The Philippines is an incredibly diverse and exciting location to visit in Southeast Asia.
It is emerging as a popular holiday destination for travelers thanks to its natural beauty that includes white sand beaches with crystal clear waters, lush tropical rainforests, gorgeously tall limestone cliffs, and picturesque rice terraces!
You would fall in love with the paradise-like settings like Palawan, Boracay, Siargao, and Cebu and would want to come back again and again. More on these in the article below.
Made of more that 7000 islands, the Philippines is part of the Coral Triangle, the global center of marine biodiversity. What that means is that you’d find best diving and snorkeling spots in the world, with vibrant coral reefs, diverse marine life including colorful fish, sea turtles, and whale sharks!
There is so much more to know about so many exciting tourist spots this country offers that I don’t want you wait to find out. So, without further adieu, let’s get going and get you the best places to visit in the Philippines as well as the must-dos for your next trip!
Also, before making any plans please check our travel guide for the best time to visit the Philippines.
Manila at Night – Photo Credit Casino Connection @ Flickr
Manila, the capital of Philippines, offers the best cultural diversity with influences from Spanish, American, Malay, Chinese and its indigenous Filipino cultures. It shows on its streets and in its diverse cuisine.
Its one of my favorite places to go for a night out and I’ve dedicated a complete travel guide for exploring Manila nightlife.
This city never sleeps and is full of bars, nightclubs, and night markets where you can go for a casual night or for some drinks.
If you are in Manila you don’t wanna miss the World’s First Chinatown or Ocean Park. Read more in our exclusive guide for the best things to do in Manila.
However long you are planning to stay in the Philippines, make sure you stop for a relaxing holiday in Boracay – one of the most incredible beach destinations in the Philippines!
Boracay’s main attraction is its four-kilometers long White Beach that supports clear and azure waters and is dotted with palm trees and luxury beach resorts. It is a paradise setting!
Imagine a long beach walk on the gorgeous powdery white sand beach to start your day or go kayaking and get some morning exercise. Get on a transparent body kayak boats that allows you to see the ocean under you.
You could also indulge in other watersport such as jet boating and para sailing.
The beautiful sunsets on the White beach are just so romantic. And once the sun goes down too, there is always something to see and do in Boracay, including live music and fire shows.
3. Cebu City
One of the major urban centers of Philippines, Cebu city is often referred to as the “Queen city of the South”.
Cebu city is famous for hosting on the 3rd Sunday of January, the annual Sinulog festival that is attended by more than 1 million people every year! It is a vibrant cultural event where you get to experience street parties and street processions where people perform religious dancing.
The city has Spanish colonial landscape with many historic forts, churches and museums that you could visit for free or for a small fee. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño church and Magellan’s cross are not to be missed!
With mountains in the backdrop and facing the ocean, Cebu city’s scenic coastline is dotted with beaches and quality beach resorts.
If you are a family with kids, The Cebu Ocean Park is surely something the kids will enjoy. It is the largest Oceanarium in the Philippines and offers marine-life experience and even something called Aquadining, a unique underwater dining experience if you are up for it!
4. El Nido
A small beach town in Palawan, El Nido is identified by the limestone rock formations across it’s white sand beaches.
If you have been to the popular Halong Bay in Vietnam, you would find it very similar.
You could stay in a luxury beach resort or a normal beach facing resort as per your budget but you’d be pleased to find so many affordable beach facing eating joints in the town.
A very popular activity here is do go on private day tour for island hopping and visit many of the surrounding small islands.
On some of these islands you would find secret blue water lagoons for you to find your way into and take a dip in and enjoy some relaxed family water time!
The tours also allow you to go under water in the areas where you find plenty of beautiful coral reefs and marine life. Very exciting and yet affordable underwater adventure!
Baguio is a wonderful city in the Philippines’ Luzon island, part of the Benguet. There are way too many cool things to do here and I totally recommend a visit if you get to this part of the country.
Among the things to do include visiting the Mansion, horseback riding at Wright Park, boating at Burnham Park (see picture above), visiting Botanical Garden, Easter Weaving Room, and so much more.
If it happens to be in the capital city of the Philippines then you can take a bus from Manila to Baguio for just under $10.
Dubbed as the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines,” Siargao is renowned for its world-class waves, particularly at Cloud 9.
Aside from surfing, you could explore the island’s natural beauty, including mangrove forests, lagoons, and rock pools.
Located in northern Palawan, Coron Island is a short journey from nearby Coron Town. This island is famous for cool views from the beachfront resorts and its two lakes, which can be accessed by a short uphill climb.
The crystal clear waters here will leave you breathless, and you can enjoy swimming in its water. This is one of the Philippines ‘ most stunning natural wonders.
8. Davao City
Davao City is situated on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao.
