Where can you possibly go in an archipelagic country with over 7,600 islands? Here are our top picks for travelers, tourists, and locals who want to discover the beautiful sights and top 10 destinations in the Philippines.
To start, the Philippines is divided into three main island groups, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. And each region offers anyone a mountainous trekking adventure to serene and tropical landscapes.
You can even find historical colonial streets in Vigan or catch a rare glimpse of the endangered and also protected tiny tarsier monkeys at private sanctuaries in Bohol.
And since the country is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. You will never run out of stunning beaches with outstanding scuba diving opportunities. So plan your travels around the archipelago with these itineraries we’ve picked for you.
Here are the…
Top Destinations in the Philippines That You Should Visit in Your Lifetime
(19) Revisit Spanish Period Manila at Intramuros and Rizal Park
Intramuros (Spanish for “within the walls”) is the oldest district and historic core of Manila, Philippines. It is also called the Walled City, the original city of Manila and the seat of government when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire.
Rizal Park, also known as Luneta National Park or simply Luneta, is a historical urban park in the Philippines. Located along Roxas Boulevard, Manila, adjacent to the old walled city of Intramuros, it is one of the largest urban parks in Asia.
How to get there:
1.Take a jeep to LRT Gil Puyat from Petron Gas Station on Buendia Ave. cor Makati Ave.
2. Ride LRT Gil Puyat to Central Station
3. From Central is already walking distance to Intramuros and Rizal Park
Places to visit:
San Agustin Church
Palacio del Gobernador
Japanese and Chinese Garden
(18) Brush Up Your History On Corregidor Island
Corregidor is just a ferry ride away from Manila. This tadpole-shaped island lies at the mouth of Manila Bay and was a strategic military base during World War II. The remnants of the past remain standing and are just waiting for curious, open minds to come take a look. If ghost-haunting is right up your alley, they say it is also the place to be but maybe that’s too extreme.
How to get there:
1. Ride a jeep to LRT Gil Puyat from Petron Gas Station on Buendia Ave. cor Makati Ave
2. Ride a multicab going to SM MOA
3. Get off when you reach One Esplanade
4. Walk going to Esplanade Seaside Terminal (EST)
Places to visit:
Pacific War Memorial Museum
Filipino Heroes Memorial
Mile Long Barracks
Daily Trip Schedule
Check in time and boarding time: 7am
ETD Manila: 8am
ETA Corregidor: 9:15am
ETD Corregidor: 2:30pm
ETA Manila: 3:45pm
Check-in counter opens 1 hour before the scheduled time of departure and strictly closes 30 minutes before departure. Passengers who arrive after the cut-off time will not be allowed to go on board.
Contact number: 834-6857/527-5555
Address: Sun Cruise docks located beside Esplanade Seaside Terminal, SM MOA Complex, Pasay City.
For more info about Corregidor tour package http://www.corregidorphilippines.com/
(17) Enjoy White Sand Beaches of Batangas (San Juan, Matabungkay, Nasugbu and Calatagan)
NASUGBU is among the tourist destinations in the North West region of Batangas province. Most tourists flock to Nasugbu to enjoy the beauty of nature and to visit famous Nasugbu beach resorts. Many attracted to mountain trekking in Pico de Loro, Mount Batulao, and even activities like deep sea fishing.
It just takes two hours to go from Manila to the perfect vacation escape for friends and family. For more than 30 years, the Matabungkay Beach Hotel in the beachfront town of Lian, Batangas, has been a top destination for both local and foreign travelers seeking a vacation. The classic beach offers frothy white sand coastlines, rolling waves of denim blue, exciting and thrilling watersports, and much more.
Burot Beach is a remote beach located along the shores of Catagan, Batangas. It has a stretch of semi-fine cream sand Beach kissed by calm waters, beautiful rock formations and dotted with trees. Day tour is 65 pesos and overnight stay 130 pesos.
