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The 3 Most Favorite Spots in the Philippines for Locals

What’s great about traveling around the Philippines is that it has… everything.

From concrete jungles to paradise-like islands, there’s always a place waiting to be explored. Among the places that I have been to in this country, if I were to choose three favorites, it would be Siquijor, Siargao, and my home, Cebu.

Why Siquijor?

Despite old stories of this tiny island being the home of witchcraft and mystical entities, it is actually a beautiful, serene place that offers so much more than scary folk tales. In fact, when I was touring the island, I met a foreigner who said the place made her feel very safe.

Siquijor boasts of pristine beaches, majestic waterfalls, picturesque sights, and many more. A day is not even enough if you want to fully experience what the island has to offer. It can also be an ideal place for adrenaline junkies as people can jump off of waterfalls and even from cliffs into the sea.

How to go to Siquijor?

There are no planes going to Siquijor. The jump-off point to is in the port of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. From there you would have to board a ferry that would take you to the island. The fare is less than Php 250 per person.

How to go around?

If you’re traveling solo and if you know how to work a motorcycle, renting one is ideal for touring the island as it is the most affordable way, at roughly Php 350 per day. Other options are to charter a tricycle, which accommodates 3 people, or a van, which accommodates big groups.

Why Siargao?

This small island off the coast of Surigao del Norte is known for its surfing spot in Cloud 9. However, this isn’t only what Siargao has to offer. There is a place where you can find natural rock pools, a lagoon with stingless jellyfishes, countless of cafes and restaurants that offer healthy food, various hangout places where locals and tourists interact, and many more.

What I love most about Siargao though is the friendly vibe that everyone gives off. It seems like everyone in the island is happy. I can’t blame them because Siargao is my happy place as well.

How to go to Siargao?

There are direct flights to Siargao from Manila to Cebu. Once you arrive at the airport, you will have to get on a van that would take you to where the resorts are. The fare is Php 300 per person.

How to go around?

Just like with Siquijor, Siargao is also a small island and the main transportation are motorcycles. Renting one is also very affordable, especially when you rent it for a number of days. The rate could go as low as Php 200 per day.

Why Cebu?

Apart from it being my home, where I’ve lived all my life, what makes Cebu an ideal place for tourists is that the beaches and the mountains are merely an hour away from the city. Everything is so accessible. But if you’d like to see the most breathtaking, untouched ones, you’d have to go far down south or up north.

If I would have to choose my favorite places in Cebu, it would have to be Moalboal and Bantayan Island.

Moalboal is a province in the south with white sand beaches and rich, diverse marine life. In there you can swim with sea turtles, colorful fishes, and thousands of sardines, marvel in the beauty of the colorful corals, or simply just relax by the beach.

Bantayan Island, on the other hand, is in the northern tip of Cebu. It boasts of its pristine white sand beaches, which are the main attractions of the island. However, it also has one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. It’s ideal for those who want to relax and getaway from the city, but there’s also something for the adrenaline junkies there- skydiving!

How to go to Cebu?

There are direct flights from several Asian countries to Cebu, as well as within the Philippines.

How to go around?

Cebu City is a busy one, but tourists can always ride public transportation if they want to experience the life of the locals. They can ride a jeepney, which is the main transportation. However, the routes can also be confusing, so most people go for cabs or Uber.

It is different in the provincial areas, though. You can ride a bus going south or north, and if you’re planning to stay there for a few days, you can either rent a motorcycle to help you go around or simply catch a tricycle to take you to your destination.

For big groups coming from the city, van rentals are also widely available in Cebu.

So, that’s it. I think the reason why I haven’t been outside of the Philippines yet is that this country is giving me more and more reasons to stay and explore more of it. It never runs out of beauty, adventures, and surprises.