Favorite Solo Travel Destinations in the Philippines
A lot of solo travelers–including those who only traveled alone out of necessity and not by choice–have their own special places they consider their favorite. These destinations could be friendly to solo travelers for a number of reasons, from having a number of budget accommodation options, to being safe for solo travelers.
I have asked a few bloggers what their favorite solo travel destination is in the Philippines, and they came up with a varied list. Here are their choices (including mine):
One of my all-time favorite destinations in the Philippines as a solo traveler is Batanes. I had previously considered it inaccessible because of its location–going there was too expensive for me as a budget traveler. However, I’ve had a chance to go there by myself last June, and I learned that it’s possible to enjoy its beauty without spending a ton.
Biri Island, Northern Samar
Marky Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences loved Biri Island in Northern Samar. He says:
The rock formation on Biri Island presents an out-of-this-planet terrain. I went there solo and with only my local guide as my companion. I felt lonely sometimes, wishing I was sharing the experience with friends. However, my indescribable surroundings brought forth a sense of realization that “the greatest of men are the most lonely,” especially within these rock formations of Biri.
Check out his post, Biri Island’s School of Rock.
Grasya Bangoy chose Bohol, the island province in the Visayas region. I’ve been there a few times and I agree that it is highly recommended, both for solo and non-solo travelers. (Check out one of my posts: Taking the Plunge in Danao Adventure Park) Grasya says:
I have relatives in Bohol and have stayed and traveled solo in the beautiful island for a few months so I can say it is really safe here. They have a small population in some rural areas so local people know each other, making it safe for visitors.
The disadvantage for solo travelers is there are not so many hotels and guesthouses are catering to solo backpackers. There’s not a lot of nightlife, too, which I don’t really mind. If you don’t have a vehicle of your own or don’t know how to drive a motorbike, you can’t go around that easily as well. However, there are always other means of transportation to go around, and you can rent a car as well.
Despite everything, I would still love to recommend Bohol for solo travelers.
Check out one of her posts on Bohol: The Witch Island in Anda, Bohol.
Eileen Campos of The Super Tourists chose a destination that I wouldn’t have considered for solo travel. She sees Boracay, which has been called the best island in the world, as her top solo travel destination. She says:
I learned how to travel solo in the latter part of 2011 when a travel buddy backed out at the last minute. It was either my stubbornness in not wanting to waste all that preparation or my persistence in traveling that got me through the whole trip – it’s still pretty much undecided. Since then, I have been comfortable traveling on my own and my favorite solo destination in the Philippines, by far, would have to be Boracay.
I’ve gone enough times to have checked off the tourist-y stuff there is to do and I just usually spend my time to either relax at Angol Point with a good book and dollar cocktails or to party it up with Boracay Pub Crawl. I have no problem dining alone so I am able to enjoy each delicious bite of my meals in my favorite restaurants such as Crafty’s Rooftop and Dos Mestizos. Sometimes, glasses of wine or bottles of beer keep me company and I’m satisfied with that.
Boracay is a good place to enjoy your own company and unwind from the pressures of work and city life. On the other hand, Boracay is also just as awesome when it comes to making new friends and world connections.
It is in Boracay, through the top-rated Boracay Pub Crawl, that I got to know Rohima and Rahul from India, Andy from Sri Lanka, Jamie from La Union and a whole bunch of other new friends who I still keep in contact after Boracay.
So whatever mood you’re in, an anti-social Twilight female protagonist mood or a Van Wilder, Party Liaison, kind of mood – there will be something for you in Boracay.
Boracay for me will always be a party place, best to be enjoyed with a partner or a friend. However, I may check it out as a solo traveler soon, as Eileen makes a good case that it’s also nice to be savored alone!
Regin Reyno of Regin’s Travels loves the beautiful Bukidnon, up in the highlands in Mindanao. He says:
Beautiful mountains, cool breeze, lush forest, icy cold waterfalls, ethnic tribes, fresh tropical fruits, and friendly locals–these are what you will experience when you go to the beautiful province of Bukidnon. It’s my favorite province in the Philippines, primarily because its scenery is so wonderful and diverse!
In Bukidnon, you will experience a relaxed, countryside life. Being mountainous and forested, the climate there is so comfortable, too.
My father’s family came from Bukidnon (Malaybalay and Valencia), and I have been there several times, so I certainly agree with Regin!
Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte
Jerik de Guzman of Pinoy Boy Journals waxes lyrical about Dinagat Islands where he had an opportunity to drink tuba with the locals. He says:
I’ve been to many places but I can honestly say that Dinagat Islands is by far the most exotic province I’ve ever been to. Spending an afternoon in the far out Cabil-an Group of Islands was an unforgettable experience, one that I could tell my children and my children’s children.