San Juan Batangas
Beach resorts: Palm Beach Resort, Blue Coral Beach Resort, Acuatico Beach Resort, Taramindu Beach Garden Inn, Sabangan Beach Resort, Calatagan Batangas Beach Resorts
Beach resorts: Golden Sunset Resort, Lago De Oro Beach Resort, Rosegold Beach Resort & Hotel, and Sunrise Cove, Laiya White Cove
How to get there:
1. Ride a jeep to LRT Gil Puyat from Petron Gas Station on Buendia Ave. cor Makati Ave
2. Board a bus, from Buendia, Pasay Terminal (Jam Liner, Tritran Bus, DLTB Bus) bound to Nasugbu
Travel time: 3.5-4 hours
Fare: Approx 180 pesos
(16) Fall in Love in Our Waterfalls in Pagsanjan and Pangil (Laguna)
Pagsanjan Falls may be just another waterfall to many but it is the getting there that makes a visit an unforgettable experience. Board a small boat and be amazed with how the boatmen masterfully conquer the rapids and the rocky stream on the way to the waterfall Buntot Palos Falls is another best-kept secret of Laguna that may be attractive to the thrill-seeking adventurer.
How to get there:
1. Ride a jeep to LRT Gil Puyat from Petron Gas Station on Buendia Ave. Cor Makati Ave
2. Take a Green Star Bus on Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue (Buendia) corner Taft Avenue
3. Get off at Pagsanjan bus terminal in Barangay Pagsawitan, Pagsanjan, Laguna. The rides takes about 2.5 hours
4. From Pagsanjan, ride a jeep to Pagsanjan, Lumban, Paete, Siniloan, or Caliraya, and get off at your destination. The ride takes about 20-30 minutes.
Things to do in Pagsanjan:
Shooting the rapids boat (Php1500 round trip boat ride, entrance fees, life vest)
Raff ride & Swimming
Where to stay:
Pagsanjan falls Lodge
Pagsanjan Garden Resort
La Corono De Pagsanjan
Travel time: 2-3 hours
(15) Enjoy the Manila Bay Cruise
Spending a pleasant tropical evening becomes more exhilarating with a sumptuous set dinner, over an hour of bay cruise and romantic serenade. As the sun goes down, indulge yourself to an enchanting experience ideal for those who want to have a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Sun cruises delivers this extraordinary experience with its cruise ferry, M/V Spirit of Manila. Be awed with the Manila skyline by sunset and the lights of SM Mall of Asia by night as the cruise takes you across the Manila Bay for an hour of night time spectacle.
Reservation required prior to travel date
Inclusions: Roundtrip fee, dinner and live entertainment
Scheduled trip (1hr and 30mins)
Monday to Friday: 6pm-7:30pm and 8pm-9:30pm
Saturday and Sunday: 4:15pm-5:45pm | 6:15pm-7:45pm | 8:15pm-9:45pm
Monday to Thursday: Php550 plated dinner | Php650 buffet dinner
Friday to Sunday: Php 650 buffet dinner
How to get there:
1. Ride a jeep to LRT Gil Puyat from Petron Gas Station on Buendia Ave. Cor Makati Ave.
2. Ride a multicab going to SM MOA
3. Get off when you reach on Esplanade
4. Walk going to Esplanade Seaside Terminal (EST)
Address: Sun Cruise docks located beside Esplanade Seaside Terminal, SM MOA Complex, Pasay City
Contact Number: 834-685758/527-5555
(14) Pay Pilgrimate in Antipolo City
Antipolo is a city in the province of Rizal. The city is popular for being a pilgrimage site. It prides itself as the “Pilgrimage Capital of the Philippines”. Its higher elevation than that of Metro Manila affords it a scenic view of the metropolis, especially at night. Its locally ground mangoes and cashews are popular among tourists, as well as suman–a local delicacy made out of glutinous rice.
Travel Time: Approx 2hrs
How to get there:
1. Ride a jeep to MRT Beundia from Gil Puyat Ave.
2. Take the MRT to Cubao Station
3. Ride a bus/jeep to Antipolo
PLACES TO VISIT
Pinto Art Museum
In the historic pilgrimage city of Antipolo in the Philippines, which is located outside of Manila, lies the Pinto Art Museum, an exhibition venue, and contemporary museum. The museum was established in 2010 to display Dr. Joven Cuanang, a Filipino neurologist and supporter of the art collection, to the public.
