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8 Off-the-Beaten-Path Trips to Take in The Philippines

by Voices Wellness 23 Sep 2021
Photo: Philippines’ Department of Tourism

Planning your post-pandemic getaway? Escape frenzied city life and immerse yourself in the charms of the Philippines’ lesser-known attractions.

With increasing vaccination rates and heightened safety measures, there’s finally light at the end of the tunnel for those eyeing their post-pandemic vacation. If a tropical getaway is what you’re after, The Philippines makes an ideal destination with more than 7,000 islands to explore. Beyond the buzzy Manila city and the white sand beaches of Boracay, here are eight off-the-beaten-path trips to take.

1. Cycle around Intramuros on a bamboo bike

Cycling is an eco-friendly means of getting around. In the Philippines, there’s an even more sustainable option with bamboo bikes by Bambike Ecotours, which takes travellers to the historic walled city of Intramuros. Their handmade bamboo bikes come in many options for a safe and comfortable ride, with “Bambassadors” acting as guides on old Manila’s unique charms.

2. Zoom through Banaue’s winding roads on a wooden bike

Up in the mountains of Banaue, tourists can try the Ifugao mode of transport—hand-carved wooden scooters that reach up to speeds of 50 kilometres an hour. Made with scraps of wood and pieces from old rubber tires, these bikes are a testament to the indigenous tribe’s wood carving skills and ingenuity. Consider this an adrenaline-fueled way to enjoy a picturesque view of the centuries-old Banaue Rice Terraces.

Bontang, Jul 11, 2015. a boy playing a traditional toy called stilts or engraving on the beach

3. Test your balance on bamboo stilts in Cebu

The kadang-kadang or bamboo stilts let visitors see Cebu from a different point of view. Test your balance and speed by hopping on a pair of stilts and participating in a team race that runs (or wobbles) for 100 meters. Aside from being a childhood game through the generations, kadang-kadang is also recognised as a traditional sport under the Laro ng Lahi in 1969.

4. Go off-road on a Lahar adventure in Pampanga

While the Mount Pinatubo eruption devastated much of Central Luzon, locals have found a way to utilise the lahar (mud) flow from the volcano and turn it into a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts. Travellers can book an off-road tour on a 4×4 or motorcycle that rides through the streams and the sandy terrain in one of The Philippines’ most unique landscapes.

Photo: Philippines’ Department of Tourism

5. Relax in a kawa bath at Antique

The kawa or giant cauldron is typically used to cook fiesta fare in The Philippines, but in the Antique province, it’s used to create a relaxing bath experience. Mountainside resorts welcome visitors after a trek in the woods of Tibiao in Antique with a hot bath in a kawa, with water heated over a wood fire and scented with aromatic herbs and flowers. Those who wish to experience a different kind of massage can visit the Tibiao Fish Spa, where nibbling fish help to exfoliate the skin on one’s foot.

6. Visit the Philippine Eagle in Davao

Regarded as the country’s National Bird, the Philippine Eagle is the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface. A critically endangered species, these birds are protected in sanctuaries such as the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao—both a UNESCO Protected Highland Nature Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To understand more about these birds, hike up to the sanctuary and be rewarded by a treasure trove of biodiverse sightings including these majestic Philippine Eagle sin flight. For a quick glimpse of the eagles, visit the Philippine Eagle Centre, a private rainforest in Davao City that shelters and breeds the birds in captivity.

Photo: Philippines’ Department of Tourism

7. Learn the indigenous art of weaving in the Cordillera fabric circuit

With a rich culture that’s woven into their fabric, the upland tribes of the Cordillera Region are skilled in the indigenous art of weaving. This circuit tour features interactive and informative displays of fabrics that are produced in the region using cotton and other natural fibres. These are woven into traditional designs on looms that have been passed down through generations. Tour stops include weaving villages and museums, along with the opportunity to go souvenir shopping for these handmade works of art.

8. Embark on an organic green tour

This circuit traces the country’s food roots through organic farm tours and traditional meals that use freshly harvested produce. Participants will journey through the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay area with two farm tour destinations, namely the Benguet Agro-Eco Farm in Sablan, and the UM-A Farm in Tuba. They can also partake in a traditional community celebration hosted by the farmers around a warm bonfire and amid fresh mountain air.

More information here.

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