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Last updated: May 2020
The Philippines is without a doubt, a super scenic location! With its 7,641 islands, there are a plethora of beautiful islands, picturesque landscapes and untouched nature on this astonishing archipelago.
Aside from the most talked about islands of Boracay, Coron and Siargao, there are other more jaw-dropping destinations that often don’t get mentioned. The Philippines offers so much diversity with the endless amount of islands you can explore, each island having its own unique personality, culture and scenery. Here is an overview of why you should visit this amazing island destination.
The highly urbanized city of Manila has grown to be one of the best shopping destinations in Asia. This city puts you at the center of shopping malls, entertainment centers, first-class restaurants, luxury hotels, epic nightlife and spas. Not just that, it is also home to numerous museums and important historical sites such as the Walled City of Intramuros, Rizal Park and more. The country’s busiest airport, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), is also found here.
With so many islands, white sand beaches and gorgeous coasts, the Philippines has always something on offer for everyone - whether you are a couple, traveling with friends or family or a solo traveler. Everyone who visits will definitely have a favorite destination in mind!
Explore tropical paradise with beautiful limestones, rock formations alongside white beaches and turquoise blue water on the islands of Coron and El Nido, Palawan, or perhaps the world-famous white sand of Boracay, the idyllic beaches and waterfalls of Cebu, the quiet isolation of Kalanggaman Island, the raw beauty of Caramoan where Survivor was filmed, the surfer’s paradise at Siargao or the picturesque island of Batanes. You will never run out of amazing places to visit in the Philippines!
Aside from popular destinations, there are also hidden secret gems and off-the-beaten paths such as Siquijor, Camiguin, Bicol, Iloilo, Guimaras and so much more! Many of the less popular islands focus on sustainability and community-based tourism which strongly benefit the local economy.
The Philippines is also endowed with many UNESCO World Heritage Sites which includes:
In the middle of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park lies what is considered to be the longest and most impressive underground river in the world. It has a very unique cave system and karsts formation and is considered to be so beautiful that it was also included in the 2012 list of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in the World.
Dubbed by some as the Eight Wonder of the World, the Banaue Rice Terraces are vast slopes of terraces that are built in the Ifugao mountains. It is considered the oldest in the world and was so smartly carved by humans to efficiently bring a good harvest of rice, vegetables and crops. Given its majestic landscape and cultural significance, this is something you would not want to miss on your Philippine tour.
Located in the Coral Triangle in the centre of Sulu Sea, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is home to a mega diversity of marine life - the biggest concentration than in any place in the world. It shelters 374 species of corals, almost 90% of all coral species in the Philippines and about 500 species of fish. Whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles, Napoleon wrasse and seabirds are amongst the key species found here. There is so much abundance on this part of the planet which makes your visit truly extraordinary.
The Spanish colonial town of Vigan is unique for its well‐preserved old stone houses, historical buildings, museums and the heritage village called Calle Crisologo. This exceptionally beautiful destination is also hailed as one of the 7 Wonder Cities of the World, chosen from among 1,200 nominees across 220 countries worldwide - truly one of a kind!
There are more to this list plus a total of nineteen (19) other nominees. UNESCO’s recognition is a strong validation of how incredibly rich and diverse truly the Philippines is.
There are many great tasting and authentic Filipino foods that will make your Philippine trip flavorful. For instance, the world-famous adobo, the luscious roast pig called lechon, the best beer-partner called sisig, the rich flavorful tamarind soup called sinigang, the exotic 16-day old duck egg called balut and of course the all-time favorite Filipino dessert called the halo-halo.
The Philippines has plenty of destinations that highlight responsible, unique and authentic wildlife encounters. For instance, Donsol’s multi-awarded whale shark interaction dubbed as the Best Animal Encounter in Asia according to Time Magazine and ASEAN, you may also visit the breeding and rehabilitation center of endemic Philippine Eagles in Davao, be astonished by the hundred happy dolphins of Pamilacan Island, admire the giant sea turtles at Apo Island, dance with sardine run in Moalboal or be in awe of by world’s smallest primates called tarsiers in Bohol - all these and more.
