For something new, here are places to take your significant other to and spend the night in sans the walls but with the comforts of a hotel room.
It’s hidden from the main road. It’s halfway between the beaches of Nasugbu and the chilly breeze of Tagaytay. It also happens to have a deceptively spacious geodesic dome tent with a natural pool and a large patio. All of this is packaged in an area that makes you feel like you are nowhere near Tagaytay or Nasugbu. Truly an excellent camping experience.
Beachside camping has always been a good idea for anyone looking to break away from the daily grind. Nacpan Beach, once hailed by The Daily Telegraph as one of the dreamiest beaches in the world in 2017, is as quiet as they come, and there’s no better way of enjoying it than sleeping in a luxurious tent at Nacpan Beach Glamping. It’s got stylish blue tents, beachfront access, and a kitchen that can whip you up a good meal.
There’s also a garden around the tents that you can walk around in for more peace and quiet.
Keeping things in El Nido, here’s a spot that takes you away from the crowds and towards the quieter parts of El Nido. Aetas Glamping El Nido (Nature Served on a Silver Platter on Airbnb) has four glamping tents fashioned from a mix of classic tent and indigenous materials. Situated in what can only be described as halfway between a mountain and rice fields, it’s a unique stay that might be hard to match elsewhere in El Nido.
Next to camping in the woods or by the beach, a tent pitched by the shores of a lake, is something we’ve all aspired to do. Glamping Etc. Philippines, located on the shores of quiet Lumot Lake in Cavinti, Laguna, gives us just that—albeit in one of four roomier, more luxurious geodesic tents.
Enjoy free kayak rentals, body boards, vests, and breakfast during your stay, all while you wait for the night sky in Cavinti to open up.
Glamping is always a good idea with friends, especially when it leads you to discover places you’ve never been to… like Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte. Yes, it is ridiculously far from Metro Manila, but this makes staying at North Beach Camp even better. No stress from work, no need to worry about traffic—it’s the ideal destination, right?
Combine that with how your glamping tents look (they’re more beach huts than actual tents) and the food they serve (pizza from Kingfisher and a Japanese spread, anyone?) and you might just get us to sign up for a night or two.
Siquijor has long been shrouded in mystery, what with how people have always connected it to the occult. What people are missing out on, though, are the amazing panoramas you get and the people you meet (they are genuinely some of the nicest). The best way to experience all of this should be from the comfort of a tent, which Glamping Siquijor gives you in spades. Beachfront huts are the way to go here.
Zambales is one of those lesser-known spots for a relaxing time because of its history (Mt. Pinatubo eruption, 1991). It feels more like a pitstop on your way up North, but take a few minutes to dig through the web and you’ll see it has more to offer: stunning beaches, activities for adventure travelers, and The Glamp Zambales.
It’s a beautiful spot in the little-known town of Liwliwa with access to the beach, picturesque tents, and an equally picturesque sunset.
You can say San Vicente is the Philippines’ last frontier’s last frontier. If this doesn’t sound right, this report will.
Palawan’s open secret might probably be the best thing to ever happen to local tourism, and it’s not hard to see why: sustainable tourism practices are at the heart of what drives the once sleepy fishing town of San Vicente.
The teeny spotlight lit on San Vicente’s two attractions: Long Beach and Port Barton. But the fact is there are more to the town than lounging around these breathtaking shores.
Cove hop on Boayan Island
Boayan Island, the largest island off the coast of San Vicente, boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the province. Most of the beaches on Boayan are within private property, but island hoppers can stop by it. Coves like Kalipay, Evergreen, and Kambingan are great if you want a beach to yourself.
Ask your boatman to bring you to Daplac Cove, one of the more pristine beaches on Boayan Island. It’s a 300-meter cove with powdery white sand that’s a host to a few sea turtles and if the conditions are right you may spot them in your visit. Boayan Island is about 30 minutes by boat from the San Vicente Port. St. Vincent Travel and Tours has this in their tours.
Photo Op at Bato ni Ningning
Bato ni Ningning, named after a drama series that aired on local TV in 2015, gives you a view of Erawan Beach as well as a near-360-degree view of the surrounding area.
Stand atop the rock and bust out your selfie stick to get Erawan Beach in the photo, or go down a bit from the top of the hill and have a cleaner shot of the beach. Bato ni Ningning is a 45-minute drive from the airport, and best reached on a motorbike. Bike rental is around Php600 (USD12) per bike. Entrance to Bato ni Ningning is Php20 per person.
