The Philippines is a destination that is easy to visit more than once. It has over 7000 islands ready to explore, each offering unique and unforgettable experiences for travelers seeking any kind of adventure.
The most challenging part of your holiday is determining where to visit first.
From mountain ranges as far as the eye can see to protected rice terraces, bustling metropolitan cities, and some of the best beaches in the world, you will wonder why you haven’t packed your instant camera and bought your air ticket sooner.
*AD / This post contains affiliate links & as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We may also have been compensated in this post either financially or with products / stays. To read more see our Disclosure Policy.
Boracay Island is often considered the beach capital of the Philippines, and once you have visited this fantastic place, you will very quickly understand why.
It has more than 12 beaches to choose from, including White Beach, considered to be one of the best beaches in the entire country.
At the tip of the island, Puka Shell Beach is a wonderful spot for shell collectors, and Cagban Beach is quiet and peaceful, with nearby caves rumored to still contain lost treasure chests.
The island is known for its extensive resorts, so finding the perfect accommodation will be a breeze.
History lovers will enjoy a trip to Vigan, located in the northern Philippines. It is a charming town with the perfect cultural blend of Chinese and Spanish influences originating from settlers in the area.
You can take a ride in a horse-drawn kalesa through the streets, taking in the colonial architecture left by the Spanish who colonized the region in the 18th century.
For the ultimate view of the town, stop by Bantay Bell Tower, a notable landmark in the area. Alternatively, the Calle Crisologo historic district is within walking distance, where you can mingle with local craftsmen and see more historic architecture.
Finally, end your day at St. Paul Metropolitan Cathedral for breathtaking views of the church and the ideal place to sit and people-watch.
If rock islands, caves and natural parks sound like the ideal places to visit while on vacation, basing yourself in Puerto Princesa will give you the perfect opportunity to explore the natural gems of Palawan Island.
The Subterranean River National Park is the perfect first stop to see a five-mile underground river lined with incredible limestone caves.
Officially classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the national park has official boat tours to take you through the area. Furthermore, you can head to Honda Bay for snorkelling or Ugong Rock, where ziplining and caving are the go-to activities.
In the central Visayas region, Cebu Island is said to have some of the best diving and snorkelling opportunities in the Philippines. If you love the ocean and all its wonders and mysteries, Cebu will give you the ultimate chance to get up close and personal with whale sharks, coral reefs and curious sea turtles.
Photographers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will be instantly drawn to the sea caves, while the Sudlon National Park, approximately one hour away from Cebu, is perfect for exploring and hiking, surrounded by jaw-dropping natural views.
For a truly unique experience unlike anything else, travel to the northern tribal region in Sagada. Hidden in the rugged and remote Cordillera Mountains are native tribes that welcome the occasional visitor.
For intense lovers of the outdoors, this area will be a slice of paradise. The steep mountains and high elevations present an exciting challenge and enhanced skill level to traverse. Hiking is a popular activity in the area, but they are not for the faint-hearted.
What makes this region unique is the curious sight of the hanging coffins that hide deep within the mountains. As this is not a tourist area, it is best to connect with a local guide who can take you safely and individually to this authentic tribal experience.
The sprawling rice fields of Banaue are one of the most pictureque things to see while visiting the Philippines. These terraces are considered an agricultural wonder of the region, with some estimated to be hand-carved into the mountainside over 2,000 years ago.
It should come as no surprise that the Batad Rice Terraces and the Bangaan Rice Terraces are both protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you want to dive deeper into the local culture and everyday life, walk through Banaue Ethnic Village or the Hiwang Village to mingle with local indigenous people who work on the terraces.
Set an early alarm and beat the sun for the perfect sunrise view, where clouds and fog lift from the mountain to reveal the intricate landscape it hides.
El Nido is a spectacular place to visit thanks to the abundance of clear water lagoons, bustling marine life, colorful coral reefs and limestone cliffs. If you are feeling adventurous, take part in a cliff climbing excursion, or head to Taraw Peak to take in panoramic landscape views via a canopy walk.
For beach lovers, be sure to stop by Nacpan Beach and Lio Beach, where you can soak up the sun and the sprawling views of the surrounding islands.
Island hopping is possible here, with trips to El Nido Big Lagoon and Snake Island on offer to visitors.
Enjoyed this post? Find more here:
Exploring the street art of Penang, Malaysia
Thailand with kids – our guide