The tourism industry slowly opened its doors to travelers this year, but the recent spike in cases, along with the threat of COVID-19 variants, has many rethinking their vacation plans. The Department of Health (DOH) also recommends a flexible booking.
“We have a lot to look at in the next few weeks. Sana po lahat kayo mas more tentative. Let’s be flexible,” says Dr. Beverly Ho, DOH Director for Health and Communication Service, in an interview with SmartParenting.com.ph and other Summit Media editors called Sandwich Sessions.
Underrated destinations in the Philippines
While we wait for the day when families can safely travel again, Tourism SecretaryBernadette “Berna” Romulo-Puyat has some recommendations for your travel bucket lists. There’s no harm in planning ahead, so go ahead and check out these underrated destinations in the country!
It may be a six-hour drive from Manila, but Secretary Berna says going to Isabela is worth it. She cannot help but gush about Isabela’s beautiful churches and “really good” food.
“For me, the best kutsinta is there. They have the Pancit Cabagan, they have organic lechon,” she tells Smart Parenting in another Sandwich Session. “It’s underrated but it’s actually really, really, beautiful.”
If you’re a fan of Philippine history, head to Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte and visit the Rizal Park and Shrine.
“When you land in Dapitan, [the museum] is 45 minutes away,”. You can see the love letters of Josephine Bracken to Jose Rizal, you can see where they lived… you can see the life of Rizal in Dapitan,” says the secretary.
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If you fancy a quick road trip, the Tourism secretary suggests visiting scenic spots in Rizal. Her must-visit sites include the Pinto Museum in Antipolo and Masungi Georeserve in Baras.
4. San Pablo, Laguna
Another weekend destination is San Pablo, Laguna, which is a must-visit for foodies. Secretary Berna suggests staying at Casa San Pablo, a quaint bed and breakfast with a rustic appeal.
There is also the Patis Tesoro Garden Café, owned by designer Beatriz “Patis” Tesoro. “Beautiful home, masarap ang dishes,” shares the secretary.
Beach-loving tourists favor Boracay and Palawan as their top destinations, but Secretary Berna also recommends Siquijor for travelers. She says a recent visit to the province really amazed her.
“Siquijor is beautiful. It has everything — if you’re a diver, if you’re into healing, it’s there. I can imagine that’s what Boracay and other [popular] tourist destinations [were like] before. It’s now my new favorite spot,” she shares.
Watch the video below to learn more and see Secretary Berna’s must-visit Philippine destinations!
Is it possible to have a COVID-free vacation? Click here for important safety tips from the Department of Tourism.