Summer is over.
In fact, the season for fun in the sun has been over for a while now. With the special term also coming to an end, there’s a Lasallian population aching for a relaxing and fun-filled reprieve before the new term starts. Unfortunately, the usual summer getaways seem impossible, as the second half of the year has brought forth torrential rains and devastating typhoons all throughout the country, making even a simple stroll outside a burden. However, some people refuse to surrender to the dreary wetness of the season. Despite the season’s ever pouring rains and howling winds, there’s still much fun to be had for anyone adventurous enough in this wet and humid weather.
Surfing the waves
With the rain showers that these somewhat somber months bring, the ocean tides come swelling and rising. Both surfing enthusiasts and novices will find it the perfect time to try this famous water-based sport, especially when waves can reach as high as four meters, an opportunity seldom missed by any surfing enthusiast.
Most of the country’s surfing spots are in the northern regions of Luzon. The most well-known are the beaches along La Union, where most surfing beginners tread their first steps in the world of catching waves. There are also other well-known surfing spots around the Philippines, such as in Pagudpud, Samar, in Baler, which is said to have been the birthplace of surfing in the Philippines, and in Zambales.
Yet, the full surfing experience cannot be attained without taking a trip to Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte, the Philippine’s surfing capital. Deemed by CNN’s as the 8th best surfing spot of the world, Siargao Island teems with beaches and waves left and right; a surfer’s wet dream. Despite the island being a place for expert surfers, one does not necessarily need to be a veteran to appreciate the tranquil beauty of Siargao Island.
White water rafting
With the monsoons and typhoons comes a steady downpour of rain, filling all bodies of fresh water to the brim. Adventurers and thrill seekers alike will find this an opportune time to take up a new sporty hobby in white water rafting. It sounds extreme, especially with the hounding phobia of rapidly running water and a handful of scary what-if scenarios of raging rivers, but surpassing such fears will be worthwhile for those willing to take the plunge.
The Philippines has quite a number of raging rivers for white water rafting, spread all throughout the country. One spot is the Chico River in the Kalinga province, referred to by the Kalingas as the ‘River of Life’. The river itself encompasses the provinces of Mountain Region, Kalinga, and Cagayan, and is one of the most extensive rivers in the Cordillera region.
From the put-in, or the rafting starting point, in Tinglayan, to the next take-out, or the rafting exit, in Tabuk, is approximately 72 kilometers, exposing you to both the tranquility of nature’s beauty and the unrelenting power of nature’s wrath. The trip is definitely not for the faint of heart, but it is a worthwhile experience for would-be thrill-seekers.
Other options are also available in Sagada, Mountain Province. The river itself is still part of the Chico River, but has six different sections to choose from, with varying difficulties and conditions. The run starts from Sabangan, close to Sagada, to a take-out close to the Kalinga border.
Other rafting options in Luzon are the Ibulao River in Kaingan, Ifugao, the Chico River in Kalinga province, the Twin Rivers in Apayao, the seven river runs in Sagada, and Tiabo River in Quezon Province. In Visayas there’s the Tibiao River in Antique, and the Calbiga River in the Samar province. And in Mindanao, there is the famous Cagayan River in Cagayan de Oro, and the Kabula River in Baungon, Bukidnon.
Although those high energy activities sound fun, easy paced travelers will be looking for something a little different. So, for those seeking a more relaxed environment, where one can take a break from the stress of everyday routine, a staycation will probably be your ideal getaway.
For those unfamiliar with the term, staycations are defined by Merriam-Webster as “a vacation spent at home or nearby”. These aren’t necessarily restricted to the confines of someone’s house, though, so for those who find the idea of staying at home somewhat dull, here are some unconventional, “out-of-home” staycation suggestions.
For starters, consider spending a day of leisure in one of Laguna’s hot springs resorts, where one can unwind and relax in the warm sensation of the spring water and experience a spa-like therapy like no other. This staycation is the perfect retreat for those busy-bodies who just want to escape the stress of their daily work and duties.
Those looking for a bit more adventure can try a cooler location, like Baguio or Tagaytay, where one can feel and enjoy the chilly weather at its peak. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost so much, with several hotels actually offering promos and discounts throughout the rainy season. Furthermore, both Baguio and Tagaytay offer many indoor attractions worth visiting. In Tagaytay, one can tour the Puzzle Mansion, the home of the largest collection of puzzles, or get entertained by the cultural show at Café Veranda. Similarly, in Baguio, one can explore both the General Emilio Aguinaldo Museum and the BenCab Museum during the day, and opt to visit The Tasting Room at Baguio Craft Brewery at night to try their special brewed beers.
Whether it’s roaming the streets of Baguio, lounging about in a hot springs resort, or just reading a book in the comforts of home, those in need of a staycation will find plenty of options, as long as they remember to rest, loosen up, and let go of all their anxieties.
On the other hand, for the more curious kind of vacationers interested in widening their perspectives, museum hopping might do the trick.
Those who wish to appreciate art on a whole new level can visit the Pinto Art Museum, or be part of the exhibit itself with a tour of the Art in Island Museum, all while staying dry from the rainy weather outside. The country’s lesser known museums, like the Philippine Science Centrum or Bahay Tsinoy, are also worth paying a visit to, especially to understand another facet of our culture better.
Feeling a bit more spontaneous? Try visiting some scenic waterfalls, like the Buriwisan Falls, and take a refreshing dip in its clear waters. With a bus ride to Sta. Cruz, Laguna from the Taft HM Transit Terminal, plus a jeepney ride, get the chance to see and swim under the beauty of these scenic falls.
These trips will surely cater to the inquisitive mind, providing truly unforgettable experiences.
Don’t let the weather rain on your parade
There’s definitely much fun to be had, even in the particularly wet part of the year. The sun may not shine as brightly, and the sky may not be as clear and as blue, but one could argue that this might be a better time to be on vacation, away from the scorching heat of the sun and the engulfing multitudes of summer tourist crowds. Brisk winds fill the air, and searing heat is replaced by a cool damp breeze. It is an opportune moment, if not a fortunate one, to be out and about underneath a cloudy sky, and even though it might rain, there’s beauty to be found in it all.