The museum, whose name translates literally to “door” in Filipino, was established on the premise that art may serve as a bridge between many ethnicities, worldviews, and communities.
Padi’s point of view
The original Padi’s Point in Antipolo, located along Sumulong Highway, is well-known for its stunning sunset views. Families, barkadas, or even couples go from all over the city to this restaurant to appreciate the laid-back atmosphere, the homemade foods provided, and, of course, the wonderful landscape. It has long been regarded as a landmark in the neighborhood.
The International Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage and the Immaculate Conception Parish, often known as Antipolo Cathedral, is a Roman Catholic cathedral situated in Antipolo, Philippines.
It holds the Marian statue of Our Lady of Peace and Good Journey, also known as Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje, and serves as the bishop of Antipolo’s residence. Locals refer to it as the “Simbahan ng Antipolo” (Church of Antipolo).
Millions of pilgrims visit the shrine annually, especially during the pilgrimage season, which starts on April 30 with the Alay Lakad from Quiapo Church and lasts through May.
One of Antipolo City’s tourist attractions is the Mystical Cave, managed by Inday Nelly. Here, you may view numerous stalactites and stalagmites formed by water that are sacred and religious. Because of the sacred pictures discovered within the cave, the term itself is “mystical.” Based on statements, the water and stone inside the cave are priceless because they have the ability to heal the ill and protect you from danger.
The stone within the cave believed to be your “anting-anting,” according to the residence. This location considered to be religious due to the numerous depictions of Jesus, Adam and Eve, Nazarene, Mama Mary, Pieta, Holy Trinity, St. Peter, St. Bernadette, and other religious figures carved into the rocks. Of course, the sacred and precious water that drips into the cave has medicinal benefits.
Hinulugang Taktak Waterfalls
Antipolo’s Hinulugang Taktak, the most popular tourist attraction in Old Antipolo, is this beautiful waterfall. Greenery, a calm atmosphere, a healthy environment, clean surroundings, clear water running, lovely birds singing, and people enjoying the area. The water was so clear that even the colors of interesting butterflies reflected on it, and kids were playing as their moms washed laundry upstream.
Mt. Purro Nature Camp
The 36-hectare Mount Purro forest sanctuary is located in the Sierra Madre mountain range’s foothills. It is part of Rizal province, Upper Marikina Watershed, a designated landscape region. For its tourists, it provides camping and accommodation in Filipino huts.
The eco-park provides planned activities like a campfire and a hike through the forest to Malvar’s Peak (419 meters above sea level), where you may enjoy a beautiful dawn view.
The Mt. Purro Nature Reserve is the perfect destination for couples, families, first-timers, mountain bikers, and motorbike riders who wish to extend their weekend travel. Beyond the typical day trips.
(13) MT. PINATUBO
Experience Mt. Pinatubo a day trek to the crater will reveal the beauty that it dew. Take a bus to Tarlac, ride a jeep, to the crater of Mt. Pinatubo! It’s a long way but the view is definitely worth the time and effort. See the rim of the crater slope up from a lakeful of rainwater, accumulated over the years! You can even boat across the crater. Lake and camping overnight.
How to get there:
1. Ride a bus going to Pangasinan, Baguio, or Ilocos via ‘Victory Liner/Partas/Five Star bus’ in Pasay/Cubao terminal.
2. Drop off at Capas Public Market
3. Take a jeepney going to Sta. Juliana going to Tourism Office Camp
Where to stay:
Microtel Inn & Suite Tarlar
Asian ten Hotel
Things to do in Mt. Pinatubo
1. Try the volcanic ash massage and mud pack at Pinatubo spa town.
2. Drop by at Capas Shrine and have a glimpse of Philippine history
3. Witness the man shaped rock formation in Sta. Juliana called as Telatau-massive totem-shaped rock
4. Feel the heat of Dolores and Bueno hot springs
Start of hike: 6am or 7am (8hrs back & forth)
Estimated fare is 1,550/head for 5px (subject to change)
Ride a 4×4 (1.5hrs) and 2hrs hiking to the crater inclusive of guides and fees
Travel time: 3hrs
(12) ANAWANGIN AND NAGSASA ZAMBALES
The beaches of San Antonio, Zambales, a perfect proof of many clichés we’re heard before. The rainbow after the storm, the light at the end of the tunnel, the Phoenix reborn and rising from the ashes. Cliché but true. Who would have thought that the beautiful Anawangin and Nagsasa Coves were made by a disaster a couple of decades ago? They say that these beaches used to be rocky but Mt. Pinatubo dumped a good amount of volcanic ash that the place was absolutely unrecognizable. Years later, agoho trees started to grow, creating an evergreen forest of what seems like pine trees.
