This year is the year of making things happen. Enough of your growing hobby of scrolling through other people’s travel photos in between office hours and make an effort to book that trip you’ve been eyeing. Better yet, start planning down your itineraries as early as now for the coming summer days.
And while you’re at it, why not add camping trips to your bucket list? Below, we listed the best places to go camping in the Philippines for your next adventure reference.
1) Pulag, Benguet
Tagged as the third highest mountain in the country and the tallest in Luzon at 2922 MASL, Mt. Pulag—what they dubbed as the playground of the gods—has gained a lot of tourism attention.
Spending a night or two in the grounds of Mt. Pulag lets you experience the cool breeze while giving you the best view of the night sky. Hikers endure hours of trekking not just to see its famous Sea of Clouds, but to also discover the mountain's other natural offerings—the dwarf bamboo fields and its mossy forest that is home to a diverse flora and fauna.
On weekends (and in weekdays, too) you’ll see about a hundred hikers aiming to reach its peak. That is why the call to regulate the number of people camping has been raised to protect it.
Remember to plan your hiking and camping activity to Mt. Pulag through checking the latest bulletins and schedules in this link. Note that camping in Mt. Pulag is prohibited from Friday-Mondays. Trekking Mt. Pulag during Saturdays is also not allowed beginning in 2017.
How to get there: From Manila, ride a bus going to Baguio. When opting for the Ambangeg trail (best for beginners), charter a jeep bound to Bokod Benguet. Kabayan Benguet should be your drop off point when you are taking the Akiki and Tawangan.
DIY budget: P1,750 to P2,000 per person
Tour packages: P3,500 to P5,000
2) Caramoan Islands, Camarines Norte
Caramoan spells everything captivating. It is not surprising to know that its beauty has caught the attention of the Survivor reality show creators, who opted to film its challenges in its remote islands.
This group of islands located in the eastern part of Camarines Sur is not only perfect for island hopping. Camping in its virgin beaches is an experience of a lifetime. You may check out the mystical moonrise while in Matukad Island (the closest island to the port) while skinny-dipping by the beach. If you have another camping night, you may stargaze in the midst of big rock formations in Sabitang Laya island.
How to get there: From Manila, ride a bus going to Naga Terminal. Take a one hour ride going to Sabang Port, which will take you to Caramoan's Guijalo Port. From there, ask the tricyle driver to drive you to Paniman Port, where you can arrange your boat rental fees. Make sure to drop by the town proper to buy your camping needs.
DIY budget:P4,500 to P5,000 per person (3D/2N camping)
3) Apo Island in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro
The journey may be a little exhausting, but once you arrive, the adventure that awaits is worth the wait. Apo Reef in Apo Island is the dubbed as the second largest coral reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. There you’ll discover the world under the sea, with its 350 marine species consisting of sharks, manta rays, and many more.
And because it will take up to three hours to go to Apo Island from Sablayan, camping there is recommended. And while you’re at it, try waking up early morning and climb through the old lighthouse just before the sunrise. In the afternoon, you may try rafting, snorkeling, and hop into the nearly Pandan Island for an added experience.
How to get there: Ride a bus going to Batangas Port. From there, ride a RoRo going to Abra de Ilog, Occidental Mindoro. From Abra de Ilog, ride a bus going to Sablayan.
DIY budget: P2,700 to P3,000 per person
4) Calaguas, Camarines Norte
What could be better for beach lovers than the calming waves? Calaguas offers just that. Situated in the town of Vinzons, Calaguas Group of Islands has stunning teal waters and sugary-to-powdery white sands. The mostly visited island is Tinaga Island, famed for its Mahabang Buhangin (long beach) cove.
How to get there: Ride a bus bound to Daet, Camarines Norte. You may opt to take either the Vinzons or Paracale route. Charter a boat going to Calaguas Islands.
DIY budget: P2,500 to P3,000 per person
5) Anawangin Cove, Zambales
Anawangin, along with other coves embracing Zambales, were formed after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo 20 years ago. What makes this place perfect for camping with friends, family, and even your significant other, is because of the presence of its off-white sand plus the crystal clear waters. Top it off with the stunning sight of Agoho trees that shade the campsites and you are bound to have a weekend of good memories. Other coves in Zambales also good for camping are Talisayin, Nagsasa, Agnaem, Silangin, and Camara.
How to get there: Ride a bus bound to San Antonio, Zambales. Charter a tricycle going to Pundaquit. From there, arrange your boat which shall take you to Anawangin. Please note that when you arrive late in the afternoon, boatmen usually suggest foregoing your trip to Anawangin and other farther coves due to the strong waves. Agnaem Cove, just 15 minutes away from the mainland, is a good alternative.
DIY budget: P2,000 per person
6) Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley
Santa Ana, Cagayan is a promising tourist destination for adventure-seekers. Off the coast of this town rests Palaui Island, a home to a vast landscape of mountains and greenery. The long and scenic stretch of Punta Verde, cows and carabaos grazing in the grasslands, and locals doing their everyday living will welcome campers. To discover more of Palaui through its forest, falls, coves, and beaches, hikers can take the Laguznad Trail, before calling it a night and setting up a camp. Aside from the sea, what Palaui Island has been gaining attraction for is its century-old Cape Engano Lighthouse, which offers a surreal view of the whole island and its neighboring islands.
How to get there: Ride a bus from Manila bound to Tuguegarao. Proceed to the van terminal going to Sta. Ana. From Sta. Ana, charter a tricycle which will take you to San Vicente Port. From there, hire a boat going to Palaui Island. You may also opt to go to Tugueragrao via plane.
DIY budget: P3,600 to P4,000 per person
7) Mount Pinatubo
A one-hour 4x4 ride and another two hours of trekking can give you a mesmerizing sight of the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo. Encompassing portions of Pampanga, Zambales, and Tarlac, this crater lake has been attracting locals and foreign travelers alike. The crater lake was formed when the volcano erupted in 1991. Take note that the local tourism office does not allow visitors to set up a camp just beside the crater lake. A viewing deck was made for overnight camping. It also has a rest room and a water system for visitors. Also, swimming in the lake is prohibited.
How to get there: From Manila: To reach Mt. Pinatubo from Manila, take a bus from Pasay or Cubao to Capas, Tarlac (2-3 hours, P190). Get off at McDonalds in Capas.
DIY budget: P2,500 to P3,400 per person
8) Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental
Dahican Beach is the Skimboarding Capital of the Philippines due to its ocean swells hitting from the Pacific. In the 7-kilometer long stretch of the beach, you’ll see local boys hitting the shores with colorful boards they made on their own. The diversity of the place is what the Dahican beach is known for by the locals. In the beach you’ll not only find young boys skimboarding, but beach bums basking under the scorching heat of the sun. At night, campers by the beachside can enjoy the serenity and calmness of the waves, the night sky, and the gentle breeze of wind—perfect for a couple of beers or hot coffee. Visitors also get to fly around the Mati with a 30-minute ultralight aircraft flight. Another experience you can try here is to view the Sleeping Dinosaur Island.
How to get there: Take a flight bound to Davao City. From the Davao City Ecoland Terminal, take a bus going to Mati. From the town proper, ride a tricycle which shall take you to Dahican beach.
DIY budget: P2,500 per person (excluding airfare to and from Manila)