Powerful gusts, heavy downpours, and overcast skies are just some of the things we’re seeing during this time of the year but the gloomy weather shouldn’t prevent you from traveling around the Philippines.
There are benefits to traveling during the monsoon season, two of which are discounts on accommodation and fewer crowds even in popular destinations.
Make the most out of the country’s wet season by visiting some of these beautiful provinces.
1. La Union
La Union is blessed with beautiful beaches with nice surf breaks. Test your wave riding skills by going to Urbiztondo, San Juan, the most popular surfing spot in La Union.
The waves in Urbiztondo are ideal for both beginner and advanced surfers. Aside from testing your mettle on the surf, the beach is also perfect for beach bumming. After a tiring day of falling off your surfboard and/or successfully riding the waves, you can enjoy a quiet day or night on the beach.
How to get to San Juan in La Union
Take a Manila to Laoag bound Partas Bus for around ₱380 one-way. Tell the conductor that you would like to alight at Urbiztondo, San Juan, La Union. The bus ride takes approximately 6 to 7 hours depending on traffic.
2. South Cotabato
South Cotabato has plenty to offer nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, and culture addicts. Lake Sebu is a small town in South Cotabato that offers something for all three.
Not only does Lake Sebu have beautiful landscapes and cool weather, it is also home to the National Living Treasure Lang Dulay, the famous T’Boli master dreamweaver.
For nature lovers and adrenaline junkies, the Seven Falls of Lake Sebu is a popular destination. The falls are hidden in lush and verdant forests that require either a short or long trek depending on how many waterfalls you plan to visit.
For thrill-seekers, you can ride one of the longest zip lines in the region to get a bird’s eye view of the falls. There are many resorts that provide you with spectacular views of the lakes in Lake Sebu. Although it rains in Lake Sebu, the rains are unlike the monsoon storms that hit the metro.
How to Get to Lake Sebu in South Cotabato
There are flights from Manila to General Santos City, the gateway to the summer capital of the south. The flight takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Once at General Santos City International Airport (GES), make your way to Bulaong Bus Terminal and get on a bus that’s bound for Marbel, the fare going to Marbel Bus Terminal is ₱83 one-way. From Marbel, get on a van bound for Surallah for ₱20 one-way. From Surallah, get on a van that’s bound for Lake Sebu for ₱35 one-way.
Once at Lake Sebu, hire a habal-habal or motorcycle for ₱50 to take you to your accommodation. The entire trip can take up to 2 to 3 hours including waiting time.
This mountainous region in the Philippines is blessed with spectacular rice terraces. The Batad Rice Terraces is one of the five terraces included in the UNESCO Heritage Site of Banaue.
The amphitheater-like rice terraces of Batad is the stuff of legends. Part of the adventure to Batad is top loading on a jeep and the short trek needed just to get to the village. Hire a guide (the price is negotiable at around ₱600) or go on your own to trek the terraces or visit Tappiyah Falls for a refreshing dip into its cool waters.
How to Get to Batad in Banaue
From Manila, get on a bus to Banaue for ₱500. The trip can take up to 8 hours one-way. Ohayami Trans is the only bus company that travels directly to Banaue. Their station is located at Corner J. Fajardo A.H Lacson Sampaloc, Manila. The bus only has two schedules: one at 9 PM the other at 10 PM.
From Banaue, ride a tricycle to take you to the town proper. Once in town, look for jeeps bound for Batad saddle point or junction, the junction is 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) from the saddle point. After reaching the saddle point, you can hire a guide to take you to Batad.
Siquijor is one of the smallest islands in the Philippines. This island is easily overlooked because of the perception that it is home to many aswangs (a vampire-like mythical creature). But this small province is beguiling with its fine, white sand beaches, and breathtaking waterfalls.
Visit the beaches in Kagusuan and Salagdoong to get a taste of ideal island life. The beaches have fine, white sand and blue, calm waters. If you have had enough of bumming around the beach, you can head to the cascading Cambugahay Falls in the town of Lazi and cliff dive.
How to Get to Siquijor
You can get to Siquijor by taking a flight to Dumaguete, Sibulan Airport (DGT), which is the closest province to Siquijor. The flight takes approximately one hour.
Once in Dumaguete, ride a ferry to Siquijor for ₱136 one-way. The ferry ride takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.
5. Davao Oriental
Davao Oriental is another underrated province that you can visit in Mindanao. One of the things you can do while in Davao Oriental surfing!
The best beach to surf in Davao Oriental is in Dahican Beach located in Mati. Dahican Beach offers a long stretch of white sand and excellent surf breaks for beginners. Ride the waves or enjoy bumming around the uncrowded beach.
How to Get to Mati in Davao Oriental
The nearest airport to Mati in Davao Oriental is the Davao City’s airport, Francisco Bangoy International Airport (DVO). From Manila, the flight would approximately take 1 hour. Once in Davao City, ride a Mati-bound air-conditioned bus in Davao City’s Ecoland Terminal for ₱250 one-way. The bus ride would approximately take 3 to 4 hours.
Once you have made it to Mati’s town center, ride a habal-habal for approximately ₱50 one-way to Dahican Beach. The ride takes approximately 20 minutes one-way.