6 underrated, stunning Visayas destinations

UNDERRATED DESTINATIONS. Kayaking at Bakhawan Eco-Park is one of the activities you can do in Kalibo, Aklan. Photo by Alexis Lim courtesy of AirAsia

UNDERRATED DESTINATIONS. Kayaking at Bakhawan Eco-Park is one of the activities you can do in Kalibo, Aklan.

Photo by Alexis Lim courtesy of AirAsia

 

Visayas is home to many popular and beautiful travel destinations, with Boracay being the most well-known. But while these destinations may be understandably on travelers’ bucket lists, Visayas has many more places worth exploring, though lesser-known.

Below are some of these places you might consider for your next trip.

Cave pools and beaches of Anda, Bohol 

DARK AND DEEP. Cabagnow, or Kabagno, is known as the deepest and most beautiful cave pool in Anda. Photo by Nella Lomoton, courtesy of AirAsia

DARK AND DEEP. Cabagnow, or Kabagno, is known as the deepest and most beautiful cave pool in Anda.

Photo by Nella Lomoton, courtesy of AirAsia

Bohol is most known for its iconic Chocolate Hills. And, in terms of beaches, Panglao comes top of mind among tourists.  

For those who want to see more beyond the usual itinerary, head to Anda, which is east of Tagbilaran, the province’s capital. Anda is a laidback town with beautiful cave pools and beaches. Its caves have shallow and easily walkable waters, as well as deep, dark waters with beautiful blues. Combento is one such shallow cave pool, while Cabagnow, or Kabagno, is Anda’s deepest cave pool and is a sharp drop from the mouth of the cave that you would need a rope or ladder to get back up.  The challenge is worth it as it is arguably Anda’s most beautiful cave pool.         

CAVE POOL. Combento Cave has clear shallow waters you can easily wade through. Photo by Ros Flores

CAVE POOL. Combento Cave has clear shallow waters you can easily wade through.

Photo by Ros Flores

Anda has beautiful white beaches too. Quinale Beach, which is at the heart of the town and just a stone’s throw away from the municipal hall, has powdery fine white sand rivaling that of Boracay’s and Panglao’s. And, it is far quieter than any of the two. Quinale is perfect for long barefoot walks. 

PRISTINE AND POWDERY. Quinale Beach in Anda has fine white sand comparable to Boracay's and Panglao'u0080u0099s. Photo by Ros Flores

PRISTINE AND POWDERY. Quinale Beach in Anda has fine white sand comparable to Boracay's and Panglao'u0080u0099s.

Photo by Ros Flores

How to get there: From Tagbilaran Airport, take a tricycle or multicab to the Integrated Bus Terminal. Ride a bus or van to Anda. Travel time is around 2-3 hours. From Anda town proper, you can easily take a tricycle or motorbike to the different attractions.

Abatan River, Bohol

RIVER CRUISE. Day or night, Abatan is a beautiful river to cruise in. Photo by Patrick Martin, courtesy of AirAsia

RIVER CRUISE. Day or night, Abatan is a beautiful river to cruise in.

Photo by Patrick Martin, courtesy of AirAsia

Loboc River is the most popular for river cruises in Bohol, but there are others which are also beautiful and worth visiting, like Abatan, one of Bohol’s main rivers flowing through different municipalities. During daytime, take in the greenness of nipas and mangroves amid calm waters. Meanwhile, the nighttime cruise, which Abatan River is more known for, promises the twinkling natural lights of fireflies in mangroves along the river.

Take the river cruise by kayak or paddle boat to help keep mangroves and nipas strong and standing; motorized boats can lead to soil erosion. You can walk in at Abatan River Visitors Center or pre-book your river cruise with your accommodation. (READ: Peaceful adventure: Stand-up paddleboarding in Bohol

How to get there: From Tagbilaran Airport, ride a tricycle to Cogon Terminal. From there, ride a jeep to Maribojoc and ask to be dropped off at Abatan River Visitors Center. Travel time is around 20 minutes or so.

Bakhawan Eco-Park, Kalibo, Aklan 

FOREST TRAIL. Bakhawan Eco-Park'u0080u0099s wooden bridge lets you walk through the forest and pass through a river, as seen farther ahead. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

FOREST TRAIL. Bakhawan Eco-Park'u0080u0099s wooden bridge lets you walk through the forest and pass through a river, as seen farther ahead.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

At Aklan’s capital lies this 220-hectare mangrove forest almost like a secret among the town’s concrete structures and bustling energy. And it is just around  20 minutes away from Kalibo Airport. 

There is a one-kilometer wooden bridge which you will walk on as you go deeper into the mangrove  forest, pass by a river, and end your walk on a lagoon opening up to the sea. 

If you are coming from Boracay and flying out of Kalibo, Bakhawan Eco-Park is perfect for a stopover. For those who want to experience all of what the park has to offer, though, a half- or even a whole-day visit is recommended, as the park offers activities like kayaking, bamboo rafting across the lagoon, tamilok (woodworm) extraction, trekking on another trail, and more. 

KAYAK. Between some mangroves are creeks like this perfect for kayaking. Photo by Alexis Lim courtesy of AirAsia

KAYAK. Between some mangroves are creeks like this perfect for kayaking.

