March 28, 2017

Summer Starter (Where to go?)

Bantayan Island, Cebu

Most of us awaits for this sunny season to head to the beach or their favorite summer destinations. Well to be honest, I hate summer. I don't really like the heat that even the artificial cooling from and AC does not compensate to the humidity that this season produces. Make it even worse that I live in the tropics (Nothing against my beautiful country though), where summer is long and yes fierce.

There are actually quick fixes to this heat infested months that we can all enjoy. You can walk along the streets and buy yourself some all-time favorite Halo-Halo, It is a kind of parfait filled with favorite delicious goodies including sweetened banana, tapioca pearls, mung beans, kidney beans, jelly, leche flan, and so much more.

Of course, another treat to beat the heat is ice cream, In the Philippines, you can buy ice cream from your nearest 7-11 or any convenience store. But my favorite is the sorbetes or what we usually call the dirty ice cream (but it's not really dirty okay!) which is usually sold by street hawkers and vendors but Magnolia and Selecta, our primary ice cream manufacturers also produces them. But personally, the ones sold on the streets tastes a lot better. What sets this apart from the usual ice cream is that these are made from coconut milk instead of the usual animal milk and is commonly served with sugar cones, wafer cones, and or bread buns.

For me, the best way to beat the heat is to travel. Tell me any problem that can never be solved by travelling? Personally, anything can be resolved by a plane ticket, a hotel reservation, and days-off from work. Now the question is, where to go? Here are just six of my suggestions on places to see in the Philippines to enjoy the summer season:

1. Baguio City


Burnham Park, Baguio City

Perhaps the best way to counter the high temperature is get somewhere where the air is much cooler and the altitude is much higher. Baguio City boasts of a much cooler temperature all year round which is the main reason why tourists are flocking this mountain-top city all year round. Burnham Park is a popular tourist attraction where you can go boating with the whole family on this man made lagoon.

While in Baguio City: Try their Strawberry Ice Cream. Prepared by the locals, the strawberry sorbetes is very delicious and you can really see big chunks of strawberry fruits with every single bite or lick. Vegetables are also fresh all year round so you can indulge with the fluffiest broccoli and yes, even their bell peppers tastes sweet!

Served like the blizzard - Strawberry Ice Cream at Strawberry Farm

2. Boracay


Station 2, Boracay Island

Named as one of the world's best beaches by several magazines and websites across the globe, Boracay is famous for it's powder fine sand which is white as flour. Imagine yourself soaked in its crystal clear water under the 35 degree summer sunshine (I can't and I won't haha). Also, for those of you who wants to get their tans on, Boracay is perfect for your sun-bathed afternoons at the beach.

Famous Boracay Sunset

While in Boracay: Jonah's Fruit Shake & Snack Bar is famed for it's amazingly creamy fruit shakes. I'm not really sure how much milk they add on it but it's as smooth and silky as a ribbon with every sip. They have several flavors including our staple Mango, Pineapple, Banana, and mixtures of much more fruit combinations. But my favorite, and the one that I usually order is their Avocado Milk Shake.


3. Cebu


Sumilon Sand Bar, Oslob, Cebu

The whole island of Cebu is a paradise in itself. Whether you go up north to Bantayan Island or due south to the Municipality of Oslob, there's just something you can see that will leave you awestruck.  Whether you are a lover of waterfalls or a self-professed Beach Bum, this island just caters to anything you have in mind to enjoy the summertime. Cebu is also a great jump-off point for an inter-island escapade because it is just a ferry ride away to the nearby islands like Bohol, Negros, and Siquijor.

I swam with the gentle whale sharks at Oslob

While in Cebu: For the adventurous at heart, sign your group up to Canyoneering in Badian. It's an adrenaline pumping activity that will let you swim, leap, glide, and jump off cliffs and waterfalls until you reach the beautiful Kawasan Falls. The view is just amazing and the water is as blue as the shade of the Gatorade variant. This is truly unforgettable especially if you do it with your friends. When we got there, unfortunately, the activity is suspended and is off for another month so we just decided to visit the multi-level waterfalls, one of which is Kawasan.

Me and my Barkada (Circle of Friends) at Badian, Cebu

4. Camiguin


Clouds above the beautiful Camiguin Island (Photo Credits to R-Jay Miranda)

Another island located at the heart of the country, Camiguin is an island province that is located in the Northern Mindanao region. It is an island formed from a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, of Mount Hibok-Hibok which is one of the country's active volcanoes. The White Island is a sandbar just off the island's coast is a popular attraction where you have to ride a short 10 minute boat ride to reach it, perfect at the break of dawn. One of the tallest waterfalls I've ever seen is also located at the heart of this island, Katibawasan Falls.

Me and my Barkada by the Katibawasan Falls (Photo Credits to R-Jay Miranda)

While in Camiguin: Ardent Hot Spring is nestled through the forests of Mount Hibok-Hibok. It's beautiful natural pools can invigorate the muscular tissues leaving your body with a calm, relaxed feeling. There are levels of pools that have different temperatures and depths that you can choose from based on your own liking. We spent three long hours here just relaxing by the pool and having a great time chatting with my friends.

Adrent Hot Spring at early evening (Photo Credits to R-Jay Miranda)

5. Sagada


Trekking through the Rice Terraces of Aguid - Sagada

If you're not the beach going kind, and you wish to escape the sunny breeze of the seashore, Sagada is the place for you. This alpine town atop the mountains of the Cordilleras is known for it's cool climate, rugged terrain, and mystical towering limestone formations makes it one of a kind in the country. You can try spelunking inside the Sumaguing Cave which is a little extreme for me (my friends tried it though) or trekking along the Aguid Rice Terraces going all the way down to the Bomod-Ok Falls. This city can get a little too crowded though so better book ahead of time not just for accommodation but for tour packages. Probably one of the best sunrises I have seen (aside from the Angkor Wat Sunrise) is the once we saw in Kiltepan Peak, which is also in Sagada. 

Me at the Sea of Clouds - Kiltepan Peak, Sagada

While in Sagada: It is best to try their own take on the Yogurt for these are made into delicious desserts that everyone liked. Their sweet and sour homemade yogurt was topped with delicious honey and sweet strawberry jam is just heaven in a cup. Cafes and restaurants around Sagada serves this happy treat but my favorite is the ones I had in Strawberry Cafe.

6. El Nido, Palawan


El Nido Town Proper

Probably the most talked about Philippine destination when it comes to foreigners, El Nido is a land of its own. At the northern tip of the island of Palawan, El Nido gives us an amazing view of limestones towering over the sea. This part of the country is where I can say that there are more foreign tourists than local ones and I have no questions as to why. Paradise is an understatement for this place.

When in El Nido: Never miss the Island Hopping Adventure tours. For a whole day, you will visit five destinations, different from every tour group/package. You'll get to swim on the sea, lunch is served by the beach where you will feast on grilled meat, fish, veggies, and fresh fruits! I availed of the Tour A Package which included the following attractions: Seven Commandos Beach, Big Lagoon, Small Lagoon, Secret Lagoon, and Shimitzu Island. Yes, it was amazing! There are three more tour packages - B, C, and D, though my time there was limited; More things to visit the next time right?


The last stop of our Island Hoping Tour - Big Lagoon

***

Never Stop Summer
Steve