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Favorite Solo Travel Destinations in the Philippines

20 September 2013 24,775 views 36 Comments
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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):

Batanes

batanes

Lighthouse in Basco, Batanes.

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.

Check out my posts on Batanes: How to Travel  Cheaply in Batanes and Batanes–The Beautiful North Batan Island.

Biri Island, Northern Samar

biri-island

Solitude at Biri Island. ©Marky Ramone Go

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.

Bohol

aleah-tarsier

One of the beautiful tarsiers in Bohol.

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.

Boracay

boracay

Boracay parties are the best! ©Eileen Campos

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!

Bukidnon

The lovely mountains of Bukidnon. ©Regin Reyno

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

Locals in Dinagat Islands. ©Jerik de Guzman

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

el-nido

Lovely view in El Nido, Palawan. ©Mica Rodriguez

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 in the white sand beaches of Limasawa Island.

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.

Mactan, Cebu

Jinkee relaxing at one of the resorts in Mactan.

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:

  1. jogging and doing yoga by the beach
  2. swimming
  3. eating plated or buffet lunch with fresh veggies and seafood
  4. 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!

Moalboal, Cebu

Whale shark in Moalboal, Cebu. ©Claire Madarang

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!

Claire says:

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

patar

The white beach in Patar is best for solitude. ©Darwin Cayetano

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

palawan

The entrance to the subterranean river in Puerto Princesa.

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.

Romblon, Romblon

The lovely beaches of Romblon. ©Glen Santillan

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

sagada

Inside Sumaguing Cave in Sagada.

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

samal-island

Samal Island.

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!

Siquijor

Siquijor

A statue of San Juan in Siquijor’s port area faces the local community.

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!


 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!


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36 Comments »

  • Photo Cache said:

    incredible destinations.

    kelan ko kaya to makikita?
    Photo Cache recently posted..Tulum: The Ruins By The Sea

  • Marky said:

    excited to do more solo trips this hear to indonesia and hanoi. i think its just a matter of me gettting used to it.
    Marky recently posted..Bagan’s Temple of the Rising Sun

  • Aleah said:

    @ Photo Cache: Someday, someday hehe
    @ Marky: Yeah, it can get lonely when you travel alone, but I still prefer it. :)
    Aleah recently posted..Favorite Solo Travel Destinations in the Philippines

  • Salika Jay said:

    Although my solo traveling days are long gone, I have my eyes on few of these places. Boracay, Palawan and Davao. My sister-in-law is originally from Davao and it seems like a beautiful place.
    Salika Jay recently posted..Last Minute Cruise Deals Not To Be Missed

  • Island Trotters said:

    Great destination! Camiguin is also an amazing place for solitary travelers.
    Island Trotters recently posted..A to Z Guide to Enjoying Jordan

  • Flong d'Chariot said:

    I realized that to travel alone will give me the opportunity to reflect, I can do what I want to do and it’s all up to me how much time to spend someplace, and this lead me to become a SOLO BACKPACKER. Great post Blogger!

  • Aleah said:

    @ Salika Jay: Davao is also beautiful, but what I love most there are the fruit :)
    @ Island Trotters: I’ve been to Camiguin and tho I like the place, I don’t think I would want to go back.
    @ Flong: You’re 100% right. Thanks!
    Aleah recently posted..Favorite Solo Travel Destinations in the Philippines

  • lelay said:

    i chose Batanes to travel solo for next year,, what can you say about that?! i am nervous..i havent see that on your list?! any positive thoughts there?:))

  • Filipina Mendoza said:

    I also love traveling solo due to time /budget constraints..Your list is really wonderful. I also love Siquijor,Camiguin,Iligan and Eastern Visayas…

  • Aleah said:

    @ Lelay: Thanks for reminding me about Batanes! It’s one of my fave solo travel destinations, too. I included it now in the list. Check out my posts there.

    @ Filipina Mendoza: The Philippines certainly has a lot of beautiful places to visit, isn’t it?
    Aleah recently posted..Favorite Solo Travel Destinations in the Philippines

  • curlypurplepig said:

    great post! still so many places i want to visit in the philippines!

  • Flong d'Chariot said:

    Aleah, out of my 8 Solo Trips, So far, I agree with you, Siquijor, Palawan and Samal are awesome. But you might check Surigao, Albay and Oslob.
    Flong d’Chariot recently posted..Oslob | Back Where It All Begins

  • traveling morion said:

    Great compilation Aleah! How I wish makumpleto ko yung list :) #1 of course yung Palawan – been to Bohol en Siquijor :)
    traveling morion recently posted..Travel Diaries| Coconut Tree with Two Branches

  • Aleah said:

    @ Curly Purple Pig: True! Go lang ng go! :D
    @ Flong: Will check out your Oslob recommendation. I’m in Cebu right now.
    @ Jeffrey: I haven’t been to all these myself. Di bale, we’ll get to them someday.
    Aleah recently posted..Favorite Solo Travel Destinations in the Philippines

  • Travel Roundup » Destination Specialists (Cebu) said:

    […] Favorite Solo Travel Destinations in the Philippines […]

  • carlo said:

    Great list! We’ve noticed more and more people are starting to travel alone. Since we love promoting the Philippines as well, we decided to include your post on our travel roundup. Here’s the link: http://destinationcebu.com/blog/travel-roundup/

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share all these great spots!

