Mov­ing out of MANILA?

With Metro Manila burst­ing at the seams, more and more fam­i­lies are think­ing of mov­ing to the prov­ince. Here are the sto­ries, strug­gles, and joys of six fam­i­lies that have done just that.

Good Housekeeping (Philippines) - - News -

Life in the bustling

me­trop­o­lis isn’t what it used to be—or maybe it’s more apt to say it’s a lot more than it used to be. There’s just more of ev­ery­thing: more peo­ple, more cars, more shops, more shows, more life. But to­gether with all this growth comes the flip side: more traf­fic, more crime, more pol­lu­tion, more stress. It’s enough to make city dwellers se­ri­ously con­sider mov­ing out of the metro in search, lit­er­ally, of greener pas­tures. Six fam­i­lies share their sto­ries about what it’s like to make this big move.

Pro­vin­cial Home: Baguio

When Aleck Mara­mag-ar­radaza, 33, and her hus­band Joe­ban, 30, de­cided to move to Baguio with her sec­ond son, Crim­son Lu­cien, 5, she knew it was a place where she could es­cape the op­pres­sive Metro Manila pol­lu­tion. Her el­dest son from a pre­vi­ous re­la­tion­ship, 9-year-old Gael Azure Ilano, re­mains in Manila with his father. Gael vis­its reg­u­larly, how­ever, and knows that he has two homes: Baguio and Manila.

Com­mu­nity First

Af­ter liv­ing in Baguio for some time, Aleck and her hus­band dis­cov­ered the strong sense of cul­ture that per­me­ated the com­mu­nity. “There is an air of help­ful­ness and re­spect,” says Aleck. “Cordilleran cul­ture is very much alive.”

As in most prov­inces, liv­ing in Baguio is cheaper than liv­ing in Metro Manila. How­ever, it isn’t just about find­ing cheaper veg­eta­bles at the mar­ket. For Aleck, what rises above it all are the con­nec­tions you make with the peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

“When you take the time to gen­uinely im­merse and con­nect with peo­ple and feel the pulse of a place, you will find that a lot of trans­ac­tions are built on trust and fond­ness that go well be­yond unit prices,” Aleck re­veals. “Veg­eta­bles, for one, are cer­tainly fresher and more in­ex­pen­sive straight from the mar­ket or farm. Forge real friend­ships with the peo­ple who grow them, and you get to have pro­duce for free from time to time.”

Work and School

Aleck and Joe­ban have been work­ing from home for a U.s.-based com­pany. “He’s a web pro­gram­mer/de­signer, and I work as tech­ni­cal sup­port,” ex­plains Aleck. “How­ever, I do plan to fin­ish my grad­u­ate stud­ies and even­tu­ally go back to my nat­u­ral habi­tat, which is teach­ing. As for other ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties, I would say call cen­ters have gained trac­tion here as well.”

At present, Aleck is home­school­ing her son Crim­son. “He was di­ag­nosed with mild autism at three, and the rea­son I’ve cho­sen to home­school him is be­cause no one but me and his dad could go near him. He only learned to han­dle the at­ten­tion of others ear­lier this year. I am prep­ping him to be around other kids, and of course, his teach­ers, so that I can fi­nally en­roll him.”

Aleck notes that spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion is avail­able in Baguio. There are reg­u­lar schools that fol­low the K-12 pro­gram as well. “As for col­lege, uni­ver­si­ties abound, like UP (Univer­sity of the Philip­pines) Baguio, Univer­sity of the Cordilleras, and St. Louis Univer­sity, to name a few. There are also nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tional schools.”

Deal­ing with Tourists

Be­cause Aleck and her hus­band used to live in hot, hu­mid Manila, they were not pre­pared for the prob­lems that ac­com­pany liv­ing in the Philip­pines’ sum­mer cap­i­tal.

For in­stance, there is heavy traf­fic dur­ing peak sea­son. “It has taught us to avoid go­ing out and to stock up on sup­plies when­ever it’s Panag­benga [the an­nual flower fes­ti­val], Christ­mas, or Holy Week,” she says. “Even long week­ends cre­ate hours of traf­fic for such a small city.”

In spite of this, Aleck and her hus­band know they have made the right de­ci­sion. “I can­not ex­press enough how ben­e­fi­cial it was to our health and well-be­ing to live here. The air is clean, food is fresh, the cli­mate is cool. The cul­ture here is highly ad­mirable.”

