Adventures and Sports

In Breathtaking Photos: 11 Travel Destinations That Should Be in Your 2017 Bucket List

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Nov 07, 2016

We’re almost at the end of 2016 and what better way to end it but with a bang. Why not spend the last few days of the year celebrating the good, the bad, and anything in between with these places we’ve collected just for you. Or visit them spaced out in 2017’s long list of holidays? Whatever it is you see fit, we’re here to recommend places all around the Philippines that will surely be an indelible vacation for you and your loved ones.

1. Bucas Grande, Surigao Del Norte

Surigao Del Norte may be well-known for one of its island, Siargao, where surfers all around the world are allured by its glass-like wall of waves. But there is more to this province than just its impeccable waves and rides. Located in the far-east off coast northern part of the province, Bucas Grande Island delights its visitors with the chance to swim with hundreds or even thousands of jellyfish, perfectly and absolutely unharmed. These types of jellyfish are stingless, ready to glide and collide in its habitat with the presence of a human being.

This sanctuary is found in Sohoton Cove which is considered a national park, so guests are required to pass by the Sohoton Cove Tourist Center to register and don safety gears. Marine life is also teeming in this part of island and may well be part of the tour if requested. 

How to go there:
Several flights bound for Surigao Del Norte, from there one could ride vans to the Socorro Port. Thereafter, rent a pumpboat that will take you around 20-30 minutes ride to Sohoton.

Things to do:

  • Tour around Sohoton Cove
  • Swim in the sanctuary of stingless jellyfish
  • Go spelunking ing the Makukuob Cave
  • Snorkel in the teeming underwater life in Mark-A Island
  • Go to Kapihan Nature and Adventure Park and ride the zipline

2. Salagdoong Beach, Siquiijor Island

In the Central Visayas Region of the Philippines, is an island filled with folklores of mystical creatures. Although one should not fret at the thought of these rumours, for just as its enigmatic stories abound, its pristine beaches does not fall far behind.

We zoom in to Salagdoong Beach, where visitors could be counted by the hand and one could almost as surely feel like they have the ocean all to themselves. If you are one of those travelers who seek places where one could have some isolated time and reconnect with nature, this is absolutely the place for you!

How to go there:
Flights to Dumaguete City from Manila are available on a daily. From there, you will need to be on a 2-hour ferry ride bound for Siquijor Island.

Things to do:

  • Marine life is teeming at 5 meters away from the shore, so snorkelling is a must.
  • There are cliff diving areas that could be found in Salagdoong One board is a staggering height of 30 feet and the other more or less 20 feet.

3. Sunken Cemetery, Camiguin

One of the most intriguing places in the island of Camiguin is a place where stories of the past lie below, not just in the land under, but 20-30m below, underwater. 

Camiguin Island is located in the northern off coast of Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao. One of its main attractions is a place where people from the Spanish era lay in peace. Now, driven underwater due to the volcanic eruption of Mt. Vulcan Daan way back 1870’s, this place serves as a memorial for the locals and visitors alike. 

How to go there:?

Book a flight bound for Butuan or CDO and therefter, go on a ferry to Camiguin. There are also direct flights from Cebu to Camiguin.

Things to do:

  • Visitors could take a glimpse of the sunken cemetery by diving its depths. Tombs have been reclaimed by the island’s colorful underwater life.
  • Ride a boat going to the famous cross and get a view of Mt. Hibok-hibok

4. Bais Bay, Negros Oriental

Have you been dreaming of swimming with these majestic creatures of the sea? These graceful beings are as lovely as they are in the movies as they are in real life as we fly you to no other than the Bais Bay in Negros Oriental.

Easier said than done, these creatures would sometimes gracefully endow its visitors its presence, but most of the times, to no avail. So one must keep their fingers crossed while scouting the waters of Bais. 

How to get there
Flights to Dumaguete city are on a daily from Manila. Thereafter, one must ride a bus going to the port in Bais while will take more or less an hour.
Things to do

  • After getting your luck at being able to lay an eye on these beautiful creatures, one may visit the marvelous Manjuyod Sandbar

5. Sambawan Island, Leyte

In the Eastern Visayas Region is an island off the coast northeast of Biliran in Leyte. Sambawan Island is one of the many islands nearby Biliran that could be reached via pumpboat and promises its visitors a place where one’s mind could be enveloped in utter quietness and peace.

A visit into its waters, however, is a place clamoring vibrant colors of marine life. One will surely savor the adventure in the off-beaten paths of the islands.

How to go there
There are flights to Tacloban where vans would offer transfers to the island of Biliran. Thereafter,  in the port, are pumpboats for rent that could bring you to the surrounding islands of Biliran.


Things to do

  • Go to the nearby Maripipi Island
  • Visit the sandbar of Higatangan Island

6. Siargao Island, Surigao Del Norte

Siargao Island is world-renowned to be one of the best places to surf at in the Philippines. They say, it’s the ultimate island life, where things are simple and laid-back but beautiful nonetheless. 

