The Philippines are an under appreciated destination in South East Asia, as most foreign tourists tend to stick to the mainland, where the white sands of Thailand, the scrumptious food of Malaysia, and the absurd affordability of Vietnam beckons.
It truly is a shame though that people aren’t seeing the gems of the Philippines as you have so far on your trip, as its 7,000+ islands are full of beaches that are empty, a cuisine that has a flavour that is truly distinct from the rest of the region, all while possessing the same cheap prices that the mainland has.
As the last few weeks of your trek approach though, one of your old itches is demanding to be scratched, as you haven’t played 18 holes of golf for months, and the tropical surrounds and rising wealth of this nation has you thinking: there’s got to be some great golfing here somewhere!
Indeed there is, as these islands have been blessed with a natural visage that makes even a duffer feel at home. In that spirit, we know of three courses that you should play a round at before leaving these magical islands.
Check them out, starting with…
1) Alta Vista Golf & Country Club, Cebu
This course is set in the hills above the dwellings and office towers of the Philippines second largest city, Cebu. With a mountainside setting, great views of the urbanity below, the tropical sea and the islands of Mactan and Bohol will meet the golfer at every turn, while the narrow fairways coupled with strong winds will test your shot making ability quite often. A restaurant and bar are available on site for 19th hole festivities!
2) Club Intramuros, Manila
Situated around and among the rich history of Intramuros and its centrepiece attraction, Fort Santiago, Club Intramuros makes for a short but memorable round of 18. Though it is only a par 66 course with 4,326 yards of distance, don’t be fooled. There are water hazards on almost every hole, to say nothing of the physical hazard of the fort, which can send your ball careening into the rough or worse if struck. For those who like to keep it classy, a piano bar in the clubhouse will keep you entertained after your encounter with this challenging urban course.
3) Camp John Hay Golf Club, Baguio
If the thought of enduring the tropical heat is turning you off from the idea of getting in a round of golf, then taking on the Camp John Hay Golf Club course is the perfect solution. Situated at over a mile above sea level (approximately 1,600 metres), weather is spring-like year round, making for comfortable playing conditions. This pine studded course was designed by Jack Nicklaus’ company Golden Bear International, which means that you’ll be in for the playing experience of a lifetime here. If all the tough elements of this golf club have twisted you out of shape, Jacuzzis, saunas, steam baths and massage facilities stand ready to work the knots out of your exhausted body.
On many accounts, the Philippines excels in many areas of the tourism industry … they have just struggled in getting their message out until recently. The same is true with the quality of their golf courses, which should be experienced as soon as possible before the masses discover this place’s charms all at once.