Bar hop in Port Barton
The crowd in San Vicente will always gravitate towards Port Barton. It’s the first area of San Vicente to be explored by tourists and a welcome alternative to those who have been to El Nido.
Two of the top bars in Port Barton are Moon Bar and Mojitos Restobar. Mojitos was once named as Palawan’s best resto-bar on TripAdvisor and is known for its nine variations on the classic mojito. Moon Bar alternately is a beachfront bar that serves smoothies, beer, wines, and cocktails with a view of San Vicente’s cotton candy-colored sunset. It’s hard to miss since it looks like a gigantic two-storey beach hut. Drinks at Moon Bar start at Php200. Moon Bar is a five-minute walk from the center of Port Barton.
To date, there are only two waterfalls known to people who have been to San Vicente: Bigaho and Pamoayan. Bigaho Falls, a 10-minute walk from the beach where your boat will dock, is pretty accessible and often the final stop on your Port Barton Island Hopping tour. It has a small pool at the bottom of the falls for taking a leisurely dip.
Pamoayan Falls, 10 minutes by motorbike on paved and dirt roads from Port Barton beach, calls the adventurous. From the entrance, it’s a five-minute trek including wading on a creek to get to the waterfall. Compared to Bigaho, Pamoayan is more majestic in terms of size and features. Its dipping pool is larger than Bigaho too. Bigaho and Pamoayan both have a sari-sari store where you can buy snacks and drinks, and where there’s a donation box for those who wish to donate cash.
Spend the afternoon (or the night) at Inaladelan Island
It’s a tongue-twister of a name, but Inaladelan Island (or German Island) is one of the best islands to spend a night on in San Vicente. It has tents, a 300-meter white-sand beach on one side, a small bar that serves cocktails, and a small pavilion where you can have your lunch. You’ll love the trees giving you shelter when it’s a tad too sunny. Inaladelan is often a lunch stop for island hopping tours, but we recommend actually spending a night here for you to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Less than a kilometer from its shore is where you’ll find what people visit San Vicente for: sea turtles. There’s a huge patch of seagrass below the waves that sea turtles love to graze in, and they’re more than happy to let people snorkel or swim with them while they feed. Note: This phenomenon is year-round. Overnight stays at Inaladelan are at Php2,500 per person (minimum of two) with roundtrip transfers from either Port Barton or San Vicente, a camping tent with foam bed and pillows, dinner, and breakfast. Book at Inaladelanisland.com
Explore Port Barton’s reefs
Port Barton is home to some of the more thriving coral reefs in Palawan. The islands in Port Barton Bay like Inaladelan and Exotic have some of the clearest waters, making them a playground for snorkelers.
Some of the more popular reefs are Twin Reef and Wide Reef. Twin Reef is a shallow dive (less than 15 feet) and home to large table corals and schools of fish. It’s a small area that’s easily explored even by those who don’t dare dive beneath the waves. Wide Reef is a wider reef area, hence the name, and deeper than Twin Reef, with similar coral formations and species of fish. If you’re looking for larger schools of fish, have your boatman take you to Small Lagoon Reef, located close to Exotic Island; for and to Fantastic Reef, close to Double Island, for a look-see of green corals. Snorkeling in Port Barton Bay is a part of the tours provided by St. Vincent Travel and Tours.
Laze on Long Beach and forget time exists
This one you can do at any of the beaches you’ll visit, but Long Beach gives you the best opportunity to enjoy a legitimately long walk on the beach or do nothing at all.
Long Beach is a 14.7-kilometer, cream-colored sandy beach that has got one of the most colorful sunsets you’d evert see. There aren’t many establishments on Long Beach yet, which means a visit this early will give you a good chance of taking those beach photos without people and manmade structures in the background. Put on loads of insect repellent before you and within your visit to keep you from being bit by sand flies.
Watch sea turtle hatchlings go to the sea
Another unique way of enjoying a stay in San Vicente joining the locals and taking part in releasing sea turtle hatchlings on Long Beach.
Backed by a municipal ordinance, the residents (especially school kids) and officials of the three barangays that share Long Beach walk on their portion of the beach either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to look for sea turtle nests. Tourists can join in on the fun by simply walking with them or visiting Club Agutaya, where they release hatchlings within 24 hours of finding them. Turtle hatching season is from October to April. Register for free at Club Agutaya’s front desk when you visit San Vicente to join locals in looking for sea turtle nests.