The two plane rides, one ferry boat ride, two motorcycle rides and a small wooden canoe ride I had taken to get to this place was very much worth it. The country’s newest province just reinforced my reason why I travel solo in the first place.
If you haven’t been down south, why not check out this Island that Jerik’s so fond of?
El Nido, Palawan
Mica Rodriguez of Senyorita has been to a number of countries worldwide, but her favorite solo travel destination is El Nido in Palawan. She says:
El Nido in Palawan is a dream place. I’ve seen photos of it from magazines and websites and it was enough for me to pursue my first week-long solo trip.
Going there can be arse, but it’s worth the sacrifice! I was able to meet new friends during the island hopping tour and the scenery from my hostel made me feel inspired to write. Add the fact that the locals are helpful and friendly!
Check out Mica’s post on El Nido: Island Hopping in El Nido.
The above video about El Nido and Puerto Princesa is by Dax Victorino. Seeing it made me wish I can go back there soon. El Nido is so unforgettable for me.
Limasawa Island, Leyte
Ephraim Arriesgado of Selfless Travels loves another island too, specifically Limasawa Island off the coast of Southern Leyte. He says:
My favorite solo travel destination in the Philippines is Limasawa Island. Going there is an adventure in itself, but meeting the caring and hospitable locals who will greet you upon your arrival makes everything worth it.
I love Limasawa Island primarily because of its beautiful white beaches, great diving and snorkeling sites, and its caves. It is also the site of the First Mass in the Philippines and the First Cross Monument can be found on the summit of the island’s highest hill. Its lighthouse which is strategically located on the side of a hill is also worth exploring!
I haven’t been to Limasawa Island yet, but it will certainly be included in my bucket list! Just the mention of beaches and caves is already enough to convince me. Read Ephraim’s post: The Solo Trip to Limasawa Island.
Jinkee Umali of Live Life Fullest loves Mactan in Cebu, specifically for its luxury resorts. She says:
My solo work assignment in Cebu gave me a chance to explore nearby resorts. The Mactan area is only 15 minutes from the airport and it has a lot of resorts to choose from.
For a day tour package ranging from P1,000 to P2,000, for example, I can already enjoy a lot of the things I love, including:
- jogging and doing yoga by the beach
- eating plated or buffet lunch with fresh veggies and seafood
- reading my favorite books with a view of nature
Even it is only for one day, my body and spirit is relaxed, immersed with positive vibes which I can consider a perfect vacation. From there, I am ready to face whatever challenges life throws my way.
Indeed, who wouldn’t want to stay in a resort and just chill for a day? Not everybody can afford it, but I would definitely go if I had the chance!
Claire Madarang of I am Traveling Light has chosen Cebu as well, but focusing on a different town, Moalboal. When I went to Cebu last September, I had wanted to go to Moalboal, too, specifically for the reasons Claire has laid out. I didn’t get to go, but it’s certainly happening soon. I love diving and Moalboal seems one of the best places to go for solo divers!
Moalboal is a snorkeler’s dream, and I believe, also a diver’s dream. This is where I saw my first whale shark and first sea turtle, plus corals in shapes and colors I have not seen before. There is plentiful marine life not just in the dive spots but also a few meters from the beach.
Best of all, I did not have to rent an entire boat for myself to get to the snorkeling and dive spots. The dive shops in the area have scheduled dives every day; I only had to pay Php200 to join their boat for the whole day. I met some cool divers, some of whom turned out to be staying at the same backpackers’ lodge where I was checked in, and a friendly local who guided me in my snorkeling later near the beach (Did I mention that Moalboal’s White Beach has powdery sand?). With carinderias and cheap eateries in the area, I was also able to keep my food expenses low.
At Moalboal, I was able to have underwater firsts, beach bum, and have fun with new friends, all at an affordable budget.
Check out Claire’s post on Moalboal: The Whale Shark That Took Me by Surprise in Moalboal, Cebu
Patar, Bolinao, Pangasinan
Darwin Cayetano of Tracking Treasure chose Patar in Bolinao, Pangasinan as his favorite destination. He says:
If you are a beach-loving person and prefer a not-too-commercialized destination, I highly recommend Patar White Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan.
The place in Sitio Abrac has the best shoreline as compared with others in nearby barangays. There are comfortable and budget friendly accommodations, mostly nipa huts aligned a few meters from the shore.
Walk briskly going to the far end and it will take you to a more peaceful spot. There, you can just pitch a tent or spread out a beach blanket under the tree, read your favorite book, sing/hum with your music player or you can just sit there, relax and watch the gentle waves kissing the shore.
