As our coaster maneuvered through the winding mountain road in Labo, Camarines Norte, I couldn’t help but marvel at the breathtaking views that unfolded before my eyes. Unlike my previous nocturnal journeys to Bicol during my childhood, this daytime adventure through Labo municipality was a delightful revelation. Little did I know that this unassuming destination held a myriad of hidden gems waiting to be explored.
“Talon! (Jump!)” our whale shark interaction officer shouted. Suddenly, there were splashes everywhere and we were in the water. It took a few seconds to find my orientation underwater and make out the direction of where I am looking. I saw our guide pointing to a direction but it was too late. I saw only a visage of a whale shark descending deeper. We’re already past 2 hours in our Donsol Whale Shark Watching activity and already had a few jumps into the water yet still no decent sighting. Will we be lucky enough to get really close and interact with a whale shark?
Aside from the majestic Mt. Mayon in Albay, the next popular active volcano in the region is Mt Bulusan. The 1,565 meters high active volcano has cracked and rugged peaks. Locals often refer to Mt Bulusan as the male counterpart of the “female”, Mt. Mayon. Bulusan Volcano may not have that picturesque cone-shape form but the volcano and its surrounding area of rainforest and lakes is declared a national park. And recently, I had the fortune of visiting the Bulusan Volcano Natural Park twice. Seeing for myself and experiencing what this rainforest natural park has to offer.
Often times from experience of chasing waterfalls, some of the most majestic falls comes after an arduous journey. That’s why it was quite a delight to discover the Kambal Busay Falls and Hidden Falls in Bulusan, Sorsogon. One of the most accessible falls I’ve been to but it retains its pristine beauty and developed with care.
“A hill without a hilltop” sounds intriguing ain’t it? I wondered myself how the summit looked like. Albay have always been known for Mt Mayon. For an area with high volcanic activity, it would be natural that the surrounding landscape would have dramatic land forms too. Kawa-kawa Hill and Natural Park in Ligao, Albay, stands just 236-meters above sea level and is just around 5.8 km away from the foothills of Mt Mayon. Aside from its intriguing hilltop, it is a famous site for pilgrimage flocked by thousands especially during holy week.
Often times the more challenging path yields to richer rewards. In Sta Ana, Cagayan, we ventured to the foothills of Sierra Madre mountains to explore one of the recently developed and opened tourism site in the municipality – the Buwacag Falls. This multi-tiered falls have a fun and challenging trail amidst lush forest leading to several wonderful cascades.
When it comes to natural respites, the Philippines is abundant in destinations featuring different land and water forms. Beaches are the most popular spots, but the country also offers waterfalls, lakes, springs, streams, mountains, hills, and vast fields for those who want to reconnect with Mother Earth and recharge with her natural powers.
The rise in infrastructure developments paved the way for people to recreate natural hotspots and merge them with modern facilities that cater to wellness, leisure, and unwinding. You’ll find these idyllic features in the five eco-resorts listed below that you should add to your next vacation plans: