The Philippines has been named by world travel dynamo Forbes, as one of seven countries with the potential to become a major travel destination once COVID-19 is contained. From sandy shores to dreamy mountainscapes to awe-inspiring cities steeped in cultural heritage, the Philippines offers unique experiences for all kinds of tourists looking for a relaxed and laid-back getaway from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives.
Here are just five of the many places worth seeing:
The island of Boracay is one of the most famous and most awarded in the world. Powder-fine white sand, sparkling blue waters, and the warm and welcoming sun are to be expected in this island paradise.
After closing the island to tourists to undergo intensive rehabilitation projects which began in 2019 and continued throughout 2020, a good number of hotels, restaurants, and other tourism establishments are now ready to serve guests looking to enjoy the slow and breezy island life. Your travels here will also go a long way in helping sustain the local communities on the island, which heavily relies on the homegrown tourism industry.
On top of its activities and amenities, Boracay has also been awarded the SafeTravels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in recognition of its adoption of “health and hygiene global standardized protocols” that will ensure safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. SafeTravels is the stamp of approval given by the international organization to certify compliance with its global health standards to allow for safe travels.
For a taste of “the sweet life”, head to Bacolod, the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental. Bacolod is known as ‘the sugar capital of The Philippines’.
In Bacolod, cosmopolitan tastes come together with rustic living, perfect for those looking to enjoy a slow and relaxed pace. Stay in at Casa Gamboa, enjoy taking pictures of The Ruins, and take in visual art exhibits at the Bacolod Art District, before settling down to enjoy some classic Visayan cooking from Emma Lacson’s House, Ann Co Cakes, and El Ideal Bakery.
Negros Occidental is known as the Philippines’ organic farm capital, with its various haciendas serving as sustainable agri-tourism destinations, such as FreshStart Organic Farm, the Peñalosa Farms, and the Rapha Valley Place of Wellness, among others.
Baguio and Benguet
Known as the ‘City of Pines’, Baguio is a 4 to 6-hour drive from Manila. Known for its pine trees and cool weather, Baguio has always been a welcome respite for Filipinos looking for a break from the heat.
The Mirador Jesuit Villa in Baguio City offers an enriching eco, historical and spiritual journey with attractions like the Mirador retreat house, bamboo groove, weather station, labyrinth, torii gate, and outdoor café overlooking the city with a breathtaking sunset. Also, one of Baguio’s most popular go-to spots is the Bencab Museum, which oozes with creative inspiration from some of the masterpieces of National Artist for Visual Arts Ben Cabrera.
Meanwhile, the Winaca Eco Cultural Village in the province of Benguet is also a reputed sustainable tourism destination that gives tourists a visual 101 on the history and culture of the indigenous Igorot tribe while supporting their livelihood.
Also new in surrounding Benguet are eco- and agri-tourism destinations like Armando’s Lemon Farm and Polig Berry Farm. With activities like lemon and strawberry picking activities, guests can reconnect with nature by enjoying its fruitful bounty first-hand. These eco-tourism destinations help preserve the environmental and agricultural wonders of the beautiful mountain city.
Baguio is also a recipient of the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp, guaranteeing safety and minimal risk to travellers visiting the city once tourism reopens.
Famous for its lush marine life, the diving spots of Anilao in Mabini, Batangas are a hit with tourists who love getting down under the ocean’s surface. As the ideal diving season happens from November to May, there is a big window for adventure seekers from all over the world to dive into an unforgettable under-the-sea adventure.
The dive sites in Anilao are also well-documented marine conservation areas, with numerous efforts being done to protect the reefs and ecosystem, as well as to shore up the livelihood of the local communities.