You’ll be surprised at the number of locals and foreigners alike choosing to live the island life. These are the people who found happiness in a tear-shaped island enveloped in a peace that transcends understanding. The old adage goes that with a single visit, one would find himself allured to call this place 'home'.

Photo from Bren Fuentes (

How to get there
Several flights from Manila are going Cebu City and then to Siargao Island. One may also opt to go to Surigao City and ride a ferry going to the island. 

Photo from Bren Fuentes (

Things to do

  • Other than surfing its impeccable waves, there are surrounding islands to explore including Naked Island and Guyam Islet
  • Swim the Magpupungko Tide pools that is best to visit during low-tide
  • Have a break from the surrouding salt-water and visit the fresh mountain water from Taktak Waterfalls

7. Mt. Pinatubo, Tarlac

Considered one of the most dreadful volcanic eruptions in 1991, Mt. Pinatubo has survived through and through and proves that beauty can still be found in tragedy.  The eruption formed natural lakes, one of which is the crater lake of Pinatubo. It’s a place nothing short of spectacular and will definitely transcend expectation.

How to get there:
You could reach Mt. Pinatubo by riding any bus that is bound for Tarlac and ask to be dropped of at Capas Public Market. Thereafter, hail a jeep or a tricycle to Sta. Juliana. From the area of registration, you will be riding a 4x4 vintage jeeps going to the jump-off point.

Things to do:

  • Ride the 4x4 vintage jeeps going to the jump-off point
  • Trek for an hour to the Crater Lake
  • Have a volcanic ash massage
  • Chill by the Bueno Hot Springs

8. Mt. Pulag, Benguet 

If you think that the Philippines is through and through a mélange of white sand beaches, coconut fields, and tropical sun, you haven’t seen enough of this paradise.

Mt. Pulag is nestled between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Vizcaya. Standing ferociously with a height of 2,922 MASL (meters above sea level), this mountain has been around everyone’s bucket list for a long time. It’s the highest mountain in Luzon and the third one among Philippine mountains. It’s been said that once you have graced its pathways, you will never be able to elude making the climb an annual tradition.

The peak is nothing short of amazing with its freezing temperature and a the elusive ‘sea of clouds.’

How to get there:
From Manila, bus rides to Baguio are available on a daily. From the 6 hour bus ride, one has to rent jeepneys going to the jump-off point of Mt. Pulag that will take about 4 hours. 

Things to do:

  • Spot the galaxy at night accompanied by thousands or even millions of stars.
  • Wait for the sunrise at the summit and hope that the elusive ‘sea of clouds’ will show up

9. Mt. Kupapey, Mountain Province

Aptly located in Mountain Province, Mt. Kupapey could be the perfect quick get-away for those looking for adventure in the off-beaten path. The trails in this mountain are not well established so guides will be of great help on the way to the summit. 

One would be surprised to find a place filled with vast grasslands paired with hundreds of pine trees that are just the perfect combination for exuding that ‘out-of-the-tropical’ vibes. It is ideal to hike this mountain just before the sunset and hope to chance upon the sea of clouds as it hovers slowly over the Maligcong Rice Terraces. It is truly another marvelous sight in the north of the Luzon Island.

How to get there
There bus rides going straight to Banaue where one could ride vans going to Bontoc. From Bontoc, jeepneys are at terminals bound for Maligcong.

Things to do

  • Hike the off-beaten paths of Mt. Kupapey
  • Watch the sunset at the summit as the sea of clouds opens its curtain to reveal an aerial view of the Maligcong Rice Terraces

10. Mandongan Dam, Ilocos Norte

Who would’ve thought that somewhere in the province of Ilocos Norte, one only need 10PHP to be able to get inside this beautiful destination?

Mandongan Dam in San Marcelino, Dingras may very well be your next favorite Philippine Destination. One could just chill by the cottages created by locals and enjoy the dam’s water. Although authorities and locals alike admit that the place does need some rehabilitation, visitors hope that bringing attention to the place will finally spark movement from the goverment. 

Photo courtesy of MAG TV

How to get there:
There are buses from Manila bound for Ilocos Norte and travel time is around 10-12 hours.

Photo courtesy of MAG TV

Things to do:

  • Rent the cottages or silted riverbeds where one could enjoy the charm of the place
  • Swim in the dam’s refreshing waters and maybe strike up a conversation with locals

11. Balagbag Waterfalls

No waves? No problem! This cascading waterfall will keep you company when waves are flat. From little to no-hike, this falls in Quezon Province will surely quench the adventurous soul in you. This cascading waterfall at the foot of Sierra Madre mountain range is a four-hour land travel from Manila.

Read More: 2017 Special Non-working Holidays: Escape to 10 Philippine Destinations?

How to go here: 

Invite your barkada and go on a 4-hour roadtrip or hop on a bus bound to Real, Quezon.

Things to do:

  • Have your lunch at the kubos with the scenic view of the falls.
  • When waves aren't flat, surf in the afternoon at the nearby sea in Real Quezon.

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