Surrounding yourself in nature holds many wellness benefits, from reducing stress to enhancing the immune system. In the Philippines, it is possible to experience this feeling of wellbeing while traveling to fun and nature-friendly destinations.
The Philippines Department of Tourism promotes sustainable travel as it works towards inclusive growth and the protection of the natural and cultural heritage, and safeguards the integrity and diversity of the country’s national resources.
Sustainable tourism ensures that destinations, especially nature-based, remain intact and will be preserved for future travelers.
Travel to these exciting destinations at the heart of nature and create a positive impact on its environment and local communities.
- Trek through Masungi Georeserve, Rizal
The sprawling landscape of the Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area that is a sanctuary for hundreds of native wildlife species. Take a three-hour trek on the Discovery Trail through the pathways with lush vegetation and limestone formations, walk over suspended bridges to take snapshots of your adventure, and crawl onto a spider-web view deck to get a spectacular view of the nature park and the expanse of the country’s largest lake, Laguna de Bay. For a deeper appreciation of the conservation efforts of the local community, take the Legacy Trail and participate in the planting and nurturing of the trees that will be part of the reforestation of the area.
- Go Dolphin Watching in Bohol
Enjoy a day out at sea to watch the marine life in the clear blue waters of Pamilacan Island in Bohol. Visitors can catch various species of dolphins and whales such as Risso’s dolphin, Spinner dolphin, Bottlenose dolphins, Spotted dolphins, Bryde’s whales, sperm whales, pilot whales, melon-headed whale, pygmy killer whale, and even blue whales splash around in their playground.
Sustainable tourism in the area has helped keep the dolphins and whales safer from commercial fishing. In the past years, the waters off the island were prime fishing waters for whale hunters who saw the activity as a source of income. Through marine preservation laws, community education and involvement, and using tourism as an alternative source of livelihood, whaling boats are now used as a comfortable ride for tourists on whale and dolphin-watching trips, instead. With their expertise in spotting whales and dolphins for hunting, the boatmen are now excellent tour guides and champions of marine conservation and preservation.
- Swim at Campawan Curtain Falls, Davao Oriental
A trek through the forested area in the town of Baganga in Davao Oriental leads to the majestic Campawan Waterfalls. The au naturel beauty of nature that resembles a wide curtain that flows about 20 feet into a shallow basin of water is a quick retreat for a cool dip.
With its potential as one of Davao Oriental’s attractions, efforts have been initiated to transform the place as an eco-park for locals and tourists to enjoy.
- Kayak in El Nido, Palawan
Palawan is a paradise for kayakers, with placid waters along El Nido’s lagoons and coves that are teeming with marine life in crystal clear water. Kayaking through the limestone formations at the Small Lagoon and the Big Lagoon on Miniloc Island is an unforgettable, surreal experience. To help protect the ecological balance of its popular destinations, the local government has introduced measures such as enforcing a carrying capacity policy for the Small and Big Lagoons. Under the same policy, motorized boats are barred from anchoring at the entrance of the Small Lagoon and from entering the Big Lagoon, except those issued with special permits for carrying persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and pregnant women. With the growth of tourism in their Province, the communities of Palawan are aware of the need to take care of their natural resources, and they are encouraging visitors to travel sustainably through what’s known as the country’s ‘last frontier’.
- Trek the La Union nature and eco trails
La Union Province is a charming paradise waiting to be discovered. A 20-minute trek through lush vegetation leads to Tangadan Falls in San Gabriel. This journey through the tropical weather of the province is rewarded by a refreshing dip in the falls’ cooling waters. Practice the art of forest bathing at the Arosip Ecotrail in Bacnotan, with its towering trees that offer shade along the 45-minute walk to the peak.
The cascading Tuddingan Falls in Naguilian are accessible through a cemented pathway, making it hike-friendly for beginners. Romantic nature-lovers can take a trip to Mt. Puraw in Bauang and catch the sunrise among a sea of clouds. Balay Anito Falls in Santol translates to Home of the Spirits, and it is easy to be enchanted at its picture-perfect view of water cascading over rock formations.
- Visit the Mangrove Forest of Siargao Islands
While Siargao draws tourists for its surfing waves, it is also home to the country’s largest contiguous mangrove stand. The Del Carmen Mangrove Forest offers a boat tour that takes travellers along the brackish waters that cover around 4,871 hectares of mangroves that hosts 27 out of the 70 mangrove species in the world. This is the habitat of rare and endangered flora and fauna, most especially the endangered Crocodylus Porosus or Saltwater crocodile. While the local communities have taken to cutting these mangroves for firewood out of economic necessity, they are now finding new livelihood from tourism, fishing, crab harvesting, and seaweed farming. Through education efforts from the local government and non-profit organizations, they are being taught the value of protecting their mangroves, so that its benefits will be enjoyed by the generations to come.
All these tourist destinations have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel, Apple Store, or Google Playstore.