Pro­vin­cial Home: Zam­bales The rea­sons that took Ruby Sales, 58, and hus­band Mario, 57, away from Metro Manila and into the prov­ince of Zam­bales were less than ideal. When their busi­ness be­gan to de­cline and they couldn’t af­ford the tu­ition of their five chil­dren any­more, they de­cided to live in Zam­bales with Mario’s fam­ily. Life on the Farm

The move wasn’t easy for Ruby and her fam­ily. When they ar­rived, they had no source of liveli­hood. “At first, we helped my in-laws tend the farm and raise the hogs,” she shares. “Even­tu­ally, my hus­band en­tered pol­i­tics and won a seat as a coun­cilor for two non-con­sec­u­tive terms. I also worked as a gov­ern­ment em­ployee and stayed up to 2011.”

Ruby says liv­ing in Zam­bales is def­i­nitely cheaper than in Metro Manila. Be­cause Ruby’s now 91-year-old fa­therin-law was a farmer, he planted all the veg­eta­bles in the song “Ba­hay Kubo.” This made it easy to har­vest food for their meals. When there wasn’t any money to buy food, Mario would catch one of his hens to feed them.

What Ruby loves most is be­ing close to na­ture. “You are sur­rounded by trees, moun­tains, sea, fresh air, fresh food, and space! Peo­ple around you are friendly,” she en­thuses. “I told my hus­band that we are lucky liv­ing in the prov­ince for peo­ple in Manila have to wait for va­ca­tion to en­joy the things we en­joy every day. Now that both of us are out of gov­ern­ment ser­vice, we con­tinue to raise hogs, plant rice, and breed and sell fight­ing cocks.”

An­other Day in Par­adise

Among the many de­lights in Zam­bales, Ruby lists her fa­vorites: “Can­de­laria, where we live in Zam­bales, is where Potipot Is­land can be found. This is­land is dubbed Lit­tle Bo­ra­cay. There are also places of in­ter­est around this quaint town. We have caves, a clean river, and a hand­ful of re­sorts. Every year, we cel­e­brate the Laruk Laruk Fes­ti­val, [where lo­cals show] the process of pound­ing rice to turn it into pinipig or rice crisps.” Ruby adds that if you miss the mall, “Olon­gapo City is just a two-hour drive away.”

Be­cause she lives a quiet life, Ruby has time for projects she en­joys. “I made my grand­daugh­ter a doll­house out of a shoe­box with fur­ni­ture made of pa­per clips,” she shares. “I also make cop­per wire bracelets, rings, and ear­rings.”

There are draw­backs to liv­ing in par­adise, though. Be­cause her chil­dren Kats, 35, Nu­nik, 32, Miks, 28, Osky, 25, and Dion, 23 are now grown up, they no longer live with them and that can be lonely. But Ruby says, “Aside from cheap liv­ing, the best part of this par­adise is the sim­plic­ity and the peace and quiet it of­fers. If you’re a lover of the hus­tle and bus­tle of the city life, this is not the place for you. But this is the place for me! What more can I ask for?”

Pro­vin­cial Home: Ba­colod

Though Ni­nay Ledesma, 37, didn’t grow up in Ba­colod, she and her hus­band Bac­chus, 41, chose the Visayan prov­ince as their new home. They first vis­ited in 2009, when Bac­chus’s un­cle passed away. The idea of mak­ing the move ap­pealed to them, but it only be­came real when Bac­chus’s dad asked him to help out at their farm. They, along with their two chil­dren (Ja­cobo, now 10, An­dres, now 6) fi­nally moved in 2012. Their daugh­ter Is­abella, now 2, was born in Manila be­cause Ni­nay’s OB-GYN was there, but has lived in Ba­colod all her life.

Mak­ing a Liv­ing

Ni­nay and Bac­chus al­ready had their own ca­reers in Manila. Ni­nay, a med­i­cal doc­tor, was in the midst of com­plet­ing her res­i­dency in der­ma­tol­ogy and Bac­chus was work­ing for an in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (IT) com­pany. “Ca­reer-wise, for me, it seemed log­i­cal to move be­cause der­ma­tol­o­gists, board-cer­ti­fied and non­board-cer­ti­fied alike, are ev­ery­where in Manila,” Ni­nay shares.