Visit Dumaran Island
It’s not exactly on every tour operator’s itinerary and it’s not exactly in San Vicente, but Dumaran Island is the definition of an unknown tourist destination in Palawan. The island is three hours away from San Vicente and will have you take dirt roads and a boat ride to get to it. It’s not a touristy place, with no proper resorts, restaurants, and other tourist establishments but it does have spots you can check out like Isla Pugon, Encantasia Island, Renambacan Island, Maruyug-ruyog Island, Calampuan Island, and the Dumaran Spanish Fort. Tours at Dumaran Island can be arranged with either the local tourism office or Isla Pugod Eco Resort (@DumaranPalawanDiscoveryOfficialPage on Facebook).
The basics Get there: SkyJet Airlines flies direct from Manila to San Vicente four times weekly. Motorbikes are the preferred way of getting around San Vicente, with rentals priced around Php600 (USD12) per bike.
The ever-unpredictable Philippine weather does not stop the brave of heart. And this is true even to celebrities whose IG feeds prove their love for the uplands.
Here’s one lady who’s not afraid of heights. The star of ABS-CBN’s recently-concluded teleserye The General’s Daughter is a fan of adventure, and mountains are no exception.
She swims, she bikes, she runs. And she also goes up a mountain every now and then. Bubbles Paraiso, everyone.
Bit of a cheat, this one (as an entry, not the actual person), but Erwan’s content on his IG and YouTube are filled with nearly every activity you could think of… including hikes.
Yes, it’s her. She’s one of the country’s top female OCR athletes, and she’s just at home at the summit of a mountain as she is on a Spartan course.
This man doesn’t have as big of a following as the artistas on this list, but he is one of the biggest names in the local mountaineering scene. Aftersll, Gideon Lasco is the dude that started pinoymountaineer.com.
If these people aren’t enough to convince you to hike up a mountain, then I don’t know what will.
Didwe miss anyone? Hit us up in the comments below and we’ll expand this list!
In case you need even more inspiration to take that freediving class.
Most of us are content with swimming in pools or strapping on a life vest and goggles, but these celebs have taken these to an extent where they can enjoy the open sea without the need for scuba tanks. If the magical underwater world of the Philippines isn’t enough to entice you to freedive, maybe these local stars will:
The former actress is a full-on child of the sea; so much so that she’s developed her own line of swimwear (@sirenaswimwearph) and now runs a resort in Baler (@LSirene_). As someone who loves the sea, it’s no surprise that she also freedives.
He’s a triathlete, a father of two, and has one of the most enviable jobs in existence: hosting a travel show. He’s quite comfortable with open water (it’s a requirement if you’re exploring the Philippines), and has added freediving to his skillset after learning the basics for an episode of Biyahe ni Drew.
She’s a radio DJ for local radio station YesFM 101.1, and an events host. She’s also someone who’s fond of the ocean, which is apparent on her IG feed.
Rachel Anne Daquis
She’s a professional volleyball player, model, and businesswoman who’s best known for her time with the FEU Lady Tamaraws. She recently took up freediving with the help of @nofinsfreediverph, a group of avid freedivers who “aim to encourage anyone who’s willing to learn freediving, at the same time, help save the ocean.”
The basics Introductory freediving classes are available with groups such as Freedive PH (freedive.ph) holding classes at Scuba Studio in San Juan (pool) or Batangas (open water).
If skydiving is on your bucket list, get started by reading this one-on-one talk with skydiving safety and training advisor Brad Vancina.
I started with a tandem skydive. As soon as my feet touched the ground I knew I
was going to be a skydiver. That summer, I got my USPA
(United States Parachute Association) license. I spent two years at the DZ I
started at then was hired for a weekend camera position at Skydive Chicago.
Skydiving is a very physical sport. I take care of myself and have always maintained a good level of fitness. I ride my mountain bike a lot; I run on my treadmill a couple of days a week, and try and eat right. The gear we wear is heavy–24 kilos—plus the weight of our tandem passengers. We also deal with the heat, so drinking heaps of water and core strength are key to longevity in our trade.
If you’re getting into skydiving, don’t
take chances. We belong to an
organization called the United States Parachute Association where I am a safety
and training advisor. We work and operate under a certain perimeter of rules. If
you follow the rules and take the time and money to get certified at a USPA DZ,
you will be a good and safe skydiver. If you can’t do that, don’t skydive.
To date, I have made over 22,400
jumps. I must have had around 4,500
jumps when I got my Tandem rating. It took me over 17,000 jumps to get my AFFI
(freefall instructor) rating.
