Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Keeping this in mind and being the adventurous, free spirit, and nature lover that I am, I decided to make a bucket list of the places I want to visit in the Philippines. I’ve always dreamt of traveling the whole world, but before I do that, I want to explore my homeland first.That way, when I finally started sailing to foreign lands, I can tell the world the wonders of my own country.
Known as Pearl of the Orient Seas, Philippines is a beautiful archipelago with so much to offer — pristine beaches, world-class landforms, magnificent natural wonders, and breathtaking experience with marine life! I’ve been to a lot of wonderful places here like Boracay (which I visit every year), Palawan, Bohol, Bicol, Batangas, La Union, Ilocos, Baguio, name it, haha! But I still have a long list waiting to be checked. My plan is to travel, as much as possible, the whole country before I turn 30. (Ooops! I’m not saying how many more years to go! Haha!) As the Department of Tourism slogan said, “It’s More Fun in the Philippines!”
So here’s the list of top 10 places I want to visit.
10. Banaue Rice Terraces – These 2000-year old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao province are referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of Nature”. This wonderful scenery was always included in the lesson back in my Elementary years. The way the ancestors of Ifugaos built them with minimal equipment shows how hardworking and creative they were. I want to climb the steps of this “Stairway to Heaven” while I’m still young because the activities include trekking and hiking in Sagada. (Where in the Philippines: Cordillera Administrative Region)
9. Samal Island, Davao del Norte – It is home to Pearl Farm Beach Resort which Davao is most famous for. Besides enjoying great beaches, spelunking, mountain climbing, island hopping, and scuba diving are other activities this beautiful island offers. (Where in the Philippines: Region 11 – Southern Mindanao)
8. Camiguin – It is the second-smallest province both in population and land area. There are many natural attractions such as the beautiful islands, waterfalls, and springs. It is also where the Sunken Cemetery is. Besides the natural attractions, beautiful and ornate ancestral homes that date back to the Spanish and American Colonial Period can still be found on the streets. (Where in the Philippines: Region 10 – Northern Mindanao)
7. Camarines Sur – The province is the largest in the Bicol Region. It is also famous for the world’s smallest edible fish, locally known as tabios abundantly found in the serene waters of Lake Buhi. This island brings tourists close to nature as possible with its pristine beaches, majestic caves and diverse marine wildlife. I want to try the different water activities in CamSur Watersports Complex, eat delicious food like the Bicolano pizza, soak in the hot springs of Mount Isarog, and island hop in the secret paradise called Caramoan Peninsula which was the location shooting for French Survivor. (Where in the Philippines: Region 5 – Bicol Region)
6. Coron, Palawan – Coron is part of the Calamianes Group of Islands in the northern tip of Palawan. It is a beautiful tourist spot that offers white beaches, limestone formations, coral gardens, sheltered lakes and coves. It has also become an underwater haven for avid divers and snorkelers. (Where in the Philippines: Region IV B – MIMAROPA)
5. El Nido, Palawan – El Nido is quite remote from most of the inhabited islands in the Philippines and so its pristine beauty was like a hidden paradise. Some of my relatives have experienced being in this Eden-like tourist spot and they wanted to go back. They said they couldn’t believe there is such a wonderful place like this in the Philippines! Waking up to an amazing scenery of skyscraping dark cliffs, thick green forest, white sandbeach, sparkling water and, rising above it, a series of magnificently sculpted jade island was the best relaxation it can offer. (Where in the Philippines: Region IV B – MIMAROPA)
4. Batanes – The Batanes Islands lie at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, where the Pacific Ocean merges with the South China Sea. It is also the smallest province in terms of land area and population. Since it seemed to be isolated from other places in the Philippines, I want to experience the timelessness and get more in touch with nature by living a simple life for a while. (Where in the Philippines: Region 2 – Cagayan Valley)
The top 3 places in my bucket list require scuba diving skills. I am not a diver, not yet, but I’ve always dreamt of exploring the underwater. It’s scary, I know, but I have to conquer my fears to fulfill my dreams. Soon I will learn how to scuba dive and I will be able to scratch all of these off my list. So here it is.
3. Malapascua Island – It has become known for its beautiful coral gardens and excellent local dive spots, as well as further-out sites including Gato Island, Monad Shoal, and Kemod Shoal. Monad Shoal is an underwater plateau where thresher sharks and manta rays can be sighted on a regular basis. I’ve been to Donsol where I had a close encounter with the whale sharks. I am looking forward to have a glimpse of another friendly shark and experience the adrenaline rush. (Where in the Philippines: Region 7 – Central Visayas)
2. Apo Reef, Occidental Mindoro – It is a series of coral reefs within the waters of Occidental Mindoro. It is also the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the country. I want to encounter the exotic and enchanting marine life species such as tuna, jacks, humphead wrasses, mantas and hammerheads. I also want to see enormous table corals, stag horns, brain corals and fire corals. This is such a world-class diving site! (Where in the Philippines: Region IV – MIMAROPA)
1. Tubbataha Reef, Palawan – Tubbataha Reef is an atoll coral reef located in the Sulu Sea of the Philippines. It is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Because of its underwater wonders, it has become popular to seasoned divers all over the world. It has also been nominated as one of the new seven wonders of nature but not everybody can experience it so people chose Underground River instead. (Where in the Philippines: Region IV B – MIMAROPA)
So all of these places have something to do with the aquatic world. I told you, I am a mermaid and it is where I belong. Haha! The sea, sun, and sand always give me a sense of bliss. Of course, I want to visit all these wonderful places with people that matter to me the most making unforgettable experiences and irreplaceable memories with them.So now, I am ready to raise my feet off the ground, spread my wings, conquer my fears, and fulfill my dreams!
A few weeks from now right after the end of the school year, I will be able to scratch some of these places off my bucket list! Hooray!
“A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni