Fun and adventure, as it seems, are the way of life in the Philippines because life’s too short to sit around and count your worries. Be a true lover of life and muster your sense of adventure to live up your weekend like there’s no Monday.
1. Volcano Mountaineering
Peppered with over 7,000 islands, mountaineering and hiking are fast favourites when it comes to striking fun and fitness at a go. However, on this side of world, Filipinos explore them with a dangerous embrace.
A famous hiking trail in Camiguin Island, Mount Hibok-Hibok is not just any kind of mountain. Geographically known for sitting above the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, Mount Hibok-Hibok is one of the thousands of active volcanos in the country. You need a special permit and a strenuous 3-5 hours hike (sometimes, one day for the newbies) to catch a view of the Ilihan Crater. Fall short and you have the natural hot springs at the foot of the mountain to console you.
Another Filipino favourite would be the Mayon Volcano located on the Luzon island. Well known for its symmetrical conical shape, resembling Japan’s Mount Fuji, and a breathtaking landscape of the Mayon Volcano National Park, the active stratovolcano is a magnet for experienced thrill seekers. Be sure to pack light as the boulder-heavy terrains prove to be a challenge even to the most experienced climbers.
#HHWT Tip: Keep tab on volcanic reports at the Philippines Institute of Volcanology & Seismology as hiking these mountains are extremely dangerous. It’s best to hike with an experienced guide or reliable tour groups.
Address: Mount Hibok-Hibok, Camiguin Island, Camiguin Province, Northern Mindanao.
Opening Hours: For safety measures, it’s best to hike in the day.
Price: PHP200 per person (for climbing permit from DENR office) and PHP1,200 per person (average fee for a day hike).
Directions: Hop on a ferry from Balingoan port to Camiguin. Once arrived, take a non-metered taxi to Mambajao and proceed to get your climbing permit from DENR office and the many hiking packages available.
Removed from the concrete jungle of Cebu is an unperturbed patch of greenery named Matutinao River Kawasan Falls and Moalboal that are known for one thing only: Canyoneering. Blessed with natural splendours and rough canyons, these sites are dubbed as the playgrounds for adrenaline junkies or friends looking for a natural escape that a city can’t fulfil.
Exhilaration is only a jump away at Matutinao River Kawasan Falls
Imagine trekking through the lush foliage and tall trees before discovering a deep hidden canyon where you can rappel the walls and cliff jump into crystal clear rivers. It’s true, Mother Nature does have an adventurous side to her.
#HHWT Tip: While swimming skills aren’t required for canyoneering, it’s best to equip yourself with comfortable trekking shoes and light clothing. This activity requires safety equipment and best enjoyed with a tour guide.
Address: Planet Action Adventure, Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Cebu.
Opening Hours: Outdoor activities are best performed in the day.
Price: PHP2,500 per person (Planet Action Adventure package includes transfers via action truck, guide fees and instructions, rental equipment, barbecue (request for seafood or vegetarian options) and drinks).
Directions: Located approximately 3-hour drive from the Cebu city, arrange for a morning pick up from Mactan or Cebu City to Moalboal.
Weird as it may seem, sand dunes do make a pretty good alternative to snow. I mean, we gotta make the best out of our hot and humid weather. Who doesn’t like sliding or rolling down a little hill of powdery sand? And with that, the chapter of sandboarding in the Philippines unfolds.
Resembling Vietnam’s Mui Ne, Philippines boasts two spots with quasi-Dubai landscape namely La Paz Sand Dunes (Laoag City) and Paoay Sand Dunes (beside Malacanang of the North) that are both located in Illocos Norte. You can choose to roll down the steep dunes (it’ll hurt) or pick a surfboard and glide down in style.
If the exhilaration from sandboarding has you craving for more, quench your thirst for adventure by hopping on the 4×4 ride that feels a lot like a roller coaster ride. The weather can get extremely hot in the day, so swing by during the hours of sunrise and sunset.
#HHWT Tip: Remember to wear light clothing and comfortable shoes.
Address: Lapaz Sand Dunes, Laoag City, 2900, Ilocos Norte.
