Most of Sagada’s famous hanging coffins are high on the limestone cliffs surrounding Echo Valley. Some hanging coffins are centuries old; others were put there recently. Animistic Applai elders continue to be entombed in the caves surrounding Sagada – if they can afford it.
By far the best way to experience the park is in a rented tandem kayak (per day P500) from 100 Islands Ocean Sports; you can bring it with you on your bangka, or hire one on Quezon Island (P650 per hour) The company also leads cave jumps from Imelda Cave on Marcos Island, a fun activity made infinitely better by geographic nomenclature that suggests you’re about to lea.
Boyatte Motorbike Rental rents motorbikes for P600 to P800 for the day. Heading west out of Coron town, the road quickly deteriorates and calls for at least a little off-road experience and confidence navigating several plank bridges, rocks and gravel.
Something of a Manila celebrity, Carlos Celdran is a hilariously eccentric one-man show of Filipino history and trivia. Highly recommended for those with a sense of humour and an open mind.
You can bag a few peaks around here, including Sagada’s highest mountain, Mt Sipitan (2200m), although it’s said to be rife with hunters’ booby traps; don’t try it without a guide. The majority of this rigorous, full-day hike, which starts near not-quite-idyllic Lake Danum on the way to Besao and ends in Banga-an, is through mossy forest.
The CamSur Watersports Complex, 12km south of Naga in the town of Pili, is an impressively modern cable wakeboarding centre, complete with surfer-dude music, restaurants, wi-fi and a range of accommodation. It’s heaps of fun for experienced riders and beginners alike.
About a half-hour walk from town are the small Bokong Waterfalls, where you can take a refreshing dip. To get here, follow the road east out of town and take the steps just after Sagada Weaving on the left. Follow the path through the rice fields down to a small river. Cross the river and continue upstream to the falls.
A range of outdoor activities can be arranged here, including diving, canyonning and hiking trips around the area, as well as caving at Mabinay and Bayawan. All equipment is provided. Those planning to climb Mt Kanlaon in Negros Occidental can avoid a lot of hassle and red tape by joining one of its regular trips.
At Panicuason, Mt Isarog Hot Springs has five natural hot-to-tepid pools. These offer a good way to relax after a trek in the Mt Isarog National Park. The springs are a 1.3km walk off the main road, just before the road to the national park, and combined with Malabsay Falls make a good day trip from Naga.
Just outside the walls of Intramuros in a uniquely urban venue, on what used to be the moat surrounding the city, you can golf by day or by night at the quirky 18-hole, par-66 Club Intramuros Golf Course. You can obtain the shady services of an ‘umbrella girl’ for P350 as well as rent clubs (P700).
There are superb panoramic views of the rice terraces and surrounding mountains from Mt Kiltepan, which is about a 40-minute walk (or 10-minute drive) from town. Take the road heading east out of town and look for a left turn about 500m past the turn-off to Rock Inn.