My dad inspired me to skydive. He wasn’t a skydiver but his love for aviation
and flying became my inspiration. I was the kid in the family that marched to
my own drum. Flying is nice but skydiving is just next level.
My most memorable jumps was when I
was teaching and jumping with my children, and doing tandem jumps with my mom
We are a family run and operated
skydive center that is current in the industry. Our methods are world recognized and our equipment is
the best that money can buy. Here, you are training and jumping with
professional and USPA-rated tandem and AFF instructors. As far as I know, we
are the only professional skydiving center in the Philippines.
We only use the best skydiving
gear. All of our tandem
equipment are Micro Sigma, made by UPT (USA). We use 330-square-feet Icarus Tandem Canopies from New
Zealand, Performance Designs Reserves
(USA) and Vigil and CypressAAD’s (Automatic Activation Devices).
If you can’t afford what’s safe and modern both for gear and training, then you
should probably take up a different sport.
My wife, Louise (an Ilongga and a surgical ICU nurse from Chicago), and I were already operating our own skydive center south of Chicago when we came to the Philippines. We saw there was nothing of the sort here and started to do the research into how we could make it work. After an email to Capt. Alvin Boyd Loreno, a commercial pilot and flight instructor from Mactan, I found a guy that was interested and understood the need to follow rules if there was going to be professional skydiving in the Philippines.
We all took a chance together and formed Skydive Greater Cebu. Boyd knew the ins and outs of airspace rules here with CAAP and plays an important role in government relations and our aircraft maintenance and safety. We started in Bantayan Island, Cebu in 2013 and it continues to be our flagship operation. That’s where we get our biggest numbers as well as all our USPA AFF certifications and licensing.
Because of how hard it was to travel here in the Philippines, we
realized it would be good to open a location South of Cebu. Siquijor was a
My wife and I always had our eye on Palawan but it wasn’t until this year
that we decided to do a trial run. We have been open in xx, Palawan but
we are shutting down and reopening in November. I feel it will be our best
location in two years.
Any USPA Skydive Center that
follows the course to a T and has highly experienced instructors is good if you
want to learn skydiving. If
their instructor has less than 1,000 jumps, he/she has no business teaching
someone how to skydive.
Skydiving is a progressive sport. It’s best to go to a progressive DZ
to get a license and make your tandem skydive. Make sure their training methods
are current and the equipment they use are made within the past six years.
Pick a DZ with instructors that have time to jump with you. Some
instructors like to rush to the next student because that’s how they make their
money. Pre and post-jump briefings are very important, and you can’t do those
while running to the next student.
Skydiving is a pretty competitive
industry so the costs are pretty fixed. Most tandem jumps with video are around USD400. AFF levels
are usually around USD200 – 250 per level. Once licensed most DZ’s offer slots
to altitude for USD25 – 45. If you see a real cheap skydiving center, you
should be very concerned and ask a lot of questions.
Being a scuba diver, my wife and family often find ourselves in
Malapascua Island, diving with our good friends at DiveLink Cebu. I am excited to open our skydiving center in xx,
Palawan in <target date> because the diving and surfing there is awesome
and not as crowded.
There are many good restaurants in
Bantayan Island, Cebu. You can’t
go wrong with most of the sugba-sugba
(grilled seafood) places and I can never give a good lechon station a pass. A trip to Cebu is never complete without a
bowl of spicy ramen from Hamakaze.
I grew up in the farmlands of Illinois. My dad always supported my love for motocross bikes and BMX vert riding. As I grew up, I raced XC and downhill mountain bikes, all while twisting throttles on motocross bikes.
I still ride mountain bikes a couple of days a week. I found a great
group of Filipinos here on Bantayan Island. We ride Enduro Motocross and trail rides from Bogo to Cebu. My greatest
passion of all is surfing. It’s the only thing that still scares me.
I like beaches. Where the beach is doesn’t really matter as long
as there are nice wave coming in. I’m not too good at just relaxing. One of the
best times of my life were the years I spent living in Australia. It was the
perfect mix of jumping all day and running to the beach with my board every
We are quite happy here in the Philippines. There are a few things that drive me crazy with the way things get done, but for the most part you can’t beat the heart and warmth of the Filipino.ho is Brad Vancina?
Who is Brad Vancina? Brad is the man behind the only USPA-affiliated skydiving centers in the Philippines: Skydive Greater, which now has two branches—it’s original location in Bantayan Island, Cebu; and Siquijor. Visit Skydivecebu.com