How to get there:
1. Ride a multicab going to Pasay terminal then drop off at Victory Line Bus Station.
2. Catch Victory Liner Bus bound to Iba, Zambales, and get off at San Antonio Public Market (P250). Alternatively, you may also travel by bus to Olongapo City, and then board another bus to San Antonio.
3. Take a tricycle to Pundaquit (P60 per 2 pax, or P30 per pax).
4. In Pundaquit, rent a boat to Anawangin or Nagsasa Cove.
Where to stay:
Camping is the name of the game in Anawangin, Nagsasa, and Silanguin Cove. Unless you’re on a packaged tour, you must bring your own tent.
– Overnight camping fee: P100
– Entrance fee (if not staying overnight) : P50
If you’re not really the camping type, you might want to consider checking in at CIRCLE HOSTEL.
(11) Behold Bataan City
Photo from lumina.com.phBataan is a place rich not only in history, but also in natural beauty and adventure, truly a tourist spot that never runs out of surprises. Since we’re just fresh from celebrating the Araw ng Kagitingan (Valor Day) in the Philippines, which is also known as Bataan Day, Skyscanner is featuring five best places to visit in this historic city.
How to get there:
1. Take a jeepney to MRT Buendia Station from Gil Puyat Ave.
2. From Buendia Station take a train going to Cubao Station.
3. Ride a Bataan Transit (sister comp of Five star bus) that should be bound to Batangas.
4. Then drop off to Batangas Central Terminal
Places to visit:
Pawikan Conservation Center
A home situated in Brgy. Nagbalayong is dedicated to raising awareness about the risk of extinction of the Olive Ridley sea turtle. These endangered species’ original nesting locations are along the shoreline where the Pawikan Conservation Center is located. It is run by individuals who were formerly poachers but have since become advocates for these marine animals.
El Paradiso Private Beach might well be located in Bagac, Bataan, Philippines. Locations close by include: TRF BEACH RESORT (3 km), Villa Dolores Beach Resort (3 km), Castle’s Beach Resort (3 km), Riverview Beach Resort, Saysain Bagac Bataan (3 km), and Telin Development Corp. (3 km).
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
In Bagac, Bataan, Las Casas Filipinas has an area of approximately 40 hectares (99 acres).
The historical houses in Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, which relocated from places outside Bagac, Bataan, are the center of attraction. The homes are taken apart and rebuilt inside the Las Casas Filipinas complex, where they originally located. Since the original community may have benefited from the structures had they been rebuilt on site, conservationists agree with this technique of cultural preservation.
Las Casas Filipinas houses are chosen based on their historical, cultural, and architectural worth. The majority of buildings date back to the Spanish colonial period, while others were constructed later, including the Casa Lubao, which was constructed in the 1920s during the American era.
Bataan Technology Park
The United Nations Philippine Refugee Processing Center once stood on 365 hectares of land in the Bataan Technology Park, which overlooks the South China Sea from the region’s rolling hills.
Currently intended to serve as the growth engine for knowledge-based sectors that would catapult the Philippines into being the next Asia-Pacific region center for high technology innovation and applications development, particularly in information technology (IT) and related industries.
Westnuk Beach Resort
The Westnuk Beach Resort, hidden away in the center of Morong, Bataan, is the ideal refuge for anxious tourists seeking to get away from the city’s bustle. Only a 2.5-hour journey separates our resort from Manila. The journey there is an adventure in and of itself because the roads are lined with beautiful views of the meeting point of the mountains and the sea.
Travel Time: 2-3 hours
Fair Budget: 1500php
Five Star Bus
Address: Kaunlaran Cubao, Quezon City
Contact No.: 911-7359
(10) Stunning Sumaguing Cave in Sagada
As we’ve mentioned, the Philippines isn’t just about stunning beaches. It also has cool highland destinations where you can be close to nature and the country’s mountain ventures.
