Add these 4 stunning destinations to your PH travel bucket list

Joshua Berida

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Add these 4 stunning destinations to your PH travel bucket list
It takes a while to get to these destinations, but the journey is worth it for these beautiful views and unhampered peace and quiet

The fine, white sand beaches, cerulean waters and stunning landscapes of popular destinations such as Boracay, Bohol, and Cebu are usually on everyone’s travel lists year-round. These provinces have all the facilities, high-end resorts, world-class restaurants and readily available transport to take you wherever you want to go.

But there are many more places in the Philippines to satiate a traveler’s thirst for adventure. Here are just a few:

Lake Sebu

QUIET. Lake Sebu's residents get food from the lake. Photo by Joshua Berida

The long trip to Lake Sebu will reward you with fresh air, the sight of verdant forests and mountains, and the Seven Falls. (READ: Mornings made better at Lake Sebu

The seven falls are Hikong Alo, Hikong Bente, Hikong B’Lebel, Hikong Ukol, Hikong Tonok, and Hikong K’Fo-I, all of which arehidden in the forest. Adventurous and outdoorsy travelers will enjoy a trek to get to each one. (READ: 9 spectacular places to visit in Mindanao

If you don’t want to tire yourself trekking, Lake Sebu is home to one of the longest zip lines in the region. Measuring 740m long, fly over the mountains and get a glimpse of Hikong Bente, Hikong K’Fo-I, and Hikong Lowig as you glide through the air for approximately a minute. (READ: Hit the road: Cool off at these 5 PH waterfalls)

ZIPPING THROUGH THE AIR. Flying through the air with the mountains and waterfalls beneath us. Photo by Joshua Berida

The second zip line measures 420m long and lets you scream your lungs out and imitate Superman for around 30 seconds. (READ: IN PHOTOS: 8 PH lakes to add to your travel bucket list

For those who want to relax after an adventurous day, Lake Sebu boasts landscapes of mountains and picturesque lakes with blooming lotuses. The many resorts and guesthouses provide different views of the lakes; rent a kayak for P25 or book a lake cruise with cultural show and lunch for P200.

REFLECTION. It was a clear day with the reflection of the skies on the lake. Photo by Joshua Berida

LOTUS. Lotuses blooming in the lake create a colorful natural sight. Photo by Joshua Berida

The Tbolis or dream weavers call Lake Sebu home; they weave patterns using sap and wood to produce the iconic effect seen in their different handmade products.

CULTURAL DANCE. Y'Gas charming the audience on the lake cruise with one of her dances. Photo by Joshua Berida

How to get to Lake Sebu: There are direct flights from Manila to General Santos City. Upon arrival, head to Bulaong Bus Terminal and ride bus bound for Marbel, the fare is P83 one-way. Once at the terminal, get on a van that travel to Surallah for P20 one-way.

Once you arrive at Surallah, ride a van bound for Lake Sebu for P35 one-way. Once at Lake Sebu, hire a habal-habal or motorcycle for P50 to take you to your chosen accommodation.


RAW APPEAL. The towering rock formations flank the coursing river. Photo by Joshua Berida

Heading north will typically take you to places like Baguio, Ilocos, Sagada and Banaue, and this landlocked province in the mountains has plenty of adventures in store for those who visit.

The towering rock formations, formed by the push and pull of nature with its curves, sudden drops and ascents, flank the Siitan River where visitors can go tubing. 

TUBING. One of the eco-tourism activities for visitors. Photo by Joshua Berida

After riding down the river, jump off a 15-feet high cliff to cap off the day.

FORMATIONS. Nature took centuries to mold the rock formations surrounding the river. Photo by Joshua Berida

The sweeping view of the rise and fall of hills, mountains and rock formations as the sun sets on Landingan Viewpoint make the ride through the labyrinthine roads worthwhile.

ATOP THE MOUNTAINS. Marvel at an overlooking view of the mountains and river in Landingan View Deck. Photo by Joshua Berida

The Aglipay Caves have 37 chambers, 8 of which are open for tourists. The walk, crawl and slithering through widening and narrowing walkways are part of the adventure. Get ready to get dirty, as you have to use your hands, sit down and bend to get through muddy surroundings.

CAVING. Go on a subterranean adventure inside the Aglipay Caves. Photo by Joshua Berida

This subterranean adventure will reveal rock formations that take on various shapes; only your imagination will limit what you see.

Quirino is the destination for travelers looking for adventure, with the many caves, rivers and cliffs this province is ideal for eco-tourism.

