Nicknamed the ‘Summer Capital of the Philippines’, Baguio was originally designed as a vacation destination for Americans in the early 20th century. Set 5,200 feet above sea level, Baguio’s climate is distinctly cooler than most other areas of the country, making it a favorite getaway spot of both tourists and locals. Dotted with pretty parks, pine trees, and heritage buildings, a town is a pleasant place for horseback riding and hiking. It’s also an excellent shopping destination, with dozens of thrift shops (called ukay-ukay) found along Session Road, as well as handcrafted goodies available at the downtown market.
Located about an hour away from Manila, Tagaytay is defined by its commanding views of Taal Volcano, the smallest volcano in the world. Taal Volcano isn’t actually located in Tagaytay, but the town’s elevation makes it the perfect spot for admiring this famous peak. It’s also possible to take a boat ride across the lake and hike up the volcano for a closer look. With its cooler temperatures and picturesque natural scenery, Tagaytay is a well-loved place for locals to escape the city and enjoy some fresh air. Horseback riding, cycling, and picnics are all popular activities here.
Sagada is a stunning town set 5,300 feet above sea level in the north-central Philippines. The town’s landscape of caves, hiking trails, sculpted rice terraces, and lush karst mountains looks particularly stunning shrouded in the mists often present at its high altitude. According to traditional local culture, the spirits of the dead like to be close to the sky, and as a result, ancient coffins can be seen interspersed along the limestone cliffs.
Encompassing 244,000 hectares, Davao City on the island of Mindanao takes in towering mountains and dramatic green landscapes, as opposed to the heaven-scraping high-rises and concrete jungles that dominate other large Philippine cities. The durian capital of the Philippines, it's one of three cities that share Mount Apo, the highest peak in the country. You can walk a tough trail all the way to the top of Apo but the hot and the restless can make faster, less grueling ascents in districts like Toril, Marilog and Calinan, whose mountain resorts offer untainted air, pine-canopied trails and invigorating falls.
With many villas for thousands of years, Vigan is truly a witness of what used to be a royal city. With a Spanish-inspired architecture, it makes the old town of Vigan more unique. There are more than 200 ancient works are preserved in Vigan. It is where the Ilocos region’s rich culture and history are crafted in ornate architecture, furniture, and detailed ornaments. For this reason, Vigan Heritage Village was considered a UNESCO Heritage Site to preserve the cultural past of the Ilocandia region.
Baclayon was the first municipality to be founded on the island of Bohol, established by the Spanish in the late 16th century. This charming town’s main attraction is Baclayon Church, which is a National Cultural Treasure as well as a National Historic Landmark. Although this historic church was severely damaged during an earthquake in 2013, its adjacent museum remains open to explore. Aside from the church, the town is home to dozens of lovely colonial Spanish homes, dating back as far as 1853. Baclayon is an ideal base for whale-and dolphin-watching excursions to nearby Pamilacan Island.