The Philippines – Adventure Travel and Luxury Hotels

categories: asia travel, pacific travel

The Philippines are known for both adventure and luxury travel and my last trip to the Philippines included some of both.

Diamond Hotel, Manila

In Manila, I stayed at the Diamond Hotel where I was in one of the club rooms on the 24th floor. The room itself was lovely but the real treat was the 25th floor club where the service was very attentive. There is something wonderful about being greeted by name by someone who knows what kind of tea you like. “‘Mr Chris, can I get you a cup of Earl Grey tea?” It seemed that the room was always stocked with breakfast, or “snacks” where snacks wee substantial enough to be a meal.

Diamond Hotel – check reviews | check prices: Agoda | Booking.com | Expedia

I also stayed at the busy Belmont Hotel which is a boutique hotel at the airport. I got some work done by the pool and bar on the roof top terrace where you could watch planes taking off and landing from the airport across the street. In Manila traffic, even a hotel across the street from Terminal 1 can be 15 minutes away, and as much as an hour away from Terminal 2.

Belmont Hotel – check reviews | check prices: Agoda | Booking.com | Expedia

view from my room at the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel

By contrast, the Banaue Hotel and Youth Hostel in Banuae is paneled in dark wood like your Uncle Bob’s old rec room. The hotel did not have a club level, flat screen TVs (or any TV at all). It did have a charming cultural show at night that displayed some of the dances from the local Ifugau people. Best of all, it had a view of some of the local rice terraces that attract tourists to the region.

Belmont Hotel – check reviews | check prices: Agoda

Banuae is not about luxury, it is about adventure. We took a Jeepnee to the nearby rice terraces at Batad and Bangaan (see A Love Affair with Jeepneys – Rice Terraces of the Cordillera, Philippines). These terraces were built by the local people 2000 years ago up the sides of the hills and were breathtaking… especially when you hike them. The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and justly so.

Viewpoint above Batad rice terraces in the Philippines

rice terraces of Batad, Philippines

It is a relatively easy 20 minute hike from the end of the road to where you can view the village of Batad. Just a few years ago the road ended on the other side of the hill, so I was grateful they had extended it as far as they did. From the restaurants at the top with a view things get more difficult if you want to visit the village. Hiking down starts with cement steps but part way down the steps become irregular stones stuck in the side of the stone walls of the terraces. In places you are walking along the terrace walls with a rice paddy on one side and a 6 foot drop on the other.

the hike down to Batad - Philippines

I traveled to Bananu in a group of bloggers. One had to opt out part way down the descent because of a bad hip, one needed some help getting back up, one had muscle cramps on the assent. I had to go slower than I wanted because hiking stairs was tiring me out faster than the hikes I had done to prepare for the trip. Three of the bloggers did relatively well despite the heat and humidity.

Batad Village - Philippines

view up from Batad village

When we were in the village we were told not to take pictures of the locals as local belief held that a picture steals your soul. I can’t imagine what they would think about Instagram. We bought cool drinks in the village. They did not charge enough for those drinks since everything has to be carried into the village by hand.

hiking on the rice terraces

Looking back at my pictures I noticed I took a lot more from the rim than I did down in the village or on the tough climb back out. During the climb my mind was on other things.

Rice terraces at Bangaan, Philippines

We also stopped at the village of Bangaan which is “only” 100 steps down into the village. By that time, 3 of our group opted out which did mean that I was the slow poke. Our guide had married a woman from the village and had lived in the village for a time. He stopped to visit someone who live din one of the traditional Ifugao houses. The houses are raised off the ground with disks on the posts to keep out any rats that might want to eat the rice in the attic.

traditional Ifugao house

Throw In a ride in and on top of a Jeepnee to and from the villages and this trip was a very different view of the Philippines than you can get from the club level of a luxury hotel. It is a more challenging trip, but worth the effort.

Don’t ask me to choose between luxury and adventure in the Philippines, my choice is a little of both… but next time I might opt for the remote beach instead of the tough hike… although I here there are also volcanos to climb.

Philipines - Adventure Travel and Luxury Hotels

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by Chris Christensen

I am the host of the Amateur Traveler. The Amateur Traveler is an online travel show that focuses primarily on travel destinations and what are the best places to travel to. It includes both a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog.



5 Responses to “The Philippines – Adventure Travel and Luxury Hotels”

JB

Says:

Happy to hear that you enjoyed Banaue Chris! Batad is especially breathtaking. Btw, I really enjoyed your session on affiliate sales at TBEX Manila. I learned a lot. 🙂

chris2x

Says:

Glad it was helpful JB!

Lini Antony

Says:

How about their foods. Philippine cuisines are not a healthy food.

chris2x

Says:

How about foods.

Lini Antony

Says:

I have read Philippine foods are unhealthy foods stuffed with sugar like things. I don’t know whether its true or not.

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