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In a tropical country like the Philippines, there are only two places to go when temperatures soar: the beach or the mountain. If you’ve had enough of the sand, sea, and sky, leave the beaches behind and delight in the cool and chill of the highlands.
In this article, Lamudi lists the top towns and cities where you can take refuge from the country’s tropical, and at times scorching, heat.
Topping the list is the Summer Capital of the Philippines. Sitting on mountain slopes 1,500 meters above sea level in the mountainous province of Benguet, Baguio City enjoys a cool climate all year round.
Troves of tourists take the six-hour drive from Manila up the zigzagging Kennon Road or the longer Marcos Highway during the entire summer season. February sees Baguio City in full bloom as the Panagbenga Festival, the annual month-long flower festival, fills Session Road and Burnham Park with spectacular floats of flowers, music, dancing, and spectators.
Find a home in this bustling city nestled amidst foggy pine-covered hills and charming log-cabin houses and be in close proximity to Camp John Hay, the Mansion House, the BenCab Museum, Tam-Awan Village, various ukay-ukay shops, and the strawberry farms of nearby La Trinidad Valley.
Considered the second summer capital of the country, Tagaytay is the nearest cool escape to Metro Manila. Its fresh, crisp air, steaming bowls of bulalo (bone marrow soup), and postcard-perfect view of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake make the perfect combination for those who wish to unwind after a hectic work week.
At 2,250 feet above sea level, Tagaytay enjoys a year-long cold climate. Like Baguio, it is a place of pine trees, winding roads, perfect spots for picnics and horseback riding, and lots of vacation property options.
Those who seek to escape the parching heat of the lowlands will welcome the biting cold of Sagada. Jutting 5,300 feet above sea level, this town tucked away in a valley amidst the Cordilleras can experience a teeth-chattering 10 °C in January and February.
Famous for its hanging coffins perched on cliffsides, Sagada offers trekking, rock climbing, and spelunking adventures. Visitors love the formations in Lumiang and Sumaguing Caves, the rice terraces leading to Bomod-ok Falls, and the exquisite view of the sunrise from the Kiltepan Peak.
For cool mountain air, a splash in the freezing waters of hidden waterfalls, and a breathtaking view of majestic staircases to the sky, head to Banaue.
Home to 2,000-year-old rice terraces sculpted into the mountains of Ifugao, Banaue offers one of the most stunning landscapes in the country. Due to its high altitude (the terraces are about 5,000 feet above sea level), Banaue enjoys a low temperature all year long.
Batanes’ cold or temperate climate is not due to its altitude, but due to its latitude. Located in the northernmost part of the Philippines, the province is as far as you can get from the equator without leaving the country. In Itbayat, one of the three inhabited islands of Batanes, temperatures can drop to 7 °C between November and February.
With a landscape of emerald hills, rocky mountains, and steep craggy cliffs constantly battered by waves, as well as islands scattered where the Pacific Ocean meets the West Philippine Sea, Batanes is as picturesque as it is cool. Typhoons are common in the area, and the Ivatans (the native inhabitants of Batanes) protect themselves from the cold and moody weather by living in sturdy stone houses that can last for decades.
Bathe in one of the waterfalls of Lake Sebu if you enjoy a refreshing, yet cold bath. Dubbed the Summer Capital of Southern Philippines, the town is nestled in the highlands of South Cotabato and enjoys temperatures seldom warmer than 25 °C.
To further experience Lake Sebu, take a canoe ride in its three lakes and zipline through five of the town’s seven falls.
Malaybalay is located in the fertile plateau of Bukidnon, which is famous for its sprawling crop plantations and is considered the food basket of Mindanao. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the city lies about 915 meters above sea level, so it regularly enjoys low temperatures all year long.
Bukidnon is a landlocked province and does not have islands or white, sandy beaches but lush mountains and natural springs. It also offers destinations for shiver-inducing adventures, like the Dahilayan Adventure Park, which has one of the longest ziplines in Asia, and Mount Dulang-Dulang, the second highest mountain in the country.
Situated at about 2,600 feet above sea level, Marawi City in Lanao del Sur enjoys a pleasant climate that usually reaches about 14 °C.
The city’s topography is dominated by imposing mountains, rolling hills, and the large Lake Lanao. The community is predominantly Muslim, so mosques and torogans (royal houses) define the landscape.
Resting at the foot of the country’s highest peak is Kidapawan. This Cotabato city is the usual jump-off point for those who seek an adventure on the 9,692-foot high Mount Apo, the country’s highest peak.
Although its elevation is merely 915 feet, Kidapawan City has high-altitude places that are graced with cool climate. The place also boasts cold and hot springs, steaming lakes, ranging rivers, elegant falls, and wild forests, making it the perfect city for those who love the great outdoors.
Don Salvador Benedicto
At the heart of mountains of Negros Island lies the charming town of Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB). With an elevation of 2,500 feet, DSB enjoys a chilly climate of 16 °C. The place also has pine trees and long, winding roads, and has been dubbed the Little Baguio of Negros Occidental.
Scenic DSB is home to miniature rice terraces and chocolate hills, sugarcane plantations spread around the stately Mount Kanlaon, and the Malatan-og or Cigarette Falls, beautiful amidst a background of lush forestry.