As per my count, there are only four long weekends (corresponding to seven holidays) left this year: Nov. 18 and 19 (and file a leave on Nov. 20 so you have a five-day weekend) for the APEC Summit; Nov. 28-30 for Bonifacio Day; Dec. 24-27 for the Christmas holidays; and Dec. 30-31, all the way to Jan. 3, 2016, for Rizal Day and New Year’s Day holidays. Ang konti na lang!
We have to make it count by booking our trips for these holidays! If you plan it well and score affordable plane tickets, you can relax over at least three full days. We can be a bit more adventurous and check out new places, since there’s actually more travel time. I consulted Agoda.com, one of Asia’s leading hotel booking sites, for suggested destinations to fill up the year’s remaining long weekends and holidays. This list is a combination of favorite and up-and-coming Philippine destinations, with their hotel recommendations for each that will definitely make your vacations sulit. (Note: I haven’t visited or reviewed any of these resorts/hotels yet.)
Davao is a great place for adventurous souls. Two hours away from the city center, you can check out Eden Nature and Park (above), which gives travelers a chance to get reacquainted with nature and enjoy a full mountain experience. Activities here include museum visits, strolling in parks, and even a ride on the sky cycle! Room rates start at P3,300+ for two, while quad sharing is only P3,300+ per night on the Agoda site.
If you want to disconnect from the high techonology-dominated world during your vacation, check out the off-the-beaten-path property called Island Garden Resort in Pangubatan. It’s a secluded paradise with a stretch of coral beach and interesting types of rooms. The most popular is the Tree House (above), which is only P2,100+ on Agoda.com, good for two pax and includes breakfast!
Dumaguete is not only a popular food destination, it’s also known for its proximity to Apo Island, where you can go on a day trip to say hello to the turtles and other sea creatures you rarely see elsewhere. After a food trip in Dumaguete, another popular area to add to the list would be Dauin. Stay at Sea Dream Resorts (above), which is just 45 minutes away from the city. The establishment is right in front of a marine sanctuary—the best part being that they don’t charge you for snorkeling gear for underwater exploration! The property has spacious, comfortable rooms. The classic room with sea view, good for two, is only P 4,430+, while solo travelers can enjoy a standard room for only P2,800+ per night. Click here to book.
Another interesting area nearby where you can chill and unwind is White Chocolate Hills Resort (above) in Zamboanguita. The resort is known for its dome-shaped bungalows and “chocolate” roofs that replicate how the famous Chocolate Hills in Bohol look like during dry season. The rooms are all large, with a good mix of modern and nature-friendly interiors. For only P3,580+, travelers can stay in the bungalow, with breakfast!
We all know and most probably have stayed in the famous Panglao Beach, but another area in Bohol called Anda will likely be the “next big thing.” It’s found on the Eastern part of the province and will require a three-hour drive from Tagbilaran Airport. If you want to experience the powdery white sand of Boracay minus the nightlife, then Anda Beach is the perfect place to recharge.
If you want a romantic getaway, check in at Amun Ini Beach Resort & Spa, where the deluxe king room with the ocean view is P10,400++. If that’s too much, an alternative would be Casa Amihan (above), where the deluxe room is only P3,000 without taxes.
El Nido has been getting more and more international recognition, and it’s about time to experience it yourself. Make your dream of island-hopping, exploring the lagoons, and climbing Taraw Cliff a reality this year. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a sale on Island Transvoyager Inc. (ITI); that way, you can fly direct to El Nido from Manila. Another option is to land at Puerto Princesa and ride the Daytripper Bus.
If you’re traveling in a big group or with the barkada, Joaquin’s Bed and Breakfast (above) has rooms that can accommodate up to six pax starting at P4,500++ on Agoda. Another hotel recommendation that is close to the town proper and the beach would be Ipil Ipil Suites (below). The deluxe room good for two with breakfast is only P2,900 without taxes.
The best time to visit the City of Pines would definitely be during the “ber” months, don’t you agree? Despite being in a tropical country, it’s a spot where we can don our coats, scarves, boots, and wear a beanie—and not look ridiculous or out of place, that is! As one of the top local vacation destinations, the area always has something new to offer. Visit the Ben Cab Museum, get a taste of Amare La Cucina’s iconic brick oven pizza, and enjoy a few local beers at Baguio Craft Brewery.
If you want to stay in a cozy and charming property, check out Casa Vallejo, one of the oldest institutions in the city updated as a boutique hotel. Rates start at P2,500+ for a Deluxe Room good for two. If you’re traveling in a bigger group, there’s also the Golden Pine Hotel (above), where superior twin rooms good for four pax go for around P3,750 excluding taxes.
Click here to search other hotels on Agoda.com. Agoda.com is a leading Asia-based, online accommodation reservations company, which specializes in securing the lowest discount accommodation prices. It is part of The Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), and its network includes more than 700,000 hotels and other accommodation properties worldwide. Its aim is to promote travel by making it more affordable and more accessible to more people.
Photos courtesy of Agoda.com