Now, she has her own clinic in Ba­colod. “I am a prac­tic­ing der­ma­tol­o­gist and I have clinic six days a week. I like that it’s my own prac­tice and I stay put in one clinic. I don’t have to run around with dif­fer­ent sched­ules on dif­fer­ent days.”

Be­fore mov­ing to Ba­colod, Bac­chus had ar­ranged with his com­pany to work re­motely. How­ever, he re­signed in 2015 from his Manila-based IT job. Now he fo­cuses on run­ning his fam­ily’s su­gar farm as well as his other busi­ness ven­tures. “He put up an LED com­pany that sup­plies and in­stalls lights in the Visayas, and just re­cently part­nered to start up a small IT out­fit that does out­sourced and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty work,” shares Ni­nay.

Ac­cord­ing to Ni­nay, Ba­colod is be­gin­ning to boom with the emer­gence of start-up com­pa­nies, not only in the food in­dus­try, but also in the Busi­ness Process Out­sourc­ing (BPO) and ser­vice sec­tors. With plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties, now is a good time to start a new life in Ba­colod.

Great for the Kids

Ni­nay and her hus­band be­lieve it isn’t just safer to raise their three kids in Ba­colod, but it’s also more fun. “There’s more space for the kids to move around and play in, more greens, open spa­ces, and fresh air,” she says. “It’s easy to set up play dates for the kids, even a few min­utes be­fore. When we’re in Manila and try to set up play dates there, we nor­mally have to set them weeks be­fore be­cause of sched­ules, traf­fic, and so on. Here, it’s easy to go out of town, play out­doors, or set up get-to­geth­ers on a whim. Af­ter school, the kids can go swim­ming or play in the park or just walk or bike around the vil­lage. We also have more time to spend with our kids.”

Many Manila-based par­ents worry about the the qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion in

the prov­inces, but Ni­nay says this is not a prob­lem. “Our kids go to a small, pro­gres­sive school which costs a lit­tle bit more than tra­di­tional schools but is still a lot cheaper than Manila,” she shares. “I am happy to say it is at par. We like the small num­ber of stu­dents and that the teach­ers know all the stu­dents and vice versa.”

The Chill Life

Ac­cord­ing to Ni­nay, “Life in Ba­colod is so much sim­pler, less com­pli­cated.” This can be a good thing or a bad thing. “The pace of life is much slower than in Manila so if you are used to a fast pace, it can be either wel­com­ing or can make you want to bang your head on the wall. You will need to get used to the gen­eral lack of ur­gency.”

One way this man­i­fests is in the field of cus­tomer ser­vice. “Although there are ex­cep­tions, most sales peo­ple are not too at­ten­tive and not too knowl­edge­able about their stuff,” she says. “Hope­fully, that will im­prove as there are a lot of new stores and restau­rants, so the com­pe­ti­tion will make ev­ery­one work harder and for the bet­ter.”

The cost of liv­ing in the prov­ince of Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, where Ba­colod is lo­cated, is also rel­a­tively low. In fact, when­ever Ni­nay vis­its Manila, she is shocked by how much things cost. “A meal for us as a cou­ple in Manila would feed our fam­ily of five plus two yayas in Ba­colod. With change!” She laughs. “On one of my mom’s first vis­its to Ba­colod, she was so shocked by how cheap the resto bills were, she col­lected them to show my sis­ter!”

An­other big plus is how much time they have to just live. “There is so much time to do other things as our time is not wasted in traf­fic,” she says. “Traf­fic is start­ing to get bad, but I’ll take it any day over Manila traf­fic.”

Though Ni­nay ad­mits she wants her chil­dren to go to col­lege in Manila, she and her fam­ily con­tinue to be very happy where they are for the time be­ing.

Pro­vin­cial Home: Davao

Marissa Tionko, 46, knew she was go­ing to move to Davao even­tu­ally be­cause her hus­band Tof­fee, 49, was from there. “The orig­i­nal plan was to move when the kids started high school,” she says. “But as fate would have it, Tof­fee moved much ear­lier in 2003 upon the re­quest of his father.”

Tof­fee was asked to help out in the fam­ily busi­ness. In 2006, Marissa fol­lowed with the kids: JB, now 18, Anette, now 16, and Vince, now 13. “Tof­fee built us a house to en­sure we would move right into our own home,” she says.

