It's time again to come up with my personal list of top Philippine travel destinations for 2010! If you haven't visited my Facebook album Travel Year 2010, please do. Almost all my trips for the year are featured there. It looks like this year was my biggest travel year to date.
For 2010, I visited 51 provinces in 16 regions of the Philippines, 17 provinces for the first time. Plus I finally set foot on all 79 provinces of the Philippines! Had I not canceled my trips to Leyte and Samar, I would have visited all 17 regions this year.
So here are my ten favorite travel experiences around the Philippines for 2010!
1. Overnight with the Manobo community of Agusan Marsh
If there was a hidden paradise in the Philippines, it must be the Agusan Marsh. To visit the marsh requires several hours of land and river boat travel to get to the marsh itself. I stayed with the Manobo community in Sitio Panlabuhan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur for a night. No electricity so you're really one with nature. If you want to visit the marsh, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org since we are planning a trip there from March 4-6, 2011.
2. Lake Sebu's Seven Falls, Zip Line and Lang Dulay
Lake Sebu, South Cotabato has several cultural and natural attractions which makes it a worthwhile destination for tourists who look for more than the usual destination. For this trip, I visited the Seven Falls and tried out the Seven Falls Zip Line. Plus I met with National Living Treasure t'nalak weaver Lang Dulay.
3. Whitewater tubing, anthropomorphic pottery and pawikan in Maitum, Sarangani
Sarangani is very popular because of Gumasa Beach, a powder white sand beach in Glan. But on the opposite end of the province is Maitum, which has the Pangi River whitewater tubing, Pawikan Sanctuary, and a small museum dedicated to the anthropomorphic pottery that was found in Ayub Cave in Brgy. Piñol. Whitewater tubing in Maitum was fun!
4. Trek to the Batad Rice Terraces in Ifugao
Finally, after all those years planning to visit the Batad Rice Terraces, I finally did!
5. Bantayan Island, Cebu and island hopping to Virgin Island
I found myself back in Bantayan Island, Cebu this January for an Out of Classroom Learning Activity (OCLA) with my Tourism 114 class, 45 students total. One of the best food experiences in the country is the weekend dinner buffet at D'Jungle. Plus this time, we got to visit Virgin Island off the coast of Bantayan.
6. Rice planting experience in Mayoyao, Ifugao
Mayoyao, Ifugao called me back January. I had previously made that long trip to the Mayoyao Rice Terraces for the rice harvest tour in July 2008. This time, I was at the rice planting (Pfukhay ad Majawjaw) tour as part of an OCLA for my Tourism 115 students. And you can experience it too from January 28-30, 2011. Just contact Josh Nalliw at email@example.com to book a slot!
7. Sandboarding and 4x4 ride in the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes
Ever heard of sandboarding? Sandboarding is the newest adventure activity in Ilocos Norte, which has its very own desert of sorts - the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes. An already popular activity are 4x4 jeep rides in the Ilocos Norte Sand Dunes.
8. Dakak Park Beach Resort in Dapitan
When flying to Dipolog, make sure to include Dakak Park Beach Resort in your itinerary. In fact, most tourists fly there to visit Dakak, a really popular beach resort which has maintained its quaint 1980s charm. And when in Dapitan, don't forget to visit all the Rizal-related heritage sites.
9. Danao Adventure Park's E.A.T. Danao in Bohol
Have you heard of Bohol's E.A.T. Danao? The Eco, Educational, Extreme Adventure Tour of the Danao Adventure Park is arguably the country's best adventure attraction! Make sure to try their zip line and canyon swing!
10. Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur
Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig, Surigao del Sur is one of the most majestic waterfalls in the country. It's not just just the height of the falls but the width that makes it really spectacular. Tinuy-an Falls is 55 meters high and 95 meters wide. And some say that it is the widest waterfalls in the Philippines. I may have been here for just a few minutes, but I genuinely enjoyed the visit.
11. Visiting Jolo, Bud Datu in Indanan and Quezon Beach in Patikul, Sulu
How could I forget that exciting trip to Jolo, Sulu? And yes, Quezon Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. It's a pity thinking of how much potential Sulu has for tourism only if banditry and insurgency is curbed in the province.
This year, I also got to visit over 30 cities in 12 countries and territories. I visited Hong Kong, Macau and Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia twice this year; and Portugal, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands for the first time. I also was in Spain, Indonesia and Thailand. I'll make another post on European cities I visited in 2010. Indeed a great year!