When in the Philippines: Try these uniquely Filipino activities

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  • Off the Beaten Path: 8 Unique Nature and Culture Trips to Try in the Philippines
  • Try these 8 Unique Activities on Your Next Visit to the Philippines

As the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) prepares to welcome visitors once more, it is constantly developing new activities for travellers to experience and enjoy while making sure that all international safety protocols are met at the different destinations.

These initiatives include promoting new attractions in the different regions. The department recently held its first hybrid edition of its Regional Travel Fair in the Eastern Visayas Region, linking stakeholders through a tourism webinar, a one-day business-to-business (B2B) session and business-to-consumer (B2C) live selling. More than 1,500 registrants were able to participate through a virtual business venue and onsite activities at Summit Hotel Tacloban.

“It is indeed more fun in the Philippines, with various activities being readied by the DOT to offer a new and unique experience for international tourists. At the same time, the Philippine government is also readying its welcome for travellers with infrastructure development such as the improvement of our domestic and international airports and new roadways that will offer faster access to our regional destinations,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

With more than 7,000 islands offering a unique experience to visitors, the Philippines is a destination unlike any other. Whether it’s relaxing in the beaches or the mountains, enjoying the vibrant urban life, or an immersion into indigenous culture, there are one-of-a-kind experiences that await in the Philippines for different types of travellers. Here are eight of the uniquely Filipino activities and experiences that one can try from different parts of the country:

Cycling around Intramuros on a Bamboo Bike

Cycling is an eco-friendly option to traveland, in the Philippines, it takes on an even more sustainable route with bamboo bikes. Bambike Ecotours offers a chance to explore the historic walled city of Intramuros in a different way. The handmade bamboo bikes come in many options for a safe and comfortable ride with Bambassadors acting as guides on Old Manila’s unique charms.

Bamboo Bike Tour in Intramuros (c_o Bien Bautista)
Bamboo Bike Tour in Intramuros (c_o Walter Eric Sy)

Zooming through Banaue’s Winding Roads on a Wooden Bike

Up in the mountains of Banaue, tourists can try out the Ifugao mode of transport – hand-carved wooden scooters that can reach up to speeds of 50 kilometers an hour. These bikes are a testament to the indigenous tribe’s wood carving skills and ingenuity, as they are made with scraps of wood and pieces from old rubber tires. This is an adrenaline-fueled way to enjoy a picturesque view of the centuries-old Banaue Rice Terraces, which their ancestors carved by hand on the mountainsides.

Wooden Bike in Banaue (c_o Jake Verzosa)
Wooden Bike in Banaue (c_o rweisswald)

Test Your Balance on Bamboo Stilts in Cebu

The Kadang-Kadang (Karang) or Bamboo stilts lets visitors see the Philippines from a slightly higher point of view. Tourists to Cebu can try out their skills on balance and speed by hopping on a pair of stilts and participating in a team race that runs (or wobbles) for 100 meters. While it is considered as a childhood game through generations, it has been recognized as a traditional sport under the Laro ng Lahi in 1969.  

Bamboo Stilts Race (c_o Gustianto)

Go Off-Road on a Lahar Adventure in Pampanga

The Mount Pinatubo eruption caused devastation to much of Central Luzon, but locals have found a way to utilize the lahar flow from the volcano and turn it into a destination for extreme sports enthusiasts. Travelers with a need for speed can book an off-road tour on a 4×4 or motorcycle that rides through the streams and the sandy terrain in what is one of the most unique landscapes that can be found in the Philippines.

Lahar Adventure (c_o Rommel Bundalian)_1
Lahar Adventure (c_o Rommel Bundalian)_2
Lahar Adventure (c_o posztos)

Relax in a Kawa bath at Antique

The Kawa or giant cauldron is usually used to cook fiesta fare in the Philippines, but in Antique province, it provides a rustic and relaxing experience. The mountainside resorts welcome visitors after a trek in the woods of Tibiao in Antique with a refreshing hot bath in a kawa, with water heated over a wood fire and scented with aromatic herbs and flowers. Those who want to experience another kind of therapy can visit the Tibiao Fish Spa where they can dip your feet in a pond for fish to nibble on and exfoliate.  

Kawa bath in Antique (c_o Ryan Carlo Enriquez)
Kawa bath in Antique (c_o Flord Nicson Calawag_Calawag Mountain Resort)_1
Kawa bath in Antique (c_o Flord Nicson Calawag_Calawag Mountain Resort)_2

Visit the Philippine Eagle in Davao

The Philippine Eagle is regarded as the Philippines National Bird. It is the largest of the extant eagles in the world in terms of length and wing surface, and it is now considered critically endangered. This is why it is protected in sanctuaries such as the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao. Mount Hamiguitan is a UNESCO Protected Highland Nature Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site which is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species. A rather challenging trek is rewarded by a treasure trove of biodiverse sightings including a chance to watch for the majestic Philippine Eagle in flight. Those who would rather study the biodiversity of the area indoors can visit the natural science museum that can be found on the premises. For a quick glimpse of the eagles, guests may also opt to visit Philippine Eagle Center, a private sector managed rainforest in Davao City that shelters and breeds Philippine Eagles in captivity.

Philippine Eagle (c_o Jacob Maentz)_1
Philippine Eagle (c_o Jacob Maentz)_2

Learn the Indigenous Art of Weaving in the Cordillera fabric circuit

The upland tribes of the Cordillera Region have a rich culture that is woven into their fabrics. This circuit tour brings travellers to stunning interactive and informative displays of the fabrics that are produced in the region using cotton and other natural fibers that are woven and weft into their traditional designs on looms that have been passed down through generations. Tour stops include weaving villages and museums, with opportunities to go souvenir shopping for these handmade works of art that are sewn into stunning articles of clothing or incorporated into decorative pieces for the home.    

Cordillera fabric circuit_1
Cordillera fabric circuit_2

Organic Green Tour (OGT) Circuit

This circuit traces the Philippine food roots through a combination of organic farm tours and traditional meals that use the freshly-harvested produce. The tour runs through the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) area with two farm tourism destinations, namely the Benguet Agro-Eco Farm in Sablan, and the UM-A Farm in Tuba. Among the activities are pick-and-pay and the opportunity to partake in a traditional community celebration hosted by the farmers held around a warm bonfire amid fresh mountain air.

Organic Green Tour Circuit (c_o PH DOT CAR)_2
Organic Green Tour Circuit (c_o PH DOT CAR)_3
Organic Green Tour Circuit (c_o PH DOT CAR)_1

Standardized safety measures

These activities and more await your return to the Philippine shores where the warmth of the country is matched by the local hospitality. Enrich your traveling experiences by trying these new activities and more that are constantly being developed by the Department of Tourism, which is also ensuring a safe trip by standardizing the health and hygiene protocols in all its destinations. While the world awaits reopening, Philippine tourism workers are undergoing constant training and tourism establishments implementing standardized safeguards in their premises to protect their guests and employees.

The Philippines Department of Tourism 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, conducts thorough inspection and assessment, to ensure that only those who are accredited are allowed to open and receive guests.

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. To know the latest updates and travel advisories about the Philippines visithttps://www.facebook.com/philippinetourismvietnam (for Vietnam) and https://www.philippines.travel/safetrip (for Malaysia & Singapore) or download the Travel Philippines app at the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.