The Philippines' Finest Travel Spots

Home to 7,107 islands, the tropical archipelago of the Philippines offers a ton of attractions which can satisfy the wanderlust in you.

Whether you’re looking for some relaxing alone time under the sun or want to go on an adrenaline pumping trekking or water adventure, this country surely has something to offer -- from immaculate white beaches, to dramatic terrains and sensational views. Aside from its natural raw beauty, the Philippines is also home to some mesmerizing historical sites and churches where one can explore culture, heritage and art. To top it off, it can also take you on an unforgettable gastronomical adventure with its sumptuous native cuisine.

Join us as we explore some of the top offbeat destinations in the Philippines and what makes it worthy of your next vacation trip.

PALAWAN

If there is one place in the Philippines that tantamounts to a “paradise” or a “hidden gem”, that would be Palawan. Known as the ““The Last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines”, the archipelago of Palawan is situated in the western part of the country and is home to 1,780 astonishing islands.

Palawan boasts of its unique megadiversity -- showcasing its natural beauty through scenic landscapes and abundant resources of exceptional flora and fauna combined with exotic wildlife. Aside from being bestowed with stunning picture perfect landscapes, Palawan is popular for its relaxing turquoise blue waters.

Palawan's capital is the city of Puerto Princesa which is tagged as the cleanest city in the Philippines. It is home to the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Puerto Princesa Underground River - the longest navigable underground river in the world. However, two top destinations in Palawan which most tourists flock to are El Nido and Coron. You can find the picturesque island of El Nido in the northern part, while the equally beautiful paradise of Coron is situated in Busuanga. Both of these sustainable islands are best known for their crystal clear beaches, hidden lagoons, limestone cliffs and virgin marine sanctuaries.

You can reach the island of Palawan by taking a short 1 and a half hour flight from Manila. Booking and accommodation is also the least of your worries as Palawan is filled with a number of magnificent luxury resorts and budget friendly travel lodges -- truly, a perfect destination for tourists travelling in groups or for solo backpackers.

Places to visit and must try activities:

  • Book a city tour and a short excursion to the famous Puerto Princesa Underground River
  • Go on an island hopping adventure in Coron or El Nido and enjoy offbeat views “over” and underwater.
  • Discover the abundant marine life by snorkeling shallow reefs or visit one of the  top dive spots in the world - Coon’s Japanese shipwrecks
  • Rent out a kayak and explore the enchanting small, big and hidden lagoons of El Nido
  • Take a dip into the crystal clear and perfectly mixed fresh and saltwater in Coron’s Kayangan lake
  • For thrill seekers, try a bit of trekking and some cliff diving in Coron’s Barracuda lake

SIARGAO

The “Surfing Capital of the Philippines” is one of the most trending tourist destinations in the country for this year. A small tear dropped shaped island located in the province of Surigao del Norte, Siargao is famous for its huge waves, strong currents and uninterrupted winds, making it the perfect destination for surfing aficionados from all over the world.

Surfers flock to this breathtaking tropical island to try out the thrilling surf break known as the “Cloud 9”. However, if you are not up for some surfing adventure, Siargao still has something in store for you. It’s laid back atmosphere and relaxed environment is perfect for beach bums, while the diverse mix of scenic attractions of rice fields, waterfalls, lagoons, unique rock formations, caves, cliffs and beaches are well suited for nature lovers.

Siargao is approximately 800 kilometers Southeast from Manila, the capital of the Philippines. It can be reached by taking a flight from Manila to Surigao City, then boarding a ferry to the island. Make sure to book your flights between April to September as it is the sunniest season in Siargao. There are also over 100 locally and foreign owned accommodations in the islands which give tourists a broad spectrum of lodging options for their respective budgets.

Places to visit and must try activities:

  • Get an adrenaline rush and try out Siargao’s famous surf breaks, ranging from small waves which are great for beginners to massive barrels and tubes perfect for seasoned surfers (eg : Jacking Horse, Pacifico, Guyan, Rock Island, Cloud 9, etc)
  • Chill out and spend a relaxing afternoon under a blanket of palm trees overlooking the pristine beaches
  • Capture the picture perfect sunrise and sunset in the Cloud 9 Pier at General Luna
  • Enjoy and amazing scenery of towering cliffs, breathtaking caves and magnificent coves at the Magpupungko Rock Pools. For thrill seekers, this is also the best spot to cliff dive

CEBU

Cebu, also known as the  “Queen City of the South” is the perfect mixture of a tropical island and modern living. Consisted of one main island and 167 more surrounding islands, Cebu is home to a diverse mix of attractions, ranging from untouched beaches to urban metro areas.

Being the Philippines’ oldest city and because of its rich history, Cebu is also tagged as “The Gateway to a Thousand Journeys”. It is where the well known Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan first set foot in the Philippines during the year 1521. Nowadays, Metropolitan Cebu is recognized as the country’s second biggest economic, political and education center.

But there is a lot more to discover aside from Cebu’s cultural heritage. Cebu continues to bloom into one of the Philippines’ top tourist destinations, housing a number of recreational establishments such as malls, hotels, luxury resorts to modest travel lodges and beachfront inns . Both its northern and southern part is abundantly bestowed with crystalline beaches, sapphire waters, abundant marine life and unique terrains which are perfect for both land and water adventures.

