We love travel and adventure. We also like to keep our expenses down (who doesn’t anyway) so we often travel on a shoestring. But while budget travel, especially in the Philippines, has been and will always be popular, adventure travel involving exploration of remote, exotic and even possibly dangerous destinations is rapidly becoming popular as well. The Philippines and the rest of Asia are not wanting in terms of adventure travel destinations – as we have discovered in our trips to these places.
Not all of the tourist attractions featured here are recommendable for budget travel. However, there are some places worth the visit even if one has to shell out a little more cash. We got to visit the non-Philippine destinations here if only for the nature of our previous work but we thought we’d share our adventures in these places as well. So join us as we feature different tourist attractions in the Philippines and beyond, travel culinary adventures, some travel tips and various reflections on our encounters with nature and different cultures.
The morning sun was playfully darting in and out of the gray cumulus clouds as we made our way on a trike up the paved highway. Upon reaching a narrow bend we made a right turn into the park's entrance. We had barely started up the two kilometers of concrete pathway leading to the park when the foliage began to get thicker. It was the edge of a rainforest, its verdant canopies shielding us from the morning sun's glistening rays. After baking in the April sun the previous day at the beaches of Matnog, this was a refreshingly radical departure.
Matnog, the southernmost municipality of Luzon Island, was once described as a place where "you get a boat to go somewhere else." While it's true that this town is the jump-off point for ferries headed to Northern Samar and the rest of the Eastern Visayas, people are finding out that there is so much more to Matnog than just the gateway port it has always been. Case in point: the pink sand islands of Tikling and Calintaan and the Juag Lagoon marine sanctuary.
Mention Sorsogon to most tourists foreign or local and the first thing that comes to their minds is interacting with the whale sharks in Donsol. Hard to blame them. The whale shark interaction is after all a worldwide phenomenon featured as the Best Animal Encounter in Asia by Time Magazine in 2004. But we were in Sorsogon on this sunny April primarily to see Bulusan Lake and the pinkish-white sand of Subic Beach and Tikling Island. Juag Lagoon was more of an afterthought added only because boatmen have already included it in their itinerary and we would pass by the lagoon on the way to Subic Beach in Calintaan Island anyway. How wrong we were!
The pork or chicken adobo I have known growing up was of the "white" variety, stewed in vinegar with garlic and small bits of pork fat all fried to a crisp. It was therefore some sort of a culture shock for me when I encountered the variety of adobo that was made with soy sauce. All the while I thought the "white" adobo was native to my region of Southern Tagalog. It was only years later that I learned that the "white adobo" was a Kapampangan version although the Visayans have a similar take on what many foreigners consider as the quintessential Filipino dish.
Siquijor that read “private property but you may pass through”) so we went ahead and descended unto a pretty white sand beach with crystal-clear waters.
Siquijor. Our rented trike was grinding its way up the hills, away from the town poblacion, to our next destination. It wasn’t long before we stopped at a parking lot guarded by a shed and proceeded down a steep flight of stone steps and then we were there – looking at the lowest level of a multi-tiered cascade emptying into a turquoise-colored catch basin.