philippines travelbucket list this 2017
Image Credit (R): @lakawon via Instagram

6 Places You Should Check Off Your Travel Bucket List This 2017

One of the best things about the Philippines is that you can never run out of new places to see and new ground to explore. In many ways, this country is a traveler’s dream, with so many destinations still waiting to be discovered. Make sure you check these places off your travel bucket list this 2017:

1Alibijaban, Quezon

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A quick look at any photo of Alibijaban island will already entice everyone to take the long journey there. Its mangrove-lined shore, golden sand, and translucent waters are rewarding enough, plus the promise of seclusion and quiet. But it’s more than just your perfect island escape. Its rich biodiversity is another reason to put this island on your travel bucket list this 2017.  Alibijaban has over 20 species of mangroves that are home to various species of birds. Underwater, you’ve got just a much wildlife, with corals that are home to lots of adorable fish!

You don’t need to take a flight to get to Alibijaban from Manila. Just board a bus from the Cubao terminal to San Andres, Quezon. Expect to be on the bus for upwards of eight hours. When you get to San Andres, board a boat from the San Andres Port to Alibijaban. There are no accommodations on the island, so bring a tent, and be ready to camp!

2Hungduan, Ifugao

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Let this be the year dive even deeper into Filipino culture by learning more about the country’s staple food: rice. The highlands of northern Luzon may be the best place to do this, where thousand-year-old rice terraces can still be found. While the Banaue Rice Terraces are the more famous ones, those in neighboring Hungduan are just as majestic. View Hugnduan’s rice terraces from afar, and for a more immersive experience, live in a homestay on the terraces itself. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a chance to plant rice and ask the farmers all about how harvesting works. There are also other sights in Hungduan so you can make the most out of the long journey there. You could check out the Balentimol falls, swim in the icy waters of the Hapao river, and visit the heritage village where eight traditional Ifugao houses stand.

You can reach Hungduan from Manila by land. Take a bus from Sampaloc, Manila to Banaue. It’s an eight- to nine-hour ride. Once in Banaue, you can take a jeep either to Hapao or the Hungduan Poblacion. You can also take a trike to Hugnduan.

READ: Baguio-Sagada-Banaue Itinerary: See The Cordillera Region In 6 Days

3Lakawon, Negros Occidental

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Lakawon is perhaps most known its Tawhai floating bar that’s been making appearances on most weekenders’ Instagrams, The photogenic bar looks like the ultimate place for chill sunset sessions, so it’s definitely worth a visit. But Lakawon itself is more than just that. It’s got a long boardwalk, aquamarine waters, huts, and one side of the island covered in palm trees. Reserve one weekend in the year for general chillage, laid-back beach partying, and perfecting your tan in this pristine island paradise.

To get to Lakawon, you can board a Bacolod-bound plane from Manila. From Bacolod City, take a one-hour bus ride to Cadiz. From the Cadiz port, there are boats at the ready to take you to Lakawon.

4Lake Sebu, South Cotabato

Lake Sebu
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Lake Sebu is the beautiful lake that is the ancestral domain of the T’boli people of South Cotabato. Combining heritage, history, and nature, this destination should be on the top of your travel bucket list this 2017. Aside from kayaking on the quiet, peaceful waters of the lake, you could also explore the town’s many waterfalls—which you can even ride a zip line over!

Getting to Lake Sebu is not so straightforward, but it’s definitely worth it. From Manila, you can take a flight to General Santos City in Mindanao. From the General Santos bus terminal, take a Koronadal-bound bus. Travel time is about an hour. From there, take another 30-minute bus ride to Surallah. After Surallah, it’s another 45-minute jeepney ride to Lake Sebu.

5Tablas, Romblon

travel bucket list this 2017
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Tablas is the largest of three islands that make up Romblon. With windy, green hills and white sand beaches, you’ll be spoiled with views wherever you go on this island. And while there are accommodations readily available there, the nature has managed to remain pristine. If you’re up for some adventure and physical exercise, you can easily find it here. The island is home to waterfalls, lakes, and Mt. Payaopao, which rises at 665 meters. If you have an interest in marine life, you can also head to the Looc marine sanctuary, or to Binucot beach where you’ll be sharing the ocean with manatees, dolphins, and sea turtles! This should go on every wannabe mermaid’s travel bucket list this 2017.

You can reach Tablas from Manila by heading to Batangas port and then taking a ferry to Odiongan in Tablas. It’s about seven hours to get there, though, so if you’re prone to seasickness, better fly directly to the Tablas airport.

6Brother Island, Palawan

Brother Island
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World-famous El Nido in Palawan is definitely a tourist favorite, but there are still a lot of places there where one can fall off the grid. One such place is Brother Island, a private island off the El Nido coast. Also known as Small Darocoton, it’s just a 45-minute boat ride away from El Nido town. Once you get there, though, it’ll feel like an entire planet away, as you get the pristine white beaches and crystal clear waters El Nido is known for, minus the busy backpacker crowd. While you’re there, you can enjoy snorkeling, beach massages, and generally just have a beautiful beach to yourselves. Definitely one for your travel bucket list this 2017.

Arrange a stay at Brother Island by checking out their Airbnb page.

Add these six spots to your travel bucket list this 2017, and keep yourself motivated to check them all off. This way, you’ll end the year with a lot of new memories, amazing travel stories, and beautiful photos!

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