DOT chief lists 6 'underrated' PH destinations

Posted at 07/23/2014 6:04 PM | Updated as of 07/25/2014 12:14 PM

MANILA – Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez believes that there is more to the Philippines than Boracay, Palawan and Manila, noting how the country is home to many “underrated” destinations.

According to Jimenez, the Philippines – with its 7,107 islands – “has tremendous potential” when it comes to tourism.

The only thing needed to do, he said, is to develop and promote the areas -- something that the Department of Tourism has been working on mainly through the “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign.

In an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com on Wednesday, Jimenez mentioned six destinations in the Philippines which he thinks deserve more attention from tourists and travelers, citing their uniqueness and natural beauty.

Bohol

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Located in Central Visayas, Bohol has been a favorite among tourists mainly because of the Chocolate Hills and the white sand beaches of Panglao island.

Jimenez, however, stressed that there are plenty of things to see in the province beyond the two attractions.

“I think Bohol is at the top of the list, it’s underrated… People think there’s nothing in between Panglao and the Chocolate Hills,” he noted. “But you see, the Loboc River alone is an incredible experience.”

Other attractions in Bohol include old churches (and church ruins), caves, watchtowers, more beaches and adventure parks.

San Vicente, Palawan

Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan. Photo from sanvicentepalawan.com.ph

Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron may have put Palawan on the world map, but Jimenez said there is one place that people have yet to appreciate – San Vicente.

More than 180 kilometers from Puerto Princesa, San Vicente boasts of 14 kilometers of unspoiled powdery white sand. This strip of sand, dubbed “Long Beach,” faces the West Philippine Sea and has lush forests and coconut trees on its sides.

“In the islands of Palawan, there are places like San Vicente. We have so many beaches we haven’t even started to use. In San Vicente, we have a beach that is like Boracay that is 14 kilometers long. Can you imagine?” Jimenez said.

San Vicente also takes pride in its waterfalls, ostrich farm and mangrove areas.

Mount Hamiguitan, Davao Oriental


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Jimenez was all praises for Mount Hamiguitan in Davao Oriental, which he said is “just as incredible” as the underground river in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

A protected area, Mount Hamiguitan is known for its “pygmy forest,” or a unique field of 100-year-old bonsai trees.

Jimenez is glad that Mount Hamiguitan has been recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site, saying this will attract more visitors to the sanctuary.

Pink sand beach, Zamboanga

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Another “underrated” destination is the pink sand beach at Sta. Cruz island in Zamboanga, said Jimenez, noting how most people tend to limit themselves to destinations in Luzon and Visayas.

The beach here is pink because of the crushed red corals mixed with the white sand.

“Not a lot of people visit the pink beach of Zamboanga,” Jimenez said.

Batanes

Mt. Iraya in Batanes. Photo by Geline Salac, ABS-CBNnews.com

The northernmost part of the country has had its fair share of visitors but Jimenez believes that Batanes deserves so much more, given its breathtaking scenery.

“It’s quite harder to reach than the others, but it’s worth the trip,” he said, adding that a number of airlines have added flights to Batanes.

Contrary to what most people think, it is not that expensive to visit Batanes. Click here to see how it is possible to spend four days in this beautiful island province for only P5,000.

Ilocos Norte

The path leading to the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Ilocos Norte. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

Last but not the least, Jimenez said, is Ilocos Norte, which he praised for its natural beauty.

Aside from the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation, Ilocos Norte is also known for its sand dunes and beautiful beaches, among many others.

“Kailangan lang ng momentum,” Jimenez said as he expects Ilocos Norte to attract even more tourists in the next few years.