Just north of the Philippine’s capital city Manila. You can find Sagada, a small town in the mist-covered Cordillera mountain range of Northern Luzon.
Sagada is widely-known for its bizarre hanging coffins. It is a burial tradition that dates back to 2000 years ago and is still being practiced today.
The People of Sagada follow this ritual where instead of being placed into the ground, the coffins are hung either inside of the caves or on the face of cliffs. The belief is that the higher the dead were placed, the greater the chance the spirits would reach in the afterlife.
Although some of the coffins are over centuries old, some of them deteriorate and do fall from their positions. However, as a traveler or local, it must left alone and appreciated only from afar.
Aside from the hanging coffins, Sagada also world-renowned for its mysterious caves named Sumaguing Cave or also known as “The Big Cave”.
Going to the main part of this venture, the only source of light you can rely on is a gasoline-powered lamp which will be constantly held by your assigned tour guide.
Since you will be stepping on wet and slippery rocks, you will need to properly equip yourselves with the right footwear. Otherwise, you will risk injuring or slipping into a 40 feet ravine.
Although the cave is enigmatic and alluring, we will not overshadow the dangers of this trip. It will require you get your hands dirty and to slip and slide along the steepest rocks. So it’s best to travel light, be of healthy build, and avoid bringing valuables.
While you may feel anxious when starting this cave journey. But overall, the cave’s destination and sights reflect nothing but an ambiance of tranquility.
(9) Awe with Apo Island Marine Reserve (Negros Oriental)
One of the best snorkeling and diving destinations in the Philippines can done at Apo Island. “Apo” or “elder” is a volcanic island that is home to a little over 700 people. It is located 7 kilometers south of Negros Oriental.
The island itself, a small and covered in rocky formations. However, the locals happily wrapped around the arms of mother nature. They get to experience the scenic views that most people can only dream of. And they can swim with the turtles and marine life whenever they want.
However, if you are planning to visit this popular destination. We recommend doing it in the months of May and October. Try to avoid going there from June to September. Since the monsoon season makes the waves and currents uninviting for visitors.
Also take note that there are no ATMs on the island. So bring all the needed cash you have with you. But although electricity and the internet is limited here. You’d definitely be thankful for it since you’d be focusing on exploring the island’s bounties.
For one, you can check the beaches and the marine life that’s waiting for you to take a dip. Just a little bit of history though, the Apo Island Marine Sanctuary was established in 1982. This was after many years of destructive fishing methods and was established both to protect the Island’s economy which is reliant on Fishing and the marine life.
Currently, you’ll be able to find over 450 species of corals and 650 species of fishes here. However, you’d be delighted to find out that the main attraction here are actually the sea turtles.
Imagine swimming with these wise creatures, right? But please don’t forget that marine life and this includes the corals should never be touched. Always be respectful to marine life so that future generations can enjoy it too.
Apo Island Light House
After a good dip, you might want to bask in the sun or better yet. Take a walk to explore the trail leading towards Apo’s lighthouse. The view on top is simply calming and you can also check out the few local homes you’ll be passing through as you get there.
Always make sure to bring plenty of water and take a rest when necessary to avoid overexerting yourself.
(8) Go Underground River Tour (Puerto Princesa)
Looking at the western most province of the country, sits in all its glory, the island of Palawan. Palawan is a majestic tropical paradise that is home not just to marvelous beaches but also an abundant biodiversity.
From animals that crawl, swim and fly! Puerto Princesa is the world renowned Subterranean River National Park that holds a place of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and is recognized and protected by the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1999.
One of the most famous destinations in Palawan is its 8.2 kilometer long underground river. It boasts of unique cave formations, pristine waters and stunning limestone cliffs.
However, the public not allowed to go further than 4.3km in. To avoid disturbing and maintaining the homes of various species that live inside the river systems which includes bats and swallows who are easily disturb by light and sounds.
If you do decide to travel to Puerto Princesa, we recommend doing so around November to May. Since this is when the waves are calmer and you would have less chance that your trip would be cancelled or delayed due to bad weather.
