If I could have any job that I want, I would like to be a paid traveler. I do not want it to be just like among the perks like my job right now. I want to be paid to really travel. I want to explore the places, experience the cultures, listen to the stories of the locals of their myths and legends, walk on every little street, savor their favorite dishes and see their soul if I could.
If I get blessed enough to have my dream to come true, first, I would spend at least three full months to explore my country before I would go anywhere else. Why not? The Philippines is so beautiful that it is painful for me to know that many foreigners have very little knowledge about the beautiful side of the Philippines. The most that they know about is Boracay, Manny Pacquiao and balut, and that is where the information ends. Knowing so much more than I need to know, I do not even want to go to Boracay. The whole archipelago is a rough gem of adventures waiting to be discovered.
Here is a list of the places that I am dying to see.
Banaue Rice Terraces
It is a 2, 000-year old terraces that were carved out of the mountains by the ancestors of the indigenous people in the Philippines. It is situated in a sleepy town of Banaue where the use of marijuana is considered legal.
Hanging Coffins of Sagada (photo from damncoolpictures.com)
Six hours by bus from Banaue is the Hanging Coffins of Sagada which have been dug out by the elderly themselves before they die. It is an ancient local tradition that has survived for more than 2, 000 years.
Inside the Sagada Caves are cool limestone formations hanging over ice-cold water.
In the northernmost part of the Philippines lies the Batanes province. It is a rustic beauty of natural, wild surroundings where cows and goats are sent to pasture in the rolling, green hills that overlooks a vast, blue sea smashing against the rugged cliffs. Batanes is very different from the rest of the country that it looks more like a scene from somewhere in Scotland or New Zealand than anywhere in the tropics. As it might be impossible to find posh accommodations equipped with a 24-hour electricity, this island is suited for travelers who need a time away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. Nights are spent watching the infinite constellation of stars and drinking beer in front of a roaring camp fire.
Stone houses in Batanes
Stone building materials are necessary for its typhoon-prone area.
El Nido, Palawan
This is my ultimate dream beach getaway. Beach beach beach all day and a whole island just for me and my husband for a lunch date! I planned to stay here for a week last year, but it did not get fulfilled. My schedule is too complicated to allow me to plan ahead of time.
Underground River, Palawan
Ten hours by boat from Puerto Princesa Palawan is a Unesco Heritage site underwater paradise. It is famous among divers for its kilometers of coral reefs teeming with a wide diversity of marine life that includes sharks, barracudas, sting rays, whale sharks and turtles. It is available only mid-June to May.
A rare experience to dive with the harmless whalesharks in the waters off Sorsogon province during the months of February to May. It is now dubbed as the “Whale Shark Capital of the World.”
It was a hiker’s paradise before it got all hyped and packed by holiday-goers. The tall trees that stood like proud guardians of the beach gave campers a rustic ambiance and a good background for photographs.
In the province of Albay nestles the most famous volcano in the Philippines for having the most perfectly-shaped cone in the world.
Mayon Volcano and the Cagsagwa ruins.
400 kilometers from Manila is another UNESCO Heritage site, known as the only surviving colonial town in the entire Philippines with around 180 ancestral houses built during the 18th and 19th century. It is described by the UNESCO website as the “best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.” This town is perfect for romance because the backdrop relives the era of chivalry and poetic lovers. Couples can daydream all day and hug it out all night.
The Paoay Church, a “Severe earthquake Baroque” church
Windmills in Pagudpud
About 3 and a half hours from Vigan is the coastal resort town of Pagudpud known to local travelers for its photogenic windmills and white sand beaches.
Mount Pinatubo crater
About two hours by rough road from the City of Tarlac is the crater of Mount Pinatubo. I have been to this site before and I was awed and taken by surprise at how beautiful it was. It was a perfect rugged beauty that only nature could produce. The water was a very still blue bordered by rocks and sparse grasses. The warm water was perfect for swimming, but carefully, because it goes as deep as 300 meters down.
Kilometers of wasteland of volcano ashes
Chocolate Hills, Bohol
Down to the island of Visayas is the province of bohol which was made famous by its unusual geographic formation of 1, 776 hills spread over an area of 50 kilometers. During dry season, the green grasses grwoing on the hills turn brown, hence, the name.
The Philippine Tarsier
Bohol is also home to the world’s smallest primate named as the Philippine Tarsier. It looks so cute with its huge, curious eyes.
Finally, let’s go to the Southernmost part. The island of Mindanao is known for its abundance of white beaches, not very famous because only very few have been developed. I will not be talking about the beaches here. All I want to do is go whitewater rafting in Cagayan de Oro for an adrenaline drive to last me for a month. 🙂
For virgin beaches and powdery soft sand between your toes, Mindanao is still the best.
These photos were taken around six years ago from one of the islands in Mindanao.