights from Manila. You have to travel by bus to Sorsogon and then by boat to get to Masbate. Still, this should not stop you from exploring this off-the-beaten path destination. According to the Travel Tramp, “Masbate is the wild west of the Philippines, quite literally, because this is cattle and rodeo country.” The island-province is known for its huge swathes of farmland, but more than this, you can find exquisite coral reefs, white sandbars, and awe-inspiring beaches.
Must-visit attractions include Ticao Island, Burias Island, Halea Nature Park Lagoon, Buntod Marine Reef Sanctuary, Bugui Point Lighthouse, and Palani White Beach.
Spending your vacation in Bohol is not just about the Chocolate Hills, beautiful beaches, and awesome diving sites. This province, which is just an hour and a half plane ride from Manila, is also home to several celebrations that champion the locale’s culture, history, and heritage. Case in point: the Pahinungod Festival, which is a 10-day event in the month of May, that honors the opulent ancestry and spiritual heritage of the province. There is also an annual event called Hudyaka Festival that takes place on the 28th of August. It celebrates Saint Augustine, the patron saint of Panglao Island. The highlight of the festival is a street dance competition among the 10 barangas of the town.
24Seven pro tip: If you wish to attend Hudyaka, book your accommodation at South Palms Resort Panglao. Discounted rates for their Deluxe Room are exclusively available for direct online reservation. This beachfront resort also offers countryside tours and diving packages. Promos are available at https://www.southpalmsresort.com/promos/.
6. Dinagat Islands
This province is one of the many places in the Philippines that don’t get much attention. However, for those who dared to discover this underrated destination, they soon realized that it was a mistake that they didn’t go sooner. Dinagat is home to beautiful white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. And it is just a boat ride away from Siargao!
Must-visit attractions include Bitaog Beach, Cabacungan Cove, Lake Bababu, Quano Cave, and Hinabyan Beach.
Unarguably, this province has always been one of the top destinations in the country. According to Travel+Leisure, “There is never a dull moment in Cebu. It is perfect for travelers who don’t want to spend a lot of money on recreational activities.” Hiking through canyons, swimming with whale sharks, and diving from the top of a waterfall are just a few of the activities visitors can try.
24Seven pro tip: To experience a more exciting holiday, head on to Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark. Set along the white-sand coastline of Mactan Island, this hotel in Cebu is regarded as the country’s premier and only luxury waterpark resort. It boasts 5 themed pools, 7 dining venues, and a gaming facility. Guests of Jpark will be delighted to know that this Cebu accommodation enjoys close proximity to Mactan Shrine, Fort San Pedro, and Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño. Book direct at https://www.jparkislandresort.com/.