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Pack Your Bags: Here's Where You Should Go This Year

Staying home is not an option
by Gelo Gonzales | Jan 21, 2012
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“It’s more fun in the Philippines.” We already know that. But it’s time to get the rest of the world in on it as well. Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, at the recent Asian Tourism Forum in Manado, Indonesia, explained that the strength of the campaign lies in another of the Philippines’ assets: its people.

““Our strategy is simple: while other countries invite you to observe, Filipinos can promise a more heartfelt and interesting experience. Wherever you go, whatever you do in the country, it’s the Filipinos that will complete your vacation and will make your holiday unforgettable,” says Jimenez. That the campaign is fun, light, and easily lends to creativity, makes creating a buzz for tourism that much easier.
On that note, here are some of our top local destinations and possible memes that could go accompany them. Let the fun begin.

1) Sagada, Mountain Province: “Coffins. More fun in the Philipines.”

Popularly known for its hanging coffins, Sagada is not as morbid a location as one might think. It’s actually a great place to get in touch with nature, especially with all of the outdoor activities to choose from. These include spelunking at Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves, swimming at Bomod-Ok and Bokong falls, trekking through Echo Valley or up to Kiltepan Tower, and checking out the Underground River.  Sagada is also one of those places where it’s nice to get away and shutdown for a few days. It is a typical “quiet, little mountain town,” perfect for reading (or writing.) It is also a place that can reinvigorate the senses, particularly the artistic ones, because the place is very serene and laid back. But what do I like to do in Sagada? Sleep. It’s cold, quiet, and you can sleep like a rock.

2. Banaue, Ifugao: “Rice. More Fun in the Philippines.” Contrary to popular belief, Banaue is not the only place where the thousand year-old rice terraces can be found. These are also located in the neighboring towns of Batad, Bangaan, Hapao, and Hungduan. A more democratic way of referring to these marvels would be to call them the “Ifugao Rice Terraces.” Banaue, however, seems to be the best jump-off point for exploring the other nearby locales. Batad is one such place, and the nearby Tappiyah Falls. As this is some distance from Banaue itself, it would be best to plan for an overnight stay in Batad. Bangaan is another alternative from Banaue, and also a more picturesque destination. All in all, however, the best time to visit the rice terraces is between February and May, where low level clouds are less likely to obscure the wonderful views. And what trip to Ifugao wouldn’t be complete without sampling the local produce? Try the native rice, and rice wine. It’s a must.

3. Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte: “Solitude. More fun in the Philippines.” Vacations in crowded places are somewhat of a conundrum. You want to relax and step away from everything. So the throng of people at a popular vacation spots like PUerto Galera and Boracay, negates this purpose. Not Pagudpud. Pagudpud has the same fine, white sand beaches, minus the crowd and maddening commercialization. Beach hopping through Maira-Ira, Pansian, and Saud will bring you farther and farther away from civilization, if that’s what you need. And it’s not just the beaches that stand out. There’s Kabigan Falls where one can cool down in fresh spring water, Nacatnagan Cliff which offers a wonderful view after a hike, the caves of Bantay-Abot, and island hopping to Dos Hermanos for that added burst of adventure. All this and more, minus the maddening crowd and the tugsh-tugsh of club music anthems in the background.

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