Some of the most beautiful landforms found only in the Philippines are: the world’s most perfect cone that is, the Mayon Volcano, the unique geological formation of Chocolate Hills, the breathtaking “beautiful disaster” of Mt. Pinatubo and of course, the highest peak of Mt. Apo.
Whether you are a certified scuba diver or just enjoying the water, there is so much to see and do underneath the waters in the Philippines. With diverse and beautiful underwater marine life, you have more than a hundred spots for you to choose from. You can head on to the Apo Island in Dauin, Negros, the world-class dive site Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, the sunken shipwrecks in Coron, the pioneer dive center in the country at Anilao, Batangas and so much more.
Dubbed as “the Pearl of the Orient Seas”, there is no doubt that the country is a perfect destination for snorkeling. Some of the most beautiful snorkeling sites are Coron, Balicasag Island in Bohol, Tubod Marine Sanctuary in Siquijor, Puerto Galera and more. There is also a very unusual snorkeling site here called the Sunken Cemetery in Camiguin.
Every town and city in the Philippines has its own festival which are often associated with religion or natural bounty. To name a few, Cebu has Sinulog Festival which is described as the “Mardi Gras of Asia”, it showcases vibrant and colorful street parades in celebration of the birth of Christianity in the country; Kalibo has Ati-atihan Festival which celebrates Filipino’s indigenous culture, Guimaras has Mango Festival which celebrates the bountiful harvest of centennial mangoes; Obando has Fertility Festival devoted to saints who can bless a hopeful parents for a gift of child and a lot more festivals.
The Philippines is the best place to relax and rejuvenate. Spa treatments, facial, hair color, haircut, massages, manicures, etc. are very well-priced in the Philippines. This would be something fun and affordable activity to include in your must-do list in the Philippines.
When you come to the Philippines, you will notice some interesting-looking vehicles called the “jeepneys”. It is an iconic symbol of the Philippines made from converted US army jeeps that stayed in the country after World War II. Jeepneys are found throughout the Philippines streets and cities as the most popular public vehicle. There are different designs of jeepneys but all of which share the same characteristics - colorful, unique and catchy.
There are other more interesting forms of transportation in the Philippines such as tricycle, trisikad (three-wheeled rickshaw), habal-habal (motorcycle for hire), banka (native-style pump boat), RORO (short for Roll-on, Roll-off which are usually ferries for cars and passengers). It is always interesting to try one of these authentic modes of transportation when you come to the Philippines.
Filipinos are known to be the most hospitable people in the entire world. You will be humbled to meet some of the kindest and friendliest locals who always exude a positive smile despite the inevitable challenges of daily life. Filipinos are generally happy, genuinely warm and very friendly people. They will stop at whatever they are doing to help you, whether you are asking for directions, struggling to find a place to stay, what to eat, where to ride, lost key or passport or cellphone, take a photo for you - anything at all. They will not hesitate to lend a helping hand. Making friends with the locals can be one of the highlights in your Philippine trip. Many who have met a Filipino have their own stories to tell.
The English language is widely spoken in the Philippines which makes it more attractive to travelers. Communication is not a problem and language barrier is not an issue. In fact, the Philippines is listed as one among the best English-speaking countries in the world. Filipino and English are widely spoken all across the land.
There are two weather patterns in the country. The dry and wet season. Best time to explore Philippine islands would be in summer or dry season, that is, between March to May and can be extended until June. Rainy months are typically between July to October. Most of the islands are exploreable when there is no typhoon which typically happens in December.
If you wanna experience all these things, make sure to actually BOOK A PLANE to the Philippines! With so many islands to see, you wanna make sure to make the most of your precious time while on tour. Kapwa Travel is a local boutique tour operator that specializes in individualized and custom-made tours. They have reliable local partners and a dedicated team of experts to help you plan your trip. Come visit the Philippines and discover the many reasons why “It’s More Fun in the Philippines.” :)
We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.