As the world waits for international travel borders to reopen, the Philippines is preparing a warm welcome for tourists. The Philippines Department of Tourism has been continuously developing its destinations for local and international travellers. This September, it launched its ‘More Fun Awaits’ campaign with new tourism products and packages to try, each offering their own unique experiences.
The Philippines will be ready for the world when it reopens with new attractions and more. Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says, “Our preparations for travellers include newly-developed circuits with new exciting activities, destinations, and tourist attractions that have been developed in our regions. Our tourism workers are also being trained in enhanced health and hygiene protocols and tourism establishments have also implemented safeguards in their premises to protect their guests and employees.” As of the first week of September, 51 percent of tourism workers in the country have been vaccinated. In the nation’s bustling capital of Metro Manila, 99% of tourism workers in DOT-accredited hotels and accommodation establishments, as well as 94% of tourism workers in accredited restaurants have had their anti-COVID jabs.
A new world-class airport awaits
The new terminal of the Clark International Airport has also been recently inaugurated in Pampanga. This marvel of modern Filipino architecture, which is inspired by the slopes of Mt. Arayat and the Filipino Christmas lantern, will offer fast, safe, and efficient air travel services such as contactless self-check-in and bag drop, advanced docking guidance system, and even contactless ordering for pre-flight dining. As the “gateway to the North”, it will help boost tourism recovery by expanding connectivity to various local destinations.
The DOT has been awarded a SafeTravels Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in recognition of its adoption of “health and hygiene global standardized protocols” that will ensure safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. SafeTravels is the stamp of approval given by the international organization to certify compliance with its global health standards to allow for safe travels.
Eligible companies such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, tour operators, attractions, transportation and airports will use the stamp as a guarantee that they conform to health and safety protocols required by the WTTC, an international organization representing leaders of the global travel and tourism industry.
As such, the Department has also intensified the accreditation of establishments, continuing thorough inspection and assessment, to ensure that only those accredited with the Department of Tourism, are allowed to open and receive guests if they adhere to health, safety and hygiene global standardized protocols.
The Philippine government through its Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is constantly updating its protocols to safeguard Filipinos and foreign nationals who are traveling to the Philippines.
Fun and Exciting Adventures lie ahead
While international travel to the Philippines is still restricted, domestic travel has resumed since the second half of last year. With wide open spaces available for myriads of adventures and intensive training for members of the hospitality industry, the Philippines is geared towards offering a safe and fun experience for travellers. Tourists can enjoy a variety of escapades from the North to the South, now more accessible with new and improved infrastructures, such as regional airports and roadways linking the beautiful islands and their unique experiences.
The Philippines has a variety of destinations that offer a distinct set of activities and tourism circuits that travellers can choose to experience and enjoy. The beautiful beaches lead to an underwater paradise, teeming with colors from a diverse marine life. On land, the mountain ranges beckon to explorers with lush forests and trails that lead to breathtaking waterfalls and rapids. All of these can be experienced with a hearty serving of local cuisines from hosts, home cooks, and chefs, who will be the first to ask the quintessential Filipino greeting, “Have you eaten?”
Get ready to fill that travel bucket list with these destinations that await your next visit to the tropical paradise:
Get an adrenaline rush: Central Visayas is perfect for adventures, with its beautiful combination of mountains and beaches. Here, one can trek the trails at the Osmena Peak and be rewarded by a breathtaking vista, along with a refreshing dip at the Kawasan Falls. The world-famous Chocolate Hills can be seen via a viewdeck in Carmen, Bohol, or through a “surf zipline” at the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park that offers an aerial view of the hills from 230 feet high.
Tourism can also be done on two wheels, with the MoTOURismo Pilgrimage Caravan, developed to encourage motorbike enthusiasts to explore the open roads of the region, with a scenic route that traverses Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela and Cagayan and ending in the picturesque Pagudpud Aquaduct, Ilocos Norte. In Davao, one can even bike while suspended in mid-air or try the sky swing at the Eden Nature Park and Mountain Resort.
Bask in the beaches: Head to the beaches of the Calaguas group of islands in Camarines Norte, with their powdery white sands, crystal-clear waters, and unspoiled natural resources. These pristine surroundings frame unforgettable sunsets and serene nights under the stars.
For more island-hopping adventures, this region also boasts of the Mercedes Group of Islands, with turquoise waters and a tranquillity that is far removed from the buzz of the city. The Caramoan Island is the region’s crowning glory, as it boasts of a 4,000- hectare limestone forest endowed with a rich diversity of flora and fauna aside from its perfect white sand beaches, serene lakes, deep caves, coves and rich marine life that make it a perfect diving spot for enthusiasts.
