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MANILA, Philippines - With Boracay named as one of the world’s most romantic islands, lovers (or even singles) may be flocking there this Valentine season.
But for those who want a romantic getaway minus the crowds, our country has plenty to offer.
Travelers share how they fell in love with some off-the-beaten destinations in the Philippines. Read on and you might just want to experience the romance of these places yourself:
1) Bantayan Island, Cebu
“Imagine this: soft, powdery sand on your feet; the sound of gentle waves crashing on the shore; the tight grip of your lover’s hand; the skies slowly turning into a mix of orange and gray.
"Now try to imagine that romantic scenario without loud party music in the background, without bumping into other visitors and tourists,” Nathelle Lumabad of Little Girl Goes Places waxes poetic as she describes this island paradise north of Cebu City.
Time is slow in Bantayan, and is perfect for couples who just want to spend long hours together. Nathelle adds that while the island is secluded, there are visitors and locals hanging out at the beach and restaurants, which also makes romance a possibility for seeking singles.
To visit Bantayan Island, contact Wow Bantayan - http://wowbantayan.com
2) Islas de Gigantes, Iloilo
This group of islands in northeastern Iloilo boasts of crystal clear waters and pristine beaches. Since this place is still off the tourist radar, you can expect to find an island or two to yourselves, says Kat Torres of Excursionista.
“There’s nothing more romantic than having a 'private island' even just for an hour or so without costing you an arm and a leg,” she tells Rappler.
Aside from the white beaches, there are karsts and lagoons similar to Palawan’s, and a breathtaking 360-degree view of one of the islands, for those who would dare to climb some rocks.
To visit Islas de Gigantes, contact Joel Decano, tourism officer - http://www.facebook.com/isla.gigantes
There is something magical about this quiet island less than an hour away from the city of Dumaguete.
"I fell in love with their port alone,” Kenneth Lagaña of Mr. Bratpacker says wistfully of the island’s crystal blue waters. "As a kid, I had always believed in magic and Siquijor proved that magic exists."
The white beaches at Siquijor are quiet and isolated. It is easy to “own” a long stretch of sand to yourself while you are there. In general, the island has a tranquil, laidback beauty which lends to its magic.
For those craving more adventure, an island tour of Siquijor including Cambugahay Falls, Lazi Church and convent (and more) are an option.
To visir Siquijor, contact Jun Astillero, Jr., island tour guide - 0918-3438023
4) Bulusan Lake, Sorsogon
Sorsogon is not just about the whale sharks in Donsol, as Sorsogon local and outdoor adventurer Emm Balabat of Emm the Pinay Trekker attests. In the municipality of Bulusan is a green and glasslike lake where crowds are rare.
Emm suggests hopping on a kayak or paddle boat to explore the lake’s expanse.
“The lake is perfect because it’s secluded, surrounded by lush green forests and mountains, with the blue skies and green trees reflecting on the water,” Emm enthuses. “And nothing is more romantic than marveling at nature with your guy.”
To visit Bulusan Lake, contact Wild BOARS Philippines, Inc. - email@example.com / 0916-5221500 / 0919-223153
5) Casa de Segunda, Lipa, Batangas
Go back in time and get a glimpse of Jose Rizal’s love story with his first love, Segunda Katigbak, when you visit Casa de Segunda. Why the two did not work out is a mystery, though historians say that Katigbak’s parents could have been opposed to Rizal because of their conservative background and the latter’s activism.
The ancestral stone house which is now called Casa de Segunda was owned by Manuel Luz, husband of Katigbak. Jherson Jaya of Lonely Travelogue is particularly fascinated by the “love triangle” that took place there.
It was said that Rizal, upon invitation of Luz’s brother, went to Luz’s house. Luz challenged Rizal to a game of chess and beat him, prompting Rizal to comment that he was beaten by Luz twice – first, at love, and second, at chess.
That marble chess table is preserved at Casa de Segunda up to now.
To visit Casa de Segunda, contact landline - 043-784-1952
6) Pico de Loro, Ternate, Cavite
For those who want both a romantic date and an adrenaline rush, try climbing Pico de Loro.
Mountaineer Darwin Dalisay of Travelling Cup says that this mountain is a good climb for beginners, and also offers scenic views on the trail and the summit.
“The trail is simple and covered with green trees and shrubs that protect you from the sun. You will also enjoy the colorful flowers beside the trail,” he explains. “There are also waterfalls in the area where you can cool off muscles worn out from the climb.”
If you want a more extreme adventure, though, Darwin recommends rock climbing at Parrot’s Peak, the mountain’s highest point. The summit rewards those who dare with a 360-degree view of the nearby mountains and landscapes, particularly of Batangas and Cavite.
While a mountain guide is not required as the trail is simple, you can read a detailed guide on how to get there and what to expect at Pinoy Mountaineer. - Rappler.com
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