Photo by Alexis Lim courtesy of AirAsia

Panay Wind Farm, Nabas, Aklan

SUNSET. The windmills make a beautiful silhouette in the sky during sunset or dusk. Photo by Evy Yap

SUNSET. The windmills make a beautiful silhouette in the sky during sunset or dusk.

Photo by Evy Yap

While Bangui in Ilocos Norte is the most well-known for windmills, there are other places in the Philippines with beautiful windmills on natural landscapes. Panay Wind Farm in Nabas, Aklan, has windmills 76 meters tall along winding roads on green hills, and with the bright blue sea as a picturesque backdrop. 

WIND POWER. These towering windmills do not just bring renewable energy but also awe and wonder among tourists and locals. Photo by Evy Yap

WIND POWER. These towering windmills do not just bring renewable energy but also awe and wonder among tourists and locals.

Photo by Evy Yap

And while you are already there in Nabas, visit Hurom-Hurom, the most popular and said to be the most beautiful among its natural springs. The water here flows down from the mountains. A 20-minute walk or  short motorbike ride from Hurom-Hurom, meanwhile, will take you to Sakaan Falls.   

NATURAL SPRING. Among Nabas'su0080u0099 springs, Hurom-Hurom Cold Spring is the most well-known and said to be the most beautiful. Photo by Evy Yap

NATURAL SPRING. Among Nabas'su0080u0099 springs, Hurom-Hurom Cold Spring is the most well-known and said to be the most beautiful.

Photo by Evy Yap

REFRESHING. Sakaan Falls near Hurom-Hurom also make for a refreshing dip. Photo by Evy Yap

REFRESHING. Sakaan Falls near Hurom-Hurom also make for a refreshing dip.

Photo by Evy Yap

How to get there: From Kalibo, ride a van, bus, or jeep bound for Caticlan. Or from Caticlan, ride a van, bus, or jeep bound for Kalibo. Ask to be dropped off at Barangay Unidos, Nabas. From here, hire a motorcycle to take you to the windmills. Travel time takes around one hour from Kalibo and less from Caticlan. To get to Hurom-Hurom Spring from the windmills, go back to the main road and ride a van, bus, or jeep bound for Kalibo. Ask to be dropped off at Barangay Toledo, then take a tricycle or motorbike to Hurom-Hurom. Sakaan Falls is around a 20-minute walk or a short motorbike ride and a 5-minute walk from Hurom-Hurom.

Canigao Island, Matalom, Leyte

PRISTINE ISLET. Canigao is a small island rich in greenery and fringed with white sand, and in some parts, flat gray rocks. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

PRISTINE ISLET. Canigao is a small island rich in greenery and fringed with white sand, and in some parts, flat gray rocks.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Leyte’s Kalanggaman Island has lately become popular, often-visited and shared in social media. But Leyte has many more beautiful and pristine white beaches, like Canigao Island. 

Canigao Island is actually an islet which can be explored in an hour or less. Its shore is parts white sand, parts gray rocks. The island is thick with the greenery of palm trees and shrubs, perfect for shade especially when you are camping overnight.   

BLUES AND WHITES. On a sunny day, Canigao's clear waters reflect the skyu00e2u0080u0099s blue, and its white sand shines bright. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

BLUES AND WHITES. On a sunny day, Canigao's clear waters reflect the skyu00e2u0080u0099s blue, and its white sand shines bright.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

How to get there: From Tacloban New Transport Terminal, ride a van bound for Maasin and ask to be dropped off at Matalom Municipal Hall. Travel time is around 3 hours. Ride a passenger boat to Canigao, which takes around 15 minutes.

Lobo Cave, Jiabong, and other caves of Samar 

CAVE CRYSTALS. Lobo Cave in Jiabong, aside from being friendly for spelunking beginners, is beautiful, with crystal formations like these. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

CAVE CRYSTALS. Lobo Cave in Jiabong, aside from being friendly for spelunking beginners, is beautiful, with crystal formations like these.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

With the most number of caves in the country, among them the largest, Samar is easily the caving capital of the Philippines. While Calbiga, the Philippines’ largest cave, may be a challenge to spelunking beginners, Lobo Cave, which has beautiful crystalline formations, is quite manageable. And Jiabong, where Lobo Cave is in, is just next to Samar’s capital Catbalogan. It also has sweet and juicy pineapples comparable to Bukidnon’s sweetest.  (READ: Pineapples, caves, and angel wings) 

SWEET PINEAPPLES. Jiabong also has sweet, juicy pineapples, arguably one of the country'u0080u0099s best. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

SWEET PINEAPPLES. Jiabong also has sweet, juicy pineapples, arguably one of the country'u0080u0099s best.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

How to get there: From Tacloban town proper or its van and bus terminal, ride a van to Catbalogan. Travel time is around three hours. You will be needing a guide for your cave trip. You can ask the local tourism office for assistance or book a tour with Trexplore, the well-known outdoor adventure agency in the area. Both the tourism office and Trexplore are accessible by tricycle once you arrive in Catbalogan.

CAVE FALLS. Inside Lobo Cave you can also hear the rush of waterfalls. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

CAVE FALLS. Inside Lobo Cave you can also hear the rush of waterfalls.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

The above destinations are easily accessible via flight and land travel. – Rappler.com

 

Are you mesmerized by the hidden gems in the Visayas? Plan your trip to discover all its offerings and book your stay for less with a Booking.com discount code.