Itching to travel but hesitant because of the rainy season? Don’t let the gloomy weather stifle your adventurous spirit. The Philippines is blessed with tons of natural and man-made attractions as well as adventure sports that will surprise tourists all year round. Besides, Habagat (Southwest monsoon) is synonymous to off-peak season when hotels are slashing their rates and seat sales abound. Take advantage of cheaper rates and try these activities:
1. Surfing, Paddleboarding and Skimboarding - Get stoked in
Siargao (Surigao del Norte), San Juan (La Union), Baler (Aurora),
Pagudpud (Ilocos Norte), Bagasbas (Camarines Norte), and the list goes
on. Or try paddlingboarding - ride the long board, kneel or stand up
and start paddling! Not as popular as surfing, skimboarding starts near
the beach shore where short-break waves could be found. You can skim in
Tanauan, Leyte, Pundaquit (Zambales), Boracay (Aklan), and Catarman
2. Cable Wakeboarding or Kneeboarding–Rush to CWC in Pili for water activities like cable wakeboarding, and kneeboarding. Also, don’t miss playing with the inflatables at the waterpark. If CamSur is too far for you, then drive to Nuvali and Batangas wake parks. If you’re in Mindanao, Deca Wake Park is a 30 minute drive from Davao City’s commercial hub.
3. White Water Rafting/ Water Tubing/Kayaking – Adrenaline
junkies, are you ready to face the raging waves of Chico River up in
Kalinga? White water rafting is a popular water sports in Cagayan de
Oro and Davao. Head over to Pangi River in Maitum (Sarangani) and get
on a rubber tube for the ride of your life! Whether you’re up for a
torpedo boat adventure in Ulot River in Paranas (Samar) or kayaking in
Tibiao (Antique) the higher water levels and stronger rapids will surely
add up to the thrill of your adventure.
4. Paraw Sailing – Notice the wind-driven boats with iridescent sails docked on the shores of Boracay during the blustery weather? Hop in and experience a tranquil ride!
5. Scuba Diving and Reef Walking – “It’s fine to dive during rainy season, since you’re going to immerse deep down in the water anyway”, a diver friend told me. Needless to say, the Philippines has superb dive sites from Batangas to Bicol, to Cebu, Bohol, Mindoro, and Palawan and all the way to Davao. Reef Walking or helmet diving on is one of the popular activities in Boracay. You’ll be asked to wear a massive helmet and will be escorted until you get to stand on the ocean floor to view the underwater life.
6. Indoor Wall Climbing- Too lazy to leave Manila? Then head over to
The Fort to stretch your muscles. Climb up at Sandugo in Market, Market
or Power Up in R.O.X at Bonifacio High Street.
7. Visit a Museum or Art Gallery – Check out the National Museum, Ayala Museum, the Mind Museum, etc. If you’re up north, explore the historical and cultural museums in Vigan, Ilocos Norte, or the cultural museums of Sagada and Bontoc. Down south, visit the Balangay Museum in Butuan to see the rich heritage of Agusan province. If you’re in Manila, head to Cubao X for its promising art scene.
8. Food Tripping –Baguio city is dappled with cozy cafes like the old
favorite Café by the Ruins, and Oh My Gulay (OMG café) that serves
vegetarian dishes. Try restaurant hopping in Panglao Bohol, check out
Guiseppe Pizzeria and Sicilian Roast for some classic taste of Italian
countryside dining, Jugali's Bistro for unrivalled Spanish dishes, C.U
Restaurant and Delicatessen for wild selection of cold cuts and freshly
baked pastries, or dine in at Amorita Resort's Saffron and The Deck
9. Watch a Cultural Show – Some hotels in Lake Sebu (South Cotabato) and Baguio have ethnic dance performance for check-in guests. You may also check out the cultural dinner show at Barbara’s Hotel in Intramuros, Manila. Matina Town Square (MTS), the entertainment hub in Davao City, have nightly band performances. Cultural dance show is usually held on Tuesday nights.
Gael Hilotin is the author of The Pinay Solo Backpacker.