Valentine’s Day is a big deal here in the Philippines. It’s said to be the second largest card-sending holiday of the year after Christmas. We don’t blame you if you’d prefer to escape the Valentine’s Day rush and opt out on the lovey-dovey restaurant specials.
For those going at it alone this year, Valentine’s is a great time to head off by yourself, meet new people and indulge in some solo TLC. Here are some ideas on where to go and what to do, along with some stellar Agoda hotels for you to consider.
Climb a Mountain
Aside from the pristine beaches, the Philippines is also known for its gorgeous mountains. Day hikes are getting more popular for solo independent travelers. There are a lot of companies online such as Climbing Feet or Trail Adventours who have scheduled treks all year. Professional guides manage the trip but the best part is that you’ll be part of a group—and it’s a great opportunity to expand your circle of friends. The journey towards the summit can be a challenge, but the moment you get to see the spectacular view on top, it’s all worth it.
Just two hours away from Manila, beginners can try out Mt. Pico de Loro in Cavite. Also known as “Parrot’s Beak,” this is definitely one of the most popular mountains in the country and is known for its monolith, a giant stone spire that can be seen from miles away.
The peak offers a view of the South China Sea with and a wonderful range of mountains. The climb takes roughly four to five hours, and afterwards you can reward yourself with a stay at Pico Sands Hotel where you can cool down at the pool or enjoying a good meal from their restaurant.
Ride the waves
Now that the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) is open, surfing is within reach from Manila. For solo travelers who have always wanted to try something more active on the beach, it’s the perfect time to go.
Most resorts like The Little Surfmaid or San Juan Surf Resort can help you schedule lessons with local experts. For around PHP600, you get a board rental and a professional instructor for an hour. It’s popular with beginners, and the moment you stand on the board for the first time you get an indescribable feeling.
The best part about La Union is the friendly surfing community, where you’ll likely end up at the famous El Union Coffee or drinking in Flotsam & Jetsam as you watch one of the most colorful sunsets in the country.
Fall in love with the country’s history
Take an overnight trip to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan and get ready to fall in love with your our culture all over again. The complex has houses that date all the way back from the 18th century, and it recreates a historic village, complete with cobblestone streets, small plazas and outdoor sculptures.
The attention to detail will amaze you, be it the calesa rides, the capiz windows, or sinuous balustrades. Photo enthusiasts will be in heaven since each villa is totally unique from the others.
The hotel also offers 90-minute walking tours throughout the day starting at 8:30 am. The tour will let guests in on valuable insights about the Philippines that will renew your appreciation for the culture of our proud country. The property also has a beach where you can relax and have some me-time. It’s definitely recommended for travelers who want to experience a trip with substance. Rediscover your country and yourself in a single trip.
For those who just want to relax with a bit of R&R then Nurture Wellness Village is the perfect getaway for the season. The entire place offers a wide range of services for detoxification and wellness, perfect for a mind, body, and soul rejuvenation. Their Amu’in Spa: Filipino Spa and Pampering have a delightful selection of local and foreign massage therapies done by trained masseuses who use grapeseed oil as a carrier, pure essential oils for signature aromatherapy massages, and coconut oil for the Hilot massage.
Besides its spa, Nurture Wellness Village takes great care in offering a healthy and delicious menu to its guests. Organic ingredients used in the kitchen are sourced from the onsite garden and nearby farms, in order to ensure quality and freshness. If you’re looking for a wholesome zen-like getaway to nourish your body and soul, this is the place for you.
Bike around Manila
For those who don’t want to leave Manila, a popular activity right now is Bambike Ecotours, an educational ecotourism outing that takes place in the famous walled city of Intramuros. Just like hiking, solo travelers can sign up online and meet new people on their trip. The two and a half-hour tour is only PHP1,200 while the one-hour express tours are just PHP600.
What makes this tour different is that guests will be riding on bamboo bikes which were handmade by native Gawad Kalinga villages. “Gawad Kalinga” in English means “to give care,” and the bikes are part of a movement that aims to end poverty for 5 million families. Not only do you get a work out, but you can re-visit your culture and help out a local community. Afterwards, reward yourself with a cocktail on the roof deck of Bayleaf Intramuros Hotel as you watch the picturesque sunset over Manila Bay.