Here's the list of top emerging Philippine destinations by region:
Laoag. I've been to Laoag only once and stayed at the famous Fort Ilocandia Hotel. I'd love to visit Laoag again and see its historical sights. Vigan is also about 2 hours away by bus (that's just about PhP100).
Dagupan. Mica's home and the "Land of Milkfish". I think I was still a kid the last time I've been to one of Dagupan's beaches.
Cordillera Administrative Region
La Trinidad, Benguet. There is much to see in the endless mountain ranges in the Cordillera Region aside from the famous Banaue Rice Terraces and Baguio. La Trinidad, Benguet is near Baguio and that's were all the yummy strawberries come from. Cesar Cruz said that one activity you can do there is strawberry picking. I remember doing this when I was a kid.
Sta. Ana, Cagayan Valley. Palau Island is located at Sta. Ana in Cagayan Valley and has been declared a marine reserve in 1994. This place would be perfect for my diver friends.
Baler. Great for surfing. Follow Batang Baler to learn more about the town (I have!).
Zambales. I remember going to Zambales too when I was a kid (my parents were such lakwatseras!) and I recall comparing how feisty the water was compared to our place in Camangui, Pasacao (Camarines Sur). Also great place to surf according to Cesar Cruz.
National Capital Region
Taguig. Most of us who live in Metro Manila probably take for granted what we have here. Taguig is one of my favorite places to go to since there's a lot of yummy restos around the place.
Region IV-A, Calabarzon
San Juan, Batangas. There are a lot of lovely beaches in Batangas great for snorkeling and scuba diving. I remember an outing I had back in college where we took a boat ride to check out the different islands around Batangas. The water was very clear and I jumped off the boat thinking that the water was just about 5 feet high. It wasn't! I scrambled back up the boat since my imagination got the best of me (I started imagining that Jaws was going to get me). But I still had a great time.
Region IV-B, Mimaropa
Marinduque. Marinduque is home of the Moriones Festival. All I've been doing this years is just checking out photos of the festival. I didn't know as well that Marinduque also has scenic beaches and great diving sites.
Region V, Bicol
Sorsogon. Bicol is my home but I have not gone beyond Albay. I've been wanting to visit Sorsogon and say hi to the friend "Butandings" (whale sharks). I read that the best time to see them is during the month of May and early in the morning.
Naga, Camarines Sur. I've been going to Naga since I was just 8 months old since this is where my parents grew up (my Dad's Ateneo de Naga's basketball star back in the 1950s!) and I absolutely love the Naga Market because there are so many unique stuff you can buy there (bags, foodies etc.). Naga also boasts of many yummy food (i.e. laing, pinangat, pili nuts etc.) and of course don't forget to get some fried siopao and pambonete from the Moderna Bakery. Also visit the Penafrancia Shrine (both the old and the new one) and give homage to Ina. The famous place to go to now is the Camsur Watersports Complex at Pili, Camarines Sur.
Region VI, Western Visayas Region
Silay. I got my first glimpse of Silay during my last visit to Bacolod since the new airport is now located there. All I got to see though was the lush green fields from the plane and the endless horizon of sugar cane on my way to Bacolod. Silay though is known to be the center for culture of the Visayas region and is a place to go to especially if you are interested in Philippine architecture. I promised Kuya Ricky that I'll visit him one day (hopefully soon!).
I obviously still have a lot of places to go to and hope to up my Lakbayan rating by summer next year. Have you checked what your Lakbayan rating is? Go over to Eugene's app here. Also, the annual Philippine Travel Mart (organized by PHILTOA) will be on September 3 to 5, 2010, at the Megatrade Hall.
*PHILTOA - Philippine Tour Operations Association
DOT - Department of Tourism
This post is to be continued...