Things to Do in Luzon
The Philippines’ answer to the safari park, 62-acre (25-hectare) Zoobic Safari sits at the heart of Subic Bay. While the emphasis is on the tiger safari, attractions include a crocodile pit, a serpentarium, a train ride, and a petting zoo. In season, the park operates a night safari, which includes a drive through the tigers’ habitat.
Set among the rain forest of Rizal, east of Manila, the Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area with a difference. A network of paths, bridges, ladders, and nets winds its way among trees and karst pinnacles, while a second trail focuses on conservation. The restaurant is reserved for private dining, but there are other food options.
The Mt. Purro Nature Reserve ecoresort sits in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains, east of Manila. Activities include hiking, bird-watching, ropes courses, tree planting, waterfall swims, a swimming pool, and encounters with the indigenous Dumagat people. There’s also a restaurant and accommodation at a range of price points.
Centered on the city of Legazpi, the Bicol region of the Philippine island of Luzon comprises the Bicol peninsula, home to four provinces, and the island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate. While most travelers visit for the whale sharks of Donsol or volcanoes such as Mt. Mayon, the area is home to dazzling beaches and quirky festivals.
One of the most atmospheric features of the fortifications of Corregidor Island, the Malinta Tunnel was built by American forces in 1932. It extends about 820 feet (250 meters) into a hill, with additional branches veering off. Part of it served as General Douglas MacArthur’s HQ before the American retreat from the Philippines in 1942.
On April 9, 1942, after over three months of bloody conflict, the Battle of Bataan came to an end when General Edward P. King surrendered 76,000 American and Filipino soldiers to Japanese forces. The Philippines commemorates this World War II trauma with a national holiday and the Surrender Site Marker, a sculpture strangely set on school grounds.
One of a number of monuments commemorating the World War II Battle of Bataan and the Bataan Death March, the Flaming Sword monument depicts a hand holding high a blazing sword. Simple and unsigned, it celebrates the bravery of the Filipino and American soldiers of the USAFFE whose death marches converged on this point in 1942.
Home to a wealth of rides, with live shows and encounters on weekends and holidays, the Enchanted Kingdom is a popular amusement park in Santa Rosa, south of Manila. The 42-acre (17-hectare) park hosts attractions that run from roller-coasters to rapids, from bumper cars to boats, as well as dining and shopping options.
The animal offerings at Zoocobia Fun Zoo, a combination zoo and adventure park, range from a petting zoo and tropical birds to taxidermy and Philippine species, with horse rides and camel rides for an additional charge. Besides slides, ziplines, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), and 4WD rides, the star attraction is the Zooc gravity-car track.