Nowadays, everything we need can be accessed with just our fingertips: car services, clothes, food, vacations. But there's so much so fast that it's hard to wade through all the information that it's easier to make a mistake. Take for example, booking a trip. How do you choose a hotel? Where do you go? Do you choose a cool mountain retreat or a hip beach house?
There are hundreds upon hundreds to choose from just via Airbnb alone, some more well-known than others. We looked through local listings to find these hidden gems that can give you a taste of paradise
1. Your own island in a lake near Manila
Description: "Retreat to a small and secluded island with a simple but comfortable bungalow, in a tranquil lake in the mountains around three hours from Manila. The house has one bedroom, a kitchen, a spacious living room—and stunning views of the lake!"
This small and peaceful island is smack in the middle of a lake amid the Sierra Madre. The 80 sq m house in Cavinti, Laguna, is designed for pure R&R, three hours away from the city, plus a 10-minute boat ride.
Amenities: It has one bedroom with a queen bed and a daybed, but there are seven extra bed mats for other guests. It has a kitchen, a study hall, a dining area, an outdoor grill, a firepit (for bonfires). Ask the host about generator use.
Cons: No airconditioning, no TV, no WiFi
2. Bataan Heartland - Native Ifugao House 1
Description: "Ifugao House is great for: intimacy, coziness, warmth"
The native Ifugao house has a thatched roof that makes it naturally warm. Because of the materials, there's no available kitchen, but a grill is set up outside. Apart from the garden and pool that are just a few steps away, guests can also freely roam the 10-acre property for a nice, long nature walk. It's eight kilometers from Balanga City and 10 kilometers away from Bagac beach.
Amenities: Apart from the hut, which can accommodate two guests, there's a river and a small forest in the property. Cooking is allowed, but the owners can also cook for guests for an additional fee. The menu is composed of fresh food like tilapia, prawns, and even a whole lechon.
Cons: No TV, no WiFi, no heating, no airconditioning. The roof is also low, so anyone taller than 5'7" might find it uncomfortable.
3. John's Hammock Vacation House
Description: "Quiet enough for relaxation, huge enough for small events. It's your vacation farm house in Tagaytay."
That it's in the middle of a picturesque coffee plantation makes it isolated enough for a perfectly relaxing vacation. Still, it's a mere minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Tagaytay, in case you're looking for a little more action.
Amenities: Even when you fill up all five beds in all four bedrooms (max no. of guests is 16), there's still plenty of space leftover. There's a pool as well as other home essentials for washing and cooking. According to one guest, the walls are also perfect for playing music.
Cons: No WiFi
4. Sambali Beach Farm
Description: "Our all-natural farm is set on the sandy shores of Zambales—a peaceful oasis for eco-tourists, organic enthusiasts, environmental advocates, and guests looking for health and healing."
The villa is set in an eight-hectare property and features native sawali materials and Filipino hardwood. There's a beach nearby, but the highlight is farm where you can learn about organic food and farming. Guests can also drop by surf town San Antonio or head over to a salt-making community.
Amenities: Around 25 guests can spread out in four locations (The Grand, Garden Room 1, Garden Room 2, and Gazebo). It has WiFi and airconditioning, and organic meals are provided with an additional fee.
Cons: Some areas are open, which might be unusable during the wet season.
5. Mindoro Beach House.
Description: "You're going to live in a 3000-square-meter lot in a small village. There is a beautiful landscape with clear water rivers, reefs, waterfalls, Mangyan villages, and much more."
Perfect for the fuss-free, low-key traveler is this hut between Puerto Galera and Abra de Ilog that lets you appreciate the beauty of nature. The house, which is built for two, is right on share, giving guests a breathtaking view of the water.
Amenities: One bedroom and one bathroom. The owner's relatives are also onsite to cook meals.
Cons: The setting is pretty bare-bones, but there's a nearby store for essentials.
6. Casita Farmhouse Cottage, Your Cozy Rustic Retreat"
Description: "This modern farmhouse style vacation home is your ultimate charming rustic getaway. "
Numana Farm is a 1.5-hour drive from Quezon City, making it an ideal quick retreat for those who need to escape the hectic city life. The entire place is a picture of a charming farm life, with the area growing organic produce.
Amenities: The two bedrooms each have five beds, fitting a maximum of 10. The two bathrooms are also equipped with your basic bathing and grooming needs, like bathroom and toiletries. There's WiFi as well as a fully equipped kitchen. Pets are also welcome.
Around the farm, guests have a roster of activities to choose from: picking and purchasing the season's produce, feeding the farm animals, setting up a bonfire, holding a picnic. Guests can also request karaoke and massage services.
They also have a second property available, a hut that's good for three.
Cons: The lanai and kitchen are communal areas, in case there are other guests staying in the hut.
7. La Casita Mercedes
Description: "La Casita Mercedes is a pre-war colonial home built in 1939 and lovingly restored into what it is today: An elegant and charming bed & breakfast celebrating the best of Philippine heritage."
Amenities: The inn has seven rooms that can fit two guests each. There are two dining areas, a receiving area, WiFi, heating, airconditioning–pretty much all the modern amenities you've gotten used to, but in an old-fashioned setting. La Casita Mercedes also has a staff to help you around the house.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.