One of the things this generation has championed is traveling solo. There is just so much liberty when you’re out for a spontaneous journey, where you dictate your pace and destination. It also makes you redefine the meaning of independence as you immerse yourself in solitude.
Whatever your purpose for traveling, riding solo for a trip makes you bring home tons of lessons and insights about yourself and others. You know what they say, a change of view can change your perspective—or, if you’re lucky, help you discover new dating prospects
Here are some local destinations made for solo backpacking:
1) La Union
The nearby beaches of La Union easily make it the new Boracay of the north. Most have paid this surfing capital a visit at least once, riding its waves or just lounging on its beaches. If you’re looking for a spontaneous weekend, take that 6-hour trip to La Union—you’re bound to bump into some friends or meet a group of friendly tourists ready to welcome you into their fold. The nightlife is definitely found at the grounds of Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel, but we suggest you stray from the cocktails menu and stick with your trusty and regular bottle of beer.
But La Union also has its own quiet spots, made for those who wish to enjoy some solitude—among them are the Ma-Cho Temple, Poro Point Lighthouse, Tangadan Falls, and Luna town’s Pebble Beach. Good news for travelling foodies, too: The main highway is also lined with various restaurants (Olas Banditos for some serious Tex-Mex fix), cafes (El Union to meet the smartest kids ever), and hole-in-the-walls (Tagpuan for crave-worthy bagnet rice bowls)!
This southern destination was made for the solo surfer as much as it was for the beach bum. The island can be as adventurous or laid-back as you want it to be. Get to enjoy the calm and clear waters in every corner of this easternmost island. Don’t be afraid to sign up alone for island-hopping and lagoon visits—we heard island tours organized by Kermit Resort have top-notch service and it even includes a simple meal. The Cloud 9 boardwalk, Naked Island, Rock Pools, and Sugba Lagoon must be on your Siargao bucketlist.
Different day, different party, different place—word is, different bars throw a party nightly, so just ask the locals where you can have a good time and they’ll know which direction to point you in. If you also want to save some dough during your stay here, going to the General Luna public market is also quite an experience. You’ll see firsthand just how fresh the local seafood options are, and for a small fee, you can have your market purchase cooked at the hotel you’re staying in.
Maybe you’ve been to Bohol before and never considered going back. Well, guess what, the travel scene in this region has been revamped—from its resort fronts to its outdoor adventure spots. You don’t need to be with company when snorkelling the clear and deep waters of Panglao island. This relaxing water adventure is such a serene experience you might just allow it to eat half of your day.
If you want some isolation, you can try going back to basics and renting a hut at one of the biggest man-made mangrove forests in Asia. The mangrove plantation is situated along the coastal town of Maribojoc, and you can lodge at this eco-tourism destination that boasts of a scenic view of the bay.
There’s also nothing wrong with experiencing the same things—revisit the famous Tarsier sanctuary, or get a glimpse of the never-ending horizon of Chocolate Hills (and, just so you know, there are actual hill-shaped chocolates found at gift shops for you to bring home as pasalubong).
4) El Nido
Palawan is the place to be when you want to disconnect. El Nido’s Bacuit archipelago is probably the most photographed attraction in this local paradise, where mountainous limestone islands surround the almost transparent waters. Nothing simply compares to how mesmerizing this view is. El Nido not only has water activities, it has cliff diving and cliff climbing, too!
The tip of the country still remains an uncharted place for many Filipinos. But for those who've had the privilege to visit, they say the beauty of Batanes speaks for itself. This province gives new meaning to the word isolation—and it's a definition worth discovering with your own eyes. On its coast is the iconic Basco lighthouse and the white-sand lined shores of Morong Beach, where the natural stone arc can be found. You can rent a bike to get around the place and get heaps of fresh air during your visit.
Bunker’s Cafe and Fundacion Pacita are the must-visit restaurants in Batanes. As for alcohol, you can always grab a drink at the hotel you’re staying in.
Don’t let That Thing Called Tadhana get to your head too much. Baguio isn’t just where the brokenhearted gather. It’s actually a haven for coffee enthusiasts, where every restaurant and cafe in the city can brew you a hot one with their unlimited stock of Sagada and Benguet beans. Not a fan of coffee? Then head to the Baguio Craft Brewery for a strawberry beer night cap.
It’s the perfect place to reconnect with nature and art—visit the BenCab Museum, Tam-Awan Art Village, and Mt. Cloud Bookshop. If you ever find someone worth taking to dinner, make sure you bring her to Oh My Gulay. It’s got a pretty intimate vibe, and it feels a lot like you’re dining in an indoor tree house—or, a ship wreck even—with an interesting vegan menu that can easily be a conversation starter.