ForEx Woes Hurting International Travel Plans? Visit These 12 Philippine Destinations Instead
Travel junkies, rejoice!
The weakening peso might be making it a tad bit too expensive to travel internationally at the moment, but you won't have to have to curb your appetite for exploration and luxurious vacationing while you wait for the economy to equilibriate.
The Philippines has a plethora of destinations worth visiting, many of which can wow even the most discerning and seasoned travelers. After all, this tropical retreat is known the world over for its varied geographical sights, beachside spots, mountainside escapes, and urban homes away from home are aplenty, allowing you to satisfy your wanderlust whichever way you like.
For the avid traveler wishing to gain new experiences in far away and excitingly unfamiliar places, we handpicked 10 of the best local destinations, hotels, and resorts to check in on your next getaway.
Who said you needed to go abroad to be able to experience a holiday of a lifetime?
Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, Dumaguete
You know you're in for a treat when your vacationing in a city touted as the number one place in the Philippines to retire in.
At Atmosphere Resorts & Spa, owners Gabrielle and Matthew Holder give guests a taste of why more and more people are considering making the big move to this Central Visayan city. The resort—just like the community it's located in—doesn't compromise sustainability and green living for profit and progress. Being right next to Apo Island's turtle sanctuary, multiple snorkeling spots, and protected whaleshark and dolphin watching areas, the resort is a subtle reminder to all about the need to be responsible and respectful visitors.
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Designed to seamlessly fit in with its natural surroundings, Atmosphere's best features are its open air spaces for all guests to enjoy, while its guest rooms that range from cozy suites to garden apartments and roomy penthouses are equally impressive. When it comes to dining, locally and fairly sourced ingredients make up the dishes in their seven menus: all-day dining, signature dishes, healthy living, breakfast, kids' picks, bar snacks, and sweet treats.
Trust Gabrielle and Matthew—they've been managing this resort for a decade!
Tarsier Botanika, Bohol
Built to allow visitors to marvel at the majesty of the living world, Tarsier Botanika is for the eco-conscious and passionate environmentalist. Aside from its beautiful surroundings beaming with every shade of blue and green imaginable, the resort itself was founded on sustainability; solar energy provides an amount of its power, while low level LED lighting, fairly sourced mahogany wood beam in guest rooms, reverse-osmosis water treatment, and a sewerage treatment plant have also been put in place.
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When it comes to facilities, expansive manicured gardens, scuba diving, elegant equestrian facilities, a spa village, a private wine cellar and dining gallery, an onsite bakery and herb garden, a high ratio of service personel to guests, island trips and picnics, paragliding, watersports, four different dining options, and 12 beautiful villas (six garden villas, three pool villas, two family villas, and one honeymoom villa) are all there.
Abaca Boutique Resort + Restaurant, Cebu
Head over to Abaca Boutique Resort + Restaurant in Cebu if your ideal holiday is defined by taking your tastebuds on a trip they'll never forget. Take it from EIC on the Move host Raul Manzano who's had the pleasure of visiting the top-rated destination famous for its steaks and flat bread creations prepared in California-Mediterranean style. "Go for the food," he says without hesitation.
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While the Cebuano tourism hotspot managed by The Abaca Group—an award-winning circle of passionate chefs and food lovers of every kind—is adored for its culinary expertise, that is not to say that its other guest experiences pale in comparison. The resort has a limited capacity to preserve the atmosphere of privacy and tranquility; expect to run into only a few fellow guests at a time checked into their six deluxe suites and three generously sized villas.
The fact that this enclave claims to have the most romantic view of a Cebu sunset should be tempting enough in itself, too.
Shangri-La's Boracay Resort and Spa, Boracay
With the most famous Philippine island reopening later this month, the time is right to revisit one of its best five-star destinations.
Raul Manzano shares an insider's tip on how to best enjoy the luxe hotel: book a night or two in each of Shangri-La's three exclusive villas. Making a complete round is the only way to fully appreciate the unique views and amenities each of them offer.
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Begin with the poolside villa that invites you to stay in and enjoy the island's sights and sounds in your very own space, then move to the oceanside villa that brings you up close and personal to Boracay's best qualities. As a last stop, check into the treetop villa whose breathtaking panoramic views will keep you coming back, again and again.
And of course, after Boracay's six-month rehabilitation, we're certain there's no need for further convincing to return to the island whose beauty is unlike any other.
