When on vacation, one of the most important things is to forget about your everyday mundane life for a short period of time. Now what can make you feel more alive at the moment, and therefore forget about anything else, past or future, than turning your vacation up a notch, and go EXTREME!
The sensation of danger, the feeling you get when experiencing nature with the minimum gear required, or fooling your mind to think that you’re close to serious trouble , make you feel more alive than ever. We did some thinking on what can be the perfect destination for an extreme vacation, and came up with the Philippines.
The major reason we chose the Philippines, beside of the great selection of extreme activities, is that at the end of your day, you can just sit back, have a cold drink, eat some really delicious exotic dinner, while gazing at the ocean. Ah… the ultimate relaxation. What can be more perfect than the contrast of extreme vs. tropical vacation, and for a reasonable price? In our opinion, not much really…
So here are some of the activities we mentioned that we are definitely going to try while on our vacation in the Philippines:
1. Diving, the extreme sport the Philippines is most known for
The Philippines is a diving mecca. Located entirely in the coral triangle, every spot in the Philippines offers some of the most spectacular diving in the world. Beside of the beautiful corals and fish, the Philippines, being a WW2 marine battlefield between the U.S and imperial Japan, has some of the best wreck dives. Dive in pitch dark tunnels with no more aid than a flashlight (and your scuba gear of course).
If that is not enough, in some destinations you’re almost 100% guaranteed to see sharks on your dives, like in Malapascua. Diving into the dark blue water just before sunrise can be quite scary as is, but when you reach the bottom, just hold tight, because thresher sharks are going to almost brush your googles. This is a dive we are not going to miss!
2. Cliff jumping and canyoneering
Jumping from high places is considered the smartest thing to do. Unless you are jumping into the turquoise water Kawasan. As you go down the river, sandwiched by the canyon walls, you will rappel, slide, down climb, squeeze through, and cliff jump. Guided by experienced guides that will keep you as far as possible from the danger zone (but only as much as needed), you will jump from cliffs and waterfalls as tall as 17 meters.
Cebu Island is a great place for tours, this place is just too beautiful, and we heard that even on the way down from your jump you’ll appreciate the beauty of your surroundings.
3. Snorkeling… With WHALE SHARKS!
As we happened to find out, snorkeling with whale sharks is a very famous tourist attraction in the Philippines. We did some research and discovered that they are present all year around in Oslob, because the locals feed them. People roam from all over, go on paddle boats, and jump into the shark infested waters! (There are a dozen of these gentle giants in Oslob).
We dug some more, and it turns out that between December to May, the whale sharks migrating route passes through Donsol, and skilled guides will take you on motorized boats, and spot them for you. Once you get there, you just jump into the middle of the ocean, and find yourself face to face with a 12 meter, 20 ton shark!
4. Surfing in one of the top spots in the world
Traveling in an island country has it perks. And if you’re lucky, one of the perks turns out also being considered the in the world’s most famous surfing spots. Siargao in the Philippines is exactly that place. Hosting an international surfing competition in September each year , that draws surfers from all over the world, really demonstrate this point.
But you don’t have to be a pro surfer as it turns out to be ideal for beginners as well, and Siargao has all the facilities for you to learn how to surf. It is however fairly difficult to reach and good hotels are hard to find, so getting a travel package to Siargao might be a good idea.
If you are interested in another kind of surfing, Kite surfing is very popular in places like the world wide famous Boracay. Kite surfing in the world’s best island, it’s just too good to be true, but it happens to be the truth.
5. White water rafting
Navigating down a white water river in nothing more than a flimsy inflatable raft is a frightful experience, and a great way to dust off any unnecessary thoughts you had in your mind. The Philippines is a country blessed with mountains and rivers, and you can actually find some world class rafting spots in many parts of the country.
The most famous rafting spots in the Philippines however, are Cagayan River in Cagayan de Oro and Chico River In northern Luzon. The rapids of Cagayan and Chico River are mostly classified as III to IV difficulty levels , so we are expecting a bumpy ride!
6. Trekking to the summit of a volcano
As those who don’t live and never lived around a volcanic hotspot, the idea of volcanoes is very unique to us, let alone climbing one. There are plenty of volcanoes and mountains to climb in the Philippines , but just by looking at the pictures of picturesque Mount Pinatubo makes us want to be there.
Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano that last erupted in 1991, and from what is told to us, reaching the turquoise lake in the crater is not the only reward. Going up is made of two stages, riding 4X4 jeeps which is always exciting, and hiking through ash fields and rocky paths of this volcano moon-like terrain. Sounds like an out of this world experience to us.
7. Spelunking trough burial caves
We know it sound a bit eerie, but it is part of the adventure, and believe it or not, a popular activity in Sagada. It is actually a trail that can be done in two parts, the Lumiang burial cave, and the Sumaguing Cave. But if you feel a little more hard core you can combine them both, as they are connected.
In the burial cave you find your way in the dark, surrounded by 2,000 ancient caskets, some are open. As you enter the Sumaguing cave you will again rappel, down climb and squeeze through its tight sections. It is wet, yet spectacular with pools, stalactites and stalagmites.