School’s out, days are a lot longer than they typically are, cold drinks are suddenly priced at a premium and it seems like short shorts paired with a tank top is everyone’s casual day official uniform…it can only mean one thing, the summer season is definitely here.
As the last vestiges of the colder months fade away, we begin to make room and anticipate the hotter summer months where it is said that the days are longer and the nights are shorter. Many of us (students most particularly) will be glad to welcome the summer season, but unfortunately, not all of us are a big fan of the scorching weather. This is particularly true in tropical countries such as the Philippines where at its hottest, temperatures can rise as high as 42 degrees Celsius. In this regard, it would be understandable why metropolitan cities would experience a mass exodus with most of its residents flocking off to cooler and breezier provinces which in one way or another, is a testament to just how oppressive the sweltering hot weather can be. In fact, some locals who are able to afford it would even go as far to booking plane tickets to international destinations that remain cool all year long. But for those of us who are not able to afford an international plane ticket, we need not fret as the Philippines is rife with cities and provinces with cooler temperatures even during the summer. Some of them are even just a road trip away which gives you an excellent reason to go on that much long-awaited drive to a Philippine province.
Of course, it is a well-known fact that Tagaytay, Cavite is an excellent summer destination—particularly for Manileños who are looking for some time away from the city. In fact, it might even be seen as the city dweller’s playground seeing as it is the nearest city to Metro Manila. More importantly, there is myriad of Tagaytay tourist spots that would provide for limitless activities as well as entertainment options to any traveler who might wish to make the trip there. Tagaytay is mostly associated with its breathtaking and picturesque sceneries that only a few Philippine provinces can rival. More importantly, this destination is known for its cool climate and would help you contend with the blazing summer heat with its mild temperature of 22 to 25 degrees Celsius. Don’t forget to pass by Nuvali on your route going there. Nuvali has a variety of restaurants, exploration and adventure options.
Batanes is one of those rare but idyllic Philippine destinations that rarely get social media attention. Sure enough, Batanes might not be as popular as Baguio in terms of a popular summer vacation spot, and when it comes to altitude, Itbayat is not as high and impressive as the other summer destinations included in the list. But the climate is cool anyhow, and it is enough to make you comfortable throughout your summer adventure. Being the country’s northernmost town (and the furthest one from the equator), it is understandable why this province has a cooler climate than Metro Manila or any other place in the Philippines. While the cooler climate is certainly part of Itbayat’s all over rapport, the stunning landscapes reminiscent of Scotland is definitely one of the main reasons why tourists would visit this province.
Cebu is mostly known for its pristine and white sand beaches and is hardly associated with cool climates. In fact, you can ask any resident of Cebu what the weather is like during the summer, and they would tell you that it is the perfect time to visit the beaches. However, if you are sick of the salty sea air and are looking for something a little different and preferably cooler, you need not to go far. If you are from Cebu and are looking for the perfect place to cool off and chill out, there is no need to book tickets out of town. Balamban is a high-altitude town in Cebu that is rife with picturesque mountain ranges. In fact, it has become somewhat of a favorite long-weekend and summer getaway among Cebuanos. As a result, the scenic town has then opened a slew of mountainside resorts. Tourist spots include Adventure café and Mount Manunggal.
Dubbed as the summer capital of Negros Island, Canlaon is a beautiful and cool summer destination that definitely deserves your visit. Residents from neighboring Dumaguete and Bacolod would often flock to this province just to experience its chilly microclimate. The province is clandestinely perched 795 meters above sea level at Canlaon Volcano’s foot. While the province is expected to be chilly, locals and visitors can adequately warm themselves up with the hot springs that pepper the area. More importantly, it is home to a myriad of waterfalls which would offer a refreshing break from your city life.
Sagada is one of the more popular Philippine summer destinations and with good reason. Apart from the cool climate, this eerie destination is home to the unconventional but fascinating hanging coffins—an attraction almost every traveler would want to see while up there. Located over 5000 feet above sea level with temperatures as low as 10 degrees Celsius, Sagada is a summer retreat of all sorts that offer a bevy of attractions and activities to tourists. Apart from getting to see the hanging coffins, Sagada promises an adrenaline rush in the form of exciting outdoor escapades such as trekking, spelunking, and trekking. The province itself has a wealth of natural attractions that tourists can marvel at such as the formations in Sumaguin and Lumiang caves, the rice terraces as well as the Bomod-ok Falls. Indeed, heading to Sagada is like being transported into an entirely new world.