The Peo­ple: Davao’s Great­est Trea­sure

When Marissa first moved, she told her­self she wasn’t go­ing to com­plain. “Like any new­comer, one must be open to pos­si­bil­i­ties and not be close-minded about a new place,” she ex­plains.

She re­al­ized, how­ever, that Davaoeños were not just friendly, they also went out of their way to make her feel com­fort­able. “It was a big help that every time I en­coun­tered a new rel­a­tive or friend, they would wel­come me into the fold and share their ex­pe­ri­ences of when their fam­ily had just moved,” she shares. “That is an­other pre­cious fact about Davao—its peo­ple. Whereas other towns have a closely knit cir­cle of friends that makes a new­comer feel out of place, the Davaoeños will open their arms and make you feel at home.”

Best of Both Worlds

When you live in Metro Manila, the near­est beach re­sort is hours away by car. Marissa says that liv­ing in Davao means ex­pe­ri­enc­ing “mod­er­ate ur­ban life with our many malls, as well as easy ac­cess to Sa­mal Is­land, which is a 10-minute boat ride or 15-minute RORO (roll-on/roll-off) ride to a huge, charm­ing, white sand is­land with many beach re­sorts. If you want to cool off, you can take a 30-minute drive to dif­fer­ent moun­tain­haven re­sorts of­fer­ing out­door zi­plines and a spec­tac­u­lar view of Davao Gulf.”

Davao’s city life has been grow­ing. Marissa says, “With this comes the traf­fic, crowded gro­ceries, and new faces in the malls. There are many restau­rants of dif­fer­ent cuisines pop­ping up in every cor­ner, well­ness spas to soothe tired folks, and build­ings ris­ing ev­ery­where.”

How­ever, prices re­main low. “The fruits are all sold very cheap in sea­son,” shares Marissa. “The same goes for veg­eta­bles which are eas­ily ac­cessed through the cen­tral mar­kets in every part of the city. Freshly caught fish and seafood are prob­a­bly thirty per­cent cheaper than the mar­ket price in Manila, that is to say forty per­cent cheaper com­pared to the gro­ceries. Elec­tric­ity is also cheaper as the main elec­tri­cal source of Davao comes from both the hy­dro source of Maria Cristina Falls and the coal plants sur­round­ing the city. But fuel such as gaso­line and diesel are a few pe­sos more ex­pen­sive than Manila due to trans­port­ing cargo costs.”

When it comes to ed­u­ca­tion, Marissa says, “My chil­dren are blessed to be at­tend­ing Ate­neo de Davao, which has the qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion and mod­ern school ameni­ties the Je­suits pride them­selves in, yet we are billed about twenty-five to thirty per­cent cheaper than their Manila coun­ter­part.”

The Lux­ury of Time

Above all, liv­ing in Davao has given Marissa more time for leisure. “Ten years af­ter mov­ing and I can proudly say it has been an en­rich­ing and sat­is­fy­ing time for my whole fam­ily,” she re­lates. “We have fond mem­o­ries of week­end beach trips as well as fre­quent vis­its to moun­tain re­sorts. Our qual­ity of life is op­ti­mum be­cause we have time—time to have a re­laxed de­cent meal, time to meet friends in the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon for cof­fee, time to squeeze in some ex­er­cise, time to do quick gro­cery shop­ping and get home. As par­ents, we in­vested in the for­ma­tive to teen years of our chil­dren and know we have given them enough am­mu­ni­tion to sur­vive the harsh re­al­i­ties when they fi­nally go to col­lege and wher­ever their ca­reers take them.”

Pro­vin­cial Home: Zam­boanga

Though 41-year-old Hope Go* lived in Metro Manila her en­tire life, she left it all to re­lo­cate to Zam­boanga when she mar­ried her hus­band Elden*, 43. It wasn’t easy in the be­gin­ning. “I had to deal with home­sick­ness and ad­just­ing to a new en­vi­ron­ment,” she says. “Even­tu­ally, I was able to meet and make new friends, and I have ad­justed to a new pace of life here in Zam­boanga.” Now she has three chil­dren, aged 9, 5, and 3, with a new ad­di­tion on the way. Zam­boanga has def­i­nitely be­come home for Hope.

