5 destinations that look like they’re not in the Philippines

5 destinations that look like they’re not in the Philippines

We tell you: You can go overseas without having to leave the country. Read how.

The Philippines may be a tiny archipelago but it’s so beautiful and blessed—thanks to its 7,000++ islands making it almost have a bit of or something similar to what another country has to offer.

Here are five places in the Philippines that transport you to places outside the Philippines.

The rolling hills of “New Zealand” (Batanes)

By Ferdz Decena

This one’s no secret. Every time we see someone post about one of the ultimate #travelgoals, it almost always involves a sense of awe.

The northernmost province of the country, Batanes, is home to rolling green hills dotted with livestock that resembles the home of the Kiwis. You may not see fluffy flocks of sheep, but you will see herds of cattle and/or cows grazing among all that beauty, a rare combination in the country. There’s also the clear skies that add to the whole “this shouldn’t be in the Philippines” vibe.

There’s a particularly good spot that will make you say “Am I REALLY in the Philippines?”: Rakuh-a-Payaman in Mahatao.

“African safari” (Calauit Safari Park in Palawan)

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Blending in. 🦓

A post shared by ᴄʜᴇʀʀʏ ʟᴏᴜ ᴅᴏʀɪᴏ (@cheessly) on

It’s safe to say you’re not really going to find wild zebras and giraffes running around in open fields ANYWHERE in the country; they’re usually seen in enclosures inside zoos. Not that we’re complaining, but we’d like to see them in their element, similar to their brothers and sisters in Africa.

Luckily, there is a place just like the African safari that’s within 35 minutes of Metro Manila: the Calauit Safari Park. It’s home to reticulated giraffes and Grévy’s zebra that get to run around and play alongside local species, some of which are endemic to the Calamianes Islands where the park resides.

Experience the rolling hills of Batanes by booking #DashHolidays!
Tel: +63917 840 6853, +639917 627 6179
Solar Century Tower, 100 Tordesillas cor. HV Dela Costa Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Time travel to “old Spain” (Vigan, Ilocos Sur)

Vigan itself looks like an old Spanish colonial town, but this street is what transports you to Spain. Photo by Ray in Manila

UNESCO calls it the “best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia,” and it’s not hard to see why.

Vigan, Ilocos Sur is a remarkably well-preserved Spanish colonial town thanks in large part to the people taking pride in their heritage. One street, in particular, gives this city that true “old Spanish town” feel: Calle Crisologo. This cobblestone street is at the heart of Vigan’s very best when it comes to preserving old Spanish architecture. That, coupled with local laws that prevent extensive modifications to heritage houses, make this sight unique to Vigan.

“Japanese Bamboo” Forest (Man-made forest in Bilar, Bohol)

It’s not bamboo, but it is just as quiet and as peaceful. Photo by R294

This is not quite an apples-to-apples comparison, but the way the Bilar Man-Made Forest looks really gives you that feeling of being inside the Sagano Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan.

You won’t see a single bamboo tree standing here (nor will mahogany make the same soothing sound when they get hit by a breeze), but you have to admit that the tree tunnel it creates is eerily similar. It’s like going through a wormhole that will transport you to somewhere completely different.

Going “Dutch” with flowers (Sirao Flower Farm, Cebu)

You can’t grow tulips in the Philippines without a truckload of struggle. Does this mean Amsterdam’s flower gardens are a far-fetched dream reserved for those lucky enough to get a Schengen visa? No.

A trip to Cebu is all you need to see sights similar to those in Amsterdam. The Sirao Flower Farm started making rounds in social media before the 10,000 Roses Cafe was even a thing. It looks spectacularly like the flower gardens in Amsterdam even without the tulips thanks to a more Philippine-friendly flower that’s just as colorful: the celiosa flower or cock’s comb.

Do you know of other destinations that you feel are similar to those overseas? Let us know and we’ll do a second set!

Dashing Spot: Mantigue Island

Dashing Spot: Mantigue Island

There’s more to Camiguin than its famous sandbar. Case in point: Mantigue Island.

Mantigue Island's white sand beach with a view of the mountains of Camiguin
It’s a marine sanctuary with a white sand beach. What more can you ask for? Photo by Daniel Soriano

When people hear Camiguin, the image that first pops out is usually that of White Island. The popular sandbar has always been one of its major tourist draws, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only one.

