The following guest post was written by Gem of Travels with a Hobo.
Sometimes changing your environment can be all you need to shake up your routine. In fact, Beep and I always find ourselves looking for new places to visit in the Philippines.
With seven thousand and seven hundred islands to choose from, I don’t think we’ll ever run out of places to go. Still, the more we do this over the years, the more we've become keen on low-key and unassuming travel destinations.
As travel bloggers, Beep and I have seen the rising trend of solo travelling. I’ve been on solo wanderings and I can definitely say it’s a totally different experience—the planning becomes much easier and I am better able to manage my time.
Travelling alone allows you to focus on yourself and your harmony with your surroundings. Despite being surrounded by total strangers, you can still find comfort in it. Long bus rides or sitting on the beach can give you serenity and allow you to focus on your thoughts and goals.
If you are planning a solo vacation in the Philippines any time soon, here are a few of my recommended destinations for solo travel in the Philippines:
1. El Nido, Palawan
Being in El Nido is a thrilling experience, what with its 45 islands and islets. It's also a budget-friendly destination for solo travelers.
What I appreciate about the place are the activities. You can go snorkeling, tan on its many beaches, or swim to El Nido’s hidden lagoons and beaches.
I stayed in a cheap inn, which has rooms that range from 400-500 pesos ($8-11) per night—not bad for accommodation. Since I was able to shell out less on my room, I spent the rest of my budget on food and activities.
Also, when going solo, expect to be grouped with other travelers. It’s not completely a bad thing; I got to share the cost of an activity and the room, which made the trip even cheaper.
I decided to head straight to Sagada after spending a few days in Baguio. As I had a limited budget during that trip, I can guarantee that Sagada will not drain your pockets.
There are 200-peso rooms that you get to occupy alone, which is a good catch. I took a bus for 500 pesos to Sagada which lasted 6-7 hours. You’ll only spend a little over 400 pesos for a day’s meals, too, and I’m talking about well-prepared and delicious food here.
You shouldn’t miss seeing the Banaue Rice Terraces because it is a sight to behold. Other fun activities include spelunking, trekking to the hidden waterfalls, and seeing the hanging coffins-the town's tradition for their dearly departed ones.
You can join tour groups as well. Since you’re traveling solo, you’ll be included in a big group which makes the cost of the trip a lot cheaper. Sagada is good for solo travelers because of the atmosphere. The people are laid back and the vibe makes you realize that you are far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Although Batanes is far, it is an affordable trip that is totally worth it. There’s nothing more satisfying than exploring the northern part of the Philippines. Aside from the airfare (which can be solved by looking for promo flights), Batanes has inns that cost only 350 pesos ($7) each night.
Just imagine all the amazing photos you could take on the island! Personally, I took advantage of the picturesque scenery and ended up emptying the data storage of my camera.
Dumaguete isn’t as popular as other tourist destination in the Philippines, but that's actually better because it means it is not that crowded and will give you plenty of peaceful solo time.
The highlight of this trip was the food. The amount of delicious food you can order for below 200 pesos is endless. From typical dishes to gourmet style cuisine, you can taste Dumaguete’s locally grown ingredients fresh and affordable.
If you’re a sucker for history and trivia, then Dumaguete is perfect for you. I visited the Bell Tower and Siliman University Anthropology Museum. These are free places that will give you priceless information you can’t find anywhere else.
5. La Union
Travelling solo should give you excellent stories to tell your friends when you return, right? Well, I think conquering the challenge of learning how to surf in the strong and huge waves of La Union is a great way to make your friends jealous of your solo trip.
La Union claims their town could be a potential surfing capital of the Philippines. Aside from that, eating beside the ocean with sand fiddling on my feet is an image in my mind I cannot erase.
Chocolate hills. Enough said.
Bohol is a budget-friendly place because you have the nature to your self. It has always been my dream since I was a little kid to see the Chocolate Hills and it did not disappoint.
A friend recommended that I should try Bohol Bee Farm because they offer healthy yet budget-friendly meals, and I’m recommending it to you as well.
Don’t forget to visit the Tarsier Sanctuary too to see the tiny but adorable creatures face-to-face. One thing that I remember the most about this trip is how friendly the people are.
7. Cagayan De Oro
When you visit CDO, you must try whitewater rafting. The beginner's course is only 700 pesos. After tiring yourself out, go to the Garden of Malasag, the eco-tourism village of CDO, to appreciate nature at its best.
Lodging is also not a problem in CDO. I had the cheapest spending ever on a room at 250 pesos per night.
As a fairly booming city, fast food chains are scattered around the town. But if you’re looking for unique dishes, CDO also has 24-hour local restaurants that serve the best of their cuisine.
There are direct flights from Manila to CDO through Laguindingan Airport. But of course, always be on the lookout for airline promos and seat sales.
8. Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte have the best of both worlds when it comes to solo travelling. Vigan, Ilocos Sur has the rich history of Spanish colonization, and the old but classic houses are still maintained in the street of Calle Crisologo.
It’s like going back in time when you step foot on the cobblestoned road. I couldn’t help but pay attention to the details of the houses which are huge and grand.
The food is deserving of great compliments too. Especially the empanada, bagnet, and okoy (fried baby shrimp coated in flour).
When you’re done indulging in the throwback memories, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte could help you fix your beach cravings. Facing the South China Sea, the waves in Pagudpud are huge but still swimmable. The shoreline is beautiful with its pure white sand. While you're there, you can rent a hut beside the beach and watch the iconic sunset while enjoying a unique and delicious yellow watermelon.
Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte can both be travelled by air or land. If you find it fun to be 11 hours on the road, you can try riding the bus with the bonus of amazing view while navigating from town to town.
Every time I think about these places, I can’t help but smile and remember my beautiful experiences with the people and nature, as well as the health benefits I got from spending more time outdoors (now I know why I’m always in good condition when I come back to work from a trip). What more can you ask for? From mountains to hikes, oceans to swim, up to the local delicacies to taste, the Philippines has got it all for your first (or next) solo travel.