Cebu is approximately an hour away from Manila by plane. It also hosts a number of direct international flights and caters direct flights to most major cities in the Philippines, making it an ideal base to explore this beautiful country.

Places to visit and must try activities:

  • Take an immersive cultural experience and learn more about history at Cebu’s top heritage sites such as Magellan’s Cross, Mactan Shrine, Fort San Pedro, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, etc.
  • Go on a gastronomic adventure and enjoy some of the Philippines’ finest cuisine at the lively Metro Cebu ( Don’t forget to try their mouthwatering “Lechon Cebu” or roasted pig)
  • Enjoy a relaxing staycation at world class resorts in Mactan Island
  • Get up close the “gentle giants of the ocean” and swim with whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu
  • Scuba dive to explore bountiful marine life and swim with a million sardines in Moalboal Island
  • Engage on an unforgettable canyoneering trip and enjoy trekking, hiking, cliff and waterfall diving at Badian and Alegria
  • Visit some of the Philippines’ most awesome white sand beaches such as malapascua Island,Bantayan Island, Sumilon Island and Camotes Island

BOHOL

Just a ferry ride away from Cebu is the equally beautiful province of Bohol. Known to be the tenth largest island in the Philippines, Bohol is an oval shaped island which is surrounded by 75 other minor islands. It is considered to be an “all in one” travel destination which takes pride in both natural and manmade attractions -- from white site beaches, unique dive spots, dramatic landscapes and rich cultural heritage sites.

There are many must see places in the island paradise of Bohol, but one of the most famous sites is The Chocolate Hills. Consisted of more than 1268 cone shaped hills, this unique geological attraction continues to draw tourists from around the world, all eager to catch its breathtaking views.

To get to Bohol, you need to take a 1 hour and 20 minute flight from Manila to Tagbilaran City.

Places to visit and must try activities:

  • Book a Countryside day tour or a Panglao Island tour and visit Bohol’s famous tourist spots in one whole day - from enchanting caves, to scenic views, historical sites and Spanish Colonial religious sites. A typical package includes stop overs to Bohol Bee Farm, Manmade Mahogany Forest, Baclayon Church, Hinagdanan Cave, Bohol Butterfly Garden to name a few.
  • Enjoy the full 360 degree perspective of the famous Chocolate Hills on top of Carmen town view deck. You can also rent out an ATV to explore this incredible land formation.
  • Try out the famous Loboc River Cruise - a floating restaurant which takes you on a short cruise at the Loboc River as you enjoy a sumptuous lunch or dinner buffet. To top it off, you get to enjoy some onboard entertainment and performances from local talents and the Loboc Children’s Choir.
  • Witness the Tarsier or the world’s smallest primate in its natural habitat (Just make sure to keep quiet and avoid any flash photography while observing)
  • Capture a glimpse of sunrise while dolphin watching
  • Snorkel in Balicasag Island to discover its  abundant exotic aquatic marine life. This marine sanctuary is also famous for sea turtles swimming near the coral reefs.
  • Mingle with the locals and foreigners and enjoy beachfront night parties at Alona Beach
  • Take pleasure in the ultimate beach bumming experience at Dumaluan Beach’s white sand shores and crystal clear waters

BATANES

There is no doubt that the mesmerizing beauty of the island of Batanes can capture the heart of any tourist. After all it is considered to be ultimate dream destination for most Filipinos. A heaven for wanderers, Batanes is a picturesque island consisted of luscious green hills, mountainous landscapes and dramatic cliffs all overlooking an amazing coastline with sapphire blue waters. Anyone who’s been to Batanes can testify that it its God given charm cannot be matched by any other place in the Philippines.

Batanes is found in the northernmost part of the Philippines, consisted of a group of 10 islands with only 3 of them being inhabited by locals. These islands, namely Batan, Sabtang, and Itbayat all take pride in showcasing raw nature amidst a peaceful, serene, heavenly and clean environment. It boasts of fascinating beaches, lagoons, caves and jade islands. And although the population in Batanes is pretty small, the locals known as the Ivatans will overwhelm you with their warmth and hospitality. Most of the establishments here are locally run and owned from homestays, inns and cafes. 

To get to Batanes, you need to take a 1 hour and 45 minute flight from Manila to Basco, the capital of the province.

Places to visit and must try activities:

  • Ride a “faluwa” or a local boat and take a day tour in the beautiful Sabtang Island
  • Take instagram worthy photos at the scenic Valugan beach
  • Visit the most photographed spot in Nakabuang Beach, the naturally formed Nakabuang arched which found amidst serene pinkish white sands, overlooking the refreshing crystal clear waters of the ocean
  • Take a dip into the natural rocky pool of Homoron Blue Lagoon
  • Walk around the island and get to know the rich culture and history of the native Ivatans
  • Rent and ride a motorcycle or bicycle and stroll around the island’s winding roads to see more of  Batanes’ prized tourist attractions
  • Go on a walking tour and see the famous traditional stone houses
  • Sample decadent dishes made with “tatus”, a  giant coconut crab that is native to the island of Batanes