In fact, there’s this four-hectare island off the coast of Mahinog that gives you the same white sand beach experience coupled with more things to do: Mantigue Island.

Mantigue has a bit more cover than White Island—thanks to the small beach huts on the southern part of the island. There’s coverage in the form of mangroves along its shores as well as vegetation in the middle part of the island, where you can find a restaurant, which doubles as the island’s tourism office. The waters surrounding Mantigue has been declared a marine sanctuary, making it perfect for snorkeling or diving. There’s also a small fishing community on the northern part of the island.

How to get there

SkyJet Airlines offers direct flights to Camiguin five times weekly. We suggest renting a motorbike (Php500 or about USD10 per day) and driving to get to Brgy. San Roque in Mahinog, which should take around 30 minutes. In San Roque, board a motorboat (Php600/boat, maximum of six people) to the island, where you can stay for four hours maximum. If you stay longer will set you back Php75 per hour per boat.

Things to do

There are a couple of things you can do in Mantigue Island, even if you’re only limited to for-hour stays.

Mantigue Island fees as of May 2019.
  • Stand-up paddle board
  • Diving
  • Glass boat rides
  • Kayaking
  • Beach bumming for the Gram
  • Talk to the island locals, and (maybe) buy fish from them (fresh or sundried)

Camiguin’s best kept secret: Peninsular Kape Art

Camiguin’s best kept secret: Peninsular Kape Art

Camiguin has a gem of a restaurant at its helm serving delicious Spanish cuisine.

Good food at island destinations usually means a visit to someone’s home or a quick trip to the public market, where small eateries usually reside. Visiting Camiguin will almost tempt you to do this—until you actually explore the area around where most of their resorts reside.

Tucked away among the homestays, apartelles, and resorts of the closest beach to White Island is Peninsular Kape Art, a quaint restaurant that not only serves great coffee but also acts as a place where most foreigners, especially Spaniards, flock in.

It feels like home. It’s all wood, and has that vibe of a Spanish villa.

The all-wood interiors give off a vibe unlike any you’ve seen in Camiguin, apart from the ultra-high-end Bahay Bakasyunan. You’ve got a near-perfect view of White Island with tables set-up so you can enjoy your meal alongside the sounds and smells of the sea.

Food

Their Seafood Paella is to die for, and is as close to authentic as you can get in Camiguin.
The Gambas ajillo is simple enough: shrimp, garlic, and olive oil. Do it right and it will be a good start to your night.
This is Laura, the woman behind all that is good at Peninsular Kape Art.

The lady in the kitchen, Laura, is a Spaniard, and she whips up some of the best grub on the island. Make sure you get the Arroz Negra or the Seafood Paella. It’ll blow your socks off. Can’t decide on your tapas? Go for their sampler plate!

Drinks

These imported cold cuts go well with beer… or a red sangria. Or both.
Make sure you ask for at least ONE of these after your meal (from left to right): brownie with ice cream, frozen cheese cake, mango float. They’re all so good!

Another thing that sets this place apart from other restaurants in the area is their extensive drinks menu. They serve a mean pitcher of sangria made with fruits that are in season. Don’t forget to ask for craft beers from Cebruery if you’re in the more for more booze.

The basics
Php800 (USD16) per person
Rocky Village, Yumbing, Mambajao, Camiguin
Tel: +63977 855 2050
Facebook.com/PeninsularKapeArt

SkyJet Airlines offers direct flights to Camiguin 5 times weekly.

Experience all-in hassle-free tours of Camiguin by booking #DashHolidays
Tel: +63917 840 6853, +639917 627 6179
Solar Century Tower, 100 Tordesillas cor. HV Dela Costa Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Words: Andrew De Rosario Photos: Daniel Soriano

Must-see events in July and August 2019

Must-see events in July and August 2019

The events just keep pouring in even during the wettest months.

Don’t let the rain stop you from going out this July and August. It may be pouring most days but it does bring in something you can take advantage of— the chance to binge on movies, stage plays, and planning future trips.

Here are some of our must-see events for July and August 2019.

The Lion King

July 17

Video from Disney Philippines

The reviews are pouring in! Aren’t you psyched for Disney’s latest live-action adaptation of a classic?