With Mount Apo, the highest volcanic peak in the country in its far backdrop, the city is a major attraction for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers, who often climb Mount Apo for breathtaking ariel view of Davao city and the the surrounding landscapes.
If you love chocolates, then you would love the locally produced Malagos Chocolate, which is a specialty in this region. You could even visit the Malagos Chocolate Museum and Factory to see it being made.
9. Samal Island
Just next to Davao City is the island of Samal, a beautiful place full of beaches and resorts.
Besides the luxury resorts this island has so many things to offer to you – the beautiful beaches, water sports, adventure stuff and natural attractions!
Key natural attractions that you could go to:
The Monfort Bat Sanctuary, which houses one of the largest colonies of fruit bats in the world, and
The Hagimit Falls – a series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by lush vegetation, is another popular attraction on the island that I am sure the nature lovers like me would definitely enjoy.
If you are a thrill seeker, your could do parasailing or jetski on its beaches or even do mountain biking on a 49km Samal Island trail.
10. Puerto Princesa
If you are looking for something a little bit different to do in Philippines while still being on a resort holiday so that you could mix rest with nature adventure, head out to Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Stay in a resort close to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
The park features an underground river and cave system stretching over 8 kilometers. It is A UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can enjoy a trip on a paddleboat through the caves while observing the bats that reside there.
How fun and unique is that!?
11. The Chocolate Hills in Bohol
The Chocolate Hills in Bohol often rank at the top of must-see lists for visitors to the Philippines.
Covering an area of over 20 square miles the lush green grass-covered hills turn brown in the dry season (hence chocolate in their name!). A perfect area for hiking and enjoying time in nature during your trip.
12. Banaue Rice Terrace
Located in Ifugao in the north of the Philippines, The Banaue Rice Terraces are over one thousand years old and still used by locals today.
They are a little challenging to access, with the only direct option being an overnight bus from Manila to Ifugao. But it’s well worth the effort! Enjoy hiking around the stunning green mountains and enjoy some rejuvenating time in nature.
13. Malapascua Island
If you are looking to escape and enjoy a beach paradise, head to Malapascua Island. This small island offers you the chance to relax while getting to meet locals and immersing yourself in the local culture.
You may have to go off-grid for a few days here, but it’s worth it to be in this stunning place!
14. Taal Volcano
Located in the province of Batangas, Taal Volcano (filled by Taal Lake) is an incredible natural wonder which provides amazing views for visitors.
The volcano has erupted in the past and caused much disruption. It is still monitored continuously due to its proximity to the local population.
Visiting Batangas? Check the BEST Batangas Beach Resorts for an Unforgettable Holiday
Those are just a few of the hundreds of amazing sights and islands you can visit in the Philippines.
The Philippines is an incredibly diverse travel destination with cities, beaches, and breath-taking natural sites. Where would you most like to visit on your next trip?
Philippines Travel – Tips and Things to Consider
How Long Should I Visit the Philippines?
If you are dreaming of visiting the Philippines, we recommend you at least a three-week itinerary to enjoy this destination fully. As the Philippines consists of thousands of islands, naturally transportation around the country can be challenging at times.
If your trip is much shorter, you may find you are wasting days of your holiday moving around the country. Either choose only a couple of your top destinations to visit or try and allow as much time as possible for your trip.
What is the Most Beautiful Place in the Philippines?
There are so many beautiful places in the Philippines that it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite.
However, one of the consistently top places to visit in the Philippines is the beautiful island of Bohol. Among the best things to do in Bohol is visiting the Chocolate Hills with over 1,260 hills covered in beautiful green grass, the tarsier sanctuary, and the rice fields.
If you are more of a beach lover, Boracay Island could be your top choice, with its turquoise seas and white powdery sand. Accessed by ferry, the island is home to many water sports and four kilometers of beach.
What is the Most Beautiful Resort in the Philippines?
The Philippines is a travel destination that is suitable for all budgets. However, if you are looking for something a little more luxurious, consider splashing out on one of the many five-star resorts.
The Fairways and Bluewater Boracay resort is another great luxury option and has its own 18-hole golf course.
Check our guides for:
What is the Safest Place to Live in the Philippines?
Safety is always a concern wherever you are visiting in the world, and the Philippines is no exception to this. Filipinos are renowned for their warmth and welcoming hospitality. If you are in the Philippines for an extended stay, consider Davao City.
Davao City is one of the safest and most liveable cities in the world due to its low crime rates.
As with anywhere you may travel to, keep your wits about you when going out alone or at night. Make sure you keep your valuables hidden away and avoid getting any expensive gadgets out in public.
Whether it’s your first or hundredth trip to this southeast Asian country, there’s always something new to explore here. We hope you have an amazing time on your next planned trip to the Philippines!LIKE IT? PIN IT