Of course. When you go beyond the travel guides, and explore the wonders of the "Pearl of the Orient" on your own, you'll find plenty of gems such as:
See that island to the right of the Bicol peninsula? That's Catanduanes. Like many other places in the Philippines, it has white beaches, breathtaking waterfalls and crystal-clear diving spots. Unlike those other places, though, Catanduanes isn't teeming with tourists (yet) so you can savor all its wonders in relative isolation.
Located about 86 kilometers south of Boracay, Antique has beaches and forests that are yet untouched by man. Look for places where you can take a hot bath, or drop by the Sibalom Natural Park where you can see the largest (and smelliest!) flower in the world, the Rafflesia. There are plenty more eco parks where that came from, so keep your eyes peeled.
Kalawitan isn't exactly one of the most famous mountains in the Philippines. That honor goes to the likes of Mt. Pulag, Mt. Banahaw, Mt. Makiling and Mt. Apo, among others.
However, this Baguio-based mountain makes up for its obscurity with having one of the best trails in the country. If you're a mountaineer at heart, a trip to the Philippines wouldn't be complete without a climb up Mt. Kalawitan's peak.
Want to "visit" Greece without leaving the Philippines? At Fortune Island in Batangas, you can pose for pictures with Grecian pillars near the top of the island. It's hard to say why the pillars are there in the first place, though being a privately-owned island in the past may have something to do with it.
Also, there's a museum dedicated to the Spanish ship San Diego, which sunk near the island after fighting the Dutch Mauritius in 1600. And if you're more into biology than history, you can sneak out at night and watch sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach.
If you mention Baler to a history-savvy Filipino, chances are they'll mention that it's the birthplace of the first Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon. But historical significance isn't the only thing this place has going for it.
Since it's sandwiched between the Sierra Madre mountain range to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Baler boasts a unique, unspoiled topography of beaches, diving spots and islands. For history buffs, there's the well-kept ruins of President Quezon's old house, where you can browse through memorabilia and find out more about this extraordinary figure in Philippine history.
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Another historical place in the Philippines is Bataan, where you can roam through the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar. A combination of a heritage park and museum, Las Casas Filipinas will take you back in time with the artifacts you can find there. In case history's not your thing, though, Las Casas Filipinas also provides water-based activities such as boat-riding, kayaking and fishing.
Best known as the Philippines' No. 1 source of marble, Romblon also has many hidden wonders most tourists don't know about. For example, you have the 2,058-meter tall Mt. Guiting-guiting, which is notorious for being extremely hard to climb. You also have the crystal clear rivers, the cascading waterfalls and the quiet beaches, where you can relax as much as you want under the bright Philippine sun.
Situated in Camarines Sur, Caramoan has been steadily gaining popularity with tourists over the past few years. Among other wonders, you can stroll through the Caramoan National Park, climb the rocky cliffs, explore the nature-made caves and snorkel through its clear blue waters.
If you'd like to visit a place in Zambales other than Subic, Pundaquit is a good alternative. It's a fishing village of sandy beaches, surf-worthy waves and old lighthouses that are said to be haunted. (Just look up "Capones Island Lighthouse" online.) However, Pundaquit's claim to fame lies in being the backdrop of two local soap operas: The Judy Ann Santos starrer "Esperanza," and the remake "Mari Mar" which featured Marian Rivera.
Off the northeastern coast of Quezon province is Polilio Island, which is shaped like a Christmas stocking with the cuff tapered open. Named after the Chinese word for "beautiful island," Polilio is notable for its bird sanctuary, which is a must-visit for amateur and professional ornithologists alike. You can also hop on to the nearby Balesin and Jomalig islands, where the sands are ivory and the waters are clean and clear.
What other hidden gems would you recommend to travel buffs? If you know of any spots that are obscure, beautiful and must-sees for Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike, send them over to the comments!