10 Places in the Philippines for the Solo Traveler
From beach spots to hiking destinations.
(SPOT.ph) If you’re thinking of zoning out by your lonesome for a well-deserved solo holiday, you don’t need to go very far. The Philippines has a lot of things to offer for any solo traveler, whether you’re getting away to celebrate a promotion, heal from a heartbreak, or sailing out just because. Choose from a hiking weekend, a beach vacation, or an island getaway, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t been flying solo all your life.
Here are 10 destinations in the Philippines that would be perfect if you’re traveling alone:
No car, no problem. You can travel to La Union via commuter bus and get to your resort before breakfast. There are several accommodations that are friendly to those flying solo (think paying per bed instead of room), so you don’t need to blow your budget on your accommodation. Check out Vessel Hostel and Charlie’s Hangar Surf Hostel. This allows you to have more money to spend at all the delicious local cafés and restaurants—all within walking distance, too. Plus, it may be time to tick off “learn how to surf” on your bucket list. All you need is a surfboard, an instructor, and you’re good to go!
Another beach destination that’s easily reachable by car is Zambales. If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure, what about camping at Nagsasa Cove? Be ready to rough it out and enjoy the beach with a view of the mountains. You can also head to nearby islands like Capones and Anawangin. There’s no electricity out there, so it’s your chance to go off the grid and say goodbye to any work e-mails for the weekend. (YES!)
Sagada, Mountain Province
If mountains are more your speed, why not take a trip to Sagada in the Mountain Province? You can literally chill while having a bowl of house-made yogurt and a mug of brewed coffee. While getting a tattoo from the famous mambabatok Whang-od in Buscalan may be out of the question because of the long lines, her grandniece Grace Palicas continues to practice the craft. If tattoos aren't your thing, why not try your hand at pottery? Head to Sagada Pottery on Besao Road where you can learn from artisans Siegrid Bangyay and Tessie Baldo, who continue to run the 18-year-old center. You’ll have to leave your masterpiece at the studio, though, as it will need to be dried, fired, and glazed. You may opt to purchase clayware at their shop before you head home.
The “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” is going higher up those must-travel lists and it’s no surprise. Siargao Island is not only beautiful, the locals and tourists are all so welcoming. If you’re feeling a little luxurious, book yourself a room at the L’Osteria Penthouse, a two-bedroom suite that makes use of an organic wastewater system in an effort to be sustainable. It sits above the Italian eatery L’Osteria, which serves classic Italian favorites like pizza baked in a brick oven made in Italy. It’s near Cloud 9, so you can just head over to watch seasoned surfers after you’ve had your fill of Italian eats.
Nothing says tranquil like the still and clear waters of Palawan. Coron remains one of the most pristine islands in the Philippines, and one of the best places to go snorkeling. If you don’t mind sharing a boat with other tourists, going solo shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll find that island hopping can turn these strangers into instant friends, too! Make sure to spend an afternoon at the Maquinit Hot Springs to relax from a full day of activities. You’ll totally Zen out and sleep like a baby once you get back to your hotel.
El Nido, Palawan
El Nido is just as beautiful with azure waters and stunning limestone cliffs but just a tad more affordable than Coron. Get in a hike when you visit the iconic twin beaches Nacpan and Caitalang. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with the two beaches in view. If you’re worried you won’t get nice travel photos because you’re flying solo, you’ll be surprised at how adept guides and boatmen are at taking them. They know which landmarks to capture and they’ll get the best angle for your Insta-worthy shot for sure.
For those who want the full tourist experience, a trip to Bohol just might be the answer. You won’t run out of things to do in this Visayan city that’s famous for its Chocolate Hills and tarsiers. Start a countryside tour with an ATV ride to Sister Hills. The Loboc River Cruise can be quite an experience: lunch buffet, a live performance, and an amazing view of the river as you dine. There are also a lot of beaches you can visit. Just pack some sunblock, a mat, and your reading material of choice and you’ve got a perfect afternoon ahead of you. A trip to the Bohol Bee Farm is also an option if you’re keen on learning more about organic farming and looking to bring home some pasalubong.
Soul searching, you say? Why not do it in Batanes, where you’ll be forced to be present in the moment as your phone signal plummets to zero? You won’t even miss scrolling through your Instagram feed because what in front of you will be much more magical—from the giant boulders of Valugan Beach to Fundacion Pacita, a quirky hotel that’s just around 5 kilometers away from Basco Lighthouse. Rent a bike to get around and get lost in the gorgeous postcard-worthy scenery. The hospitable Ivatans will point you in the right direction in case you actually get lost.
Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
The 12-hour bus ride to Pagudpud can help you catch up on some much-needed sleep before you explore the storied street of Calle Crisologo in Vigan and UNESCO World Heritage sites Paoay Church and La Paz sand dunes in Laoag. Check into the beautifully designed Kapuluan Vista Resort which is near what they call the Boracay of the North. You can just chill at the restaurant located in the resort or lounge by the pool all day long.
While Cebu is a favorite destination for people who love to party during the annual Sinulog festival, it’s also a nice spot to get some R&R. But skip the main city and head to the north where Bantayan Island is. You’ll feel at peace strolling along Santa Fe’s shoreline with its powdery sand and impossibly blue water that stretches into the horizon. Cebuanos are known to be very friendly and helpful to tourists, so you’ll definitely feel safe even if you’re going around by yourself.