Beach lovers would be tripping over themselves to complete their tropical bucket list in the Philippines because the country does not fall short of beautiful beaches — from renowned tourists spots, like Boracay and Puerto Galera, to hidden gems, such as Palaui Island.
Who can blame them for their excitement, though? We do have 7,107 islands to boast about.
If you’re like me, however, the tropical paradise may not be your cup of tea. I do appreciate the sun, sea, and sand but it isn’t my top choice for a holiday or a weekend getaway. With that said, here are some local destinations to add to your non-beach summer bucket list.
Okay, so maybe you do need to take a boat to Corregidor Island, but that’s beside the point. It’s an ideal destination if you want a dose of history — World War II, to be specific.
The island fortress at the entrance of Manila Bay was a stronghold for the Allied Forces and the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government during the war. Sites such as the Malinta Tunnel, the Battery Way, and the Mile Long Barracks serve as a solemn reminder of a heroic past.
Right now, it serves as a tribute to the valor of Filipino and American soldiers who courageously held their ground against Japanese invaders.
The Historic City of Vigan
Vigan is the ideal summer getaway for an epic road trip. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy spending hours on the road with the barkada while singing to the sickest beats? To cap it off, you end up in a beautiful town at the end of the road.
The historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that shows the architecture and culture of the Spanish colonial period. Walk down Calle Crisologo to get a feel of what it was like during the time of our lolos and lolas a few generations back. Munch on their renowned empanada and chichacorn to complete the experience.
Aglipay Cave and Campsite
If you’re up for something more adventurous, you might appreciate the Aglipay Cave and Campsite in Quirino Province. The limestone cave system currently features eight caves that you can explore.
The Philippines has its fair share of caves, so spelunking is more accessible than most people think. Gearing up for the Aglipay caves, expect 101 hectares of low ceilings and muddy trails. Don’t be intimidated by the thought, though. It’s all part of a memorable and enjoyable experience.
The Tinglayan Villages of Kalinga
Would you rather go mountaineering than explore an underground cave? Maybe the Tinglayan Villages of Kalinga are the ultimate summer destination for you.
Perhaps you know Kalinga because of Apo Whang-od, the last traditional mambabatok in Buscalan, Kalinga. The province, however, has more to offer than legendary tattoos. It also presents a lifestyle so different from the fast-paced city life.
Conquer the mountain and immerse in the local culture. The highlanders, rice terraces builders, and farmers from the villages will undoubtedly become part of your journey to a purely Filipino experience.
Explore Nueva Vizcaya
Nueva Vizcaya is not yet on the popular travel map, but unknown to many, it offers a perfect getaway for nature lovers.
Dubbed the Citrus Capital of the Philippines, the province produces the sweetest local oranges, honey dew, sweet ponkan, yacon, red chandler pomelo, and seedless Satsuma. It is also home to Capisaan Cave, the 5th longest cave system in the country. At 4.2 kilometers, the cave offers rare calcite, stalactite, and stalagmite formations. The cave also has a subterranean river that doubles as a passageway.
For the hiker in you, there is Mt. Ugu. It has a lower elevation than Mt. Pulag, and being part of the Cordilleras, the mountain bears pine forests and offers spectacular views.
Whether you are a history buff or an adventurous spirit, you will not run out of places to visit this summer. The best part is, they don’t have to be by the sea.