Off the Beaten Path
As the Philippines’ Department of Tourism prepares to welcome visitors again, it is constantly developing new activities for travelers to experience while making sure that all international safety protocols are met at various destinations.
It is indeed more fun in the Philippines, with activities being readied by the DOT to offer a new and unique experience for international tourists. The Philippine government prepares its welcome for travellers with infrastructure development including the improvement of our domestic and international airports and new roadways ensuring faster access to our regional destinations, said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
With over 7,000 islands offering a unique experience to visitors, the Philippines is a destination unlike any other. Whether it’s relaxing in the beaches or the mountains, enjoying the vibrant urban life, or an immersion into its indigenous culture, various one-of-a-kind experiences for all types of travellers.
Here are eight uniquely Filipino activities one can try from different parts of the country:
1. Cycling around Intramuros on a Bamboo Bike
Take your cycling adventure up a notch using bamboo bikes. Bambike Ecotours offers a chance to explore the historic walled city of Intramuros in a different way. These bamboo bikes come in many options for a safe and comfortable ride with Bambassadors acting as guides on Old Manila’s unique charms.
2. Zooming through Banaue’s Winding Roads on a Wooden Bike
What’s the best way to enjoy the picturesque view of the 2,000-year-old man-made rice terraces in Banaue? Why, with wooden scooters hand-carved by the same indigenous group, of course! Made with scraps of wood and pieces from old rubber tires, these two-wheelers can go as fast as 50kph and is truly a testament to the artistry and ingenuity of the Ifugao people.
3. Test Your Balance on Bamboo Stilts in Cebu
The Kadang-Kadang or Bamboo stilts lets visitors see the Philippines from a slightly higher point of view. Tourists to Cebu can test their balance and speed by hopping on a pair of stilts and participating in a team race that runs (or wobbles) for 100 meters. Considered as a childhood game through generations, it has been recognized as a traditional sport under the Laro ng Lahi in 1969.
4. Go Off-Road on a Lahar Adventure in Pampanga
The Pinatubo eruption caused devastation to much of Central Luzon, but locals have found a way to utilize the lahar flow from the volcano and turned it into a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts. Travelers with a need for speed can book an off-road tour on a 4×4 or motorcycle that rides through the streams and the sandy terrain through one of the most unique landscapes in the Philippines.
5. Relax in a Kawa bath at Antique
The Kawa or giant cauldron is usually used to cook fiesta fare in the Philippines, but in Antique province, it provides a rustic and relaxing experience. The mountainside resorts welcome visitors after a trek in the woods of Tibiao 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 they can dip their feet in a pond for fish to nibble on and exfoliate.
6. Visit the Philippine Eagle in Davao
Come visit the majestic Philippine eagle, the largest of the surviving eagles in the world. This critically endangered species is protected in select sanctuaries like the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao. A rather challenging trek is rewarded by a treasure trove of sightings including a chance to watch Philippines Eagles in flight.
For a quick glimpse, guests may also opt to visit Philippine Eagle Center, a 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 woven into their fabrics. This tour brings travellers to stunning interactive and informative displays of the fabrics produced in the region using cotton and other natural fibers woven and weft into their traditional designs passed down through generations. Tour stops include weaving villages and museums, with opportunities to go souvenir shopping for handmade works of art that are sewn into stunning articles of clothing or incorporated into decorative pieces.
8. Organic Green Tour (OGT) Circuit
This circuit traces the Philippine food roots through a combination of organic farm tours and traditional meals using freshly harvested produce. The tour runs through the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area with farm tourism destinations in Benguet Agro-Eco Farm in Sablan and UM-A Farm in Tuba. Guests can pick their own produce and can partake in a traditional community celebration around a bonfire amid fresh mountain air.
These activities await your return to the Philippines where the warmth of the country is matched by the local hospitality. Enrich your traveling experiences by trying these new activities constantly developed by DOT. While the world awaits reopening, Philippine tourism workers are undergoing constant training. Establishments implement standardized safeguards in their premises to protect their guests and employees, to ensure that only those who are accredited are allowed to open and receive guests.
DOT was awarded a SafeTravels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council for its adoption of “health and hygiene global standardized protocols” that will ensure safe travel during the pandemic.
The Philippine government through its Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is constantly updating its protocols to safeguard travelers.