Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tuesday, August 09, 2016
(L-R) Three of eight recommended attractions: Duba Cave, Tutulakan River and Pasukulan Falls

L E S S 


Off the beaten path. It's not your mantra, but some friends of yours who love to go intrepid have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What you are is someone who has a fantasy of being one. Unfortunately, you only end up salivating over their stories because you think that you're not fit for the wild outdoors. You might be surprised to know that the resort suite rate that you recently booked for yourself is also wild for your friends' taste, so no one's innocent after all. What's wild and unknown is just a matter of mindset.

If you still shudder at the sound of the popular travel phrase when it's mentioned in conversations, then there's only one thing that's stopping you from an adventure -- yourself. You really don't have to suffer the inconveniences of meeting strangers who are not hotel-trained or not having the assurance of a public bathroom in a destination. No one's stopping you from booking that sensational guestroom with a kick ass vista of the tourist-thronged town. What you can do, however, is simply allot a day in your itinerary to spend a few hours leaving the comforts of your booked hotel or resort to check out the reality of nature and the locals who thrive in it which your friends can't stop musing about.

To set you off in your first real adventure of the less explored tourist sites in the Philippines, here are eight destinations that I've managed to test for myself in my four years of travel blogging. They are all remote but accessible, so you can be nonchalant about them for now and set aside the exhilaration on site later:

Tutulakan River
Tutulakan River
Location: General Nakar, Quezon Province
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Momarco Resort
Paradise so idyllic that only a few tourists know about it. That's what Tutulakan River is. Roughly three hours of commute from Metro Manila, General Nakar's attractive secret is neither frequented by those in Quezon Province or by neighbors from Laguna and Rizal. Veiled by a swath of the Sierra Madre in the village of Pagsangahan, it's so secluded that even the daily throng of camped out tourists in Tinipak River don't know that it's just a 30-minute hike away. It's an emerging attraction in the sleepy hamlet of Cablao where the locals are friendly and peaceful.
How to reach it? Read more about Tutulakan River.

Laglagto River
Laglagto River
Location: Peñablanca, Cagayan
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Country Inn Hotel and Restaurant
Even if Laglagto River is politically part of Peñablanca, it's more accessible via Baggao where it flows at its border. As a matter of fact, the locals that I saw bathing and doing laundry in this side of Cagayan were Baggao residents. What Laglagto River offers city tourists is the sight of a pristine river that can't be viewed back home anymore. Plus, it has an old hanging bridge made of yakal that some locals still use for river-crossing although you can easily wade through the knee-deep water down below to have an up close view of the idyllic rock formations set against a massive rock wall that serves as a natural citadel.
How to reach it? Read more about Laglagto River

The entrance to Duba Cave
Duba Cave
Location: Baggao, Cagayan
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Country Inn Hotel and Restaurant
Past Tuguegarao, the coastal town of Sta. Ana is always the next destination of most tourists. Locals will even discourage travelers from venturing into Baggao lest they know someone who lives there or there's an official business to be done in the area. This is because decades of insurrections have discouraged tourism in the town which has bucolic views of vast cornfields. With the locals opening themselves to tourism because of the area's less explored natural attractions, rebel-related activities have dramatically gone down. As a result, Duba Cave has started to attract attention from intrepid travelers who love tackling underground rivers and seeing circadian flights of bats. The entrance to it alone is exotic paradise on earth.
How to reach it? Read more about Duba Cave.

Pasukulan Falls
Pasukulan Falls
Location: Abucay, Bataan
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Vista Tala Resort and Recreational Park
Bataan is historic even in its remote spaces. It's the site of one natural attraction that bears the name of a defender's grit and an invader's foolish resolve known as Pasukulan Falls in the hamlet of the same name. The new generation of Filipinos may not consider it to be significant beyond the beauty that it holds in West Abucay, but it is a fitting remnant of a paradise that was once a witness to the surrender of the Japanese army. All it takes is a six-hour day hike to reach it from Orani where Vista Tala Resort is. Going back takes the same time provided that you're agile.
How to reach it? Read more about Pasukulan Falls.

Cansibit Pit of the Maricalum Mines
Cansibit Pit View of the Maricalum Mines
Location: Sipalay City, Negros Occidental
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Jamont Hotel
A visit of Negros Occidental doesn't always have to be just about Bacolod City. Three hours away, Sipalay City can be a great side trip for laid-back beaches and more, including a visit of an abandoned mining site called the Maricalum Mines where a massive pit has been given a viewing deck for tourists to use. Should you be able to get a permit to enter the site, the vantage point below the Cansibit Pit can offer you a more expansive view of the well-defined mass that's now filled with rainwater, making it look like a placid lake. It's amazing how it was originally man-made but is now looking like a primordial spawn of the elements for being abandoned and left to fend for itself at nature's mercy.
How to reach it? Read more about the Maricalum Mines.

Ungab Rock Formation
Ungab Rock Formation
Location: Mongpong Island, Marinduque
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Marikit-Na Beach Resort
From your resort on Maniwaya Island, hop on a boat and dock at the rock-studded beach of Mongpong Island's village called Ungab which shares the same name of its natural attraction -- a massive rock formation that stands more than a hundred feet above the water. Ungab Rock Formation is a natural bridge that's massive to behold at one side of the island's beachfront where smooth pebbles of rock fill the shallow waters. Under the cathedral-like rock formation, young locals are known to bathe during the day. Some of them even effortlessly scale the rock walls to eventually dive down below.
How to reach it? Read more about Ungab Rock Formation.

Guinanayan Island
Guinanayan Island
Location: Rapu-rapu, Albay
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: The Apple Peach House
With Boracay leading the Philippines as a sought-after beach destination, mass tourism has flocked to the island to a fault. Fortunately for those in Luzon, particularly in the Bicol peninsula, seeking a pristine and remote location is still possible via Guinanayan Island. This remote island paradise off the coast of the Lagonoy Gulf offers tourists the chance to unplug sans the glossy attractions of beachfront cafes and bars.
How to reach it? Read more about Guinanayan Island.

San Miguel Island
San Miguel Island
Location: Tabaco City, Albay
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Hotel Fina
Just off mainland Albay, San Miguel Island awaits tourists who want to see a bucolic panorama of rolling hills and cliff-side views of the island, plus have rock-studded beachfront soaks in one location. It can be explored on foot or aboard a rented motorcycle. It's roughly an hour from Legazpi City where most travelers stay for views of the Mayon Volcano, but the natural attraction can still be seen from this spot on a good day. On the island, Hotel Fina has an affiliate cottage that guests can rent for overnight stays. Check it out here.
How to reach it? Read more about San Miguel Island.

Olotayan Island
Olotayan Island
Location: Roxas City, Capiz
Recommended Resort or Hotel To Book: Urban Manor Hotel
When you're visiting Roxas City, don't just stay at the city proper for the seafood. Venture into the waters off the shoreline where Olotayan Island is for a whiff of tropical hauls. It's where most of the fresh catch are sourced anyway and delivered to the rest of the city and other locations like Boracay. The island village has friendly locals and the beach is great for sunbathing.
How to reach it? Read more about Olotayan Island.

Eager for more travel recommendations? Check out the following posts:

• 11 Quick Escapes Near Metro Manila Part 1
• 3 Essential Events Place In Metro Manila For Weddings, Birthdays, and More


  1. Stunning! We've never heard of these places before. We will put these in our bucket list.

    1. Thanks. If you're coming from Manila, Tutulakan River is the nearest one to try among the listed options. I recommend you try it first to support its tour guide association that's currently being organized as it has only received funding from the UNDP just recently.


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