Creative Hotspots in Your Favorite Summer Destinations

Here’s one thing to make us feel joyful—planning that summer vacation. Will you be catching some waves in Siargao or Elyu? Escaping to an island paradise in Palawan or Cebu? Heading up for a cooler climate in Baguio? Aside from hitting the beach or chilling in a cozy mountain B&B, you can also try to hit up some creative hotspots in some of the Philippines’ top travel destinations. (And in case you can’t travel yet, find inspiration with some of Common Room’s videos, DIYs, and curios.)

La Union

Elyu continues to lure people for the beach, the surfing, and the lively social scene. But aside from those obvious attractions, it is also known for its pottery making. When you’re not on the beach, head over to the artist-run pottery studio in San Juan, Putik Friends. You can book a class on wheel throwing (and even a self-portrait on terracotta) or browse their gallery and shop. 

Watch: Get some initial pottery-wheel throwing tips here.

Puon Bookshop is a neighborhood bookstore cafe in San Fernando, La Union. Drop by to find some good local and international titles, gift ideas and local crafts. It has held talks with authors, zine workshops, and even impromptu art jam sessions. All proceeds from the shop support the Alfredo F. Tadiar Library, which is an independent library focused on Northern Philippine communities. 

Shop: You can also find comic books by local authors and artists, here.


After this little island became known as having some of the best surfing spots in the world, the tourists came in droves. When you’re there, take the time to support the local shops and restaurants, even better if they make it their mission to give something back to their community like Lokal Siargao. Its community space, vegetable market and snackbar are at the Hub. Drop by for their workshops, game nights, and iced coffee. 

Read: Learn more about why shopping small has a big impact, here.



Designated as a “Creative City” by UNESCO a few years ago, the summer capital of the country is brimming with spaces that nurture artistic expression. It has Tam-Awan Village, the BenCab Museum, Ifugao Woodcarvers’ Village, Oh My Gulay and the community art space there to name a few of some of the city’s long-enduring creative spots. Ili-Likha Artists’ Wateringhole, a relatively younger establishment that was opened by National Artist Eric de Guia (Kidlat Tahimik), is also a must-visit. 

Just behind Baguio Cathedral, Ili-Likha appears like a dreamy, strange, maze-like treehouse one assumes is what it's like in the mind of Kidlat Tahimik. There you can stumble upon local handicrafts and artwork celebrating Cordillera culture, a mosaic-tiled rainbow staircase, different quaint food kiosks, and even a theater. 

Watch: Get creative and try painting with this how-to video


Its many islands have been ranked some of the best in the world, with its beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, and lagoons. In the municipality of El Nido, you can get all that and be inspired. You can also get some creative inspiration at Kalye Artisano. The sprawling retail hub provides local artists, artisans and traditional craftspeople a space to carry their works and products. You can also find cafes, a noodle resto, and activities that pay homage to nature all around El Nido (foliage art, anyone?). 

Watch: Learn how to build your own retail space for artists and makers, here.


While it has one of the most urbanized cities in the Visayas, the province of Cebu still has plenty of island charm and cultural interest that makes it an ideal holiday destination. When you’re done with its beaches and historic spots, head over to Qube Gallery in Crossroads Cebu for contemporary art and HoliCOW Gallery Store at Streetscape Mall for sustainable, locally-designed furniture and houseware. 

Watch: Do you have your own art style? Here are a few tips to find it.

Photos grabbed from their IG and FB pages.
Words by Mabel David-Pilar
Mabel has been a writer and editor for many publications including a teen fashion mag and a book on the most endangered Philippine trees. She spends most of her time writing, illustrating, stalking Common Room’s online shop, and making ferments. Together with her sisters, she co-created to celebrate fermentation and eating more plants.