(7) Go Loco with Chocolate Hills (Bohol)
Often dubbed as an “Eight Wonder to the World,” Bohol’s Chocolate Hills is a famous destination that continues to attract tourists and visitors with its unique setting.
But of course, there is more to this place than a picturesque landscape. Sadly, Chocolate Hills isn’t made out of chocolate. They are named that way since the hills, which are covered in green grass during the rainy season, turn into a chocolatey brown color during the dry season.
There are more than a thousand hills with an area of 50 square kilometers that look symmetrical in shape. Legend has it that the hills came into existence because two giants fought in the area and hurled rocks, boulders, and sand at each other.
After their fight was over, this led to a huge mess of hills which we refer to as the Chocolate Hills today.
In another myth, it claims that a heartbroken giant shed a lot of tears which led to the formation of these limestone hills. But some would say that these hills were merely a product of carabaos feces piling on top of one another.
If you want to see the hills when they are in their chocolate brown color. You may want to visit Bohol, from November till May. And to find the best viewing deck for your pictures, check out the Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen and Sagbayan Peak.
(6) Sightseeing Majestic Mayon Volcano (Albay)
Moving on from hills to mountains, we have one of the most iconic and perfectly shaped cones of all the volcanoes in the Philippines, the Maron Volcano or Mount Mayon.
Mayon Volcano stands at 2462 meters high and situated in Albay, Bicol just at the southern east end of Luzon. Deemed to be the most active volcano in the Philippines with a record of 50 eruptions in the past decades.If you want to hear more of the Philippine myths, then Mount Mayon has one for you too. A story about star crossed lovers with a tragic ending that leads to the rise of the jewel of Albay. You can read an overview of the story here.
Activities to do in Mayon Volcano Natural Park
Of course, you can also look forward to other activities that the natural park offers for its visitors such as:
A. Ecological Tour
If you are feeling adventurous, explore the sights given to you by Albay by joining the ecological tour. You will be able to visit sites such as Kapuntukan Hills, Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga Church, and Ligñon Hill Nature Park where you can see a 360 degree view of the area. You can also try the 320-meter long zip line, and go to the hanging bridge which will definitely take your breath away.
Don’t you want to get up close and see Mount Mayon personally? If you have the time and energy to spare. You’d want to take a hike and trek towards this wonder. You can choose two trails which are the Buyuhan trail and Buang trail.
Do take note that the hike could take about two days. And before you are able to hike this mountain, you will be required to contact the Department of Tourism office in Legazpi City.
Hiking Mount Mayon will take two days, so hikers will usually camp in this area. And you can pitch your tent at their camps and enjoy a meal with your companions.
D. ATV Riding
If you are really looking for the most exciting way to explore the foothills, ruins and rice fields, try searching for the ATV rides available in Legazpi. You can drive an ATV towards the Lava Wall of Mt. Mayon while passing through gullies, rivers and fallen rock. Just don’t drink and drink.
(5) Bask in Wonder of Batad Rice Terraces (Ifugao)
If you want to experience a rich and vibrant culture, cool weather and see the untouched mountain ranges of the Cordillera region, then visit the majestic rice terraces of Banaue.
Batad Rice Terraces and its people coexist in a way that can make you appreciate the view more and more as you take it all in. It has also been recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. And it is the first-ever property to be included in the cultural landscape category of the World Heritage List.
Visit the Batad Rice Terraces with a thought of a retreat and self discovery. But of course you won’t just be spending much of your time there reflecting but also to immerse in unique cultural experiences, outdoor activities, and culinary adventures.
But do take note that there are No ATMs near Banaue or Batad. So always bring the right amount of cash.
Once you arrive, you will need to head to the tourism office where you need to register and pay an environmental fee of 20PHP to view the area.
A Brief History
The Ifugao people created the terraces more than 2000 years ago. And it is collectively known as the Banaue rice terraces. The Ifugao people are the ancestors of the Batad indigenous people, they are the ones that started to carve the terraces in the mountains in order to grow and cultivate rice in such a terrain.
