Philippine adventure destinations for the adrenaline-junkie balikbayan
Aside from top-tier beaches, the Philippines is also known for its nature. Forests, waterfalls, mountains, and cliffs are abundant in the country, which makes it a true adventure destination.
Not every balikbayan adventurer is the same though. Some may prefer to bask in the beauty of nature, while others want to go full speed ahead and take on some of the more challenging (and literal) aspects of adventuring.
From the relaxed traveler to the adrenaline junkie, here are some nature destinations that are sure to excite and impress any returning Filipino.
Dahilayan Forest Park is an adventure park in Bukidnon, a province in Mindanao not too far away from Cagayan de Oro. The park caters to both adrenaline junkies and more relaxed travelers due to the variety of activities they offer.
These include base jumping, ATV riding, go karting, and ziplining. For the non-adrenaline seekers, it’s also a peaceful spot where you can go on nature walks and forget about the city for a little while.
Aside from adventure, coffee is also a big deal in Bukidnon. There are locally grown beans from the area that you can try (and maybe even bring home) when you visit.
Masungi Georeserve is a favorite among Manileños who are looking for some respite from the city. Located close to Tanay, Rizal, it’s about a one- to two-hour drive away from Metro Manila, depending on where you leave from.
The nature reserve offers several different trails that take you through its lush landscape. The trails are of varying difficulty, which means you can choose which one to take depending on your preferences.
If you’re not one to go on hikes, the reserve also offers a garden picnic experience that includes an easy 20-minute stroll and a beautiful outdoor lounge area where you can take in the sights and sounds of nature.
Kawasan Falls is a group of waterfalls located in Alegria, Cebu, about a three-hour drive from Cebu City. The falls boast a beautiful, clear, blue-green color and is one of the biggest waterfall systems in Cebu.
Canyoneering and cliff jumping are two of the most popular activities among visitors, but simply swimming through the falls is also possible for the faint of heart. Getting to the falls is a bit of a rocky walk, so some senior balikbayans who aren’t used to physical activity might want to sit this one out.
Kawasan is currently closed to the public due to the devastation dealt by Typhoon Odette in 2021, but it’s set to reopen in October or November this year.
For the true-blooded adventurer, traveling to Buscalan Village is a journey you cannot miss. Buscalan Village is a remote area located in Tinglayan, Kalinga and the home of literal National Treasure Apo Whang Od, the oldest mambabatok tattoo artist.
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It’s a pilgrimage that will take you through the mountains of Cordillera, the country’s largest mountain range. Aside from taking the bus, you’ll probably also have to topload on the roofs of jeepneys to arrive at your destination.
When it comes to this destination, the journey itself is where you find the adventure. When you arrive, you can sample the local cuisine or even get a tattoo from Whang Od or her apprentices to commemorate your journey.