Fo­cus on Fam­ily Time

It isn’t just the stress- and traf­fic-free trav­el­ing that makes Zam­boanga a haven for Hope and her fam­ily, but how na­ture is just around the bend. “My chil­dren and I ap­pre­ci­ate the easy ac­cess to the beach and to na­ture spots,” she says. “On week­ends, we bring our kids to the beach for some swim­ming and sand play, or we go to Pa­so­nanca Park, where they have a but­ter­fly sanc­tu­ary, path­ways for walk­ing, jog­ging, and bik­ing, and a mini Sci­ence Mu­seum. We some­times go to Paseo del Mar, a board­walk by the sea.”

At the same time, the lack of traf­fic helps her man­age her time bet­ter. “My hus­band spends more time with the fam­ily be­cause he gets to join us for lunch and din­ner,” she re­lates. “Be­cause Zam­boanga City is com­pact, I can also get from place to place with­out be­ing stuck in traf­fic, so I can get more er­rands and things done in one day.”

Liv­ing in Zam­boanga also gives Hope and her fam­ily a taste of the city life. “Just like in Manila, we also go to the malls to eat out, watch movies, do some shop­ping on week­ends,” she says. But there are cer­tain things Hope misses, aside from her fam­ily. “Manila is very com­plete in fa­cil­i­ties and ac­cess to cer­tain goods that are not avail­able in Zam­boanga. So when­ever I go to Manila, I do a sup­ply run and stock up on items I would not be able to find in Zam­boanga like spe­cial­ized cook­ing in­gre­di­ents, or books that the chil­dren like read­ing,” she ex­plains.

The Price to Pay

It won’t be sur­pris­ing to note that the gen­eral cost of goods in Zam­boanga is cheaper than in Manila. “Seafood and veg­eta­bles are fresh and cheaper than Manila prices. One kilo of lapu-lapu will cost around P180 to P250, but in Manila one kilo would cost around P350 and above,” ex­plains Hope. “Tu­ition is also more rea­son­able when com­pared to prices in Manila. Cost of elec­tric­ity is also more af­ford­able, thanks to the hy­dro­elec­tric­ity that pow­ers most of Min­danao.”

How­ever, Hope notes that the price of fuel is sim­i­lar or even higher than that of Manila. “The cost of fuel is pos­si­bly slightly more ex­pen­sive in Zam­boanga due to freight charges for fuel trans­ported from other places to our city. But be­cause Zam­boanga City is more com­pact, there is gen­er­ally less traf­fic, so I think it is safe to say that trans­porta­tion costs here are cheaper. A full tank of gas can last me for two weeks, even with my daily home­school-work routes.”

Re­gard­ing job op­por­tu­ni­ties, Hope says “there are not as many as in big­ger cities like Manila, Cebu, or Davao, where there are more BPO in­dus­tries op­er­at­ing.”

All things con­sid­ered, Hope’s choice to up­root to a place com­pletely dif­fer­ent from where she grew up has en­riched her life in so many ways.

Pro­vin­cial Home: Suri­gao

Ju­lia Som­bilon, 25, and her hus­band Henry Quincy Kang, 25, moved to Suri­gao in 2015 for two rea­sons: to spend more time with Henry’s side of the fam­ily and to run the Kangs’ res­tau­rant, Mari­cor’s Patis­serie. “As it deals with pas­tries and other baked foods, we needed a hands-on ap­proach to gain knowl­edge about the busi­ness,” Ju­lia ex­plains. “The move made it pos­si­ble to learn the del­i­cate pro­cesses in the kitchen and the meth­ods of bak­ing.” The help of fam­ily made the move easy, but as they took roots in the prov­ince, Ju­lia and her hus­band, to­gether with their three-year-old daugh­ter Cyrene Marie, be­gan mak­ing waves of their own as well.

Boom­ing Town

Although a laid-back place, Suri­gao is slowly be­gin­ning to boom. “Since Siar­gao is only a boat ride away, there is an in­flux of vis­i­tors both for­eign and lo­cal,” shares Ju­lia. “The boom in busi­ness is ac­tu­ally ev­i­dent. A lot of hos­tels and restau­rants have re­cently opened in Siar­gao. There is even an art gallery there! The min­ing busi­ness is also alive. En­gi­neers, sup­pli­ers, and ge­ol­o­gists can eas­ily find a home in Suri­gao.”

