The heat is literally on as the Philippine summer season goes on full swing. The sweltering heat makes one escape the city as soon as possible. On the other hand, the cerulean skies, the inviting waters and the fine weather present an opportunity to go out and explore and to try something new. In a country as diverse and as beautiful as the Philippines, one never runs out of activities to do on these summery days. Here are some ideas:
For the thrill seekers
- Overcome your fears at Badian/Alegria canyoneering
Canyoneering activities in Badian/Alegria has spiked up over the years. It is one of the must-dos whenever one drops by Southern Cebu. The exhilarating activity pushes one to his limits as he must jump from 10 feet high to as high as 50 feet high. Caveat: this is not for the faint of heart!
But with the scorching heat, the cold blue water flowing from the mountains is a fun although intimidating way to cool down. Moreover, the canyon is just too idyllic not to miss out. If you really want to test your limits, take that 65 feet plunge at Kawasan Falls. Freefalling down to the cold waters can seem daunting but trust me, it is worth it!
- Go for that leap of faith. Go cliff diving!
Here’s another idea for those who are not faint of heart: cliff diving! With numerous wonderful rock formations and waterscapes, the Philippines never runs out of perfect spot for those who gravitates towards challenging feats. Certainly, diving from great heights give a certain feeling of trepidation. Not to overly romanticize it, but such extreme activities offer a liberating feeling, of being control of one’s fears and strengths.
Some spots to experience cliff diving are at Hundred Island’s Imelda Cove, Isla de Gigantes’ Tangke Lagoon and at Tanay, Rizal’s Tinipak River. Surely, there are other wonderful spots in the country to try it.
- Cool off in the mountains of the Cordilleras
Want to escape the Manila heat? Retreat to the Cordilleran highlands and feed off of its cold breeze. Climb a mountain, there are lots of amazing climbing spots there. Mt. Pulag, the 3rd highest mountain in the country looms above all mountains but it is not as intimidating as it sounds – the Ambangeg trail (a.k.a. artista trail) is an amateur-friendly tour. Lest you forget, prepare amply for the trip. The mountains can get very cold, especially at dawn, the time when most climbs start.
Apart from Mt. Pulag, there are other mountains to try in the Cordilleras. For the beginners, Mt. Ulap, Mt. Yangbew, and Mt. Timbac are advisable. For the hardcore hikers (a.k.a. harkors), Mt. Kalawitan, Mt. Pigingan, Mt. Ugo, Mt. Napulawan, and Mt. Amuyao will surely test your limits.
- Learn something new. Surf!
There are numerous activities that one can do at the beach. One of these activities is surfing. With the fine weather, the summer is the perfect time to learn the basics of surfing. From Manila, the closest surfing spots are San Juan, La Union and Baler, Aurora. It is no wonder that the beaches in both places are filled to the brim every summer. The waters may not be conducive for full surfing but the summer winds give a smooth sail for those of us who just want to learn.
- Immerse yourself. Try different water activities.
The calm waters make it is easy to forget that underneath it is a treasure trove of wonders. There are a lot of ways to explore these treasure troves. With wide stretches of water, the Philippines has a wide array of treasures hiding underneath its waters. From colorful coral reefs to sunken ship gardens, the possibilities are endless. You can also swim with pawikans and whale sharks if you want to!
The easiest to explore them? Snorkeling! Easy and cheap. If you want to advance to the next level, try learning free diving. A lot of establishments are now offering free diving classes. A simple browse in social media will bring you to pages offering these classes. Whether surfing or free diving, the summer gives a wonderful atmosphere to learn something new!
- Cool off. Dip in the cold waters of the water falls.
Another adventurous but fun way of dissipating the summer heat is to go waterfall hunting. With its diverse landscape, the Philippines is bequeathed with an endless number of waterfalls. They are good spots to cool off from the summer heat. The catch: you have to go through a lot of walking and climbing to do so! The waterfalls of Laguna and Rizal are the closest for those who reside in the metro.
For those who want to relax
- Enlighten yourself. Drop by a museum or an art gallery
Over the years, a score of museums and art galleries have opened. Unfortunately, these places are usually underappreciated (maybe they are too quiet?). But these extraordinary pantheons echo learnings beyond the four corners of the classrooms. The cavernous halls feature a wide array of things, from stunning artworks to the utterly bizarre.
The National Museum of the Philippines Complex is a must. It features four museums next to each other (with free entrance!). Other museums in the metro include the Yuchengco and the Ayala Museums in Makati, and the shoe museums of Marikina. Nearby Cainta, Rizal has an endless array of art galleries for the art enthusiasts. Unlike the other activities, this is the cheapest.
- Foodgasm. Fill yourself.
But of course, summer is a great time to go out and explore different eating options. Filipinos are after all, skilled cooks. The evolution of the food industry ensures that there is never a scarcity of new food to try. You just have to go out, explore, and try everything!
- Chill. Just hang out at the beach.
Just because the weather is fine doesn’t mean that we must fill our days with endless activities. Simply relaxing at the beach is enough to enjoy the different atmosphere that summer winds bring. Swing on a hammock, grill a barbecue, play beach volleyball, walk on fine sand. The variety of activities that one can do at the beach is endless too.
The endless coastline of the Philippines makes sure that we never run out of a stretch of sand to explore. There are the regulars – Boracay, Coron and El Nido. But there are also subtler and more obscure beaches of Calaguas, Caramoan, and Bantayan. To be sure, if you are near the sea, then most assuredly there is a wonderful beach nearby.
- Watch out for that amazing sunset (and sunrise).
There is nothing more romantic and more relaxing than watching the sun set or rise over the west and east horizons. Philippines’ diverse geography makes it an amazing spot to catch sunset and sunrise. You never run out of possibilities. If you find yourself on the west, then for sure the sunset will be amazing. If you find yourself on the east, then wake up early to witness the sunrise. The trouble is all worth it!
- Enjoy the countryside.
Here’s an idea, go to the countryside. If you have relatives residing in the countryside, pay them a visit and spend a few days there. Experience how it is to live away from the city. Away from the pandemonium, it is a relaxing experience. On the surface, it may sound simple and perhaps, boring, but if you take the time to search, you’ll find a plethora of activities to do. Go ride a carabao, or till the fields, or climb the mango trees. Definitely, nothing is too boring for the imaginative mind.
12. Fall in love with your country, the Philippines.
Last but not the least, fall in love with the diversity and the exotic beauty the our country, the Philippines behold. From the people to the mountains to the beaches, it has a lot to offer to the casual visitors and to the career travelers. Summer is one of the best seasons to explore the country. While taking those Instagram worthy pictures, never forget to appreciate the beauty that is before you.
There are a lot more that one can do during the summer. I just hope I have given you some ideas on how to spend the sleepy summer days! Whatever it is you plan to do, never forget two things: enjoy and create memories!
Happy and safe travels everyone!