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12 Most Romantic Places in the Philippines

By Ross Harper-Alonso
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:33:00 02/10/2008

Filed Under: Tourism & Leisure, Travel & Commuting

MANILA, Philippines - ?Spend a candlelit evening with violins in the background, roses for the beloved and starlight in her eyes,? so goes most ads for trysting places this Valentine?s Day. But alas, the ads always prove too enticing and you wind up with 10,000 other couples waiting for tables at this ?romantic? hideaway, your passion dissipating and the roses wilting with each ticking minute.

With Filipinos famously known for being such suckers for romance (we send the most number of love-related text messages in the world on any given day), one wonders if there remain some undiscovered places in the country where a couple can still bask in equal doses of passion, solitude and creature comforts.

Here are some suggestions from people who, because of their jobs, have explored places off the beaten path:

1. Sonya?s Garden, Tagaytay
?The secret is the way it naturally brings in the outdoors and the subtle blend of English countryside, rustic Asian influence and a touch of old Filipiniana. The privacy and the relaxed warmth due largely to the staff makes this an ideal escape to share quiet moments, while being served an excellent meal on fine English china and pampered with a massage.??Romy Gacad, Agence France-Presse chief photographer

2. Flower Island, Palawan
?A small private island surrounded by clear blue waters and white sand has to be the most romantic place for people who enjoy being outdoors. Flower Island is an unspoiled haven just minutes away from the nature preserves of Palawan. You can spoil yourself with the resort?s amenities and still feel close to the wilderness and the indigenous culture. Most impressive are the massive schools of fish and the healthy hard corals. Whether I?m diving and taking photos of marine life, just lazing around or watching the sunset as it disappears in a blaze of orange, I?m constantly reminded how special this island is.? ?Gutsy Tuason, award-winning underwater photographer

3. Mt. Maculot Rockies, Cuenca, Batangas
?Watching the sunrise from the top of Mt. Maculot Rockies can be a big romantic high. It's an easy day hike that begins when the air is still cold and everything around is just beginning to stir from sleep. Standing on a flat rock is the perfect way to watch the sun as it slowly rises and sweeps over Taal Lake, the neighboring towns of Batangas and Balayan Bay like a magic wand. Bring a picnic basket, a chilled bottled of sparkling wine, and toast your years of love and devotion. Now you?re literally on top of the world!?? Banny Hermanos, member, Phil. Everest Expedition Support Team

4. Cape Engao off the Babuyan Channel
?One of the most romantic spots in the country due to its isolation. It straddles both the Pacific Ocean and the Babuyan Channel and is a very ?Wuthering Heights? setting. The lighthouse at the tip of Palaui Island has a spectacular view of both bodies of water. Best time to visit is after a storm when the waves crash on the rocks below. Camping on this windswept island, with the ruins of a century-old lighthouse and with just the bare essentials, makes for a truly romantic escape.??Manuel Maximo L.C. Noche, author, ?Lonely Sentinels?; asst. professor, UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts

5. Siquijor Island
?The island?s reputation for being a center for witchcraft might set some people off, but it could also explain why Siquijor has managed to stay pristine with its virgin forests and turquoise waters. Imaginative tales about love potions appeal to both the romantic and the adventurous, making it an ideal place to spice up any relationship. It doesn?t promise five-star accommodations but sitting on a desolate white beach under a star-filled night surrounded by a calm sea, more than makes up for that.??VJ Villafranca, photojournalist

6. Hacienda Tabukol in Murcia, Negros Occidental
?This 140-hectare jungle allows for maximum appreciation of nature?s superstructures. The unspoilt wilderness is home to almost every endemic specie of bird, insect and wildlife, including the endangered Visayan Leopard Cat. Sit quietly by the river, feel the fresh water spray on your face, listen to the sounds of the jungle and imagine yourself on a romantic safari, Pinoy style. To enhance that ?Out of Africa? experience, rest and dine in a Balinese inspired two-bedroom cottage with an outdoor bathtub. Truly a wildlife haven!??Cristina de Leon Hinlo, outdoor enthusiast and environmentalist

7. Bee Farm, Bohol
?Great place, great vibes and nice folks running it. It's a bit of a must-visit for anyone traveling through Bohol so there's a steady flow of visitors but you can always find a quiet spot to be alone. Good accommodations and a great place to have a romantic dinner for two. And did I mention the sunset???Paolo Abrera, TV host

8. Camiguin Island
?When I think of Camiguin today, I remember a photo of two young people in love, balancing on a fallen tree by the sea with wide smiles on their faces.??Howie Severino, broadcast journalist

9. Taal Lake, Batangas City
?Deceptively serene and beautiful, Taal Lake has had to face a number of environmental concerns. I think it?s romantic to come to a lady?s rescue and try to protect her from losing all that make her a natural treasure.??Peter Capotosto, co-founder of Philippine Hobie Challenge

10. Silliman Hall Heritage Building, Dumaguete City
?Silliman Hall by the sea is arguably the most romantic, iconic landmark of Dumaguete City. One of the few remaining architectural masterpieces in the country, it is flanked by local palms and shaded by giant acacia trees. Its American mansion-inspired facade has for 105 years cemented the city's status not only as an educational Mecca, but also as a melting pot of various cultures from around the world. To me, Silliman Hall stands as an ode to the romantic way cultures mingle in this quaint little city.??Leon Medado, Journalism senior, Silliman University

11. Baluarte San Diego Wall, Intramuros
?The most romantic spot in Manila is atop the Baluarte San Diego at the southwest corner of Intramuros. It overlooks the Manila Hotel, the golf links, and the trees of Luneta Park. It's a bit of a cliche spot but it does get the job done in getting that sweeping romantic feeling. Sunset is an especially enchanting moment to be there. Bring your own bottle of wine or Royal Tru Orange, of course.??Carlos Celdran, tour guide

12. Ogod River, Donsol, Sorsogon
?I didn?t expect to be so taken by the fireflies at the Ogod River in Donsol. There is an incredible stillness and a sense of isolation when exploring the river. Watching hundreds of fireflies light up the mangroves is romantic in a surreal way. The experience allows one to slip away from everyday life and enjoy nature by night. The rest of the world might be surrounded by static but the Ogod River and its fireflies gave me a welcome respite from all that.??Johan Espiritu, lawyer-photographer



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