7 romantic PH travel destinations for your dating milestones

Dating, committed, considering proposing? Or is it complicated – and you just want to pack up and go? Travel ideas for the different stages of your relationship

Rhea Claire E Madarang
Published 12:15 PM, February 07, 2015
Updated 8:32 AM, April 23, 2015

As an archipelago blessed with both natural and historical wonders, our country will never come up short of beautiful places to explore, and many of them definitely inspire romance. (READ: No fighting! Tips to stay sane while planning your trip for two)

There aren't any hard and fast rules, of course – that's what's great about both love and travel. But for the romantics out there, here are just a few suggestions for each milestone of your love story.

Getting to know you: Intramuros

Great for a first date, or a fun date in the early stages of your relationship

OLD WORLD CHARM. Let yourself and your date be charmed by the walled city’s cultural treasures. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

OLD WORLD CHARM. Let yourself and your date be charmed by the walled city’s cultural treasures. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Walk the cobblestone streets and take in the charming, old-world architecture dating back hundreds of years. Explore plazas and gardens with archways and fountains, like the Plaza San Luis Complex. Enter the UNESCO World Heritage site San Agustin Church, where countless couples have said their “I dos.”

FOUNTAINS AND ARCHES. Find richer details, like these at Plaza San Luis Complex, as you explore Intramuros. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

FOUNTAINS AND ARCHES. Find richer details, like these at Plaza San Luis Complex, as you explore Intramuros. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

HERITAGE AND WEDDING SITE. San Agustin Church is known for its detailed murals, a bit of an optical illusion. It is also a popular venue for weddings. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

HERITAGE AND WEDDING SITE. San Agustin Church is known for its detailed murals, a bit of an optical illusion. It is also a popular venue for weddings. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

There are more things to do if you’d like to make it extra special in the early stages of your relationship.

In the evening, dine at one of the walled city’s garden restaurants like Ilustrado, or catch a cultural show with dinner at Barbara’s, also at Plaza San Luis Complex. Or eat while enjoying the view of Intramuros and Manila’s landmarks like the City Hall clock from Bayleaf Hotel’s roof deck restaurant.

DINNER WITH A VIEW. Get to know each other better while eating and enjoying the view of the historical city from Bayleaf Hotel’s roof deck. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

DINNER WITH A VIEW. Get to know each other better while eating and enjoying the view of the historical city from Bayleaf Hotel’s roof deck. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Day trip: Tagaytay

Enjoying each other's company? Take that short day trip and spend more than a few hours together

Breathe in the cool air and enjoy the classic view of Taal Volcano while having a long, leisurely lunch on one of the city’s restaurants along the ridge.

CLASSIC BEAUTY. You can never go wrong with Tagaytay’s classic yet unfailingly beautiful scenery for a date. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

CLASSIC BEAUTY. You can never go wrong with Tagaytay’s classic yet unfailingly beautiful scenery for a date. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Or dine in a relaxing and colorful garden setting like Sonya’s Garden, or, if you can really splurge, eat at Antonio’s. Antonio’s is recognized as the country’s best restaurant in the Miele Guide, the authoritative guide book to Asian restaurants.

RELAXING LUNCH. The bright and warm colors of Sonya’s Garden are perfect for relaxing and having a romantic, leisurely conversation over lunch. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

RELAXING LUNCH. The bright and warm colors of Sonya’s Garden are perfect for relaxing and having a romantic, leisurely conversation over lunch. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

In the afternoon, have fun like kids with the rides at Sky Ranch. Catch the sunset from Sky Eye, the country’s tallest ferris wheel, to also see Tagaytay from one of the best vantage points.

TALLEST FERRIS WHEEL. Ride the Sky Eye to get one of the best views of Tagaytay. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

TALLEST FERRIS WHEEL. Ride the Sky Eye to get one of the best views of Tagaytay. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

If you and your partner are adventurous types, before you have that leisurely lunch you can start the day early and take a boat to Taal Volcano, then trek for at least 30 minutes or ride a horse to the crater to see one of the country’s most beautiful lakes. (READ: IN PHOTOS: 8 PH lakes to add to your travel bucket list)

TAAL UP CLOSE. Taal Volcano is especially beautiful up close. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

TAAL UP CLOSE. Taal Volcano is especially beautiful up close. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Cozy up to each other: Baguio

Together a while and ready for a longer trip? #ShareBaguio

CITY OF PINES. Pine trees and cool weather – perfect for couples cozying up to each other – are Baguio’s signature. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

CITY OF PINES. Pine trees and cool weather – perfect for couples cozying up to each other – are Baguio’s signature. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

With beautiful mountain scenery and pine trees, the view might look like something out of a dream, with wisps of fog, and colorful flowers and strawberries, Baguio is a perfect romantic destination. And, of course, the cool air is perfect for snuggling. A weekend here might just strengthen your relationship.