See the citizens of fictional African savanna Pride Rock in The Lion King. Catch Simba (Donald Glover), with the help of his trusty friends Timon (Billy Eichner), Pumbaa (Seth Rogen), and his childhood friend Nala (Beyonce), deal with all the pressures that come with being the son of King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and of his scheming uncle Scar (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

Now showing in all cinemas

Cinemalaya 2019

August 2 – 11 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and select Ayala Malls Cinemas

Video from Cinemalaya Foundation

Get your emotions ready as we go for another roller coaster of a year at the country’s largest independent film festival, Cinemalaya, which brings together some of the most promising filmmakers both big and small, tackling socially relevant topics and showcasing them in brand new ways. This year’s competition films will touch on topics as simple as preparing for a job interview in Pandanggo Sa Hukay (by Sheryl Rose M. Andes, starring Iza Calzado) to a cautionary tale on how social media can change a person’s life in John Denver Trending (by Arden Rod Condez).

Call the CCP Box Office at 02-832-1125 loc. 1409 from 9 am to 6 pm, Tuesday to Saturday or visit www.culturalcenter.gov.ph to purchase tickets and festival passes.

Philippine Travel Mart

August 30 to September 1 at the SMX Convention Center Manila

Video from Philippine Tour Operators Association

The country’s longest-running travel expo is back for its 30th year and is looking as fun as ever. Tour companies and operators from all over the country will once again gather in the gigantic halls of the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City to bring you the latest and best travel deals to the country’s tourist destinations. Start those travel plans now and make sure you block off the last days of August for this one!

Featured Photo by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

Dashing Spot: Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan

Dashing Spot: Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan

There’s credence to why this beach is called Long Beach.

No, this isn’t even the full stretch of Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan. Shutterstock

In case you think Boracay Island’s 4km long white-sand beach is the most breathtaking beauty of a shoreline there is in the country, wait until you see Long Beach in Port Barton, located an hour away from San Vicente, Palawan. It’s a 14-kilometer stretch of white sand beach, the longest in the Philippines and the second longest in the whole of Asia. It cuts through several villages, and splits into 6 coves and 3 barangays: New Agutaya, San Isidro, and Alimangoan. It’s also not as populated as neighboring El Nido because San Vicente remains to be a hidden gem of the Philippines Last Frontier.

The sand is about as white and as fine as you’ll find in El Nido or Boracay, with shallow waters just off the coast that you can swim or snorkel in.

Things to do
San Vicente is more of a quiet fishing village, so don’t expect malls or places to party. You can, however, do the following while in this small fishing village:

  • Island hopping. Most tourists, especially backpackers, start at Port Barton and visit nearby islands from there.
  • Snorkeling and diving. The waters off of San Vicente are relatively shallow, perfect for snorkeling. Some of the islands during the island hopping tour double as snorkeling/diving spots. Ask your boatman for spots where it’s okay to take a plunge to make island hopping tours more worthwhile.
  • Cove hopping from one part of Long Beach to another. Erawan/Irawan Beach is one of the more popular beaches to visit. It’s in Barangay Sto. Niño, about 45 minutes away from Poblacion by motorbike.
  • Visit Pamuayan Falls or Bigaho Falls. The two waterfall in Port Barton offer distinct ways of enjoying a cascade: Pamuayan comes with a one-hour hike through a forest trail, while Bigaho offers something a bit more chill as it’s an easy, 20-minute walk from the beach.

Get there
Skyjet Airlines (Flyskyjetair.com) flies direct from Manila to San Vicente, Palawan four times weekly beginning July 16, 2019. From the airport, take a tricycle to your hotel on Long Beach. Fares are usually between Php60 to Php75 (USD1.20 to USD1.50) per person.

Where to stay
Sunset Beach Resort (Php3,000 per night for 2 guests, Php500 or USD10 for an extra bed, Sunsetbeach-palawan.com) in Macatumbalen is one of the recommended places to stay in San Vicente, especially if you enjoy peace, quiet, and good old German standards (one of the owners is German). They have the beach right in front of the resort and are within three minutes of town proper, which locals refer to as simply San Vicente or Poblacion.

Book your Dash Holiday now!
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