Veue Beach Cabins, Pangasinan
This northern retreat remains hidden to those who fail to look more closely at Patar White Beach, a secluded stretch of powdery, cream-colored sand that's just a few hours away from Metro Manila. This writer who's experienced Veue's stillness and tranquility herself assures that it was made for the non-stop thinker in search of respite and a place to simply be, away from preoccupations and stressors.
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There are only six cabins in the property to ensure that all guests can relax in their own way and time sans scrambling for a spot on the shore, poolside, or outdoor dining areas. Arguably, Veue's most unique feature is allowing guests to treat cabins like their very own homes, rather than hotel rooms; they're welcome to purchase fresh urchin, fish, and shellfish from the nearby market and prepare them in their villas' grills or have resort staff whip up a requested dish, stay indoors and enjoy the sizeable bedrooms and lounging areas, or leave them locked up as they go for long walks on the peaceful beach that's just a stone's throw away from one's front door.
Here, you're made to feel like you've come home as a queen or king to your very own oceanside kingdom.
Lio Tourism Estate, Palawan
The Lio Tourism Estate is one of the newest projects from Ayala Land, Inc. that entices travelers to visit Palawan, the Philippines' last ecological frontier.
Depending on who you'll be with—a partner, family, or group of friends—planning a trip here is sure to be a ton of fun. That's because the Lio estate houses not one, but five different hotels and resorts, each of which cater to different holiday needs and types of travelers. The hotels are Seda Lio, El Nido Cove Resort, Casa Kalaw, Hotel Covo, and Balai Adlao.
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Here's a quick breakdown of what can be expected from each:
- Seda Lio: A hotel perfect for leisure and business travelers alike, featuring modern amenities and and conveniences.
- El Nido Cove Resort: This was meant for the traveler wanting to slow down their sense of time. It's situated in a private and much more scenic area of Lio Beach conducive to long, unhurried hangouts on the shore.
- Casa Kalaw: Bring your balikbayan relatives and friends here, as it's located right next to the city center where restaurants and bars, shopping districts, and the heart of Palaweño culture are at. Individual travelers will also enjoy themselves here as a recreational area, sun terrace, and lush outdoor spots give them time to relax while staying within the resort.
- Hotel Covo: Younger travelers unfazed by being in the company of new acquaintances are welcome here! Hotel Covo is arguably the place to be for the hip and happening vacationer with its 20 rooms decorated in colorfully chic styles, and all its guests who are always friendly and approachable.
- Balai Adlao: Couples and groups looking for a classy trip will surely call Balai Adlao their favorite place to be. Contemporary Filipino interiors envelope them from day to night, while local and international flavors are served up in the café, sure to satisfy every kind of craving.
Nay Palad Hideaway, Siargao
In the teardrop-shaped island of Siargao lies Nay Palad Hideaway, the flagship property of the multi-cultural Nay Palad group internationally recogized by The New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Conde Nast, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar. It's the birthplace of what the experienced taveler will recognize as "barefoot luxury."
The resort's travel philosophy is grounded on allowing guests to live out their dream vacations at their own pace, and always being of assistance to them when in need of expert advice, a helping hand, and providing a beautiful place to come home to when the day is done.
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Elegantly decorated villas (they have four types) welcome groups of friends, families, and couples when they've had their fill of the activities offered by the resort and the pristine island itself: surfing, diving, indoor and water sports, kayaking, sightseeing via motorbike, deep-sea fishing, or just sitting by the beach whilst sipping on your drink of choice.
Additionally, those who regularly browse Instagram will instantly recognize a Nad Palad shot when they see it; it's the Siargao resort known for its white, woven pear-shaped chair that hangs on a coconut tree right where the sand meets the waves.
Salaya Beach Houses, Dumagete
One-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom penthouses make up this exclusive dive and wellness resort. It's made for the traveler whose heart is one with that of Mother Nature's herself.
Salaya Beach Houses' developers made sure to put nature at the center of its design and activities, bringing guests closer to what it can offer both in the water, and on land. Pulang Bato hot springs, Siquijor's Island's centuries-old rock formations, Sumilon Island's reef shark encounters, whale shark watching, sea turtle swimming, ziplining and discovering Mount Talinis by bike are just some of the activities guests can look forward to.
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When it's time to call it a day, guests can retreat to the apartments designed for couples or single travelers, or penthouses and deluxe penthouses for large groups, or grab a bite to eat at the resort's five-star dining destination.
Photos from @vernenciso @naypalad