Walk hand in hand under Camp John Hay’s pine trees. Feast your eyes on the bright flowers of Baguio Botanical Garden and the city’s other parks and gardens.

STRAWBERRIES AND ROSES. Pick strawberries at La Trinidad (left), and see fields of roses at Bahong (right). Photo on the right by Karl Acepcion

STRAWBERRIES AND ROSES. Pick strawberries at La Trinidad (left), and see fields of roses at Bahong (right). Photo on the right by Karl Acepcion

Eat at Hill Station or other restaurants with a view – and of course, delicious food. (READ: 15 amazing Baguio City eats)

SCENIC DINING. Enjoy delicious food at one of Baguio’s most popular restaurants while taking in the view of pines. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

SCENIC DINING. Enjoy delicious food at one of Baguio’s most popular restaurants while taking in the view of pines. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Go outside the city for experiences of red, the color of love: strawberries at La Trinidad farm, and roses at Bahong farm. (READ: Baguio City: Your complete weekend itinerary)

LA TRINIDAD. Head to La Trinidad for strawberry picking. Photo by Owen Ballesteros

LA TRINIDAD. Head to La Trinidad for strawberry picking. Photo by Owen Ballesteros

Island getaway: Boracay

Take a longer trip here for a sweet anniversary

FAMOUS SUNSET. Boracay’s fiery skies are postcard-perfect. Photo by Zyllah Gatchalian

FAMOUS SUNSET. Boracay’s fiery skies are postcard-perfect. Photo by Zyllah Gatchalian

While some might say Boracay is a cliché and overrated destination, this island has an undeniable charm that keeps people coming and coming back. Its shores have been witness to many a proposal and wedding. Travel+Leisure magazine even recognized it as the 5th most romantic island in the world, in addition to its other awards and recognitions.

On your first year together, have a relaxing and romantic weekend in Boracay by walking barefoot along White Beach’s powdery sand (you can visit Puka if you prefer a less crowded beach), catching the famous Boracay sunset, and having dinner and drinks at the beach.

If you’re up for an adrenaline rush, try parasailing together. The view alone is worth it. (READ: Diniwid beach: The quiet side of Boracay)

PARTNER PARASAILING. Try this for the view and the adrenaline rush. Photo by Zyllah Gatchalian

PARTNER PARASAILING. Try this for the view and the adrenaline rush. Photo by Zyllah Gatchalian

The long road together: Ilocos Sur and Norte

Been a couple for some time? Take a few days off to fall in love all over again

Nothing like a long road trip, a romantic evening, an outdoor adventure, and couple time extending beyond the weekend to bring you two even closer together.

First, take it easy in Vigan. Walk its historic streets, especially Calle Crisologo and its old white houses, cobblestones, and calesas. Then wait for night to fall and watch the street lights bathe the white houses and streets in gold. Dine al fresco on one of the street’s restaurants like Cafe Leona and take in Vigan at its most magical – and romantic – time.

ROMANTIC NIGHT IN VIGAN. Vigan is most beautiful and romantic in the evening, when its streets and buildings are awash in a golden glow. Photo by Paula Anntoneth O

ROMANTIC NIGHT IN VIGAN. Vigan is most beautiful and romantic in the evening, when its streets and buildings are awash in a golden glow. Photo by Paula Anntoneth O

This romance is in fact not only in its streets, but also in its history. During World War II, Vigan was saved from being burned to the ground when a priest took in a Japanese officer’s Filipino wife and their child. The Japanese, who already had drums of gasoline stored in strategic areas in town, did not push through with their plan.

After Vigan, head farther north, to Pagudpud. Stay at one of the resorts along Saud’s white beach and from there explore neighboring attractions. Trek and see up close the blinding white majesty of the Kapurpurawan rock formations. (READ: 6 amazing PH rock formations)

GIANT ROCK. You’ll stare in awe, marveling at Kapurpurawan’s size and beauty. Photo courtesy of Mai Flores

GIANT ROCK. You’ll stare in awe, marveling at Kapurpurawan’s size and beauty. Photo courtesy of Mai Flores

Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon’s bright waters. Feel the rush of wind and waves in Bangui, and watch the windmills’ dramatic silhouette against the setting sun.

