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 you within the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. Thus, take note of these four awesome secret gems for something new to try on your next getaway.
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. The 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 is best to cast off in the early morning to enjoy the calm seas and the picturesque Mount Guiting Guiting along the scenic route.
Biri Island, Samar
Slowly gaining popularity among domestic tourists, Biri Island is a thing of raw beauty. Found on the northernmost tip of the Visayan archipelago, the town and island sits 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, towering architecture that draw 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 through motorbikes, which are called habal-habal by the local folks. While in the island, look forward to snorkeling, surfing and scuba diving. You may travel to Biri Island through neighboring Sorsogon province. Catch the ferry that heads to Allen in Samar from Matnog, and take a jeepney to Lavezares town. Boats from Lavezares take passengers to Biri Island within an hour’s ride.
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 clean bluish waters. Fishes still thrive in this enchanting habitat. Come 12 noon everyday, the local lifeguard feeds the fishes 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 with a travel time of about five hours. Alternatively, you can head to Hinatuan from Butuan in Agusan del Norte.
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. Found in South Cotabato in the southern section of the Philippines, Lake Sebu affords travelers views of lush forests, mist-filled peaks of mountains and serene waters. It also boasts seven waterfalls that you can see from above through a not-to-be-missed zip line ride. Many times travel agencies will charge heavy fees to cancel bookings. That’s why we recommend online travel agencies where you can make changes without fees like at Reservations.com.
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.