Visiting the Philippines next month with my gf and want to explore some of the less visited and remote parts of the country. We're interested in seeing beautiful landscapes/scenery but equally interested in the people and culture. As we are going to be there for a month we want there to be enough things to do and see. Any recommendations? Cheers
I'm not sure about "less visited" but the walk over the saddle and down into Banaue where the rice terraces are is well worth doing. From memory I think the walk takes about two hours from the drop-off point at the road and it's an easy climb up on a concrete lane and then a very pleasant walk down a track into the Banaue valley with the rice terraces appearing as you get closer to the village. There are some good hikes around there and the night-time is unbelievably quiet.
In what particular place you want to visit? I should recommend to visit Albay, Philippines. You will see the perfect cone Mayon Volcano and difference beautiful beaches in Bicol.
Thanks for the advice guys! There's not particular place we want to visit we just want to go to an area that has interesting scenery/towns/people etc without large crowds. We we're thinking of perhaps Palawan or the Visayas?
This might be an excellent time for a guide book... The Philippines are covered fairly well, simply go to the areas that the guide books ignore...
Good luck with your research.
I love Cebu, who is way less touristy than Manila and Palawan. I've been volunteering in December on an island called Bantayan, after the typhoon, and loved it as well. 80% of the island now is totally safe, they have 5-6 differents bars and a couple of hostels. Beaches are absolutely impressive, and local people spread their happiness!
Plus, the island needs the tourists to come to relaunch the economy. It's really cheap, and worth checking it out! You can get easily to Bantayan from Cebu with a 2-3 hours bus ride, then a 1 hour boat!
Other than that, Baguio, 4-5 hours North of Manila, is really cool as well! By night they have a lot of haunted mansions, where even the taxi drivers are afraid to drive by night.
Since you mention "less visited parts" of the Philippines, I am assuming you would like to minimize time spent in the cities. Here are a few suggestions, with emphasis on the islands and beaches:
The island group of the Visayas and Palawan are where you find the best beaches.
Boracay is the de facto beach to go in the Philippines. Nice beachfront (4 km long), different ranges of accommodation, and the most flights from your jump-off point (Manila). You can spend at least 4 days to a week to enjoy the place. Some even stay longer. Avoid this area during holidays (from Christmas to New Year's) , unless you already have a prior reservation and enjoy maddening beach parties.
Bohol (Panglao Island) has Boracay-like white sand beaches with less of the crowds.
If you want Robinson Crusoe type adventure, Palawan beaches are the choice. From ultra luxury (Amanpulo) to luxury (El Nido - there are 3 islands there - Miniloc, Lagen and Pangulasian), plus Apulit Island (which is on the eastern side of Palawan).
The Cebu islands (aside from Mactan) are not that well known yet with most foreign tourists, so you will have more beach and less crowds. Camotes, Bantayan, Moalboal, etc. are good choices.
The beaches in Luzon are not as nice as those in the Visayas, as the sand is coarser, and these areas are nearer to the main source of tourists, Metro Manila. But they have their own charm. The beaches in Bicol (Caramoan, Misibis) are getting popular with tourists despite the distance from Manila (easily a 9 hour drive but only an hour's flight plus a couple more hours drive). There is a Mediterrenean style resort called Bellaroca in Marinduque Island, about 3 hours drive and 3 hours ferry boat ride away (although also served by light aircraft). And the backpacker haunts like Calaguas, and the coves in Zambales.
If you are a diver the beaches highlighted (e.g. Anilao, parts of Puerto Galera) would make good choices but the town of Donsol is known primarily for swimming with the whale sharks.
Finally, despite what most people say about Mindanao regarding the peace and order situation, certain places can be relatively safe. I would put Davao on that list (Pearl Farm Resort and others in Samal Island). Even Cagayan de Oro and Camiguin would be good provided you have companions with you. Just avoid the southwesternmost section of Mindanao because that is a hotbed of insurgent activity.
In total, the Philippines can offer you beaches from budget category all the way to ultra-luxury. It is worth spending weeks in the beaches alone, some even choose to live there for good.
Try going to Camiguin island, it's very nice there. It's easy to get around. Rent a motorcycle and see it on your own time. There are many things to do. They have a hot springs. Place to stay and food. Many hiking trails and the beaches are just ok. There is a shore that raises giant clams which you can snorkle and view.
1. I love Cebu, who is way less touristy than Manila and Palawan..
80% of the island now is totally safe, they have 5-6 differents bars and a couple of hostels.
2. local people spread their happiness!
3. Plus, the island needs the tourists to come to relaunch the economy.
4. It's really cheap, and worth checking it out!
5. By night they have a lot of haunted mansions, where even the taxi drivers are afraid to drive by night.
[ Edit: Edited on 30-May-2014, at 23:03 by Swept Away ]