WINDMILL MAGIC. Be swept away by the wind and the towering beauty of Bangui’s windmills. Photo by Ros Flores

WINDMILL MAGIC. Be swept away by the wind and the towering beauty of Bangui’s windmills. Photo by Ros Flores

Proposal-worthy: Palawan

Whether you’re ready to take the next step or just planning a major vacation, visit Palawan

CORON’S SIGNATURE BEAUTY. One of the most well-known and photographed spots in Coron, which makes this paradise easily identifiable. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

CORON’S SIGNATURE BEAUTY. One of the most well-known and photographed spots in Coron, which makes this paradise easily identifiable. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Take your pick between Coron and El Nido – both are postcard-perfect, with limestone formations carved by nature into awe-inspiring shapes, the clearest waters reflecting the forested karsts’ greens and the skies’ blues, and what appears to be a never-ending supply of islands with stretches of white sand.

UNTAMED BEACH. Banol’s white beach in Coron. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

UNTAMED BEACH. Banol’s white beach in Coron. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

It is no surprise that travel magazines like Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast recognize Palawan as among the most breathtaking islands in the world.

With the sheer amount of beauty everywhere, it is almost impossible to take a bad photo, which means almost anywhere is a good place to pop the question, as long as you can hold on to the ring. Ask for the help of your tour guide if necessary.

JUST ENGAGED. While their lunch was being prepared at El Nido’s Talisay Beach, this guy found a quiet spot, popped the question, and she answered with a surprised, happy yes. Photos courtesy of Angel Caronongan Enero of gelaikuting.com

JUST ENGAGED. While their lunch was being prepared at El Nido’s Talisay Beach, this guy found a quiet spot, popped the question, and she answered with a surprised, happy yes. Photos courtesy of Angel Caronongan Enero of gelaikuting.com

For El Nido, you can have your big moment on of the beaches in the mainland. Corong-Corong’s limestone formations in the horizon look especially dramatic during sunset.

CORONG-CORONG’S FIRE. Chase El Nido’s arguably best sunset at Corong-Corong. And, before the sun goes down, ask the question that will change everything. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

CORONG-CORONG’S FIRE. Chase El Nido’s arguably best sunset at Corong-Corong. And, before the sun goes down, ask the question that will change everything. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang

Weddings and anniversaries: Batanes

The greenest hills that seem to roll on forever, dotted occasionally by a white lighthouse or a stone house, and the brightest blues foaming white as they shape, and if possible, make even more beautiful, Batanes’ rugged cliffs. (READ: Through the eyes of a first-timer: Batanes, the evergreen)

DREAM DESTINATION. Batanes’ vibrant and spectacular landscapes and seascapes make it a dream destination for many. Photo by Paula Anntoneth O

DREAM DESTINATION. Batanes’ vibrant and spectacular landscapes and seascapes make it a dream destination for many. Photo by Paula Anntoneth O

Many have marked it on top of their bucket lists. And some couples dream of a Batanes wedding, or at least a Batanes honeymoon. (READ: Beautiful Batanes: 10 things to do)

Allow yourself and your partner to be swept away by these northern islands’ beauty, much like Batanes’ strongest waves can. Walk the green rolling hills, and sit down side by side and let time just pass by as you feel the wind and watch the waves pounding at the cliffs, and know that you have a lifetime ahead with your partner to see beautiful views like this.

OUTDOOR WEDDING. You can say your I dos with Batanes’ fairytale beauty all around. Photo by Jayson and JoAnne Arquiza. Wedding Agency by RebelliousBrides.com

OUTDOOR WEDDING. You can say your I dos with Batanes’ fairytale beauty all around. Photo by Jayson and JoAnne Arquiza. Wedding Agency by RebelliousBrides.com

And, if you can, say your I dos at the charming stone chapel of Tukon in Basco, or out in the open, surrounded by Batanes’ natural beauty.

FAIRYTALE. Now imagine you two getting married in such a beautiful place, like this couple here. Photo by Jayson and JoAnne Arquiza. Wedding Agency by RebelliousBrides.com

FAIRYTALE. Now imagine you two getting married in such a beautiful place, like this couple here. Photo by Jayson and JoAnne Arquiza. Wedding Agency by RebelliousBrides.com

Watch this couple exchange vows with Batanes as their breathtaking backdrop. The video is by Jason Magbanua.

Andrea and Mark's Wedding in Batanes from Jason Magbanua on Vimeo.

In the future, bring your children with you, and let them fall in love with Batanes, too.

These are just some of many romantic destinations to explore in the Philippines. Do you have a memorable travel moment in mind? Let us know in the comments below. – Rappler.com

Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler, and seeker who believes in traveling light, particularly in the inner journey. Her wanderlust takes her to adventures like backpacking for seven weeks and exploring remote islands and bustling cities alike. Follow her adventures, travel tips, and epiphanies at Traveling Light