Summer Lovin’ – Top Summer Getaways
By Annabelle Chua
The end of another school year has come (for most of us anyway) and summer is about to begin. After finishing a long and assuredly draining year of school, we all deserve to reward ourselves with just the right amount of rest, relaxation and, of course, fun! And what else can be more fun than a short vacation? A vacation is probably the perfect way for most of us to unwind and recharge after a year of study and work.
As much as we’d love to kick back and relax though, not all of us have unlimited supply of time and money. Not to worry, though; there’s something to suit every one of one – schedules, cash and all. Here are the ten most popular and most recommended summer getaways for this year, ranging from near to far, from simple and cool, to hot and exotic. Take a look.
For the beach aficionado, this is as close to heaven as you can get. Endless stretches of soft white sand, pristine blue waters, radiant sunshine and 24-hours of relaxation, what more can you ask for? Located in Panay island in the Visayas, Bora, famed for its incomparable beauty, is now a hot local and international tourist destination. Getting there is easy enough: you can fly directly to Caticlan, which takes but 36 minutes, or you can fly to Kalibo airport and ride to Caticlan. You can choose the accommodations of your preference – whether it be apartment-type, bungalow/cottage type or hotel-type, and after you check in, the sky is the limit! A wide array of activities is open to all; everyone is sure to find something he/she will enjoy, whether it be scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkeling, windsurfing, banana riding and more. To satisfy every palate as well as every night-lover, Boracay’s beachfront is also lined with varied international restaurants, bars, karaokes and discos. A word of warning though; Bora can be a slight strain to the pocket.
Since time immemorial, Baguio has always been the Philippines’ Summer Capital. Its location assures tourists of respite from the scorching heat from the sun, as well as popular tourist spots such as Mines View Park, the Lourdes Grotto, Burnham Park, The Mansion and Camp John Hay. Baguio is also known as the home of the Filipino favorite, lengua de gato, as well as home of Good Shepherd, makers of the most luscious strawberry and ube jam. Baguio can be a bit hard to reach; from Manila, it takes approximately eight hours of travel by land – sometimes more, depending on weather other conditions. Expenses though, are assuredly a lot less than if you were to go to Bora.
3. Puerto Galera
Located in Mindoro, Puerto Galera is about to give Boracay a run for its immaculate beaches and breathtaking landscapes. Unlike Boracay, though, where partying and water sports top the list of activities, nature is on top of the list here in Puerto. Sites such as Mangyan Village and Excavation Museum will surely whet one’s appetite for culture and history, while the beaches and Ponderosa Golf Club will definitely satisfy one’s desire for rest and relaxation. Puerto Galera also offers scuba diving, trekking and other nature-oriented activites. When it comes to Puerto Galera, there’s one word: ecotourism. Puerto Galera can be reached via a boat ride from Batangas, south of Luzon. A trip to Puerto Galera is somewhat pricey though; bring your friends with you preferably and divide the expenses.
This former United States military air base has been transformed into a haven for peace and relaxation. Where you would before find bases and soldiers, you can now find a number of elegant homes for rent and duty free grocery stores close to both nature and civilization. Subic is at the same time close to the city and the country, providing us with all the conveniences of the former and the serenity and peace of the latter. It is quite close to Manila (relative to the other locations, anyway) and as a whole, can be lighter on the pocket.
5. Tagaytay Highlands
Like Baguio, Tagaytay can boast of cooler temperatures – at a closer distance to Manila. Tagaytay provides all the luxuries a person could possibly want, from sports facilities to haute cuisine to comfortable houses and spa services. Located just south of Metro Manila, Tagaytay is accessible and convenient to reach, especially for those who can’t spare much time. Be warned though: despite its location, expenditures here can be enormous because it targets the upper classes for its market.
6. Hong Kong
HK has now become one of the premier destinations in Asia. Despite its size (you can hardly locate it on a map), HK is well-known for its food, fashion, shopping and entertainment. Home to Ocean Park and Disneyland amusement parks and to famous shopping centers such as Times Square and Mong Kok Ladies Street, HK is becoming a bustling hub of activity to both locals and tourists alike. It’s just a little over an hour’s ride from Manila. The costs of traveling there though, as can be expected, are rather high. But then, what else do you expect from this brilliant City of Lights?
Known as the Lion City, Singapore may be small – but those who have seen it all agree that size is no measure for greatness. Singapore boasts of a number of attractions, among which are the Night Safari, Underwater World, Butterfly and Insect Kingdom, cruises and shopping at Orchard Road. Singapore also has the distinction of being one of the cleanest, most disciplined and most orderly cities in the world – a plus for visiting tourists. The fare to Singapore is considerably lower than to other countries, with new airlines such as Tiger Airways and others offering far lower rates. The costs of living and spending there are still high though. Nevertheless, if you can afford to, don’t hesitate because paradise – and Singapore – is just a ride away.
Disneyland. Universal Studios. Knottsberry Farm. The Golden Gate Bridge. Hollywood. All these and more right here in… California, U.S.A. Yes, California is the stuff that most Pinoy dreams are made of. A lot of Filipinos also reside in California, so that makes it, well – a home away from home. A trip to California will definitely be worth the money (which happens to be a lot, by the way) because of all the sights that you’re bound to see.
9. New York
The name in itself is legend. New York City, home to Bloomingdale’s, Saks, Macy’s and Fifth Avenue, as well as Broadway, theater’s most famous street. Though the 9/11 bombings left it temporarily crippled, NY has risen from the ashes, so to speak, to rebuild and become one of the busiest, fastest and most visited cities in the world, making “I love NY” a truth for many. Expect the price of traveling to NY to be exorbitant, but expect also to get all of it back in terms of enjoyment, fun and laughter.
Down under, so to speak. While all of us in the northern hemisphere are sweating out, those in Australia are having a nice, cool fall season – which makes visiting Down Under all the more desirable. Australia boasts of the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbor, Melbourne and many other sights guaranteed to make your vacation worthwhile. Like the last four suggestions though, it costs a bundle to get you there.
So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy the sun, fun and life! It doesn’t really matter where you go or where you end up staying. What matters is that you take a break, recharge and slow down a bit. Forget the worries and the burdens of life for a while. Life can be strenuous, but how to handle it is still your choice.
Don’t let life get you down! Enjoy life!