It is the time of year once more when we observe the International Women’s Month to recognize their vital role in making the world go round, including the global travel and tourism which just got a recent reboot.
In the Philippines, women comprise a huge percentage of the industry’s labor force and tourist arrival statistics. More interestingly, many of our top destinations were also named after women, which reflects our high regard for their place society.
Here are some of the getaways for wanderlusts named after wonder women.
Pit Stop 1: Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT)
Regarded as the last frontier of Bulacan, this once an obscure town has been luring nature lovers and adventurers who want to experience province’s rugged side. Named after the mother of former first lady Imelda Marcos, it was carved out from remote villages, and eventually becoming the biggest municipality.
In recent years, it has been luring outdoor enthusiasts such as bikers, riders and road trippers who want to see more than the usual colonial-era houses, churches and historic spots. Framed by the majestic Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, its tourist magnets include caves, rivers, forests, springs, limestone formations, a series of 13 waterfalls, and mountain-top panoramic vistas.
Madlum Adventure Park is a must-go to for those seeking an adrenaline rush with its extreme physical activities.
A good portion of the sprawling Biak-na-Bato National Park in San Miguel town, once the headquarters of Filipino revolutionaries under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, is actually part of DRT. The seat of the so-called Biak-na-Bato Republic in 1897, the 659-hectare forest park which abounds in endemic flora and fauna.
It is interesting to note that a good number of visitors to the areas is comprised of women, teenage students and millennials on motorcycles, bikes, or four-wheel vehicles with their families.
Pit Stop 2: Aurora
If you have been surfing the internet good enough, you would already know that this province is a haven for surfing, beach-bumming, heritage tours, and everything in between.
Reachable via the northern expressways of NLEx, SCTEx and the newly-opened CLLEx, the journey going there is an exciting adventure in itself, with its scenic highways and endless twists and turns.
Aurora was once the northern part of the long Tayabas province (now Quezon) until it was carved out in 1979 and named after Maria Aurora Aragon-Quezon, wife of former president Manuel Quezon. As if this honor wasn’t enough, the municipality of Maria Aurora was also named after her.
The provincial capital of Baler is the hub of surfing, beach recreation, and history walks, and the place to stay when exploring the rest of the province. Bound by the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madres, this touristy place is made famous by internationally-recognized surf sites such as Sabang Beach, Cemento Beach, Cobra Reef, and Charlie’s Point where portions of the movie Apocalypse Now was filmed.
If you hang around a little longer and get your feet in surfing, you’ll be able to meet intriguing lady wave riders who have made the area their stomping ground.
Hop around the unspoiled powdery beaches in the neighboring towns of Dipaculao, Dilasag, Casiguran, Dingalan and Dicasalarin, some of which are ideal for snorkeling and scuba diving.
At Baler’s población, you can do the Heritage Walk and retrace the town’s rich history through the structures that still stand—Quezon Memorial Park, the bahay kubo (nipa hut) birthplace of president Quezon, Museo de Baler, the Aurora Aragon Quezon House, the San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Church which was the last Spanish military outpost, and the Lt. Gilmore marker where Filipinos repulsed American forces in 1899.
Pit Stop 3: Isabela
Situated in the Cagayan Valley, it was created by a Spanish royal decree in honor of Queen Isabela II in the 1800s. The country’s second largest province, its 10,664-sq. km area spreads across swathes of land from the foot of the Cordillera ranges to the Pacific Ocean.
It is home to the 300,000-hectare Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, the biggest rainforest in the Philippines and one of the world’s top 10 biodiversity hotspots.
The capital city of Ilagan is host to intriguing stuff such as 11-foot high chair and recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s biggest butaka, Fuyot Springs National Park, Japanese Tunnel, and the Queen Isabela Park at the provincial capitol complex.
Along the main highway are interesting cultural attractions such as the St. Mathias Church in Tumauini, a National Cultural Treasure, Our Lady of Atocha Church in Alicia, and St. Paul’s Church in San Pablo.
Further inland is Magat Dam Tourism Complex in Ramon, a power generation and irrigation facility, whose vast reservoir is ideal for water-based recreation such as fishing, boating and water skiing.
For a dash of urban comfort, swing by the hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and malls in Santiago and Cauayan cities.
In between the sights and sounds of the “Queen Province”, feast on the mouth-watering Pancit Batil Patong or Pancit Cabagan, Isabela’s native delicacies.