Boracay, one of the best beaches in the world, is also ready to open once again. Its beaches have undergone rehabilitation to preserve its natural beauty that includes powdery white sand and clear blue waters.
Palawan, known as nature’s Last Ecological Frontier, offers coves and caves. For those who want to take a deep dive into underwater adventures, there’s Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and sanctuary for more than 600 species of fish, as well as several species of sharks, whales, and dolphins; and Coron Bay which is the site for many shipwrecks from World War 2. There are so many beaches to choose from, with island hopping adventures from dreamy El Nido to picturesque Coron along with an exciting boat trip on the Puerto Princesa Undergroud River, which has been voted as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature.
For more water fun, tourists can visit Surigao del Sur, which sparkles with its attractions such as the multi-tiered Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City, to the Hinatuan Enchanted River Underwater Cave Systems. Siargao Island is also famous for its idyllic island life and its barrel waves that attract surfers from around the world.
The Province of Batangas is also a haven for beach enthusiasts, with the blue waters of Nasugbu, Calatagan, and San Juan towns only a short drive away from Manila.
Take a food trip: The Philippines is home to diverse cuisines that have been passed down through the generations of home cooks who use the ingredients that are harvested in their area. There are restaurants that serve local food to gourmands, as the F&B industry of the country continues to develop world-class cuisine using local products.
As the country is surrounded by water, seafood is always fresh, and because of the countryside farms, there is an abundance of tropical fruits all year round. Eco and agri tours are available, to bring travellers to the root of food production, from mangroves and fishing communities on the islands to farms that grow local produce that is suited to the climate.
Visitors need not travel far to sample the Philippines on a plate. Manila offers cosmopolitan culinary delights, with many of the regional dishes well-represented by local chefs in the many restaurant choices that are available. Foodies looking to experience authentic Filipino farm-to-table cuisine can look forward to the culinary experiences in Bohol, which include a visit to a bee farm, strawberry garden, mushroom house and floating lunch buffet on a Loboc River boat ride where guests are encouraged to eat with their hands, Filipino-style.
Get close to nature: Ecological wonders abound, with flora and fauna endemic to the Philippines on full display at sites such as the Turtle Project in La Union, the Barubaybay Mangrove Eco and Marine Conservation in Northern Samar, and Bird Watching tours in Ilocos Norte. With its cool mountain climate, Baguio beckons visitors to explore its walkable public parks or go strawberry-picking at nearby La Trinidad. Immerse in history and culture: The Philippines is a country with a rich history and tradition. And there are tourist destinations that can bring travellers closer to these traditions. Cebu City, which is the oldest city in the country, has several relics linking it to its storied heritage, including the 500-year-old figure of the Sto. Nino de Cebu, which was presented as a gift by the first Spanish explorers led by Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan to the local chief’s wife upon her baptism.
Up North, Baguio offers a glimpse of the indigenous life in the mountainous Cordilleras, at tourist sites such as the Tam-Awan Village, with its cultural performances highlighting the region’s rich traditions and beliefs.
There are many trails to trek, with paths that lead visitors to breathtaking vistas. The UNESCO-inscribed Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao and Sagada eco-tourism sites offer interactions with the locals who give a glimpse of their daily lives that are still based on centuries-old traditions. The peaks of Mount Pulag and Mount Ulap in the Northern area of Luzon offers camping sites for visitors to experience the sunrise amongst a sea of clouds.
Vigan is another charming city to visit, with its heritage houses on cobble-stoned streets that can be toured via a horse-drawn cart. Here, tourists can find traditional handicrafts such as woven blankets, carvings and pottery to take home as souvenirs.
For a sweet route, there’s a sugar trail that runs through Negros, Iloilo, Capiz, and Antique. This region in Western Visayas holds many historic sites that exhibit influences from the Spanish era such as its old churches, heirloom dishes, and heritage houses that bring travellers back in time.
Ready for the world
As the country waits for international borders to reopen for travel, find out how the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) has been gearing up its initiatives and preparations through the #MoreFunAwaits campaign.
There is really more to discover in the Philippines, with world-class destinations that are thrilled to welcome tourists once international travel resumes. Browse the choices of activities and receive the latest updates and travel advisories about the Philippines by visiting http://www.morefunawaits.com/ or by downloading the Travel Philippines app at the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.