Ju­lia and her hus­band are cur­rently fo­cused on run­ning Mari­cor’s Patis­serie. He takes care of the recipes while she han­dles mar­ket­ing. They’re also shak­ing up the art world. “Since my hus­band and I are art-in­clined, to­gether with a group of friends, we started the Suri­gao Mak­ers Mart,” she shares. “It’s a lo­cal fair that hap­pens every sec­ond or third Sun­day of the month where lo­cal artists can ex­hibit their work and lo­cal bands are free to per­form. Most of our sell­ers fea­ture lo­cal ar­ti­san prod­ucts, pre-loved items, and food.”

It was the pro­vin­cial life that pushed Ju­lia to start the Mak­ers Mart. “In Manila, art fairs, gigs, and ex­hibits are al­most al­ways on­go­ing, you just have to pick an event and go. Here, you have to make that event hap­pen! But since it’s a small com­mu­nity, host­ing an event is com­par­a­tively eas­ier to do,” she re­veals.

De­spite the boom, Suri­gao is still far from Manila when it comes to the perks of city life. “I re­mem­ber go­ing to the gro­cery store and be­ing dis­mayed by only two choices of tea, and the un­avail­abil­ity of my fa­vorite in­stant Pho noo­dles,” says Ju­lia. “My mother usu­ally sends a care pack­age every now and then. It holds trea­sures like in­stant mac and cheese and other items that are not avail­able here. We don’t even have movies here! But we’re cur­rently work­ing on bring­ing lo­cal in­de­pen­dent films for screen­ing in Suri­gao City. Like I men­tioned, here, you have to make things hap­pen for your­self.”


One of the very first ob­sta­cles city­d­wellers from Manila will no­tice once they land in a prov­ince is how they no longer un­der­stand what peo­ple are say­ing. This was true for Ju­lia.

She shares, “The main chal­lenge for me was the di­alect. The com­mon no­tion of Manileños is that the Visayan lan­guage speaks for all re­gions of Visayas and Min­danao, but Suri­gao has a spe­cific di­alect, which is Suri­gaonon. But over my two-year stay, I have learned to un­der­stand the di­alect. The lan­guage bar­rier is still there, but most Suri­gaonons will­ingly ex­plain in Ta­ga­log when asked.”

Perks for Kids

Though there are chal­lenges that come with liv­ing in the prov­ince, the con­sen­sus is that chil­dren are very happy. “The laid­back life­style we are ac­cus­tomed to here in the prov­ince is do­ing our daugh­ter well,” shares Ju­lia. “As par­ents, we are grate­ful that we are able to de­vote time for our daugh­ter each day, and we are able to spend qual­ity time with my hus­band’s side of the fam­ily. Sav­ing is also eas­ier to do here, it helps us pre­pare for our daugh­ter’s fu­ture.”

When it comes to school, Ju­lia says it is also a win-win: “Ed­u­ca­tion is more af­ford­able here. The usual P80,000 to P100,000 for pre-school in Manila equates to around P20,000 here. It does not mean that the qual­ity is sac­ri­ficed, though.”

In the end, Ju­lia be­lieves it is up to the par­ents to see if their child is learn­ing. “Cur­rently, our daugh­ter is en­rolled in a Chris­tian school. At the age of three, she is able to speak three lan­guages—ta­ga­log, Bisaya, and English—write her name, mem­o­rize her Bi­ble verses, read sim­ple words, and do her math as we also en­rolled her in Ku­mon. Es­teemed schools have also ex­panded here. We have St. Paul, San Se­bas­tian, and Caraga Re­gional Sci­ence High School.” Ju­lia and her lit­tle fam­ily have def­i­nitely made a happy home for them­selves in Suri­gao.

Aleck Mara­mag-ar­radaza from Baguio says, “The idea of en­joy­ment here is about slow­ing down and tak­ing the time to be taken by na­ture.”

Lo­cals and tourists alike flock to the beaches in Su­bic Bay, Zam­bales.

Aleck, Joe­ban, and son Crim­son in Baguio

Ba­colod is known for its vast sug­ar­cane plan­ta­tions.

Fam­i­lies in Davao can have a quick get­away on Sa­mal Is­land, which is home to nu­mer­ous beach re­sorts, such as the idyl­lic Pearl Farm.

The Ledesma fam­ily in Ba­colod

Col­or­ful vin­tas can be found in the wa­ters of Zam­boanga.

The Tionko fam­ily in Davao

Siar­gao Is­land, a pop­u­lar surf­ing des­ti­na­tion, is just a two- to three-hour ferry ride away from Suri­gao.

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