  • Freya said:

    WoW so many stunning places in the Philippines. I really want to visit one day although I’m not a solo traveler :) Batanes looks very interesting and El Nido absolutely gorgeous although that seems to go for all the islands, beautiful photos.
    Freya recently posted..Capture the Colour 2013 Competition

  • Aleah said:

    @ Carlo: Thanks for including this post in your round-up!
    @ Freya: In case you’ll ever get to visit my corner of the world, go to Batanes and Siquijor! Lovely, lovely places.
    Aleah recently posted..Saying Goodbye to Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin

  • Ephraim said:

    This is a great compilation! Our country has a variety of destinations best for every traveler. Thank you so much for including my entry..

  • Claire | Traveling Light said:

    Great list! :)I agree with the writeup on Siquijor especially. I have yet to go to Batanes, and I’m saving it for a special trip. :)

    I feel sorry I missed your call for entries. Haven’t been browsing online much the past few weeks.
    Claire | Traveling Light recently posted..Saving Crabs from Drowning

  • Aleah said:

    @ Ephraim: Thanks for submitting, too!
    @ Claire: Thanks for submitting, and Batanes is indeed special. It’s perfect for solo travelers too, so no worries.
    Aleah recently posted..Where2Next Hostel: Serenity Amidst the Chaos of Manila

  • Regin said:

    Nice post Aleah. Thanks for including me.

  • Frank said:

    Hi Aleah!
    Great post – Philippines have been on my list for a long time and I plan on going sometime in 2014. That’s a great list of places, Palawan especially is a place I’d love to see. What is your opinion on Caminguin island, I’ve heard many say that it’s a more laid back version of Boracay. Have you been?
    Frank (bbqboy)
    Frank recently posted..Montreal Canadiens 2013-14 season preview and predictions

  • Aleah said:

    @ Regin: Thanks for joining din!
    @ Frank: I’ve been to Camiguin and I wasn’t as impressed as I was by other islands in the Philippines. I much preferred Siquijor, for example. But it’s beautiful, too.
    Aleah recently posted..Tips in Observing the Masskara Festival in Bacolod

  • Micamyx|Senyorita said:

    Thanks for including my entry, Aleah! I miss the Philippines!
    Micamyx|Senyorita recently posted..Eating London: An East London Food Tour Experience

  • Sarah said:

    WOW! Thanks for sharing these wonderful places! Good inspiration for my next trip o the Philippines!
    Sarah recently posted..Part II. The best of Palawan

  • Aleah said:

    @ Mica: Come home then :)
    @ Sarah: Thanks! Do share my posts with your friends.
    Aleah recently posted..Tips in Observing the Masskara Festival in Bacolod

  • Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER said:

    What a great post and an awesome list. I’ve been reluctant about the Philippines for some time. Despite knowing many friends that go, often they go in groups or couples. I appreciate this post that’s made for solo travelers by other solo travelers!
    Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER recently posted..Ladakh Guide: 8 Incredible Places to Experience Heaven

  • james said:

    Awesome selections, Aleah! Batanes and Biri are also on my list :)

  • Aleah said:

    @ Christine: Our country is lovely AND safe for solo travelers. Hope you can visit us someday. I would love to meet you!
    @ James: I would love to visit Biri Island too!
    Aleah recently posted..Best Day Trips from Shanghai, China

  • Maria Christina said:

    Awesome pics. Yes! I am agree with you. These destinations are perfect idea to enjoy your vacations. Solo travelers can enjoy these destination without getting boar. Palawan has plenty of natural beauty, no one can miss this place. Thanks for writing about beauty of Philippines.

  • Aleah said:

    @ Maria Christina: I’m in Puerto Princesa now, and yes, Palawan’s really beautiful!
    Aleah recently posted..Best Day Trips from Shanghai, China

  • Ann Capitulo said:

    Great list! Laoag, Ilocos Norte is also very solo traveler friendly destination. It was where I went to for my first solo adventure and I loved every minute of it. Also, Bantayan Island, Cebu. Didn’t go there by myself but it’s somewhere I’d go to for an escapade from the city.

  • rey said:

    its a great list…im planning for my firts solo travel. romblon would be the top of my list or palawan.

  • Aleah said:

    @ Ann: I haven’t been to Ilocos Norte yet. Hope to go visit soon!
    @ Rey: Palawan is a good choice!
    Aleah recently posted..Backpacking India in 3 Weeks

  • zet said:

    hi, need help, saang sites po b makakahanap ng affordable airfare?..thanks.

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