Since Patar is not yet famous compared to Boracay or El Nido, this is the perfect place for “me” time. There are other places you can visit there, too, like the caves (where you can swim), an old lighthouse, a rock formation, and a stunning sunset. So go pack your bag, travel solo and soul-search in Patar!
Check out one of Darwin’s posts on Patar: Where do (Travelers with) Broken Hearts Go.
Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Brennan Mercado, blogger behind the interestingly-named Baktin Corporation, sees Puerto Princesa in Palawan as his favorite. He says:
Even if this is a sentimental choice, Puerto Princesa City in Palawan is still my personal favorite. I remember that traveling solo there was not something I had planned at the onset. My supposed travel companion chickened out. So at the last minute, I was left to my own devices in finalizing the itinerary and in stretching my small budget.
There are many things you can do in Puerto Princesa. At the top of the long list should be the Puerto Princesa Underground River which is now one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. There’s also the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, where most of the inmates can get in and out the borderless facility.
For me, the most memorable thing I did that time was walking the entire stretch of Rizal Street because I wanted to save on what could have been just a P7 tricycle fare. I then rewarded myself with a sumptuous dinner at Ka Lui Restaurant.
What they say about Puerto Princesa is true – urban forests, white sand beaches and friendly locals. You can experience all that and so much more, even without your friends. All you need to bring with you are your trustworthy backpack and an adventurous heart and you’ll have a great time there.
Check out his post on Puerto Princesa: Puerto Princesa City Tour.
Glen Santillan of Escape Manila sees Romblon as his favorite solo travel destination. He says,
The town of Romblon in the province of Romblon is one of my favorite solo travel destination in the Philippines because of its laid-back vibe where you can enjoy time-out alone. People are friendly and the accommodations are affordable.
The white sand beaches in Romblon are nice and not crowded so you can have a pleasant time beach bumming. They are located just few minutes away from the town center and transportation is very accessible and cheap, too.
I visited Romblon during my 50-day solo backpacking trip around the Philippines and it was a memorable one. Please read more about my Romblon adventures here: Beach Bumming in Romblon.
Alas, I haven’t been to Romblon, either, but it’s certainly a destination I will soon visit!
Sagada is also one of my favorite solo travel destinations. The accommodations are budget friendly, you can join tour groups, and the food is great, too!
Blogger Ar-jay Abellera of RJ d’ Explorer loves Sagada. He says:
I love going solo and one of my favorites was my solo travel to Sagada during my birthday last June 2013. The place is solo-friendly since most lodging houses has single rooms for as low as Php200 per night. You can also join other groups for the different adventure activities via the SAGGAS.org or Tourism Office.
Check out RJ’s post on Sagada: Sagada for First-timers.
Samal Island, Davao
San Josenyong Gala sees Samal Island in Davao as a paradise. He says:
This island city, known as IGACOS (“Island Garden City of Samal”), is composed of three districts: Kaputian, Samal (Penaplata) and Babak. It is very accessible from Davao City through the Sasa Wharf where one can take a boat.
Transportation around the island is easy; just flag down a habal-habal (motorcycle) and ask the driver to bring you wherever you want to go. Beach lovers would love Kaputian Beach; you can also go island hopping to Talikod Island.
Those who love waterfalls can go to Hagimit Falls, and nature lovers can check out the Balete Park and the Monfort Bat Colony which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest colony of Rousette Fruit Bat in the world.
Most beautiful of all, and the one I like the most, is the Vanishing Island called Sinapaan by the locals. It’s submerged underwater during high tide. The island was planted with mangroves by volunteers.
I have spent just 2 days in Samal Island and I really thought then that my stay was too short to enjoy, see and discover all Samal Island has to offer. The beauty, serenity and laid back life in the island is the one thing I liked the most and I am planning on coming back there, as soon as possible.
I have never been to Samal Island, but seeing his picture makes me want to go there now!
I love Siquijor, this so-called Island of Fire in the Visayas region. It’s a small island, but it’s very beautiful and the water there is unbelievably clean. They have the cleanest port I have ever seen.
The island also has a range of accommodations to choose from–I have stayed in a P150 room in Larena (Luisa and Son’s), and in a P500 room in a resort in Siquijor town (Villa Marmarine). Those who want the comfort of high-priced resorts can also find places to stay in Siquijor.
There are caves, waterfalls, diving spots, and other things to do in Siquijor. It’s safe for women travelers too. What else can you ask for in a solo travel destination?
Check out my post on Siquijor: Things to Do in Siquijor.
What about you? Do you have any favorite solo travel destination in the Philippines? Do share!
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Aleah Taboclaon is a freelance writer and editor. She likes running (completed one marathon, training for the next!), diving (PADI open water diver), and traveling with her Kindle. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. You can also email her; she would love to hear from you!