Lake Sebu is one of the more eco-friendly destinations in the Philippines. Located in South Cotabato, Lake Sebu certainly has a wealth of Instagram and postcard-worthy sights and milieus that would make excellent backdrops for your photographs. Some of the natural wonders you can see are verdant landscapes, curtain-like majestic waterfalls, and beautiful springs. This breathtaking town has temperatures that would rarely reach 25 degrees Celsius which means it is an excellent escape from the heat of the city. Individuals hankering for an adventure would find that Lake Sebu offers a myriad of it from zip line rides, treks to canoeing.
Another town located in the Queen City of the South that boasts of cooler temperature is Mantalongon. Located a thousand meters above sea level and complemented with the cool mountain climate, this town easily became a favorite summer destination among Cebuanos. Apart from the cool climate, the place is rife with pine trees and verdant plants making the overall scene an abundance of greenery. The quaint town is also known to attract mountain climbers who wish to conquer the highest point in Cebu, Osmeña Peak.
Located in Mindanao, Malaybay is often regarded as the culinary epicenter of the southern portion of the Philippines. Malaybalay has a subtle rural allure that promises to charm you while there with its incredibly cool climate, laidback vibe and picturesque vistas of the surrounding mountain ranges. It is deemed as one of the country’s best-hidden gems as not many travelers have discovered its wonder yet apart from trekkers and hikers looking for a little adventure.
The famed city where President Duterte hails from might be highly urbanized. However, you will be surprised that Davao is a refreshing change to the typical smoke and steel usually associated with big cities. Davao City is not as big and populous as other major metropolitans in the Philippines. It is filled with green, verdant landscapes as well as lofty mountains which can be quite the breath of fresh air you might be looking for. In fact, of all the cities in the Philippines, Davao boasts of a unique and eco-friendly feel as opposed to the concrete jungles and towering skyscrapers that are rather prevalent in major cities. Designated as the Durian Capital of the Philippines, Davao is one of the three cities in Mindanao that share the 29, 000 meter Mount Apo which also happens to be the highest mountain in the archipelago.
Banaue is typically known for the UNESCO World Heritage site, Banaue Rice Terraces. This majestic panoramic view is often the reason why travelers would flock to the town. Banaue is also known to have cool mountain air and serves as a home to clandestine water spots. If you are brave enough, take a dip in one of these. They might be freezing, but they certainly feel refreshing.
Known as the summer capital of the Philippines, no list of Philippine summer destinations is complete without including Baguio. The city of Baguio often sees an influx of tourists at any time of the year, but they experience the highest number of travelers during the summer season. Baguio is a cool and mountainous sanctuary to those seeking refuge from the heat and perpetual bustle of the country’s busy metropolitans and buzzing urban jungles. The weather remains cool all throughout the year, and it boasts of an incredibly laidback vibe. Travelers are not left wanting for activities as well seeing as there is a myriad of attractions to see—from the strawberry fields, Camp John Hay, Session Road to Baguio Eco Park.
Residents of Bacolod City need not fret when it comes to escaping the city summer heat as Don Salvador Benedicto is only a couple of hours drive away from the city. This hilly municipality is often regarded as the “Little Baguio” of Negros Occidental. In fact, some would even go as far as dubbing it the summer capital of Negros Island giving Canlaon City a run for its money. Situated more than 2000 feet above sea level, Don Salvador Benedicto boasts of chilly temperature that seldom goes higher than 16 degrees Celsius. Much like Baguio City, DSB has its very own scenic roads peppered with fragrant pines that are reminiscent of the Philippine summer capital insomuch that you might just think you really are in Baguio City.
Being the designated driver means being responsible for everyone’s safety while inside the vehicle. In this regard, you will need adequate sleep the most among everyone boarded inside the car. Others can catch up on Z’s while you are driving on the road, but you need to be energized enough for the whole leg of your trip. Typically, you need seven hours of sleep for at least three consecutive nights before your scheduled road trip to build up your energy reserves. While we are at that, it is best to avoid driving between 1-3 PM as this is when the body temperature is lower making you susceptible to drowsiness.
