5 Packing Hacks for the Traveler on a Budget

If you were to take a quick scroll down your Instagram feed, it would look as though the new national pastime were getting on a plane and heading somewhere new. In 2016 Visa announced that Filipinos are among Asia’s top travelers, thanks to rising economic gains in the region. And it looks like the wanderlust is holding steady, with the Philippine Travel Agents Association predicting that foot traffic is going to break records at this year’s Travel Tour Expo.

With so many airlines opening new routes, and ticket deals being offered left and right, it’s no surprise that travel has become one of the top activities for the middle-class Filipino. If you’re looking forward to a weekend getaway at one of Spot.PH’s top travel destinations, or already planning your next long trip, then you’re probably thinking of the best ways to maximize your budget and experiences. Take a look below at some tips that will help you round out one of the foundations of your trip— packing.

Read more

The History of Malasimbo Festival, Puerto Galera

For music lovers in the Philippines, there’s no event that stokes more anticipation than the yearly Malasimbo Music and Arts Festival in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. Named for the Malasimbo Ampitheater, where the festival has been held for the past eight years since its inception, there are tons of new plans for 2019 that will make this year’s festival bigger and better. If you’re new to the Malasimbo scene, take a look at this primer and quickly brush up on its history, as well as get a peek at what might be in store for you when the festival runs from March 1-2, 2019.

Read more

10 Tips for the Newbie Traveler – Tokyo, Japan

With the proliferation of budget airlines and greater accessibility to seat sales and other airfare promos, destinations that used to be a far-off dream are now easier and easier to get to. Ranking high among those destinations is Japan, land of cherry blossoms, Mt. Fuji, and some of the best food in the world. There are now twelve flights per day that connect Manila to Tokyo, and according to the Philippine Primer, the first ever Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) opened its first office in Manila in October 2018.

Japan is closer than ever before, and if you’re planning your first trip to Tokyo then you should take a look at some of these helpful travel tips below.

Read more

30 Things to Do in Taiwan

Filipinos love to travel, and luckily being in this part of the world means that there’s no shortage of incredible destinations to go to. One of the hottest destinations right now for the Philippine tourist is Taiwan, just a two and a half hour flight to the north. According to Taiwan Today, the visa-free program for passport holders from the Philippines has been extended until July 31, 2019, which means that Filipinos can hop on a flight for a weekend to check out the amazing sights— as long as you head back home within 14 days.

If you’re intrigued by what our nearest neighbor has to offer, check out our mega list of things to do in Taiwan that we’ve compiled below!

Read more

Most Haunted Places in the Philippines

If there’s one thing that Filipinos are absolutely fascinated by, it’s ghosts and spirituality. Three hundred years of Spanish occupation, Catholic and indigenous beliefs about death and the spirit, and a bloody history of Japanese occupation in World War II all come together to form a distinct awareness and fascination with the paranormal in the Philippine psyche. Add the fondness for talking and sharing stories about people or places into the mix, and you have a healthy list of possible paranormal hotspots in the Philippines.

With a long weekend coming up ahead and everyone’s heads fixed on ghosts and spirits thanks to All Saints and All Souls Day, we’ve put together the names of a few of the most haunted spots in the country. See if you can squeeze in a visit or spot some paranormal visitors within the next few days! Read more

The 10 Worst Typhoons to Ever Hit the Philippines

In a previous article on Daydreaming in Paradise, we talked about one of the most ubiquitous parts of living in the Philippines—typhoons. To recap, these are storms with sustained wind speeds faster than 119 km/h, which are caused by warm air rising and cool air falling over the Pacific. The Philippines is battered by typhoons at an average of 20 times a year, sometimes more, and according to the Asian Disaster Reduction Center (ADRC), at least five of those are destructive.

Despite the frequency of typhoons passing through the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR), the effects they have on infrastructure, agriculture, and loss of life can often be impossible to get used to. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the worst typhoons to ever hit the country.


Read more

Why Does the Philippines Suffer from Typhoons?

As soon as the month of June begins to draw to a close and students start to head back to school, there begins a refrain that’s familiar to almost every Filipino. You turn on your television to the nearest news station and watch an anchor in a suit point at some animations on a green screen. “Tropical depression entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility,” they say, “likely to strengthen into a typhoon in the coming days.”

Anyone living in the Philippines for any span of time will have experienced a typhoon at least once. These huge storms can shut down schools, offices, and even government services depending on intensity. But what exactly is a typhoon?
Read more

10 Famous Mountains in the Philippines

Although the Philippines is known for its beautiful beaches, another steadily rising activity for the average Philippine traveler is found a little further inland: the mountains. Over the past couple of decades, mountaineering has slowly begun to grow in popularity, and thanks to social media is now more visible than ever before. Climbing tours are now more accessible to both groups and single climbers, and even major news sites such as Rappler have posted beginners’ guides to hiking.

If you’re looking to check off a few more things on your bucket list, consider some of the famous Philippine climbs on our list below!

Read more

10 Changes We Should Expect When Boracay Reopens on October 26, 2018

Any traveler looking for some sun, sand, and sea in the Philippines has heard of Boracay’s soft white sands and blue waters. The island is one of the main tourist hotspots in the country, with the Telegraph reporting a whopping 6.6 million visitors in 2017 alone. However, a viral video that circulated early in the year brought up concerns over the rapidly deteriorating ecology and overloaded infrastructure of Boracay, and led the President to announce its closure for 6 months beginning April 26, 2018.

