The Philippines is a tropical paradise in the Pacific consists of more than 7,000 islands that provide a natural playground for your inner explorer. Collectively, the landscapes offer an array of natural wonders, from volcanoes and rice terraces to underwater rivers and limestone caves, along with beautiful beaches. Individually, the islands each offer something unique, whether you’re looking for the best spot for diving and snorkeling or taking in the historic sights in cities like Manila or Vigan, with deep colonial roots.
Because the country is so spread out, a trip to the Philippines requires careful planning so that you can connect with the right guides and find the most suitable accommodation as a base for your favorite activities. Some destinations, such as the Chocolate Hills in Bohol or the Hanging coffins in Sagadaare remote, but getting there is definitely worth it.
1 White Beach, Boracay
There’s no shortage of pristine beaches in the Philippines, but if you’re looking for a more active beach scene, you’ll want to head to White Beach in Boracay. This is the most populated beach on the island, but you will find plenty of opportunities for boating and other water sports. Plenty of chairs and hammocks lie under the palm trees so you can relax and enjoy the pure white sand. You can even book a massage on the beach. Snorkeling is a popular activity at White Beach, but if you don’t want to do that much work, take a banana boat ride or book a glass-bottom boat tour.
Accommodation: Where to stay near White Beach
2 Manila Historical Sightseeing Tour
Manila is an exciting and vibrant city that is a thriving metropolis surrounded by centuries-old churches and colonial history. It’s easy to walk around Manila on your own, or take a tour of the oldest district, the Intramuros or walled city, which is home to some of the main tourist attractions and important monuments and monuments. This will give you a better appreciation for Manila. You can see the famous ones San Agustin Church and monuments Rizal Park and Fort Santiago, each with a significant influence on Manila that is best shared by a guide. Some tours are offered by coach and others are available as walking or cycling tours around the city. After your tour, stop at one of the local restaurants for lunch and enjoy modern Manila as you watch the colorful jeepneys fly by.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Manila
3 Shipwreck Diving, Coron
The sunken ships to explore Sangat Island in Corona are some of the best diving locations in the world. The wrecks have varying depths suitable for both deep sea divers and shallow water snorkeling. The shipwrecks, many of them WWII, have become habitats for various fish species. The clear water provides an easy view of the shipwrecks and the underwater world. Many of the shipwrecks are from an attack on the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1944. Deep divers will explore the Akitsushima Maru warship, Irako Maruand the Kyokuzan Maru. There are so many shipwrecks to explore that you may want to spend a few days contemplating. A resort like the Sangat Island Dive Resort is suitable for divers who stay for several days, and it is a five-minute boat ride to many diving locations. If you’re new to the island, consider booking a diving or snorkeling trip that will take you to the best spots.
4 Mayon Volcano, Albay
The volcano Mayon in the Albay province Luzon Island is a must-see in the Philippines. It is an active stratovolcano with an altitude of more than 2,400 meters. The Mayon Volcano has a perfect cone peak. Most visitors will want to enjoy the volcano by viewing it from the ground. The nature trails on the national park grounds surround the volcano, where you can also see wildlife such as parakeets and other birds. Extreme hikers can apply for a permit to climb the volcano, but it is a difficult trek through the forest and dangerous gases are emitted near the peak, so caution is advised. The ideal time to visit is from March to May, outside the rainy season. You can take an organized trip from Manila to get here.
5 Chocolate Hills, Bohol
The geological wonder on the island Bohol known as the Chocolate Hills is a unique natural phenomenon. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a protected area with more than 1,200 small mountains that have emerged above ground over several centuries. The area was once under the ocean and these unique hills extend in every direction. They are green most of the year, but during the dry season they turn to a chocolate brown color, hence the name chocolate hills. A convenient path leads to the top of a viewpoint, which offers the best views. Note the many delicate flowers along the walkway that are unique to this area.
6 Underground River Tour, Puerto Princesa
Underground River Tour, Puerto Princesa
An underground river cruise in Puerto Princesa is one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in the Philippines. Up the underground river Palawan Island is in the Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The boat trips take you to the majestic five-mile river that runs underground. The journey takes you through an intricate cave system surrounded by vertical limestone cliffs. You can observe ancient stalagmite and stalactite formations as the coolness of the cave balances the tropical heat outside. As you float through the dark caverns on emerald green water, your guide will identify points of interest and tropical flora and fauna that live along the river, which flows into the river. South Chinese Ocean. A full-day underground river tour from Puerto Princesa, including hotel pickup and drop-off and a buffet lunch.
7 Hanging coffins, Sagada
It’s a trek to get to the hanging coffins Sagadalocated deep in the north Cordillera Mountains, but the sight is something most people in the world will never see. The hanging coffins, several centuries old, are hung from the cliffs of the Echo Valley. These ceremonial burials were reserved for the wealthy tribe members. Getting to the mountainous area requires some travel time and physical endurance to hike the steep and narrow trails to the remote chests. You’ll want sturdy shoes, and you can train before your trip to adapt to the high altitude more quickly. The reward is a sight you’ll never forget and well-deserved bragging rights.
8 Island hopping
If you just can’t decide what to do or where to go in the Philippines, an island-hopping tour might provide just the right mix. You still have choices to make, but an organized island hopping tour allows you to see a collection of islands. You can snorkel, swim, sightsee and dine on local cuisine at different locations and avoid the hassle of planning it yourself. Many of the island hopping tours last several days. One of the most popular island hopping tours is to the Caramoan Islandswhich were made famous after being featured on the hit TV show Survivor.
9 Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue
Viewing the Batad Rice Terraces at sunrise Banaue is an unforgettable experience. This is especially recommended for landscape photographers who want to capture captivating images of Philippine agriculture. Some of these terraces are more than 2,000 years old and represent a common form of agriculture in the country. The stacked terraces are cut by hand into the mountainside, creating vertical agricultural fields in an area without flat land. Workers usually plant rice and vegetables. You are able to walk a few ways above the terraces which give you the best views by looking down. Early morning and sunset provide the best light to illuminate the electric green color of the fields.
10 Historical tour of Corregidor Island
A tour of Corregidor Island is a must for history buffs visiting the Philippines. The island played an important role in this WWII and was the site of several battles. The remains left behind from these battles include secret tunnels and bunkers that were used as shelters during the war, as well as weapons, barracks and historical artifacts. Make sure you take some time with the Pacific War Memorial on sight. Regular tours depart from Manila to a ferry that takes you to the island. This requires a full day to visit, but it’s worth the time if you have an interest in WWII history.
11 Pagsanjan Falls, Laguna
The only thing more exciting than admiring one of the most striking waterfalls in the Philippines is traversing it in a canoe. The Pagsanjan Falls waterfall is part of the Pagsanjan Gorge National Park. Your trip past the waterfalls takes you upstream through tropical landscapes, where you can swim in natural pools and go through caves. Once you’ve settled into the leisurely ride, prepare for the main event as you speed downstream through large rocks and boiling water for what the locals call “shooting the rapids”. It’s an exciting outdoor adventure and you can take day trips from Manila.
12 Coral Garden, Coron
Coron Island in the Philippines is a popular diving and snorkeling location, partly because of its abundant and thriving coral reefs. The Coral Garden is a specific site with particularly accessible coral and fish species. Snorkeling and diving excursions to the Coral Garden often include stops to nearby shipwrecks. If you’re not sure where to snorkel to see some of the best coral reefs, an organized trip to the Coral Garden is an easy introduction to the sport. Guides can point out sea turtles and fish and offer information about what type of coral you’re viewing underwater.