Sunday, March 29, 2009

Philippine Summer Destinations, part 5

The good news is that the forecast of La Nina rains has been lifted. The Philippines will have normal summer after all! The season is expected to be hot, dry and sunny, just as we like it.

Where to head off to get some cool relief from the heat? Here are three more suggestions.

Samal Island, Davao del Norte

It’s officially known as the Island Garden City of Samal or IGaCoS. Really. Campy, yes, but true to its name which means to embrace in Cebuano, the island offers the obligatory white beaches (there are more than 20 resorts), several waterfalls (the prettiest is Hagimit), a world famous bat cave, mountain climbing trails, mangrove forests and orchards of sweet exotic fruits. Best part is, the island is only 10 minutes away by ferry from Davao City. This is paradise just a stone’s throw away from the big city.

the Hagimit falls in Penaplata, Samal Island
Canon EOS 5d, 1/12000s, f/4.0, 17mm, ISO 100

welcome to Paradise Island
for locals, the Paradise Island Resort is perhaps Samal island’s most popular resort
Canon EOS 5d, 1/12000s, f/4.0, 17mm, ISO 100

Panglao Island, Bohol

The island of Panglao is the “it” destination in Bohol. Immaculate fine sand, steep limestone cliffs, caves with underground streams, a bee farm, and two 19th century stone churches are just some of their come-ons. Boholanos are also known to be gentle, soft-spoken and hospitable. The island is conveniently across the capital city of Tagbilaran, connected by two slipway bridges. It too can be a take-off point to other destinations like the famed reef island of Balicasag.

the famous Dumaluan beach offers an expanse of white sand and clear blue waters
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/1250s, f/7.1, 7.1mm

colorful ukulele souvenirs at stalls in the famous Hinagdanan Cave
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/30s, f/5.0, 7.1mm

Mactan Island, Cebu

My home island of Mactan should be in the top list of summer destinations in any book. The stretches of white sand in the east (Marigondon, Maribago, Agus) and north (Punta Engano) are home to some of the best five star resorts in the country. Diving, water sports, island hops, spas are just one of the islands renowned attractions. Historically, this is the island where Magellan eventually met his match. In the shallow coast of Mactan was where he was killed in the famous battle in 1521. Lapu-Lapu City, the official name of the island, is no sleepy town. It is the location of the biggest and busiest export processing zone of Cebu and of course, the biggest international airport outside of Manila.

kayaks, Punta Engaño, Mactan, Cebu
kayaking is popular in Mactan
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/1000s, f/3.2, 7.1mm

facing the sunset
this limestone obelisk in Mactan commemorates the victory of the local chieftain, Lapu-Lapu, over Magellan
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/125s, f/2.8, 7.1mm

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