Make a Difference: A Different Kind of Travel Guide to the Philippines

Make a Difference: A Different Kind of Travel Guide to the Philippines

Travel around the Philippines almost always involves beaches, white sands, awesome landscapes, friendly people, good food..

It is indeed fun… specially if the small time vendors, farmers, fishermen and tribes can go experience the fun too no? It is complicated to explain why there is a social divide. We might nosebleed.

So let’s have fun instead by sharing our blessings while we travel.. using this different kind of a travel guide to the Philippines contributed by Pinoy Travel Bloggers scattered in different parts of the Philippines.

Travel spots are divided per province. Feel free to visit if you find yourself in the area. You can click on the map to contribute your goodness trail too! Let’s fill in more dots shall we? ^_^




If you’re planning to trek the majestic Sierra Madre, might as well visit the beautiful Dumagat tribes too. And you might meet Piolo, a cute curly haired child with coffee-colored skin.. These tribes, might seem content, but their smiles betrayed the hardships they go through every day.

Claire have more details:


Planning a reunion? Why not follow the footsteps of Armie, and organize a get together with a cause too. Initially, their plan was  to help the indigent students of Barangay Bulala in Vigan(Ilocos Sur) but they were also able to help another school in San Ildefonso, a town just 5km from Vigan.


You can read more details at:


For city dwellers of the metro, you can take a break from buildings, concrete walls (and traffic) when you go visit nearby Rizal province. That is what Karl Ace did when he visited San Mateo, Rizal and joined the MMDA’s monthly tree planting activity.



Let’s see visions of trees sprouting not just in Rizal but everywhere.. And I’m seeing more tree growers than just tree planters too..

Favor though, lets plant trees other than Mahogany shall we? Let us avoid a dead forrest like this:

For details, kindly visit


If you are planning a family activity, you can go visit Paradise Ranch Clark’s Nature and Conservation Park in Sacobia Valley Clark Airbase, Angeles, Pampanga.  Each visit to Paradise Ranch is a two-fold opportunity to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature amid its 100-acre environmental project, while being provided a chance to help save the environment and help the poor through a “Responsible charity” instead of a “dole out” by giving them something to do at the ranch for a fee.

This is what Atty Mhe Anne of My Comings and Goings did along with her family clan on their reunion. The place, according to her, is where the family could enjoy nature at its best while kids are taught on how to protect the environment and save wildlife.

But that’s not all, you can also join Friends of the Forrest program, which requires participants to commit in planting 300 mahogany trees for a fee of P50 per tree  or a total of Php 15,000.00, not only as a massive reforestation effort but also to help provide more jobs for the poor.

Hrrm…. Why only Mahogany, why not Mango trees huh? ;)





Batangas is famous for its Bulalo and Kapeng Batangas. But you can also go there to do a different kind of travel.

Ervin of Schadow1 Expeditions headed to Mt Batulao to give away slippers for the youth and young mountain guides at the heart of Nasugbu, Batangas. Thank you to the donations of generous subscribers, readers and friends.

The Philippines is blessed with lots of mountains.. If you wish to follow Ervin’s trail, just go out to a nearby mountain and commune with mountain people and see what their needs are to be self sustainable in the near future.

Details at


The first thing that comes to my mind when you say Mindoro is the tamaraw and white beach at Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro.

But if you want something more to do, you can follow the footsteps of Jho and partner, the bloggers behind Philippine mountains and Beyond. They joined lakbay kinabukasan, a Brigada Eskwela and Medical Mission Project. It was a concerted effort of groups from different walks of life to reach out to the Mangyan tribes in Mindoro.

Details at:


Over cups of coffee or unhurried lunch dates, Che of Backpacking Pilipinas started the idea of giving books to children. Her friends didn’t just like the whole idea of the book drive, they started pitching in suggestions on how to go about with the plan. Then over some more cups of coffees and some more unhurried lunch dates, “BOOKSAIL: Braving Philippine Seas for Literary” was born.



For now, the pilot book drive will focus on the children from Palumbanes Elementary School. Located in Palumbanes Island, Caramoran, Catanduanes.

In the future, maybe Che and good hearted people like her will give books in all the nook corner islands in the Philippines.. it is very much possible!

If you think books are the key for the bright future of this country, feel free to join Che, details at


If you find yourself in the area, you may want to visit Gubat, Sorsogon. Once there was no library  in one school in that province.. but because of the Book Sharing Project, a brand new library with painted walls, newly constructed bookshelves and most importantly, books, made kids beam with delight.. I’m seeing the picture below and I sigh to myself- so many books *drools*


This is the end product of the effort of star bloggers which includes Marky of Nomadic Experiences.

What if all far flung places have libraries like this? I can imagine many Jose Rizal’s will be born out of these libraries!

