10 Underrated Philippine Destinations for Your Bucket List
Go beyond the usual spots.
(SPOT.ph) You’ve probably crossed Baguio, Cebu, and Boracay off your local travel bucket lists, but there’s more than a thousand Philippine destinations left for you to explore. Sure, it’s easy to lust over crystal-clear European waters and other scenic Asian spots that are going viral all over the Internet, but you don’t have to go far to bring home similar once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Nagtabon Beach (Puerto Princesa, Palawan)
Palawan is famous for its beaches, especially in the islands of El Nido and Coron; but there’s one that’s been off the radar for too long—Nagtabon Beach. It’s a mile-long cove boasting azure waters and mesmerizing sunsets. If you want to spend a day in solidarity and solitude with a view of the sea, then this is the exact place to be.
How to get there: Once in Puerto Princesa, ride a bus bound to El Nido or Sabang from the San Jose Terminal. Get off at Bacungan and take a tricycle going down the main road towards Nagtabon Beach.
Cabagnow Cave Pool (Anda, Bohol)
The coastal town of Anda is known for its peaceful white-sand shores, but it's also popular among travel junkies who are fond of the extreme outdoors. The deepest and most beautiful of Anda’s cave pools is undoubtedly Cabagnow, which you can see and experience for yourself after a 15-foot cliff drop.
How to get there: Upon reaching Tagbilaran Airport, ride a tricycle to the Integrated Bus Terminal and catch a bus or van going to Anda. After arriving in the coastal town, take another tricycle to the cave pool.
Treasure Mountain (Tanay, Rizal)
The north’s Mt. Pulag doesn’t have a monopoly of the so-called sea of clouds view. This majestic sight of the skyline is just an hour away from the Metro, an adventure waiting in Tanay, Rizal’s Treasure Mountain. To get a glimpse of the sea of white wonder, make sure you visit at five in the morning—but if you miss it, don’t fret, you’d still witness a lush view of Rizal’s mountain ranges.
How to get there: It takes three rides for commuters coming from Cubao. Ride a van or jeep to Cogeo Gate 2. Once you’re at Gate 2, ride another jeep going to Sampaloc, Tanay. Ask the driver to drop you off the Sitio Maysawa waiting shed. You have the option to go on a 45-minute walk to Treasure Mountain or wait for a habal-habal.
Danjugan Island (Negros Occidental)
The island is home to any kind of adventure you’re in the mood for. It has 10 diving sites where you can spot all kinds of marine life—from hawkbill turtles to whale sharks—and even forest lands to trek. Danjugan’s rich biodiversity is all around the island, making it an everyday treat during your whole stay. You can also sign up for their marine and wildlife camp during the summer to get an inspiring experience centered on environmental conservation.
How to get there: Fly to Bacolod City, then take a public bus to Bulata. From there, you’d have to get on a 30-minute boat ride to reach the island.
Bolinao Falls (Pangasinan)
Amidst Pangasinan’s farmlands is the unexpected sight of these waterfalls. The Bolinao Falls has two cascades that flow collectively into a shallow basin of glassy waters. Enjoy a refreshing dip in the emerald pools and get a glimpse of its wondrous rock formations.
How to get there: Take a bus to Bolinao from the Cubao or Caloocan bus terminals. The falls is a 20- to 30-minute tricycle ride from the town proper.
Kaparkan Falls (Tineg, Abra)
There are manmade rice terraces, then there’s the nature-crafted terraced spring falls that will leave you in awe. The Kaparkan Falls of Abra is an endless source of wonder—you'll enjoy diving into its mini pools.
How to get there: Bus lines Partas, Diminion, and Viron all offer daily trips to Bangued, Abra from Manila. To get to Tineg, you’ll have to ride a habal-habal to get to the falls. For those travelling in groups, you could rent a 4x4.
Sampaloc Cove (Subic, Zambales)
This escape awaits day-trippers and campers alike in Zambales, which is why Nagsasa and Capones have become popular in recent years. A lesser-known spot is Sampaloc Cove, which is a must-visit for its pristine and quiet beachfront and underwater sight. One of the best things to do at this Zambales cove is to relax under the shade of its Agoho trees.
How to get there: Ride a bus until Subic Municipal Hall, the cross the street to find the local fish port where you can hire a boat to take you to Sampaloc Cove.
Bulalacao (Oriental Mindoro)
Mindoro is home to uncharted adventures for island hoppers. Among its islets are Target, Silad, Aslom, and Buyayao, which make up an unexplored paradise with festive locals ready to welcome newcomers to their shores. Each of the different islands offers various types of sandy beaches, as well as a sense of history and culture.
How to get there: Ride a bus going to the Batangas Port then catch a ferry headed for Calapan. Then, take a three-hour van ride to Bulalacao.
Tuwad-Tuwadan Blue Lagoon (Pandan, Catanduanes)
Tucked behind jagged cliffs is a secret lagoon that’s home to various corals and marine life like the tuwad-tuwad (small snails) found in the area. Before reaching the lagoon’s sapphire waters, bask in the serene view of the nearby Cagnipa Rolling Hills.
How to get there: Cebu Pacific flies from Manila to Catanduanes four times a week while Philippine Airlines flies from Clark to Catanduanes three times a week. You can ride a bus or van from the airport in Virac to Pandan, then ride a tricycle or habal-habal to the lagoon.