As the terraces were built by bare hands and primitieve equipment, it doesn’t need any further explanation how the Ifuagaos are the personification of the word “diligent”. If you want to visit Batad Rice Terraces, you can come between October and November when the terraces are in their greenest.
(4) Be A Vagabond of Historical City of Vigan (Ilocos Sur)
Do you want to travel back in time? Discover Vigan City in Ilocos Sur. It is one of the best and well-preserved Spanish colonial towns that remains in Asia. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New7Wonders Cities.
Vigan City was established in the 16th century. And it was a stop on the Silk Route that made it a trading post. In 1572, the conquistador Juan de Salcedo took over and became the lieutenant governor of the Ilocos region.
It then became the center of varying political, religious and commercial activities of Northern Luzon. But what truly makes Vigan special is that it has a rich history of the colonial era and a bustling atmosphere of an Asian City.
If you want to visit the city when it is at its most colorful. You can schedule your visit on May 3 when the city celebrates the Viva Vigan Festival of Arts or (Tres de Mayo).
The celebration will start with a mass followed by dancing and a parade of their local kalesa (a two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage used in the Philippines).
(3) Heavenly Hinatuan Enchanted River (Surigao Del Sur)
Hidden in the Philippine jungle lies the majestic Hinatuan River. Situated on the east coast of the southernmost island of the Philippines, Surigao del Sur and is widely known as the Enchanted River.
The river strikingly clear making its blue waters look like gemstones as it continues to pour out to the Philippine Sea right into the Pacific Ocean. Although it is barely long enough to be considered as a river, its flow attracts visitors from around the world so experience the beauty and immerse in its miraculous waters.
The crystalline waters hide a subterranean cave system and was only explored in 1999 by cave diver named Alex Santos.
11 years later, the underground cave system has also been further explored by Dr. Alfonso Amores, Bernil Gastardo, and Emgee Guillermo who discovered numerous underwater chambers at 30 and 40 meters depth, with more caverns and fissures that lead to uncharted tunnels.
The expeditions still continue and are pushing at around 200 feet into this unmapped underwater tunnel system which adds to the mystery and beauty of this place that begs the question, just what is hiding in those calm waters?
Calling The Marine Life With Music
Other than its mesmerizing color, another reason why you should visit this magical place is to witness the daily feeding. Every afternoon, the caretakers will ring a bell to signal everyone to exit the waters.
When everyone stood clear of the river, the “Hymn of Hinatuan” played over loudspeakers where it attracts a school of silver-scaled fishes that appears on cue.
They are then fed by the staff members with rice, pieces of meat, shrimp, octopus and other scraps of food.
This is a mesmerizing event but you will not be able to enter the waters until all the fish vanishes, leaving the river in all its calming glory.
A word of advice though, the Hinatuan River is 140km away from the nearest city so it will take at least six to seven hours to travel by car. So before deciding to take a trip here, consider the travel time especially when heading back since there are no lights on the highway.
(2) Enjoy White Beach of BORACAY (Aklan)
If you are looking for the perfect, and we do mean, perfect white sand beach destination, then Boracay Island has got to be on top of your travel list.
Boracay Island has duly recognized for its unique and stunning charm. Often cited as one of the world’s most beautiful islands because of its many tourist spots and activities that offer thousands of vacationers a memorable experience throughout the year.
From waking up to the sound of calm crashing waves, to walking along a peaceful beach every sunrise, to watching and spending your time admiring the ocean view.
But of course, there are also a lot more fun and exciting sports adventures than simply spending your time just admiring the view.
You can ride the waves in style, or feel the wind on your face through paddling activities, kite surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
If you really up for the challenge, you can also try parasailing where you can enjoy the bird-eye-view of the whole island while being pulled by a boat.
But don’t limit yourself with just those physical activities, exercise your tongue by drowning in the true Filipino dishes and delicacies during your stay;
There are plenty of seafood restaurants on the island and you can even enjoy fresh fruits such as mango and coconuts for you to enjoy.
There is also a very vibrant nightlife in boracay. Where you can meet, mingle, and party with other travelers. This will help you to experience different pubs and bars around the White Beach.
With Boracay becoming even more beautiful and cleaner due to its rehabilitation projects. Please be advised that:
No Booking, No Entry
You need to book your accommodation with the Department of Tourism (DOT) for accredited hotels and resorts.
