The Philippines is well known as one of the most beautiful countries in the world to visit. According to National Geographic, the Philippines has a lot to offer to adventurous explorers. The country's extensive coastline has gorgeous white sand beaches surrounded by crystal blue seas. With more than 7,000 islands, they are easily among the most breathtaking islands in the world. People around the globe recognize the beauty of the Philippine islands.
But the country is also home to some underrated destinations. Aside from the beaches and forests, this diverse country has many other things to offer, such as historic islands, lush mountains and lakes, thriving wildlife, and varied ecosystems.
These historical destinations are an important part of the history of the Philippines. It highlights the different stages of how this country has evolved from ancient times to the present. Visiting these places makes every Filipino and tourist realize the significance and role that these sites have played in the development of our country, and in the end, learn from it.
Here are some of the historic and underrated destinations that you should put on your bucket list:
Fort San Andres
First on the list is Fort San Andres, located at Romblon. Since 1644, this historic destination has witnessed the Spanish Colonial Era making it the province's oldest structure. It was made of coral stones and used as a lookout post for the island's defense against invaders.
Address: Fort San Andres Road, Romblon
How to get to Fort San Andres: You can walk or ride your motorbike to the bottom of the stairs near the port from the main town. The walk up the stairs takes about 5-10 minutes and is very steep. The entrance fee into Fort San Andres is just a donation to the maintenance of the structure.
Dambana ng Kagitingan
Known for its role in World War II, Bataan has a lot to offer visitors. The historical battles on the island are commemorated at the Bataan Death March Memorial and the American-Japanese Cemetery. Travelers can also take part in several hikes and kayak tours around the area.
Address: Mount Samat - Pilar, Bataan
How to get to Dambana ng Kagitingan: The cost-effective way to get to Dambana ng Kagitingan is by bus in Manila, which costs ₱550 - ₱800 and takes a five-hour ride.
The Philippines' historic city of Vigan, where Calle Crisologo starts from, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site declared in 1999.
This cobbled street - one of the city's most charming - winds around colonial mansions and leads to the old town church made of stone and wood. There are several Spanish and American-inspired restaurants offering a taste of the country's rich, centuries-old culture. Calle Crisologo also has several art galleries, and you can also see the famous church of Sta. Cruz is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can spend hours walking along Calle Crisologo, and you certainly have your pick of souvenirs to buy at the numerous craft stalls along the way.
Address: Crisologo, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
How to get to Calle Crisologo: There are typically two ways to get to Calle Crisologo, depending on your transportation budget and schedule: land travel and plane travel. Traveling by land from Manila to Vigan will take approximately 8-10 hours.
Lake Holon (T'boli)
Lake Holon, locally called T'boli, is a freshwater lake in the province of South Cotabato. The lake was created by an eruption of Mt. Parker, located at around 1650 meters above sea level.
The name Lake Holon comes from the B'laan word "Hulun," meaning "Lake." It used to be called Lake Mainit because it was once a very acidic lake that is now more alkaline due to carbonate deposits left by evaporating water over rock surfaces.
Address: T'Boli, South Cotabato
How to get to Holon Lake: To get to Lake Holon, you must ride a motorcycle for about an hour from the T'boli Tourism Office to the jump-off point. As soon as you get to the jump-off point, you must attend a group orientation led by a well-dressed and gorgeous Tboli girl dressed in a T'boli costume.
Fort Santiago is a bastion of Filipino history built by the Spanish colonial administration in the 16th century. Fort Santiago is located at the mouth of Pasig River, now an inlet to Manila Bay. It served as a defense fortress against various invaders and prisons for political detainees during Spanish and American periods in Philippine history. It also served as headquarters for United States Army Forces across the Far East (USAFFE) and General Douglas MacArthur's headquarters.
Address: Intramuros, Manila
How to get to Fort Santiago: Intramuros is relatively easy to get to, thanks to the numerous transit choices. To reach there, use the LRT-1 (light-rail transport) or a jeepney going in. If you use the LRT-1, get out at Central Terminal Station and walk five minutes to Manila City Hall.
Corregidor Island is an island in the mouth of Manila Bay that served as a central US military installation during World War II. The battle of Corregidor was one of the final engagements in 1942, and it ended when General Wainwright surrendered to Japanese forces.
Today, Corregidor is also known for its ecosystem and endemic wildlife.
Address: Cavite City
How to get to Corregidor Island: The easiest way to access the island is through a ferry terminal in Manila, the Esplanade Seaside Terminal. You could use a Grab App, or you could hail a taxi and tell them to drop you off at the terminal in the Mall of Asia.
The Mayon Volcano is located in the Philippines. It's the most active volcano in the country and is considered a sacred site by locals. Mayon Volcano is also known as the world's most perfect volcanic cone because of its symmetry.
Address: Albay, Bicol
How to get to Mayon Volcano: When traveling to Legazpi, Albay, or Bicol, the primary point of departure is Metro Manila in Luzon. Legazpi is also accessible from Cebu and Leyte in the Visayas. Some of your choices for getting there could be by air travel of about 45 minutes. Next is by land, the journey by bus lasts for 9 hours, and last is by ferry for a 12-15 hour trip.
The Philippines is one of the most diverse regions in Asia. It is endowed with a wealth of natural beauty and resources. It has breathtaking destinations, such as gorgeous beaches, romantic islands, and majestic mountains.
But some places stand out because they do not just serve as destinations but landmarks in our Filipino history. Simple yet powerful reminders that we were once a country run by few people who reigned over vast stretches of land for centuries and these places must be preserved, protected, and appreciated.