PHP2,500 for a group of 4-5 people (includes 4×4 ride and unlimited sand boarding; maximum 4-5 people)
PHP2,000 for a group of 4 people (includes one-hour of ATV ride)
Directions: Situated a few minutes from the city of Laoag, it’s recommended to arrange a pick-up from the tour or hop on a local taxi to this famous site.
4. Bike Zipline
Biking casually at 150 feet above the ground may sound like a hellish experience for the acrophobic but not for the naturalists and thrill seekers at heart. In exchange for your YOLO courage and boldness, you’ll be rewarded with a picturesque landscape of the lush greenery below (or ahead, if you don’t want to look down).
The best place for bike zipline? Climb over 400 steps to the top of Chocolate Hills Adventure Park in Bohol to practice your pedalling skills. Alternatively, you can ‘sky cycle’ at the Eden Nature Park in Davao City where you can complement your trip with a regular yet equally nerve-wrecking zipline.
Address: Chocolate Hill Adventure Park, Camanayon, Barangay Buenos Aires, Carmen, Bohol.
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 8:30am – 5:30pm (including public holidays)
Price: PHP450 per person (bike zipline only)
Directions: Take the 2-hour fast craft from Cebu to Tagbilaran. From the Tagbilaran port, hop on a tricycle to the bus terminal in Dao where many buses and vans await for a 45-minute ride to the Adventure Park.
5. Tandem Skydive
Sometimes, having a friend with you makes skydiving a lot more pleasant than fear-inducing. If such is true, tandem skydive is tailored for you.
Popularly performed above the green terrains of Pampanga (Central Luzon) and Bantayan Island (Cebu), you won’t need any prior experience for this sky-high adventure. Thrilling as it is liberating, you’ll be strap on to an experienced skydiving instructor under a single parachute before you make the highest leap of your life from 10,000 feet.
This adrenaline-fuelled pastime is best enjoyed on a clear and sunny weather. Any time between November to June is a great slot for skydiving in the Philippines.
Address: Bantayan Island Resort, National Road, Santa Fe, Bantayan Island, Cebu.
Price: PHP19,500 per person (includes a brief instructional class, a single tandem skydive, 5-7 minute canopy descent, a certificate of completion).
Directions: Take 3-4 hour bus ride (PHP200) from the North Bus Terminal in Cebu City (near SM Mall) to the Hagnaya Port. Look out for Ceres Coach Buses or Cebu Autobus Corp. From Hagnaya’s Port, take a 75-minute boat ride (PHP170) to Santa Fe on Bantayan Island.
6. Edge Coaster
What better way to test the levels of your adrenaline than placing you at the edge of your seat? Possibly the world’s first ride of its kind, Edge Coaster is a new (and crazy) way of enjoying the Cebu landscape that locks you down in a two-seat platform before it moves mechanically around the outer edge of the Crown Regency Hotel & Towers. Imagine being tilted at 55 degree from the 38th floor of the building!
If you’re crazy enough to ask more (Why guys, why?), there’s a separate package that includes Skywalk Extreme. At similar height, you get to bask in the beauty of Cebu’s city horizon by walking around the outer rims with a safety harness. While prior experience is not needed, having a sense of fearlessness is a must.
Address: Tower 1, Crown Regency Hotel and Towers, Fuente Towers, Fuente Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City.
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 2:00pm – 12:00am, Sat – Sun: 10:00am – 2:00am
Entrance fee: PHP200 (student) / PHP250 (adult)
Package (Entrance fee + Edge Coaster + Skywalk Extreme): PHP400 (student) / PHP 550 (adult)
Directions: From the Mactan Cebu International Airport, take a 45-min taxi ride to Crown Regency Hotel. Alternatively, there are plenty of jeepneys, pedicab and tricycles that will take you around the vicinity of Cebu city.
7. Fly a Plane
If you’re a pilot license away from realising your long-gone ambition as a high flyer, the Angeles City Flying Club will take your dream to the skies. Gearing to promote the ultralight plane to the flying hopefuls, participants will be strapped in a two-seater ultralight sports aircraft (with a pilot instructor next to you) and soar freely above the unperturbed landscape of Magalang, Pampanga.