How to get to Quirino: Bus companies such as GV Florida, Five Star and Northern Luzon Bus Line travel from Metro Manila to Quirino for approximately P500 one-way.

Once in Quirino, it is best to rent a jeep for P1500 for the whole day to visit the many attractions. There is a P250 fee for tubing, P25 entrance fee for the cave and a P500 guide fee.


DETAILS. Generations carefully carved each terrace to make sure they last. Photo by Joshua Berida

A part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, Batad’s amphitheater-like fields are a fetching sight, with its unique, striking green color. (READ: 4 Unesco World Heritage Sites Pinoys can visit visa-free

ROOM WITH A VIEW. Guesthouses and restaurants in town provide an excellent view of the amphitheater-like terraces. Photo by Joshua Berida

Part of the adventure is getting here. Top-loading a jeep before the saddle point is a common practice; feel the wind blow past you and the sun beating down with an overlooking view of the mountains.

TOP LOAD. It's only here where people prefer riding atop a jeep instead of inside it. Photo by Joshua Berida

The adventure doesn’t stop there, you have to go on a 30- to 40-minute trek, depending on speed, through rough road and forested sections before you get to town. (READ: Perfect for summer: 8 cool-weather PH destinations)

The view of the terraces from one of the restaurants or guesthouses is enough to quench your thirst after a tiring trek.

Visitors will get a newfound appreciation for the centuries’ worth of blood, sweat and tears across generations put into the carving and creating of each rice terrace while trekking. The narrow stone and land walkways are just enough for one person to pass through, as one wrong step will lead to a fall into a ravine or a rice paddy.

The shifts from ascents to descents test one’s muscles and stamina, but the views from above are worth the trip. A trek to Tappiyah Falls will revitalize tired bodies with its cool waters.

Forget about phone signal or Wi-Fi while staying in town; take a few days off detached from the world to enjoy nature.

How to get to Batad: There are no direct buses from Manila to Batad; get on a bus bound for Banaue via Ohayami Transit for approximately P450 one-way. From Banaue there is no exact schedule or number of trips to Saddle Point, but expect at least two public jeeps that travel to Batad from Banaue for P50 one-way; alternatively, you can hire a jeep for P1500.

Dinagat Islands

LOOKS FAMILIAR. The rock formations surrounding Bita-og beach will remind you of the tear-like limestone of the islands of Palawan. Photo by Joshua Berida

The Philippines has several white sand beaches, and the one in this province off the coast of Surigao City is one of its most beautiful. (READ: 8 beautiful white PH beaches perfect for barefoot walking

If you’re looking for 5-star resorts and restaurants that serve cuisine from different parts of the world, you’re in the wrong place. Small guesthouses and carinderias are what you get when you make it to this rarely visited, idyllic town. (READ: From Davao City, make the trip to these 8 beautiful beaches)

BLUE WATERS. Biray-biray beach has fine white sand and clear waters. Photo by Joshua Berida

There are no droves of tourists taking selfies and lining up the shore getting a tan on the white, fine sand, and cerulean, glass-like waters of Biray-biray beach. (READ: Head to ‘Borawan’ and these 5 unspoiled PH beaches)

A DAY AT THE BEACH. Days go by slowly on this fine, white sand beach. Photo by Joshua Berida

The tall, swaying coconut trees, gentle breeze and lapping of the waves create a hypnotizing tune only nature can make. The absence of noise from tourists and motorboats add to the island experience.

Towering and tear-shaped rock formations surrounded the emerald-tinged and clear waters of Bita-og beach. The beach and the surrounding limestone make it easy to compare this destination to the beaches in El Nido and Coron.

These are only two of the many destinations in Dinagat Islands as there are several other noteworthy destinations yet to be affected by mass tourism. (READ MORE: Britania Islands, breathtaking paradise in Surigao del Sur)

How to get to the Dinagat Islands: There are ferries that make the trip to San Jose, Dinagat Islands from Surigao City. The last ferry bound for San Jose is at 2:00pm, costs P100 one way and takes approximately an hour and a half.

These destinations may be difficult to get to, but part of the adventure in discovering these provinces is the journey to them. You may get lost, lose Wi-Fi, have little to no mobile phone signal or have limited choices of accommodation and restaurants, but the natural and cultural attractions make the trip well worth it. –

Joshua Berida is a full time writer, part-time wanderer with insatiable wanderlust. He plans his next trip during a current one. He plans on exploring the Philippines and beyond. Read about his adventures on


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