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a VirtualTourist member from Saint-Tropez asked on Nov 13, 2016

Philippines

Best national parks in the Philippines

Hello!

I'm planning to go maybe in the Philippines in winter and I'd like to visit some national parks. Of course I already thought about the nature reserves in Palawan but apart from that I've not so much ideas about the most scenic and rich national parks and reserves.

- I'm planning to go in Luzon, Palawan and probably on Mindoro, Bohol and Cebu. (Mindanao looks great but I've heard very preoccupying things about the social/religious situation there...)

- I love rainforest, hiking, mountains, volcanoes, etc... Can you suggest me some some nice natural places to have this kind of environment in the islands mentionned above.

- I saw breathtaking pictures of Apo Reef Natural Park but I can't get any information about it... How can I go there. Does it worth it? Or should I better try to stop in Coron Island from Palawan? Is there ferry between Palawan and Coron for affordable prices?

Thank you in advance :)
XXX



10 Answers


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answered on 11/13/16 by
a VT member from Ieper

When we say National parks in Philippines, do not expect to see a parks like the one in Europe and America. Sometimes you only see a huge land without anything to see, you better spend your time to beautiful places or islands

If you are going to Palawan, you will be started in Puerto Princesa I guess and on your way to El Nido......then a boat trip to Coron......in Coron there were trips offer to Apo Reefs

The conflict in Mindanao is been going on for a very long time, there is only two places to avoid such as: Zamboanga and the Zulu area......... for white caucasian tourist I always say if you want to get out of Philippines alive don't go to this places in Mindanao......for local tourist is not a big problem

For mountains hiking, you are looking at Luzon: You have "Banaue" where you can do some trekking around rice terraces and meet the local people in the village..................."Sagada" is also a good place for trekking where you see some hanging Coffins, waterfalls, caves and enjoy scenerey and the local life in the mountains. "Bontoc" not be miss

Philippines has a lot of volcanoes and some of them are still active.......Mayon Volcano errupted two years ago..............there are trekking tours offer........most of volcanoes in Philippines are accessible such as: Mount Pinatubo - Mt Mayon - Taal Volcano - Mt. Kanlaon - Mt.Hibok-Hibok volcano trekking you must have a local guide

If you really want to go on trekking Mt Pinatubo is about 3-4 hours from Manila or you have Mt Taal is more than an hour from Manila. Or if you prefer other volcano (island) you can always do that, most of these are accessible for trekking




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answered on 11/13/16 by
a VT member from Puerto Princesa

OK, i have lived in Palawan for 20 years and i would be pleased to meet you if you are ever in Puerto Princesa City. There are daily boats from Coron to El Nido that take 6 hrs or so. I also heard that there is now a new fast boat that my friend intended to take a week or so ago, hope to update you on this.
I also lived for 6 months in Banaue in the north and used to go trekking at least 5 days a week. Not exactly a national park but many trails to follow.

I have followed this website and found some interesting hikes
[original link]

And another useful one that has helped me a lot.
[original link]

[original link]




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from London

Hello there.

Of the places you mention the only one I have been to is Apo. Unfortunately I could not dive due to injury but my page here tells you all you need to know about getting to the island.

[original VT link]

Did you want to go diving or just snorkelling? There are numerous dive shops all along the road from Dumaguete to where the boat departs between Dauin and Zamboanguita. Here are some pages that may be of use to you.

[original VT link]

[original VT link]

[original VT link]

Any of the dive shops will arrange an all inclusive package for you to visit the reef.

Hope this assists.




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from Saint-Tropez

@Shavy: Well I was asking to know the most scenic spots of course and avoid the more boring places. So I will follow what you said. When I talked about Mindanao, I thought about Apo NP above all that seems gorgeous. But I'd like to avoid any trouble...




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from Ieper

Lol..........Many people mistaken with this two Apo... Apo island is in Dumagute, Central Visayas, while the Apo Reef is in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.........Mindoro is safe for tourist in fact this is became a touristy island because of its water activities

I only mentioned two places in Mindanao that should be avoided. I have relatives in Zamboanga, Mindanao my family is originally from there.

If you like to visit Apo Reef you can travel from Manila, it takes a long way to travel is a combination with bus and ferry before reaching Apo Reef NOT Apo Island ;-)




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from Saint-Tropez

@davidjo: Thank you for those numerous links :)




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from Saint-Tropez

@planxty: Well I didn't have any training about suba-diving but I've tried once. Which is almost nothing. So I think i'll be more into snorkelling, even if I'm fine to try scuba-diving if we are several people with a guide. :)

Thank you for your links :)




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from Manhattan Island

Don't be detered, if you got it in you to be curious, by some negative publicity about Mindanao. The island is safe overall to travel to and explore with important and necessary travel common sense from the traveler as to most places. The southern part and tip of the island especially as had been mentioned previously by another poster is where some sporadic insurgency generally occur. Thus when traveling around here best to observe caution and preferably with a reliable guide and also with a group. That said, the north of Mindanao and elsewhere are safe areas and touristically well geared up. If you do go and are looking for a small special place to relax and give full measure to travel with less hassle and more of the memorable local ambiance and local experience with only a minimum of the commercialization, you might want to check out the tiny volcanic island of Camiguin. A little paradise and a perfection all its own. Too many adjectives to here properly apply to its mostly undisturbed natural beauty and allure. You can access the island through connecting flights either Cebu or Manila. From Cebu you can catch a short flite to Camiguin as well as with a ferry. From Manila you have a connecting flite or in an interisland ship to Cagayan de Oro City. From here to Camiguin is a short flying dolphin away or take the short bus ride to the port town of Balingoan and a 40 min. ferry to Camiguin. Pretty easy.




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from London

I think it is rather more than negative publicity, Gabriel.

Here is what the British Foreign Office says,

"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to south-west Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of on-going terrorist activity and clashes between the military and insurgent groups. The FCO advise against all but essential travel to the remainder of Mindanao for the same reasons. See Terrorism and Local Travel.

There has been an increase in kidnapping of foreign nationals, including attacks targeting foreigners and tourists since late 2015. Multiple attacks have occurred in November 2016. Terrorist groups continue to plan kidnap operations against western nationals in the Philippines. This threat extends throughout the southern Philippines, both on land and at sea. Foreigners have been targeted in rural, urban and coastal areas, on private boats, in marinas and resorts. A number of kidnap victims have been murdered."

That advisory was updated three days ago and so is current.

Here is a link for Sinosphere.

[original link]

Withg the greatest respect to yourself and your travel experience I think I shall be taking heed of this if I return to the Philippines which I may do soon.




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answered on 11/14/16 by
a VT member from Manhattan Island

Well taken Fergy. But as we who are pretty seasoned travelers already know to take travel alerts and advisories with a grain of salt. Not that they're unrelevant but one should not and cannot make these reports the overriding rationale to not go ahead travel anyhow if the individual is securely determined tho obviously under great precautionary measures. Heck, i remember well when the U.S . State Department adamantly warned me not to travel to the Chiapas at the time when Comandante Marcos was waging an extant brutal civil war against the Mexican government in that region. I took no head thankfully cause when I got to Chiapas the situation couldn't have been any more travel conducive. Same goes with Guatemala when first travelled there. Back to Mindanao, i stand on the side of cautionary affirmation for a generally pleasant trip to that even disturbed area. Also, i had just returned from Mindanao on another of those family visits, travelled to Davao, one of the areas purported to harbor so much insurgency, with no visible threat, real or felt. I could say possibly a good timing on my part. But, hey, when we become fearful then travel we must not.





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