If you’re looking for vacation including tropical islands, beautiful islands and adventure under, then you have to visit the Philippines! Be careful though, you have to plan accordingly! It’s an archipelago of 7,641 islands! The Philippines offer a great diversity of landscapes: mountains, cities, white-sand beaches… What to do in the Philippines? Here’s a list of the most beautiful places in the Philippines, then I’ll share Philippines travel tips!
Places to visit in the Philippines
The Chocolate Hills are located in Bohol. You’ll find there 1,268 spread over 50 kilometers square. The hills are named after their color transition during the dry season, they turn brown like chocolate. It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the Philippines. Make the most of your time there and try to spot a tarsier, the smallest primate in the world. Click here to find your accommodation.
Boracay is one of the most popular islands in the Philippines, and it’s not surprising. Its 4-kilometer white-sand beach, called White Beach, is wonderful! You can go Cliff jumping at Ariels point, have your breakfast on the beach, enjoy water sports (kitesurfing, parasailing, kayaking…), admire a sunset and go on bar crawls in the evening!
For a quieter spot, go to Puka Beach. Boracay was closed to tourists for six months in 2018 because of sewage issues. The island reopened but visitors are limited to 19,200 per day. Anyway, Boracay offers one of the most beautiful sceneries in the Philippines. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Coron is located in the north of Palawan. It’s the place to be if you want to go diving. Many tour companies allow you to dive in the water around Coron. Kayangan lake is the most popular spot to go diving because the water is very clean, and you dive the shipwrecks on a liveaboard boat. It’s also possible to go snorkeling, or just relax in Coron. Click here to find your accommodation.
Also located in the north of Palawan, El Nido is one of the most beautiful tourist spots in the Philippines. Its limestone cliffs are impressive, its turquoise water is breathtaking and the beaches are wonderful. Go on a boat tour to see the lagoons in the area, you won’t regret it. You also have to see Las Cabanas Beach, Snake Island, Secret Beach and do not miss Nacpan Beach!!! I wrote a detailed article about my visit to Palawan. Click here to find your accommodation.
Siargao Island is the country’s surf capital. Cloud 9 is the place to be to go surfing, and there are numerous bars and restaurants in the area. Go to Sugba Lagoon, admire the turquoise water and go kayaking, diving or paddleboarding. There’s also Naked Island not far and the Magpupungko Rock Pools. Click here to find your accommodation.
Banaue rice terraces
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Banaue rice terraces are more than 2,000 years old. They’re a product of manual work carried out by locals who used to live there. Surrounded by lush greenery and a wonderful landscape, watching the rice terraces from above offers a stunning view! Getting there is not easy, you’ll have to go through a lot of hiking and trekking. But it’s worth it! Click here to find your accommodation.
Located in the north of the country, Batanes is actually an archipelagic province you have to see. Basco is the main city, and you have to see the Naidi hills. Also take some time to relax in the idyllic beaches of Sabtang and Valugan, and go hike mount Iraya. Click here to find your accommodation.
Wanna have a glimpse of the Spanish colonial architecture in the Philippines? Head to Vigan, in western Luzon. Narrow, cobblestone streets, Baroque churches, Spanish-era mansions… It feels like time traveling, Vigan dating back to the 16th century. It’s an interesting mix of Spanish and Asian culture. Click here to find your accommodation.
Romblon island is very popular among locals, however this beautiful place is almost completely untouched by international tourists. Indeed, it’s hard to get there (a domestic flight and 3 local ferries). But the island is insanely beautiful. There are waterfalls, a wild forest, canyons and turquoise water. You have to see Bonbon Beach and its sandbar, it’s astonishing! Click here to find your accommodation.
Many travelers say it’s not necessary to stay in Manila “because it’s a big city with nothing to do”. Admittedly it’s a big city but there are things to do in Manila. Tourists mostly go yo Intramuros, a walled area where you have an overview the country’s past, when it was occupied by the Spanish. There’s Rizal park, Paco park and Manila Baywalk you have to see. I wrote a detailed article about my visit to Manila. Click here to find your accommodation.
Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines. It’s known for its seemingly perfect symmetry. 2,421 meter (7,942ft.) high, day and overnight hiking treks are available for those who wish to climb the volcano. Its conical form makes it a curiosity and one of the most photographed spots in the country. The volcano is surrounded by palm trees and waterfalls. Click here to find your accommodation.