With the famous island finally reopening on October 26, let’s take a look at what tourists can expect to find.

Read more

10 Best Surfing Sites in the Philippines

With a coastline of over 36,000 km and surrounded by water, the Philippines is a giant playground for any traveler looking to spend some time in the sea. Although the country is usually famed for white sand beaches and tranquil waters, there’s a rising generation of young adventurers looking for a bit more of an adrenaline rush. Surfing in particular is fast becoming one of the top tourist activities in the country, with the Department of Tourism implementing programs to develop the sport into a major activity, and popular surfing spots like Surigao del Norte reporting a steady increase in arrivals.

If you’re looking to add a little more spice into your beach trips, take a look below at some of the best surfing spots in the country.

Siargao, Surigao del Norte

If you ask anybody about surfing in the Philippines, they’ll more likely than not point you to the island of Siargao in Surigao del Norte. This teardrop-shaped island is home to one of the most famous waves in the country: Cloud 9, which is a hollow righthand reef wave named for the Philippine chocolate snack. Also called the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, Siargao is home to the Siargao Cup, a domestic and international surfing competition that brings in surfers from all over the world.

Baler, Aurora

Baler is famed for being the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, with local lore stating that crew members of the 1979 film Apocalypse Now left their surfboards to the locals and prompted the start of the sport. Located some 7 hours from Manila, Baler is a flexible surf spot with waves that can cater to beginners, intermediate surfers, or advanced surfers. The best waves usually hit in December to January, so keep that in mind when you plan your trip.

San Juan, La Union

Another popular surf spot is the town of San Juan in La Union, a few hours’ drive from Manila. It’s a great destination for a weekend getaway or for beginner surfers, with lots of hostels and restaurants in the area where you can meet like-minded people and unwind after putting your boards up for the day. While the swells are good all year-round, peak waves usually come in December to January. Try to plan your visit so you don’t run into the crowds!

Zambales

The province of Zambales in Central Luzon lies along the western coastline, making it a haven for beachgoers and water lovers. It’s very accessible from Manila, and perfect for a beach daytrip. The waves tend to be gentler here, and a wide variety of other water activities are available for travelers who want to try a little bit of everything. Some good surf spots are the towns of San Felipe, San Antonio, and San Narciso.

Baras, Catanduanes

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kevin Cayuca 🤙 (@kevincayucaph) on

Catanduanes on the eastern side of the archipelago usually faces the full brunt of the typhoon season, but that also means some incredible waves. Puraran Beach is home to the Majestic, fast hollow righthand barrels that can go up to six feet in height. If you’re just starting out, Tilod Beach is a little tamer due to the many rock formations in the area. Catanduanes also hosts the Governor’s Surfing Cup, which is a local and international surfing competition every November where you can watch how the pros do it.

Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

The Northern coast of the Philippines is a good 14 to 18 hours’ drive from the capital, but its remoteness makes it one of the country’s hidden jewels for surfing. The most famous spot is Blue Lagoon or Maira-Ira Point, which is a beautiful blue beach with white sand and gentle swells perfect for beginner surfers. The waves get larger during the monsoon season in July to September, which makes for exciting surfing if you want a little more of a challenge.

Daet, Camarines Norte

Due to its proximity to Manila, Daet is a popular weekend destination for surfers from the city. There are several beaches for different levels of proficiency, but the most famous is probably Bagasbas Beach, where the waves are easier to get to from shore. Bagasbas makes for good surfing for both beginners and intermediate surfers alike, but you can also check out the breaks at San Jose, or at The River Mouth, where you’ll need to hire a bangka to take you further out.

Mati, Davao Oriental

Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental is one of the lesser known surf and skimboard spots, so much so that staying overnight usually involves camping out on the sands! The beach is 7 kilometers of pure white sand, and while waves can sometimes be a little difficult, the variation makes it good surfing for beginners and intermediate surfers alike. It’s also home to the Amihan Boys, local surfers and skimboarders, who are the people to go to if you want to know more about surfing in the area.

Guiuan, Eastern Samar

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kurt Ivan Tan (@kurtivantan) on

Calicoan Beach in Guiuan, Eastern Samar is another little-known surf spot. The local industry is steadily rebuilding itself after the devastation from Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, and the secluded area means that you won’t have to battle other surfers for the waves. If you’re starting out or want an easy ride, plan your trip during the summer months when the waves are a little gentler. Pros will enjoy the larger waves during the stormier months of August to October.

Gubat, Sorsogon

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kim Malvin Lubaton 🇵🇭 (@krispykiiim) on

Gubat, a small town in the province of Sorsogon, is our final entry on our list. Although it’s quickly gaining popularity as a surf spot, the beach is still relatively quiet, which makes it a good choice for travelers who just want the water to themselves. Lola Sayong Surf Camp is where you want to go if you want to rent a board or take lessons. The surfing season starts in October and ends in March, so plan your trips accordingly!

For more reading on the best places to go in the Philippines, check out our travel section on Daydreaming in Paradise.