Davao Oriental

Mt. Hamiguitan stands around 1,620 meters tall; you can reach its summit in one day although it is currently closed because it is on its final phase of validation from the UNESCO World Heritage site under the Wildlife Sanctuary category. Its surrounding range is a protected national park that is home to wildlife such as pitcher plants and the Philippine Eagle. The mountain also holds a lake with strange rock formations and tide cycles. Most unusual, however, is its Pygmy Forest – thousands of hectares of century-old bonsai trees that stand just a few feet tall.

At around 1,100 feet above sea level, the Aliwagwag Falls are the highest waterfalls in the Philippines. Its more than a hundred beautiful tiers have earned it the nickname “Stairway to Heaven.”

The whimsical Sleeping Dinosaur, a landscape shaped like the name suggests, can be viewed on the way to the city proper of Mati.

The province is also a popular beach destination. Head to the Dahican beach strip in Mati to experience 7 kilometers of fine white sand.

Cateel has the San Antonio-Baybay Creamsand Long Beach. Although it is actually a gray sand beach, it serves as the nesting grounds of the pawikan (sea turtle).

Banganga has myriad uncommercialized shores and clear waters in Ban-ao, Daang Lungsod and Languyon.

Keen on diving? Check out the Tinaytay and Burias Reefs for rare and well-preserved corals.

If you plan on island-hopping, you won’t be disappointed here. Treasure Island is a small, foliage-covered secret spot, while the beaches of San Victor Island look straight off a postcard. You can find both these islands off of Banganga.

Mati is also a good jump-off point to the white sands of Waniban Island and Pujada Island, and the disappearing Oak Island.