Primed for #Summer2017PH: Primer’s Top 10 Summer Destinations in the Philippines
Summer hasn’t been officially declared by DOST-PAGASA, but we’re not waiting for their announcement to unveil our top 10 summer destinations for 2017:
- City of Dreams Manila
With nearly everyone flying out of Metro Manila for summer, staycations have been all the rage in recent years. As far as staycations go, almost nothing beats staying at the City of Dreams in Paranaque City. It’s all you could ever want in a vacation without having to worry about getting to the airport in time to make your flight or worrying about baggage allowance.
City of Dreams has three luxury hotel brands (Crown Towers, Nobu Hotel, and Hyatt Hotel), a selection of top-notch restaurants (like Crystal Dragon, Nobu Manila, and Hide Yamamoto), an array of entertainment areas, and a casino.
Missing the mall? You don’t even need to go out of City of Dreams! City of Dreams’ own retail area, The Shops at The Boulevard, carries some of the most luxurious brands known to man like Montblanc and Hugo Boss. Bored with your room stay? Paint City of Dreams red and head for Chaos Manila. Looking for a workout? The fitness centers at Crown, Nobu, and Hyatt are more than capable of helping you break a sweat.
- Laguna and Tagaytay
We’d have loved to keep these two separate, but they’re so close to each other they’re practically siblings.
Laguna’s best tourist spots are at most a 3-4 hour drive from Metro Manila. Places like Pansol (for hot springs and private resorts), Pagsanjan (waterfalls, yey!), San Pablo (seven lakes! yes, seven!) are some of the go-to sites, plus all the history you can handle in Calamba.
THERE’S ALSO STA. ROSA, home of Nuvali and Republic Wake Park.
Tagaytay, on the other hand, is for those people who don’t like the day-long drive to our next destination. It’s not called the country’s second summer capital for nothing. Perched on top of a plateau, some Tagaytay’s must-sees and must-visits include Skyranch, People’s Park, and Palace in the Sky.
It’s the place for those who want to get away from the harsh heat of summer. Baguio City is dubbed the Summer Capital of the Philippines because of how high it is above sea level. This gives it colder temperatures compared to the rest of the country, making it a prime destination for summer.
STRAWBERRIES. Strawberries everywhere.
Stroll around Burnham Park or take in the sights of Mines View Park. Go out for a walk amongst the pine trees at Camp John Hay, or go strawberry picking in La Trinidad, about three kilometers from Baguio. It may be an 8-10 hour ride, but it will be worth it once you get there.
Metro Manila may have access to Manila Bay, but that’s hardly where you’d go to take a dip. If you’re looking for that beach summer getaway, then head south for Batangas.
It’s the closest beach destination you can find if you’re coming from Manila. Nasugbu is still the most popular destination for those who want to soak up the sun yet stay within a manageable driving distance of Metro Manila. Make sure you go to Fortune Island for unique sunset selfies!
For those who have a serious bug for diving, Anilao is your best bet. It has a lot of dive resorts that go from affordable to luxurious. It’s also one of the country’s premier dive sites alongside another destination that will show up on this list a little later on.
Surprised? Yes, Cebu is a prime beach destination that’s as easy to get to as leaving your house and taking a cab to the mall. Yet Cebu is also known for its traffic that’s nearly as legendary as that of EDSA.
Don’t let that scare you off, however. That traffic only exists around Cebu City and Mactan Island. Most of Cebu’s posh beach resorts are on Mactan Island, specifically towards Punta Engaño or the northern tip of Mactan, but for those looking for a true escape, it’s best to head north or south of Cebu City.
North Cebu is known for two islands located just off its coast: Malapascua and Bantayan. Bantayan, the larger of the two, is a bit more populated, thus having more options. Malapascua, on the other hand, is smaller yet it still has that island vibe you can only find with others on this list.
South Cebu is a nature lover’s paradise. Waterfalls in Badian, watching whale sharks in Oslob, or diving off the coast of Moalboal are just some of the activities you can do on this part of the island. It also helps that it’s a bit closer to one of the destinations on this list.
- Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
No, this is far from close to Cebu. But it is a rising destination, especially for surfers.
Pagudpud is the northernmost town of Ilocos Norte, and has earned the reputation of being one of the best places to surf in the country, alongside Siargao, La Union, and Baler (honorable mentions for this list). It’s quite a trip to get to Pagudpud (12 hours on average), but the quietness of the place and the nearly year-round waves make it a great place to visit.
SIDE TRIP! After you surf in Pagudpud, drive by Bangui and have your photo taken with these windmills.
You can also make side trips to Bangui to see the wind farm, visit the home of a strongman, or take on the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte.
- Panglao Island, Bohol
If you ever get bummed out by Cebu’s traffic, take the next flight or boat and head for Panglao Island.
This fast-rising beach destination is perfect for those who are looking for a middle ground between a serene vacation and one that’ll send you partying well into the night.
Nature lovers can go through Bohol’s bevy of natural wonders like the Chocolate Hills and the conservation areas for the tarsier. Since it’s a boat ride away from Oslob, you can still watch whale sharks. Panglao also has a couple of dive sites that will entice those who want something different from Cebu.
Beach bums can go bumming in Danao, Doljo, Momo, or White Beach. If you want to go where all the action is, head for Alona Beach, where you’ll find some of the island’s best beach resorts and restaurants.
Watch out for the island’s own airport opening soon!
- Coron, Palawan
Palawan is still one of the country’s best island destinations. It’s almost surreal how Filipinos can find alternatives to Palawan, yet still go back to the island time and time again.
Coron is a perfect example of Palawan’s beauty that seals Palawan’s reign as one of the country’s best. Underdeveloped compared to the premier Palawan destination, Coron has found a way to leave its mark because of its surroundings.
It has the only natural salt-water hot spring in the country. It’s a diver’s paradise, with ship wrecks as many as you can possibly explore. Its neighboring islands are a sight to behold and a pleasure to stay in. Couple this with townspeople that are easy to get along with and you have a recipe for success.
Coron’s time will come, and when it does, it might just bump off the next two islands from a popular travel website.
- Boracay Island
White sand beach. POWDERY. WHITE. SAND. BEACH. This is the main reason why people visit Boracay Island off the coast of Aklan.
Apart from that, there’s also the vast (and we mean VAST) number of options for almost every aspect of your vacation. Want to go on a food trip? You’d be in heaven just strolling through D’Mall. Luxury traveler? Head for Station 1. Diver? Quiet type of vacation? Station 3. Bar hopping, near-endless beach parties, seemingly infinite number of people to make friends with? Station 2 will be your summer home.
One thing that people don’t know about Boracay, though, is the less-admired Back Beach. It’s located on the other side of Boracay Island, and is home to some of the best kite surfing spots you’ll find this side of the country. It’s also a good place to escape the non-stop parties on Boracay’s White Beach.
- El Nido, Palawan
The country’s best. Period.
What can we say that hasn’t been said about El Nido? It’s the luxury island getaway that beats every other would-be candidate for a luxury island getaway in the country. Lush greens, pristine beaches, and resorts that deliver best-in-class of everything makes El Nido give El Nido the title of “best of the best”.
It’s a must-see, must-visit island that should be on your list of places to visit in your life.