Top 10 Hidden Vacation Spots in the Philippines
Bored with the usual tourist destinations? If you don’t want to go to Boracay, Baguio, Puerto Galera or Subic, you might want to try Sagada, Mt. Banahaw, Siargao, Camiguin, Cagayan de Oro or Pagudpud. Or you might try these as-yet-unknown places for your vacation. Though these places may not be as luxurious as the usual tourist spots, low prices and warm local hospitality are added bonuses. In many of these places, residents are willing to accept visitors for home stays, just consult the local officials or ask around!
The province of Romblon is made up of twenty beautiful islands which have been likened to the Mediterranean islands. The island of Romblon is the Philippines’ main source of marble, thus earning the moniker “Marble Country”. However, there’s more to Romblon than marble. Mt. Guiting-guiting on Sibuyan Island with a height of 2,058 meters is considered a challenge to mountain climbers, for example. <ref name="test1">Romblon Travel Guide. (accessed March 10, 2008).</ref> Romblon also has crystal-clear rivers and waterfalls, and beautiful, as yet unspoiled beaches. Romblon, Romblon road skirts the shores of several simple and idyllic beaches, dives shops , and some beautiful quiet coastal beach resort like Punta Corazon Romblon 
In January 2000, the earliest sunrise of the new millennium in the Philippines was at the easternmost tip of the country: Pusan Point, Davao Oriental, the “Sunrise Capital of the Philippines”. Davao Oriental has more than just sunrises to offer, however. It boasts, among others, the “bonsai forest” at Mt. Hamiguitan, “Tinagong Dagat” (Hidden Sea), plesiosaur-shaped “Dinosaur Island”, Cape San Agustin where legend has it St. Francis Xavier celebrated his first mass, and beautiful waterfalls and beaches. Davao Oriental is also home to the Mandaya ethnic group.<ref name="test2">Davao Oriental Interactive. Website of the Province of Davao Oriental (accessed March 10, 2008).</ref> <ref name="test3">WOW Philippines-Davao Oriental. (accessed March 10, 2008).</ref>
The island of Siquijor, also called “Isla del Fuego” or the “Isle of Fire”, is known to many as a place of magic, mysticism and enchantments. It is frequently associated with phenomena beyond the explanations of science. For some, traveling to this island is not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit, yet for those who do go to this island, it is a beautiful place of natural white sand beaches, coral reefs, caves and forests, simply worth discovering. After admiring the natural sceneries and venturing into the caves, visitors might also attend the healing festivals or watch locals perform feats that boggle the mind. <ref name="test4">Interesting Siquijor Facts Article on Mysiquijor.com (accessed March 10, 2008).</ref> <ref name="test5">Siquijor Island Article on Dumagueteinfo.com (accessed March 10, 2008).</ref>
Antiqueños pride themselves on living in one of the oldest pre-Hispanic settlements in the Philippines. According to legend, Antique, or Hamtik, as it was then called, was the realm of Datu Sumakwel, and was the first large Malay settlement in the country. Although now often passed over in favor of nearby Boracay, Antique has many scenic beauties to offer those seeking adventures with nature. It has lovely waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, including the Tibiao River, ideal for white water kayaking. The province’s highest peak is the legendary Mt. Madia-as, sacred mountain and home of ancient gods, home to rare flora and fauna. Antique is also the home of the famous “Bugasong patadyong”. Lately, the river of Sibalom, Antique has been discovered to be rich with semi-precious stones. <ref name="test6">Antique.ph (accessed March 10, 2008).</ref>
The island of Catanduanes in the Bicol Region is in the Pacific Ocean, and is still virtually untouched by tourists, making it a great vacation getaway for those who want to relax for a while from the rat race. Puraran Beach in the town of Baras on this island is the site of the so-called “Majestic” waves prized by surfers. The island also has as-yet-unspoiled white beaches all along its coastline, as well as diving spots for snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts, and cascading waterfalls farther inland.<ref name="test7">WOWPhilippines-Catanduanes (accessed March 10, 2008).</ref>
Scenic Lake Sebu, South Cotabato, dubbed the “Summer Capital of the South”, is a protected landscape and the ancestral home of the T'boli people. Located in the Daguma Mountains of SOCCSKSARGEN, it boasts three beautiful mountain lakes (Sebu, Seloton and Lahit) and seven waterfalls, as well as the rich culture of the T'bolis, now internationally known for their t'nalak cloth. The scenery and light in this place make it a photographer's paradise, and the mountains offer adventures for intrepid trekkers.<ref name="test8">Lake Sebu (accessed March 11, 2008).</ref>
Beautiful Glan, Sarangani, is the site of Philippine Government Colony No. 9, the first settlement by pioneers from Luzon and the Visayas in 1914 in SOCCSKSARGEN. It is a place where mountain sceneries meet white beaches and clear, sparkling waters. <ref name="test9">Destination: Glan, Sarangani (accessed March 11, 2008).</ref>
Baler, Aurora, the birthplace of first Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, is a place caught between the mountains and the sea: the Pacific Ocean on the east, and the Sierra Madre Mountains on the west. Remote and isolated from the metropolis, its beauties remain unspoiled, waiting to be discovered. Sabang Beach waves are good for surfing, while nearby islets are great for snorkeling. History enthusiasts may be interested in Quezoniana such as the ruins of the Quezon house.<ref name="test10">Cat’s Walks: Baler, Aurora Province (accessed March 12, 2008).</ref> Talk on the web is that in keeping with traditional Filipino hospitality, locals are willing to accommodate visitors for lodgings.
Pundaquit, San Antonio, Zambales
Hidden away in the province of Zambales, not far from Subic, is the lovely fishing village of Pundaquit, San Antonio. For those in the know, the beach of Pundaquit is a great haven for beach bums and surfers. <ref name="test11">VirtualTourist.com: Pundaquit (accessed March 12, 2008).</ref> This tranquil place was the setting for some of the scenes in the Judy Ann Santos teleserye “Esperanza”, and Punta de Uian Resort served as backdrop of the Villa Santibañez resort in the teleserye “Mari Mar”. <ref name="test12">Adventures of the Coconuter: Pundaquit (accessed March 12, 2008).</ref>
Caramoan Peninsula, Camarines Sur
The serene Caramoan Peninsula is a hidden paradise in Camarines Sur, great for swimming, island hopping and nature-tripping. <ref name="test13">Mystic Waters-Caramoan Peninsula-Camarines Sur (accessed March 12, 2008).</ref> Aside from white beaches, waterfalls and islands, Caramoan also has caves for intrepid explorers and cliffs for rock climbers, as well as the wildlife sanctuary at Caramoan National Park for bird-watchers. <ref name="test14">I Found God in Caramoan Article by Christine Dayrit posted March 25, 2006 (accessed March 12, 2008).</ref>