4 Secret Getaways in the Philippines
Travelers from far and wide have seen the beauty of popular destinations in the Philippines such as Boracay, Palawan and Vigan. And yet, there are more hidden getaways that await within the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. Thus, take note of these four secret gems when thinking of something new to try on your next getaway.
1. Cresta de Gallo, Romblon
If you can take a break from sightseeing in the beautifully diverse ecosystems of Sibuyan Island in Romblon province, then set your sights on Cresta de Gallo. This compact pristine paradise is devoid of hotels, restaurants, resorts, and electricity. Surrounded by inviting turquoise waters, Cresta de Gallo is a haven for snorkeling, fishing and windsurfing.
Going to this secluded island takes about an hour from San Fernando in Sibuyan Island by boat. It's best to cast off in the early morning to enjoy the calm seas and the picturesque Mount Guiting Guiting along the scenic route.
Recommend Hotel by Reservations.com in San Fernando:
Winds Boutique Hotel, San Fernando, Philippines
2. Biri Island, Samar
Slowly gaining popularity among domestic tourists, Biri Island is a thing of raw beauty. Founded on the northernmost tip of the Visayan archipelago, both the town and island sit on the spot where the Pacific Ocean meets the San Bernardino Strait. Ferocious winds and treacherous waves through the centuries have created the now famous Biri rock formations, a towering architecture that draws people to this far-flung destination.
Visiting the rock formations, all seven of them, is a rare treat for the traveler. You can go around Biri Island using motorbikes, which the locals call habal-habal. While in the island, one can look forward to snorkeling, surfing and scuba diving. Getting to Biri Island is a simple quest as many travel to Biri Island through neighboring Sorsogon province. Boats from Lavezares take passengers to Biri Island within an hour’s ride.
3. Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur
Stories of pixies, fairies and mermaids surround the aptly named Enchanted River in Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. Townsfolk are quick to advise visitors to respect the delicate beauty of this river. Despite strong storms that hit the province during the monsoon season, Hinatuan’s Enchanted River remains ethereal with its clear bluish waters. Fish still thrive in this enchanting habitat. Come noon everyday, the local lifeguard feeds the fish to their hearts content.
Hinatuan can be accessed from Davao City, one of the major urban centers in Mindanao. Buses bound for Bislig pass by Hinatuan, totaling the travel time to about five hours. Alternatively, you can head to Hinatuan from Butuan in Agusan del Norte.
Recommend Hotel by Reservations.com near Davao City:
PEARL FARM BEACH RESORT, Davao City, Samal, Philippines
4. Lake Sebu, South Cotabato
Not totally a hidden destination, Lake Sebu will surely catch your fancy once you’ve set foot on its idyllic highland location. Founded in South Cotabato in the southern section of the Philippines, Lake Sebu graces travelers with views of lush forests, mist-filled mountain peaks and serene waters. It also has seven waterfalls that you can see from above through a not-to-be-missed zip line ride.
Tourists can also sample the rich traditions and crafts of the local tribes living in the area during their visit. General Santos City is the default starting point for trips to Lake Sebu. From the airport, go to Bulaong Bus Terminal and take the bus heading to Koronadal City. You would then have to go to Surallah, from which you can take a jeepney going to Lake Sebu. The entire commute takes a little more than two hours.