While the flying club is open to sign-ups for long-term flying courses, you can also enjoy the club’s facility for a day and short trial flights for a minimal fee. The best time to fly the ultralight is between October to May.
Address: Woodland Airpark Talimundok, Sta. Maria Magalang, Pampanga
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu: 8:00am – 5:00pm, Fri – Sun: 8:00am – 5:30pm
Price: The basic trial instructional flight starts from PHP1848.
Directions: For a thorough public transportation route to the flying club, refer to the directions here.
8. Cliff Diving
For a tourist destination that is surrounded by ocean blues and waving coconut trees, Boracay is brimming with outdoor adventures like parasailing, jet skiing and island hopping – just to name a few. However, when cliff diving is in the picture, Ariel’s Point immediately comes to mind.
Rise early for the 40-minute boat ride that will take you to the towering cliff of Ariel’s Point. If you’re a newbie, start off with the lower cliff diving platforms: 3, 5, 6 or 7 meters high. For those who are absolutely fearless, challenge yourself with the highest platforms between 13 to 15 meters.
If cliff diving isn’t your thing, you can cheer on your daredevil mates from the bamboo deck or keep yourself occupied with other beach activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling.
#HHWT Tip: Lunch buffet is provided for tours booked with Ariel House. While the spread is largely non-halal, opt for vegetarian selections like pancit noodles, eggplant salad, herb potatoes and more.
Address: Ariel House, Station 1, White Beach, Boracay
Opening Hours: Mon – Sun: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Price: PHP2,500 per person (including a boat cruise, a barbecue buffet lunch and afternoon snacks, free flow beverage (mixed drinks available), cliff diving, kayaking, snorkelling and a souvenir bracelet).
Directions: The Ariel’s Point is located about 30-40 minute boat ride from the Boracay Island.
9. Whale Shark Diving
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws may ignite an unsettling fear for sharks but the species of Whale Sharks, in general, are friendlier and often dubbed as the Gentle Giants of the Sea. Philippines’ Manta Bowl (Donsol Bay) is one of the very few local destinations where you can spot sightings of these friendly creatures.
Put on your diving suit and explore the blue waters for a glimpse of these good-natured Whale Sharks. Spotty and massive in size, you definitely can recognise them from afar. While the best times for these underwater sightings are between November to May, luck will weigh heavier on your side when you swing by around February to April. Plus, you may have a chance to catch Manta Rays, Hammerheads and Thresher sharks in Donsol Bay too.
Address: Donsol Bay, Sorsogon.
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu: 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Fri – Sat: 12:00pm – 12:00am, Sun: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Directions: The fastest way to reach to Donsol Bay is via flight from Manila or Cebu. Alternatively, you can take a 13-hour direct bus ride that departs daily from Manila.
10. White Water Rafting
If swimming pools and water theme parks are too tame for your inner wild child, you may enjoy the adrenaline rush from white water rafting. A country that is naturally blessed with long-winding rivers, there are a few famous spots for this outdoor activity in the Philippines namely Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao) and Chico River (Luzon island).
Once you throw on a lifejacket and grab your paddle, the boat ride will typically begin with a calm and serene route for a chance to admire the rocky boulders and patches of greenery. As the minutes go by, rapids after rapids will have your boat tumbling about and this is where adrenaline and teamwork come to play.
White water rafting sounds like your kind of paradise? The best times to visit differ according to location of choice: Cagayan de Oro (June to December) and Chico River (June to Mid-March).
Address: Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Mindanao.
Opening Hours: White water rafting is best performed in the day.
Price: PHP900 per person (3-4 hour short course rafting) / PHP1,200 per person (4-5 hour long course). Both rates include snacks and meal, transfer from hotel to rafting area, two river rafting guides and gears and equipment. Minimum 5 people required.
Directions: Arrange for a pick-up from the city centre where Cagayan de Oyo is located about 20 kilometers away. The rafting journey will begin from Barangay Dansolihon.
Who knew that beyond the cultural and historical wonders, Philippines is the fun and exciting one in the Southeast Asian family? If you’re looking for a destination that serves an all-in-one thrill and adventure, you know where to book your next flight.