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5 Not So Known Philippine Destinations To Explore in 2018


Two months to go before another year is going to start. What more so is the fact that summer is just around the corner. The thirteenth month pay is only several sleeps away so might as well plan the next getaway for your family, travel buddies and of course with your romantic partner.  Whether your aim is to discover beach coves where towering rock islets unravel at your every turn or just simply get the heck out of the city to unwind, the Philippines, our dear country is one fantastic destination that has everything your itchy feet desire. DIY trips are the best way to save money but for those who have no luxury of time to do the planning, it is now a breeze to find the best deals for Philippine  travel packages.

This 2018 we would like to recommend new and lesser known destinations that will surely give you a memorable experience sans the annoying tourist crowd.  After all, what’s a new year without doing something new? Here’s a list of 5 lesser known destinations in the Philippines to add in your bucket list:


hot springs in irosin sorsogon

Irosin is the only landlocked town in the province of Sorsogon in Bicol. Without a nearby access to the beach, the locals of this town learned to swim rather in lakes, rivers and springs. Speaking of, Irosin is strategically located beside the town of Bulusan particularly at the foot of Bulusan volcano, one of the most active volcanos in the country. Aside from being known as the rice granary of the Sorsogon province, Irosin is blessed with natural hot springs that are said to be therapeutic. Unlike the kawa hot bath in Antique that you need to boil some medicinal plants first to be mixed to the water, in the hot springs of Irosin, you have nothing to do other than just soak your body for as long as you want. The "hot" water from these springs comes from Mount Bulusan. Several hot springs in Irosin have been converted to commercial swimming pools that offer convenience to its guests which include spending an overnight complete with amenities such as San Mateo Hot & Cold Spring Resort, Tropical Hot Spring Resort and Nature Spring Resort.  If you still fancy the DIY way, just go to Mapaso (means hot in local dialect) river. You can swim with kids for free and chat with women who wash their clothes from the free (and hot) flowing water. This river along with these resorts all belong to one barangay called Monbon. 


kawa hot bath in antique philippines

The province of Antique is the only one in the country that offers Kawa hot bath.  You soak your half body inside an oversized metal pot used to produce molasses from sugarcanes many years ago. These refurbished pots are rare kinds nowadays - it is going to cost you a fortune to be able to bring one home. Herbal leaves plus flowers (for decoration purposes only) are poured into the water being boiled. Once the water reaches the maximum boiling point, these leaves emit some fragrance that relaxes the body senses. Creaking joints, sore muscles and some simple ailments can be cured by frequently doing this kind of practice.  Please be careful though because the water can get too hot, accidents can happen like some parts of your body can be burned. It is advised to jump down the pot, when the fire has stopped. Seriously, this kind of activity can get anyone boiled alive if not done properly.  Other things to see: waterfalls, rice fields  and otherwordly-looking rivers. This is a place to have your full-length digital detox because wifi and data signal are really scarce.  


old houses in paoay ilocos norte

Do you know that there are 5, 000 tourists during peak season who visit Ilocos Norte just to see Paoay Church (UNESCO heritage site) alone? According to the data of the local government unit of Paoay, these people only spend  around 15 minutes of walking then some picture taking. After that, they leave. They don't know there are so much more to see in Paoay than this church alone. Just a few minutes of walking from this church, there are already tourist spots that are worth checking: Arte Luna (Paoay’s first ever Gabaldon building), Old Paoay Convent (ruins of a convent built during Spanish times) and La Presidencia (government building built in 1895). If you got more time, hire a tricycle to bring you to the famous ancestral house of Conchita Carpio-Morales, current Ombudsman of the Philippines. Just a stone’s throw away is the Paoay Brick Bridge, a complete baroque-inspired single-arch brick bridge that’s known to be the most intact Spanish period bridge in the Northern Philippines.


Pangasinan is a province that usually most Manileños take for granted because it is “too near” to see (3-4 hours away) so they opt for much farther places in the Philippines. They always say “there’s next time for that”.  Would like to tell you though, if you're looking for an Instagrammable place, Pangasinan may not be the best place for you. However if you're looking for a genuine representation of what a typical life of a Filipino who lives outside Manila, this is it.  For instance, the town of Santo Tomas is the smallest in this province. No beach, mountains or rivers here. What you'll stumble are Santo Tomas' Municipal Hall and the statue of a corn commemorating their Guinness world record for the first time. You'll see acres and acres of corn fields that yes, could well be a great background for your next Instagram post. In Bautista, you'll find the derelict heritage house where Jose Palma wrote the country's national anthem.  In Malasiqui, there’s a newly-built Saint Claire Monastery of St. James the Apostle located on a farm donated by a politician and socialite. For only  Php 150/ night you can stay here on a dorm bed in the future.  


best islands in the philippines

Camarines Norte is the lesser known and smaller sister of Camarines Sur. Only 7-8 hours away, this province is the gateway to the Bicol region. This is a place where another local dialect is spoken and food is another story. Prepare to eat everything that’s made of coconut milk and chili peppers.  Do not leave without tasting the sinantol dish, it is made of shredded santol (cotton fruit), coco milk, peppers then mixed with smoked fish or pork. Sinantol has the right blend of saltiness coming from the smoked fish, sourness from santol, creaminess from gata and spice from sili. You may find the combination weird at first but you will end up loving this dish. Certainly, CamNorte is not going to run out of beautiful islands. In Mercedes, there's a group of islands called Siete Pecados. It's composed of Apuao Pequeña, Caringo Island, Quinapaguian, Canimog, Apuao Grande and Canton Island. The first island is so Instagrammable - it's dotted with tall, slender pine trees that at one glance you’ll think you are in Baguio.  


Travelling around the Philippines has never been this easy. For the next year, may your travel goals include ticking off one province at a time. It could be a lifelong commitment, don't worry. There's no rush in discovering your own roots.

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