When thinking of Visayas, a few places definitely come to mind – Cebu, Boracay, and the Chocolate Hills. Aptly named the “Islands of Travelers”, Visayas provides a very relaxing experience for any who decide to spend time in it. While it does have the smallest landmass of the three Philippine regions, it is an archipelago (meaning “chain of islands”), and therefore island hopping is very much a must-do in the Visayas region. In this article, we will discuss 3 camping destinations to best experience the beauty of this region.
1. Guimaras Island
Out by Western Visayas lies the beautiful island of Guimaras, home to rugged coastlines and 50,000 trees producing the sweetest mangoes in the world. Fortunately, there is much to do here, be it beach, cove, or island hopping. All these hands on adventures do add up to a phenomenal time spent with nature, as you wind down your day on one of Guimaras’ secluded beaches and set up shop for the night. Pop up to the Guisi lighthouse, one of the few lighthouses still in use, for a beautiful view of the area and surrounding islets!
2. Lake Balanan
A little off the beaten track is Lake Balanan, a freshwater lake formed in 1925 by a landslide that blocked off the southern end of the Balanan River. It is a little while away from the rest of civilization, but many do find rest and respite here, thanks to the serenity of its surroundings. Canoeing is allowed in this beautiful lake but swimming is largely discouraged, so as to preserve the pH and general calmness. There is a hotel nearby, and while the restaurant and amenities can be accessed (some for free, mostly at a cost), camping is allowed, at a small fee, and it has to be the perfect way of spending time away from the hustle and bustle of life.
3. Mount Talinis
Get your hiking boots on, because this mountain is no pushover! Standing at over 6000 feet, Mount Talinis is sure to excite many hiking enthusiasts. The climb is definitely tough, but for the fainter of hearts, there are many lakes that serve as stopovers along the way. Approximately every four hours (or so) of hiking will yield one of these quiet, stunning lakes that, coincidentally, will serve as camping sites, for either short breaks or rest for the night. Whether or not you make it to the summit, the view of, and from, all the lakes are stunning, and it does get quite cool at night, the higher you get, which is definitely a refresher from the heat of the Philippines!
The region that gave us the white sand beaches of Boracay and the rolling Chocolate Hills is definitely a treat when it comes to finding places to camp – to reset the mind and body, and to learn to be closer to nature. Being the least population dense shows its real perk when it comes time to finding these places, so please, make your way out into the beautiful landscape of Visayas, pitch your tent, and live!