For details see:


For people in the medical field, you may want to join Ephraim of Selfless Travels in his misions to do free eye consultation, free blood pressure checkups, free medicinces. He do mission trips not only in Leyte but in other parts of the provinces (and other countries) as well.


For details, please see



This place is halfday away from Boracay. Yet this magical place is like so untouched by many modern facilities.. I’m actually loving the raw beauty.

If you find yourself in this mystical place, feel free to give out books for the mobile library; or volunteer at Gawad Kalinga.. Currently, they are building a community village in Aningalan, the little Baguio in Panay.. The weather may make you feel like you’re in Switzerland, as some people say, but if you contribute to community self sustainablity, a swiss like village might just become a self fulfilled reality.

Although for now, you have to be brave enough to ride on top of jeeps and army trucks because travel there is really a challenge.

Aside from that there is the Ati community in the province too. Located in Dao, Tobias Fornier, you can visit them to pay tribute to the descendants of the first settlers in the country..  and wonder in awe why our original inhabitants is now one of the poorest.


Iloilo is famous for batchoy and beautiful churches like the one in Miagao.. but there is more to Iloilo than that.

You can also find a hidden gem in the form of Kristine Buenavista. You can find her tying balloons in various hues around her rolling library to attract children, makes a signage out of an old chalkboard to beckon those who can read, and chants spiels like a master sales(wo)man– only, her goods are for free– to lure in aunties, uncles and grannies to pore over books through yellowed reading glasses.

Often, she invites friends to make the rounds with her. Fellow storytellers from nearby towns, or those who can spare weekends away from big cities. Sometimes, she hosts couchsurfers who are keen to do some volunteer work — bike around on her behalf for example; or read, write, make art and storytell.

Find the gem, and share the fun too..

Credit goes to Rain for documenting unsung heroes:


Aside from Chiang Mai in Thailand, Cebu is on the top list of places to live for retired people.

For philanthropists who have retired in the area, if you can spare a bit, you can also join the Tsinelas project and send a kid to school for forty bucks a year. You could also cross an item off a graduating student’s wish list: three dollars for a pair of denim pants, for instance. If you fancy, you can trek to many of Cebu’s far-flung mountain barangays and help other Tsinelas volunteers paint a classroom or build a library– take your pick.

Thanks Rain for the details:


One of the most beautiful spots and prized jewel in this area is the Aliwagwag falls. However, due to typhoon Pablo that struck last December 4, 2012, the place needs restoration.

Aliwagwag Falls was massively battered by those demonic winds brought by Pablo destroying its vast rainforests and century old trees. The mossy forest was left balding. Wild flowers and orchids were gone. Waters overflowed. For barely three hours on that horrific morning of December 4, 2012, the majestic beauty of Aliwagwag Falls was tainted.

Whenever you found yourself near the area, why not spend the extra mile and help restore the place?

More details on:


You can go on a day trip to the town of Sta. Maria in the soon to be province of Davao Occidental. You don’t only get to bask in the beauty of this place, but you can also help the children living in this side of paradise.

That’s what Mervs of Pinoy Adventurista and Glen of EscapeManila did when they joined Naprey Almario’s Behind the Rolling Chair‘s annual “Back to School Gift-Giving Project”.

More details at


Davao means Durian and Philippine Eagle to many. But you can also do lots of good things too.

You can join Danilo Guillano‘s in his Pens of Hope Davao  project, which aims to educate as many children as possible. He has found his happy place– a bottomless venue where he can share his art and music and actually make a difference.

Do consider tagging along in their school visits the next time you are in Davao, or drop a box of crayons or two in their collection centers

Details here:



Go visit  Camp Edward in Alegria, Surigao del Norte where majority of the residents of this village, are members of an indigenous tribe called Mamanwas.

You can go shopping there too! Hats, Bags, and Boxes made from abaka and pandan leaves are patiently weaved by Mamanwas’ artistic hands. Products are sold from P90-200 pesos only or almost 50% percent OFF compared to price in pasalubong centers. Let us connect them to the market and keep their “arts and livelihood alive”.

tribu mamanwa

You can read more details at Jeffrey’s blog:



In today’s world, it’s indeed seldom to find people who offer genuine and loving service to others. But the stories above will let you think there is an abundance of good people.. let’s do hope a bright future is ahead of us.

May peace and happiness prevail to people who are traveling with a difference. If everybody is happy, truly we can say – it was indeed fun.

If you notice, some provinces are missing so pretty please contribute your piece by providing your comments or email me at

This compilation is the Philippine Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival for the month of June 2013 with the theme, Travel with a Purpose | Travel with a Cause | Travel with a Difference

9 thoughts on “Make a Difference: A Different Kind of Travel Guide to the Philippines

    1. ill be posting similar events on, its good to know people wanted to join these kinds of activities ^_^

  1. Thanks, Grasya, for putting this together!
    We have recently visited Antique, Panadan, Tibiao and then Iloilo and we love these places :)

    Happy and safe travels!

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