Bring Enough Cash
While some establishments accept credit cards and ATM machines are available, it is still best to have emergency cash on hand.
Smoking and Drinking Policies
Smoking banned on the island. And visitors only allowed to drink alcohol inside permitted bars.
Overall, heading towards this white beach getaway is an ultimate experience for visitors. Discover its charisma and start planning on checking out Boracay for more trips and activities.
(1) Swim in Wonder with the Whale Sharks (OSLOB CEBU)
Regally known as the Queen City of the South, Cebu City definitely owns this title. Other than being the center of trade and commerce in Visayas, the city also boasts of numerous destinations and attractions for one to see.
If you’ve decided to visit the Queen City of the South. You have to stop by the town of Oslob, Cebu! It is here where you can enjoy not just wonderful beaches and the hospitality of the Filipinos. But is also where you can swim with the majestic whale sharks.
Although there has been an on-going debate whether this tourism activity is safe or ethical for the whale sharks. Please note that the Philippine Government has officials and security in place in order to minimize the disturbance done to marine life.
For one, before allowed into the water. Visitors must attend a short on-site orientation on the do’s and don’ts of whale shark watching.
You are then provided with two choices, whether you just want to watch or swim with the whale sharks. Please note that you cannot change your mind once you are already on the small boat.
This is because before you get to swim with the sharks, sunscreen and other lotions will not allowed on the water. You will be asked to take a shower before heading in for a swim.
Also, you need to take note that the whale shark watching only allowed from 6AM to 1PM each day. And the funds generated by this tourism spot aimed to protect the whale shark and coral reef resources which is the main livelihood that the community relies on.
Other Places to visit in Cebu
And that’s not all you can expect from Cebu. If you are interested there’s plenty of history to be found in this city. Such as the historic Fort San Pedro, now a museum. Once was a military defense structure in Cebu. Built by the Spanish in 1565 under the command of Miguel López de Legazpi, first governor of the Captaincy General of the Philippines.
Or you can also join every January to celebrate the biggest festival in the Philippines, Sinulog. This festivity celebrated right at the heart of Cebu which at the Santo Niño Church that built in 1565.
And just a few meters from the church lies the famous Magellan’s Cross. Planted by Ferdinand Magellan himself in 1521, the cross enshrined just right next to the Santo Niño Church.
However, you will not be able to look at the original cross but rather its shell. Done to preserve the cross and for visitors to avoid chipping the historical and religious item.
In addition to a blast from the past experience. You can also find in Cebu an exhilarating water adventure that takes you to towering gorges, boulders and even waterfalls.
And if you have the time, head off to the northern part of Cebu to reach Malapascua Island. It offers spectacular diving spots in Cebu that are just teeming with vibrant corals and large sea creatures.
Overall, if you are lacking in time to check out the bounties and sights offered by the Philippine Archipelago. We suggest choosing Cebu as your destination.
It houses plenty of activities to guarantee that you get the most of the land, air and sea. And it is also quite easy to visit other neighboring islands close to the Queen City of South with ferries to take you where you want to go each day.
CHECK ALSO our Top 15 Best Beaches in Cebu
Be a Responsible Traveler
While traveling is a way of life and it is in our nature as humans to explore and experience everything that the world has to offer.
It is also very important to take it upon ourselves the responsibility. To preserve and take care of these amazing sights and destinations. This opportunity has given to us freely and without costs. So let us also give the same chance to the next generation for them to see and enjoy what we too have felt.
Because the harsh reality is, tourism has had disaster stories which led to the destruction of many environmental and cultural misunderstandings. And nothing pains us more than to see beautiful white beaches littered with garbage or marine life getting intoxicated with plastic.
We are strictly asking everyone to leave no trace of garbage and avoid damages for the sake of vanity. And follow the rules set in order to keep you safe and trouble free.
Always have a generousity and share your experience with reviews, tips, and forums in order to help others become aware of what’s only allowed to do and what they should avoid.
Ignorance, never an excuse so always try your best to know what to do. When to go to your destination, and how to get there. Lastly, always be observant as anything can happen when we are exploring Mother Nature’s bounty.