5 Off the Beaten Track Islands in the Philippines

4th April 2023

The Philippines boasts some of the most amazing sights and sounds. There are pristine white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and stunning mountains and caves to enjoy. In short, Philippines has it all, and it is only here where you get to meet amazing people from many different cultures and are able to do many incredible things.

However, planning a Philippines vacation requires some thinking, especially if you are looking for an off the tourist trail experience. It is indeed an awesome and unforgettable experience to explore these off the beaten path destinations.

Here are some hidden Philippine Island gems that are waiting for you to explore.

Siquijor Because of its Natural Beauty

Siquijor is slowly becoming a tourist destination, but most people are not well aware of it. Much of the island remains underdeveloped, and this is why tourists hesitate to come here. They are not aware of the unusual beauty of the island. For example, it is simply wonderful to enjoy Cambugahay Falls. The stunning island with famous waves are a surfer’s paradise. You can ride on a motorbike to explore empty beaches, rice fields, and secret caves. Visit the Sohoton Caves as well as Naked and Dau Island.

Tinglayan Because of its Heritage and Hospitality

The province of Kalinga is hidden among the Sierra Madre Mountains, and the civilization dates back to many centuries ago. Tinglayan, in the Kalinga province, was previously part of a bigger province and a trip here would remain etched in your mind for life. Located in the northern part of Luzon, it is certainly not the usual tourist destination in the Philippines. 

Nestled in the mountain ranges of Cordillera, the landscape is surrounded by lush green ranges. Don’t miss the chance to see a living legend and experience the hospitality of the world’s only Kalinga Tattoo artist. Aged 89, she is the last tattoo artist to use her ancient methods to create her body artwork. Her name is featured in Discovery Channel’s Tattoo Hunter. Just interact with the locals and try to get a grasp of their culture and way of living.

Hinatuan Enchanted River Because of its Cool and Fresh Waters

Hinatuan Enchanted River gets its name because nobody knows where its waters come from. Located in Surigao Del Sur, the river’s water is so clean and clear that one can see turquoise colored outlines on the river bed. The deeper middle portion of the river is rumored to have spirits living there.

You can enjoy swimming and relax in the fresh, clear waters. At 12 pm, it’s best to get out of the water because, at the sound of a ringing bell, several large fish come up to the surface to feed. You can also take a river cruise to the other nearby islands and enjoy grilled seafood and fish for lunch.

Sambawan Island Because of its Rich Marine Life

Sambawan Island is another one of the Philippines’ hidden gems. Sambawan is a string of small, rocky islands and is surrounded by cerulean and turquoise waters. You can gaze at the millions of coral pieces along the beach. There is an abundance of colorful coral gardens and rich marine life on the other side of the island, which is characterized by volcanic outcrops and sheltered from the winds. The mountainous coastline offers the chance to see spectacular sunrises. 

Cuyo because of its well-preserved heritage

Cuyo dates back to the Spanish and American Era and is a part of Palawan. Cuyo is the oldest town in Palawan and is well preserved now for more than 350 years.  You can explore some well-preserved old houses and see an enormous fortress church. The Hispanic Plaza-Iglesia structures are well preserved.

Visit the Cuyo Fort that was built in 1683 by the Recollects as well as Cuyo’s 1860 church built by the Spanish and finished in 1680. The fort protected the inhabitant from the More slave raids during the 17th and 18th century. The lighthouse by the pier is the first visible landmark of the Cuyo Islands.