This should go without saying, but you should do a routine check-up for your road trip vehicle before you leave for a long road trip. Ideally, you should ask your mechanic to check your car’s brakes, fluid levels, tires and anything that might potentially cause problems a week prior to your scheduled road trip. Needless to say, you should gas up before you leave and have a spare tire with you as you will never know what might happen while you are on the road.
Being the designated driver of a road trip is no easy feat. In this regard, it is best to get out and stretch your legs every couple of hours or so. This is a crucial tip as it helps you keep alert and mitigates the likelihood of your legs cramping while you are driving. With this in mind, plan your stops ahead. Apart from giving you enough time to stretch out, it can also be a welcome avenue to view interesting places along your route.
Being the designated driver does not mean that everything has to fall in your hands and that you are solely responsible for getting to and from your destination. Divide the labor and designate a person to navigate while another passenger can be in charge of the snacks. Know who does what well and what matters to your traveling companions so that you can divide tasks in a manner that is efficient and satisfies everyone.
Regardless of how much sleep we had, there are inevitable times wherein we cannot help but succumb to lethargy—especially when we are driving on a full stomach. In this regard, it is best always to have a backup driver as this ensures that you can still get to your destination on time and safely at that. More importantly, giving one of your passengers the responsibility of the wheel allows you time to rest as well. With this in mind, try to drive with a bunch of passengers who know how to drive just in case you might need to rest and would need backup.
Going on a road trip is kind of freeing insomuch that it would initially feel like you are breaking away from something. This is particularly true for individuals who are constrained to a daily work routine. Going on a road trip is an avenue to let go and an opportunity to escape whatever it is that might be stressing you in life. It literally allows you to take a breath of fresh air as it takes you away from the city air saturated with pollutants. More importantly, it tends to make you appreciate life and actually live it as it gives you a few days or so of total liberty wherein you are not consumed by deadlines and hours. In this regard, you might even have a better relationship with time after your trip.
Without a doubt, going on a road trip allows you to see more of your country and discover hidden gems you might not have seen before until you drove past them. This road to discovery and exploration gives you a renewed sense of appreciation for the country you live in and makes you realize it might not be as bad as you think it is. Having a daily work routine has the propensity to give us a rather jaded perspective of the world and gives us, and as a result, we tend to have skewed outlooks which can be incredibly detrimental to our productivity. Going on a road trip makes you see natural wonders and beauties you can marvel at insomuch that you would not even pause to think of the problems in your life. In short, bringing yourself out of the perpetual grind injects a bit of positivity in your life.
Going on a road will inevitably lead to social interactions with the locals. At some point, you would either ask for directions or restaurant recommendations from them leading to unexpected connections. As a result, these very people will bring a brand new sense of flavor into our lives and allows us a brief break from the usual. Apart from the locals, you also get the opportunity to meet other travelers like yourself. They might be from your country or from other destinations and through them, you get to learn about new cultures and new ways of doing things as well—two things essential to personal growth and understanding. These new friends would leave their mark on you as you would on them and can potentially be your buddy for life.
Regardless of where you are going and how you are going to get there, one thing is for certain: you will make some of the most unforgettable memories, and you will make a whole myriad of them. It does not matter what your itinerary is like—whether that may be something as loud and raucous as having night after night party or something a little relaxing such as lounging by the beach, there is no doubt that you will remember this for the rest of your life. By the time your trip is over, reminiscing about the old days wherein you were once spontaneous will make the mundane things in life a bit more bearable. More importantly, it might even inspire your next road trip.
Traveling gives you a renewed sense of appreciation for the life you have and the world you are living in. You see new places, make memories, meet new people and have that well-deserved break from work but above all, it makes life worth living. Just getting to see the sunrise and sunset is a gift that we often overlook but in road trips and travels, we appreciate them. We would then stop to peruse the beautiful works of nature that leave us breathless, and as a result, we would value our time here on earth and see the world with fresh eyes and new perspectives.
Road trips, no matter where taken, will be committed to memory and would always be fond times to look back to. If you are looking to build your memory bank or are perhaps planning for an epic summer getaway sans the sweat and sun, try including any of the places mentioned above. Wherever you might choose to go to escape the summer heat, you are guaranteed to have a good time. So take a break and stay away from the sun for a while. After all, living in the Philippines and vacationing on a summer season does not have to be synonymous with beach outings when there is a myriad of cool and chilly provinces to visit.