Siquijor is a small island located not fat from Bohol. You can feel the influence of the Spanish, there are convents and 300-year-old churches. An island known for its mysteries and its mystic traditions (shamans, black magic, sorcery, healers…). Beyond this, there are beautiful beaches in Siquijor, waterfalls and sanctuaries. Don’t miss Palition Beach and Cambugahay Falls. Wanna know more? Here are the best things to do in Siquijor Island. Click here to find your accommodation.
It’s the second most active volcano in the Philippines, there was an eruption early 2020. It’s easy to go there on a day trip from Manila. Taal volcano is in a caldeira. It’s a volcano in a lake, which is in an island, which is in a lake! It’s possible to climb the volcano and admire the view from the top. You have to do it! I wrote a detailed article about my visit to Taal volcano. Click here to find your accommodation.
These were the best places to visit in the Philippines! You can also check out this backpacking Southeast Asia guide. Now here are a few Philippines travel tips!
Philippines travel budget
- Accommodation is not expensive in the Philippines. One night in a hostel dorm costs around 300 PHP ($6). One night in a mid-range hotel costs about 1,200 PHP ($23.50). Finally, to stay in a luxury hotel, prices start at 2,500 PHP ($48.50) per night. Click here to find your accommodation.
- Food is not expensive either. Street food costs around 75 PHP ($1.50). Eating at the restaurant costs about 300 PHP ($6). A beer costs around 100 PHP ($2).
- Regarding transportation, in the city a jeepney ride (local bus) costs around 25 PHP ($0.50). Prices start at 50 PHP ($1) for a taxi ride. An intercity bus costs around 500 PHP ($9.50). A ferry ride between islands costs between 300 and 1,200 PHP ($6-23.50). Otherwise there are domestic flights, they cost between 2,000 and 6,000 PHP ($39-115).
- Regarding activities, nothing is expensive. Snorkeling costs around 200 PHP ($4). In some places, diving costs as low as 1,500 PHP ($29). A boat tour in Palawan costs about 1,500 PHP ($29).
Basically, if you’re traveling on a budget, you can get by with $35 per day. Otherwise you’ll spend about $70+ per day. The Philippines is a cheap travel destination.
How to get around in the Philippines
In cities there are jeepneys and taxis. Otherwise to get around in the country, there are buses, ferries and domestic flights to travel between islands.
Best time to visit the Philippines
There are three seasons in the Philippines. The dry season (summer) from March to May. The rainy season from June to November. The cool season (about 25°C/77°F) from December to February. The best time to visit the Philippines is during the cool season. It’s not raining and it’s not too hot. You can also get there during the dry season but it’s really hot (around 35°C/95°F). Avoid the rainy season, there are often typhoons.
Visa policy of the Philippines
If you’re an European citizen or coming from a Western country, you don’t need a visa to visit the Philippines. You can stay up to 30 days. You can find all the details here. Don’t forget to get a proof of onward ticket, otherwise you won’t be able to get in the country.
Safety in the Philippines
The Philippines don’t have a good reputation, however the country is not dangerous for travelers. Its reputation comes from the violent suppression of president Duterte against drugs. There’s civil unrest on Mindalao Island and the Sulu archipelago. Avoid these areas and everything will be fine. Before traveling, don’t forget to get travel insurance. It will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. Click here to get one.
Packing list for the Philippines
I’m not gonna list all the things to pack for the Philippines. I don’t know how long you’re gonna stay there, where you’re going in the Philippines, what you’re going to do and when you’ll visit. Take all the necessary clothes, toiletries, and also:
- hand sanitizer
- combination locks
- a money belt
- a security cable lock
- a travel plug adapter
- a stainless steel water bottle
- a lifestraw (a water bottle with a purifier)
- a menstrual cup (for the ladies)
Here’s a full list of travel accessories, which can be useful!
What to eat in the Philippines
The food is great in the Philippines, and it’s cheap! Adobo is the national dish. It’s chicken or pork stewed with oil, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. It’s served with herbs and rice. Sinigang is a sweet and sour stew, a tamarind broth with vegetables and herbs. Pork, beef or fish is then added to the stew. Lechon is a whole roasted pig! It’s often cooked on special occasions (birthday…). Halo halo is a dessert. Ice shavings, evaporated milk and either mango, lychee, coconut or other fruits.
You can now visit the Philippines and enjoy your time there thanks to this Philippines travel guide!
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