Dolly Dy-Zulueta – Philstar.com
January 14, 2024 | 5:02pm
MANILA, Philippines — The weather in the Philippines is such that it gets cold towards the end of the “Ber” months — well, technically, every December.
Although December begins with summer-like heat still prevailing, it suddenly feels like what we call Christmas weather. This extends all the way to January and February. It can get even colder in January because the northeast monsoon (cold winds from the northeast or Amihan) brings cold and dry air from mainland Asia, which is experiencing winter at this time of the year. This causes temperatures to drop and to remain cold even in the next few weeks as the ice starts to melt in the northeast.
There are places in the Philippines, however, that experience sweater weather throughout the year, the most popular of which is Baguio in the province of Benguet. Standing at high elevation in the mountains of the Cordillera region, the City of Pines is the seat of government of the Cordillera Administrative Region and the center of business, commerce and education in Northern Luzon. It is known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines because of its cold weather.
Baguio, though, is not the only place in the country that boasts of a “sweater weather,” especially at this time of the year.
Agoda, a digital travel platform, names three other sweater-weather local destinations in the country as “cool options” to explore for weekend getaways — Sagada in the Mountain Province, Canlaon in Negros Oriental and Tanay in Rizal. These are three visit-worthy destinations where Pinoys can avoid the crowds that build up in Baguio while enjoying the cold weather.
With Baguio and Banaue as its neighbors, Sagada enjoys similarly cooler climes than other parts of the country. Standing 5,000 feet above sea level, Sagada averages around 17 to 20°C temperature all year round. The town is also surrounded by pathways to different adventures, from trekking the limestone cliffs to marveling at hanging coffins to spelunking at the Sumaguing Cave and its abundance of tiny tunnels, underground pools and natural rock formations.
For an understated yet still unique adventure, travelers can pick Sagada oranges at the Sagada Rock Inn & Café. With these adventures come “charging stations,” such as Sagada Brew for coffee or mountain tea, Sagada Diner to enjoy a homey vibe and local lunch and Log Cabin for keeping warm.
Accessible via a road trip from Cauayan, Negros Occidental, neighboring Canlaon in Negros Oriental boasts of cool, fresh air. Known for agricultural activities, Canlaon offers a plethora of vegetables for sale in Uptown Market, where local farmers bring their produce and sell at low prices.
Throughout the city, travelers can wander through vast expanses of agricultural plantations that abound with golden grains and vibrant crops, with some fields located near the foot of Canlaon volcano. Don’t leave the city without visiting its Balete tree, famous for its towering height of 60 meters and estimated age of over 1,300 years.
Being close to Metro Manila doesn’t diminish the world of difference that Tanay makes.
Tanay enjoys a fast-gaining popularity for the range of activities that visitors can enjoy while there. The beautiful mountains and picturesque bodies of water, such as the Tinipak River, serve as an idyllic backdrop for social gatherings, from leisure camping with friends to romantic dinner dates with a significant other.
For those looking to immerse in the city’s local culture, the centuries-old Tanay Church and the 21-meter Regina Rica are great starting points.