As the Philippines prepares to welcome visitors once more, it is constantly developing new activities for travelers to experience and enjoy while ensuring that all international safety protocols are met at the different destinations.
With more than 7,000 islands offering a unique experience to visitors, the Philippines is a destination unlike any other. Whether it’s relaxing on the beaches or the mountains, enjoying the vibrant urban life, or immersing yourself in indigenous culture, there are one-of-a-kind experiences that await in the Philippines for different types of travelers.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable and authentic experience, as well as ideas on where to travel in the Philippines, these eight distinctively Filipino activities from various regions of the Philippines are something you may want to consider.
1. Cycling around Intramuros on a Bamboo Bike
Situated right in the heart of Manila, Intramuros is a popular day trip destination for history buffs and tourists who want to get to know the Philippine capital. And here’s an exciting way to do it: ride a bamboo bike. Bambike Ecotours offers a chance to explore the walled city’s old-town charm and its fascinating pieces of Philippine history in an eco-friendly way. These handmade bamboo bikes come in many options for a safe and comfortable ride, with Bambassadors acting as guides while touring the historic fortress city.
2. Zooming through Banaue’s Winding Roads on a Wooden Bike
If your next trip takes you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, you can fully immerse yourself in the region’s culture and explore its majestic sites through the local mode of transportation. Up in the mountains of Banaue, tourists can try out hand-carved wooden scooters that can reach up to speeds of 50 kilometers an hour. These bikes are a testament to the Ifugao’s wood carving skills and ingenuity, as they are made with scraps of wood and pieces from old rubber tires. This is an adrenaline-fueled way to enjoy a picturesque view of the centuries-old Banaue Rice Terraces, which their ancestors carved by hand on the mountainsides.
3. Test Your Balance on Bamboo Stilts in Cebu
Cebu is a scenic vacation destination that offers a plethora of fun things to do, from trips to historical monuments, island getaways and mountain retreats. It’s also the birthplace of Kadang-Kadang (Karang), an old Filipino game that involves walking—or rather, running—on bamboo stilts. This unique and thrilling activity was recognized as a traditional team sport under the Laro ng Lahi in 1969, but it is considered a childhood game through generations. Kadang-Kadang is played by locals in communities all across the island, and tourists can try out their skills on balance and speed by hopping on a pair of stilts and participating in a team race that runs (or wobbles) for 100 meters. It also has the added benefit of letting you see the beautiful city from a slightly higher point of view.
4. Go Off-Road on a Lahar Adventure in Pampanga
Pampanga offers more than just a delectable taste of Philippine cuisine. This not-so-hidden gem also has one-of-a-kind outdoor activities that are must-tries for intrepid travelers. You can, for instance, go on an off-road tour of the streams and sandy terrain of the province’s lahar trails. Locals have ingeniously and admiringly taken these remnants of the devastating Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991 and turned it into a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts. There are a number of travel operators that offer guided tours on 4×4 ATVs or motorcycles through this unique landscape. Visitors can pre-book via call or through their websites.
5. Relax in a Kawa bath in Antique
The Kawa or giant cauldron is typically used for cooking fiesta fare in the Philippines, but in Antique, it provides a rustic and relaxing experience. The mountainside resorts welcome visitors after a trek in the woods of Tibiao in Antique with a refreshing hot bath in a kawa, with water heated over a wood fire and scented with aromatic herbs and flowers. Those who want to experience another kind of therapy can visit the Tibiao Fish Spa, where guests can dip their feet in a pond for fish to nibble on and exfoliate.
Direct flights from Clark International Airport in Pampanga to Antique Airport in San Jose de Buenavista are the fastest way to travel to Antique and enjoy this one-of-a-kind bathing experience. If you’re coming from Manila, you can also take a flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to either the Iloilo International Airport, Kalibo International Airport, or Caticlan Airport, all of which are a two- to three-hour bus ride away from Antique.
6. Visit the Philippine Eagle in Davao
The Philippine Eagle is regarded as the Philippines National Bird. It is the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface, and it is now considered critically endangered. This is why it is protected in sanctuaries such as the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao. Mount Hamiguitan is a UNESCO Protected Highland Nature Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. A somewhat challenging trek is rewarded by a treasure trove of biodiverse sightings, including a chance to watch for the majestic Philippine Eagle in flight. Those who would rather study the area’s biodiversity indoors can visit the natural science museum that can be found on the premises. For a quick glimpse of the eagles, guests may also opt to visit Philippine Eagle Center, a private sector-managed rainforest in Davao City that shelters and breeds Philippine Eagles in captivity.
7. Learn the Indigenous Art of Weaving in the Cordillera fabric circuit
The upland tribes of the Cordillera Region have a rich culture that is woven into their fabrics. This circuit tour brings travelers to stunning interactive and informative displays of the fabrics that are produced in the region using cotton and other natural fibers that are woven and weft into their traditional designs on looms that have been passed down through generations. Tour stops include weaving villages and museums, with opportunities to go souvenir shopping for these handmade works of art sewn into stunning articles of clothing or incorporated into decorative pieces for the home.
8. Organic Green Tour (OGT) Circuit
This circuit traces the Philippine food roots through a combination of organic farm tours and traditional meals that use the freshly harvested produce. The tour runs through the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area with two farm tourism destinations, namely the Benguet Agro-Eco Farm in Sablan and the UM-A Farm in Tuba. Among the activities are pick-and-pay and the opportunity to partake in a traditional community celebration hosted by the farmers held around a warm bonfire amid fresh mountain air.
The Tourism Department, which has been awarded a SafeTravels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in recognition of its adoption of “health and hygiene global standardized protocols” that will ensure safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, conducts thorough inspection and assessment to ensure that only those who are accredited are allowed to open and receive guests.
To ensure safe access to these unique experiences, the Tourism Department enhances its health and hygiene protocols, with tourism workers undergoing constant training and tourism establishments implementing standardized safeguards in their premises to protect their guests and employees.
Through its Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the Philippine government is constantly updating its protocols to safeguard Filipinos and foreign nationals traveling to the Philippines. To know the latest updates and travel advisories about the Philippines, visit https://www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.