The Philippines is a sunny country rich in tropical flora and fauna. Adventures await the different islands to bring visitors closer to nature, with breathtaking vistas from verdant mountaintops and calming waves in the clear blue seas.
With its focus on building a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive tourism industry, the Department of Tourism has developed new products in different regions highlighting each area’s ecological wonders.
Enjoy the ultimate nature adventures as the perfect getaway from the busy urban life.
Here are some experiences that await in the Philippines’ beautiful eco-parks.
Take a subterranean boat ride
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan is a popular tourist site that showcases the rich biodiversity of a mountain-to-sea system. This majestic 22-hectare eco-park that is protected by the government and cared for by the local community is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list and is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
One of the popular activities is a boat ride through the cave system that comprises the Puerto Princesa Underground River. Boatmen take visitors safely through the darkness of the long cave system, with stalactites and stalagmites forming a limestone landscape illuminated by the light attached to visitors’ hardhats.
This National Park is unique in that several ecosystems thrive in the pristine beauty of its mangrove forests in the Bay along with the flora and fauna of the caves and surrounding hardwood forest.
Experience bamboo forest bathing
The Bamboo eco-park in Baguio City’s St. Francis Xavier Seminary showcases several species of bamboo lined up to create its picture-perfect pathways. There is a feeling of serenity as one traverses the quiet red-fenced winding paths that encourage meditation among its benches that are placed strategically to offer calming views.
As it is located at an actual seminary, visitors have to maintain silence, with classes and Masses being held not far off. This makes the bamboo park an even more ideal place to de-stress. It is a beautiful place to commune with nature amid the cool climate of this mountainous region.
Picnic among pine trees
The Bucari Pine Forest in Iloilo offers rugged highland adventures among pine trees. It is ideal for travelers who want to enjoy a bracing 45-minute hike in cool mountain air to reach the Masinga Viewing Deck and be rewarded with amazing views.
Explore the verdant hills through a footpath to discover waterfalls and meet with locals who are engaged in agriculture. There are picnic sheds that are available at the Tabionan Campsite, where one can also pitch a tent with the help of local caretakers and wait for the fireflies to come out at night.
Be a giant among trees
The Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is a must-visit for nature lovers. It is a sanctuary for a wide variety of flora and fauna species – eight of which are found there. It is home to critically endangered trees, plants, and the iconic Philippine Eagle and Philippine Cockatoo.
Travelers can trek through a forest of centuries-old indigenous hardwood trees whose growth is stunted by the mineral rich volcanic soil. The average height of the trees, some of which have branches where orchids flourish, is at 4.5 feet. Locals serve as mountain guides, who are quick to point out interesting plants along the paths and help visitors spot the shy woodland animals. Before exploring the sanctuary, it is necessary to secure approval from the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB). A regulatory fee that supports conservation and protection of the area is charged upon entry.
Rock out in nature
Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area in Rizal Province that combines nature with extreme adventures among its rocky landscape. There are two routes that can be taken by trekkers. The Discovery Trail brings guests to the conservation area and come up close with the natural rock formations in the terrain. It features a walk through suspended bridges and the opportunity to take a daring group photo on a spiderweb that serves as a viewing platform for the Laguna de Bay.
The Legacy Trail takes visitors to the Masungi Geopark Project where restoration efforts are currently on-going. Here, they can participate in tree planting and tree nurturing activities, leaving a legacy for future generations to enjoy.
A visit to Masungi Geoserve is a fun combination of healthy physical activities while discovering the gifts of nature in a verdant forest setting.
Help save the sea turtles
While San Juan in La Union is known for its surfing, its beaches are also home to sea turtles such as the Olive Ridley that go ashore to lay their eggs. They have started to lay eggs further inland, so humans have to help the baby turtles hatch and return safely to the sea.
The Turtle Project, which is also known as Project Curma, has initiatives such as beach cleanups and a turtle release activity from the eggs that they rescue and care for in their hatchery. Volunteers are needed to help release thousands of baby turtles every hatching season.
This awesome experience helps to emphasize the value of keeping our seas clean and protecting the valuable biodiversity of marine life.
All these tourist destinations have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.