When it comes to off-the-grid adventures, few places come close to Europe’s sequestered camping spots, paradisal islands and awe-inspiring mountain ranges. However, there are some destinations that are so unique it pays to go further afield to experience them, which is why we're turning our attention to a particular corner of Southeast Asia.
Encompassing more 7,100 islands, the Philippines is as good as it gets for nature-based getaways, especially ones with a sustainability focus. What's more, it's never been easier to get there, with travellers able to book flights to Manila directly with Worldwide by easyJet (not to mention a glut of other fabulous locations). To celebrate that fact, we've chosen our favourite eco adventures throughout the Philippines to help immerse yourself in its world-beating natural beauty.
1. Trek through Masungi Georeserve, Rizal
Make your way through lush vegetation and limestone formations during a three-hour trek in the Masungi Georeserve, a sanctuary for hundreds of native wildlife species. The Discovery Trail will take you over suspended bridges and onto a spider web viewing deck, a spectacular lookout next to the country’s largest lake, Laguna de Bay. Give your visit a sustainability boost by embarking on the Legacy Trail, where you can help plant and nurture local trees as you explore.
2. Spot the dolphins in Bohol
How about a day out at sea in the clear blue waters off Pamilacan Island? The area used to be a prime fishing spot for whale hunters, but the development of sustainable tourism is now helping to keep the dolphin and whale communities safe from commercial fishing. Today, old whaling boats are used to ferry groups out to prime marine-life spotting locations, where various species of dolphins and even blue whales can be seen splashing around in their aquatic playground.
3. Swim at Campawan Curtain Falls, Davao Oriental
Pack your bathing suit for this breathtaking nature hike to the Campawan Waterfalls near the town of Baganga. The wide curtain of water provides an incredible spectacle as it crashes into a shallow, swimmable basin, creating the perfect conditions for a refreshing dip beside this sublime backdrop.
4. Go kayaking in El Nido, Palawan
Known locally as the “last frontier”, the placid waters that flow between El Nido’s lagoons and coves gives the area a peculiar serenity, making this an unmissable stop-off on your Philippines itinerary. El Nido is made even better due to the fact that motorised boats have been banned to protect the ecological balance and natural resources. Quiet and unspoilt settings can be found with ease by kayak, while the crystal-clear waters are teeming with marine life.
5. Explore sublime eco trails in the north-west
If it’s hiking you’re after, make for La Union Province and Bagui Province in the north-west, where the region’s tropical weather and picture-perfect views make for the best trails in all the Philippines. Newly opened at the start of 2021, the Bamboo Eco Park in Bagui is a must for wannabe nature photographers, with the different varieties of bamboo species offering a compelling backdrop to this nature hike.
Elsewhere, the cascading Tuddingan Falls in Naguilian are a friendly option for beginners, with access made through a cemented pathway. Alternatively, take 20-minute trek through spectacular forestland to Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel, where you can take a dive in the falls’ cooling waters.
6. Visit the Mangrove Forest of Siargao Islands
While Siargao draws tourists for its surfing waves, it’s also home to the country’s largest contiguous mangrove stand, hosting 27 out of the 70 species in the world. To make the most of the island’s rare flora and fauna in marine, wetland, and terrestrial areas, strike out on a boat tour along the brackish waters of the Del Carmen Mangrove Forest. You might even spot the endangered Crocodylus Porosus or Saltwater crocodile!
In partnership with the Philippines Tourism Promotions Board