3 Worth-It DIY Tours for the Solo Backpacker
Backpacking is something that all weary travelers need to try at least once in their life. Whether it’s to soul search, to take a break from the corporate world, or to mend a broken heart, backpacking gives us an avenue to learn more about ourselves – all while having great views and new experiences along the way.
If you find that you need or want a backpacking getaway, the Philippines is the perfect place with numerous loops and destinations that you can get lost in. Where else can you get tremendous scenery, friendly people, and a budget-friendly itinerary all in the same place? But once you figured out that you want to explore and rediscover the Philippines for yourself, the question becomes where in this beautiful country do we start?
There are multiple backpacking loops that you can try in the Philippines, and here we introduce three of the most rewarding ones, perfect for both the newbie and the experienced backpacker. You can always modify these itineraries to suit your own plans, such as how many days you intend to travel or some specific tourist spots that you want to visit. Read on to kickstart your next backpacking adventure!
Trek the highlands of the Cordillera
The evergreen mountains and rice terraces of the Cordillera region up north hide many promising adventures for the solo wanderer. You can start your trip in Ifugao to catch a glimpse of the famous Banaue Rice Terraces. From here, the neighboring Mountain Province should not be missed, where you can explore the mystic caves or the hanging coffins of Sagada or relish the scenic view of the often-overlooked Maligcong Rice Terraces in Bontoc.
The chilly and romantic Baguio City in Benguet is also accessible if you need to access a city, especially a city with hidden charms all across its streets. You also have to pay a visit and show respects to the Kalinga ethnic groups in Buscalan, Kalinga and have the opportunity to get inked by the legendary Apo Whang-Od, the last mambabatok in the country.
Finally, challenge yourself by braving a long hike to Mount Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon. The climb may be physically exhausting, but the picturesque view and the sea of clouds atop the peak is something that is worth the drive.
Island hop in the middle of Visayas
If you’re done with the beautiful but overcrowded beaches of El Nido or Boracay, there are still hundreds of equally pristine sandbars all across the Visayas group of islands. Exploring these less known beaches, as well as the many other destinations of each island, should make it into your list for your next backpacking adventure.
The provinces in Central Visayas have countless untouched paradises ready to accommodate the lone traveler. Bohol is home to the beautiful white-sand beaches of Panglao Island and Virgin Island, as well as a lush jungle and the famed Chocolate Hills. Enjoy some deepsea diving and snorkeling in the biodiversity hotspots of Moalboal and Oslob in Cebu. Don’t forget to also hitch a ride to the majestic Kawasan Falls before heading to Moalboal.
View this post on Instagram
P A R A D I S I A Q U E 🌴 __ Après 5 jours sur l’île de Siquijor, on peut dire que c’est vraiment une île où il fait bon vivre. ☀️ Il n’y a rien de mieux que de se balader librement en scooter et de côtoyer les locaux toujours sympathiques et souriant. 😁👋🏻 On avait été déçu le premier jour en arrivant sur les plages de Sanlangon et Paliton qui était recommandé partout sur les blogs. Cependant, en basse-saison, ce n’est pas la même ambiance. Elles sont malheureusement mis en stand by et pas bien entretenues en attendant la prochaine saison. 😥 Mais l’île regorge de beaux endroits qui sont encore plus appréciable en basse saison, sans touristes. 🙌🏻 Il a suffit de se rendre aux plages de l’ouest, plus locales et nous étions conquis. Surtout Minalulan avec ces dégradés de bleus, ces pirogues de pêche et ces palmiers bordant la plage. Nous avons trouvé notre petit paradis 🌴 . . . . #siquijor #phillipines
Negros Island and the smaller Siquijor are surely worth your while in your backpacking adventure. The charming Paliton Beach and Baha Bar in Siquijor are perfect destinations for a lazy day of bumming in the sand after a tiring itinerary of hiking or mountaineering. You can also brush up on your history by paying a quick visit to The Ruins in Talisay, Negros Occidental and the San Isidro Labrador Parish and Convent in Siquijor, one of the oldest Baroque churches in the whole country.
Feel the adrenaline rush in a Northern Mindanao adventure
Mindanao is a haven for the backpacker that is up for some extreme adventures. If heavenly mountains are what you’re searching for, Bukidnon showcases hiking trips with some of the most rewarding sceneries up top. One of which is Mount Dulang-Dulang, the peak boasting the best view of the Kitanglad Mountain Range, and even hiding the magical Mossy Forest.
A day hike of the Panimahawa Ridge is also something to include in your travel bucket list. The Dahilayan Nature Park also offers several activities, such as ziplining (the longest in Asia!), riding a sexy 4×4, and even para jumping!
For those itching for watersports, go to Kagay in Cagayan de Oro and feel the rush with some good old-fashioned whitewater rafting. For a more relaxed backpacking vacation, Camiguin is the destination to be. Enjoy the luxuries of both a magnificent beach and a rich forest in Mantigue Island Nature Park, which trails into a dense and biodiverse forest. Go and try a peaceful retreat while walking atop to the sacred Mt. Vulcan, or be awed by the underwater tombs of the Sunken Cemetery.
Backpacking, especially solo backpacking, seems scary when you think about it, but it is truly a heartening and an eye-opening experience for our brave wanderers. Whether it’s your first time backpacking or you’re a seasoned veteran, you will always be amazed by how much the Philippines has to offer.
What are your favorite go-to loops for a backpacking adventure? Share them with us below!