As the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) prepares to welcome visitors once more, among the initiatives rolled out include promoting new attractions across the different regions.
“It is indeed more fun in the Philippines, with various activities being readied by the DOT to offer a new and unique experience for international tourists. At the same time, the Philippine government is also readying its welcome for travellers with infrastructure development such as the improvement of our domestic and international airports and new roadways that will offer faster access to our regional destinations,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
The DOT has rolled out eight uniquely Filipino activities and experiences.
Cycling around Intramuros on a bamboo bike
Bambike Ecotours offers a chance to explore the historic walled city of Intramuros in a different way. The handmade bamboo bikes come in many options for a safe and comfortable ride with Bambassadors acting as guides on Old Manila's unique charms.
Test your balance on bamboo stilts in Cebu
The kadang-kadang (karang), or bamboo stilts, lets visitors see the Philippines from a slightly higher point of view. Tourists to Cebu can try out their skills on balance and speed by hopping on a pair of stilts and participating in a team race that runs (or wobbles) for 100 metres.
Go off-road on a Lahar adventure in Pampanga
The Mount Pinatubo eruption caused devastation to much of Central Luzon, but locals have found a way to utilise the lahar flow from the volcano and turn it into a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts. Travellers with a love for speed can book an off-road tour on a 4x4 or motorcycle that rides through the streams and the sandy terrain that characterise the unique landscapes of this region.
Zooming through Banaue's winding roads on a wooden bike
Up in the mountains of Banaue, travellers can try out the Ifugao mode of transport – hand-carved wooden scooters made with scraps of wood and pieces from old rubber tires. Going up to speeds of 50 kilometres an hour, this mode of transport is an adrenaline-fuelled way to enjoy the picturesque views of the centuries-old Banaue Rice Terraces.
Riding on hand-carved wooden scooters through Banaue. Photo Credit: Jake Verzosa
Relax in a kawa bath at Antique
The kawa, or giant cauldron, is usually used to cook fiesta fare in the Philippines, but the mountainside resorts in Antique province welcome visitors after a trek in the woods of Tibiao with a refreshing hot bath in a kawa, with water heated over a wood fire and scented with aromatic herbs and flowers. Those who want to experience another kind of therapy can visit the Tibiao Fish Spa where they can dip your feet in a pond for fish to nibble on and exfoliate.
Visit the Philippine eagle in Davao
The Philippine eagle, regarded as the national bird of the Philippines, is the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface. For a chance to watch for the majestic Philippine Eagle in flight, travellers can trek through the biodiversity-rich Mount Hamiguitan to visit Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao. For a quick glimpse of the eagles, guests may also opt to visit Philippine Eagle Center, a private sector managed rainforest in Davao City that shelters and breeds Philippine eagles in captivity.
Learn the indigenous art of weaving in the Cordillera fabric circuit
The upland tribes of the Cordillera Region have a rich culture that is woven into their fabrics. This circuit tour brings travellers to stunning interactive and informative displays of the fabrics that are produced in the region using cotton and other natural fibres that are woven into their traditional designs. Tour stops include weaving villages and museums, with opportunities to go souvenir shopping for these handmade works of art that are sewn into stunning articles of clothing or incorporated into decorative pieces for the home.
Organic Green Tour Circuit
This circuit traces the Philippine food roots through a combination of organic farm tours and traditional meals that use the freshly-harvested produce. The tour runs through the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay area with two farm tourism destinations, namely the Benguet Agro-Eco Farm in Sablan, and the UM-A Farm in Tuba. Among the activities are pick-and-pay and the opportunity to partake in a traditional community celebration hosted by the farmers held around a warm bonfire amid fresh mountain air.