Top 10 Tourist Destinations to Visit in the Philippines

Travel Guide to Philippines

With more than 5 million foreign tourist visiting Philippines in the 2015, it has become one the famous destination in the world. Its 7000+ islands, rich cultural and historical influence, beautiful landscapes and friendly people makes it one of a kind place like nowhere in the world. Philippines has a lot to offers from white sand beaches, surf spots, rivers to high mountains, caves and sublime landscapes. We created a list of top 10 tourist destination you should not miss while travelling to Philippines.
List Include Boracay, Puerto Princesa Underground River, Banaue Rice Terraces, Chocolate Hills , Tubbataha Reef, Coron Island, Apo Reef, Vigan city, Surigao del sur and Mt Pinatubo

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#1 Boracay

Boracay Island, rates 1st in top island destination in the world by travel+ Leaisure in 2012 is the place one should not miss in Philippines. It’s beautiful white sand beaches, stunning shoreline and picture perfect view makes it a top tourist destination in Philippines. Boracay is situated south of Manila and off the northwest tip of Panay Island. The focal point of the activity is marvellous White Beach, a 4km, postcard-flawless stretch of sand lined from one end to the next with lodgings, hotels, bars, and dive shops.

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Perfect Day at Boracay Island Image By Angelo Juan Ramos

How to reach:

Plane: Airports near Boracay are Caticlan and Kalibo International Airport and it takes an hour’s flight from Manila and Cebu.

Road and Ferry: One can reach Panay Island through Philippine Nautical Highway System also known as RORO system while taking your car all the way to Boracay is not possible.

Things to do:

  • Scuba Diving
  • Kite boarding
  • Boat Tours
  • Scooter Ride
  • Nightlife and Snorkeling.

Best time to visit:

  • Nov-May: You will experience dry season during this time. The beach is calm and very suitable for scuba dive, snorkelling and swimming. This is also peak season and prices are generally high because of Christmas, Easter and Chinese New Year.
  • Jun-Oct: You will experience rainy season during this time. Risk of Typhoon are generally high during this season.

#2 Puerto Princesa Underground River

Puerto Princesa Underground River is a part of The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, which is an protected zone of the Philippines situated around 80 Kms north of the downtown area of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. This park includes a dynamite limestone karst scene with an underground stream. One of the stream’s recognizing elements is that it develops directly into the ocean, and its lower segment is liable to tidal impacts. The park is rick in flora and fauna and holds its name as one of the important tropical forest in all Asia. St. Pauls Underground River Cave is approx 24 km long which includes 8.2 km long stretch of Cabayugan River, an underwater section which incorporates significant developments of stalactites and stalagmites, and a few extensive chambers. Travellers, drawing nearer the hole, first are astonished by the sensational coastline cliffs which are secured with lavish vegetation. Traveller’s boats are permitted 1.2 km deep the cave.


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Puerto Princesa Underground River Image By WordPress

How to reach:

Plane: There are daily flights from Manila to Puerto Princesa Airport

Things to do:

  • City tour
  • Underwater Boat Cruise
  • Meet Crocodiles
  • Swim
  • Snorkel and Sunbathe.

Best time to visit:

Jan-May is the ideal time to visit as the sea is calmer and weather is sunny which complements the overall experience.

#3 Banaue Rice Terraces

Referred as “The Eighth Wonder of the world” by the Filipino, the Banaue Rice Terraces are approx 2000 years old terraces which were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in Philippines. The terraces view is breathtaking and while on trek you may relax and enjoy at small waterfalls and swimming holes. The sunrise viewpoint is one of the famous spot to have stunning and sublime view of Banaue Rice Terraces. It is less crowded as it requires a trek to reach this location, but the overall effort is totally worth for its beauty.


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Banaue Rice Terraces. Photo By Fotorus

How to reach:

Car: 7 Hrs ride from Manila
Bus: Taking bus is the ideal choice to enjoy this scenic drive Delux and Luxury Buses are available from Manila.
o 9-10 Hrs Direct Bus Manila – Banaue
o Manila – Baguio – Banaue
o Manila – Baguio – Bontoc – Banaue
o Manila – Solano – Nueva Vizcaya – Banaue ifugao
o Manila – Tarlac – Solano – Banaue
Jeepney:Bontoc to Banaue, Solano to Banaue

Things to do:

  • Trekking
  • Hiking
  • Visit Museum of Cordilleran Sculpture
  • Tranquillize you soul

Best time to visit:

Feb- May is the best time as it has less probability of rain. One should avoid travelling in rainy weather condition as landslides and roads blocks are common during that time.

#4 Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are a gathering of uncommonly moulded hills situated amidst the island of Bohol in Philippines. There are no less than 1,260 hills however there might be more than 1,776 hills spread over a range of more than 50 square Kms. It is among the famous tourist attraction in Philippines. The hills are 30-50m high, covered in green grass which turns brown in dry season making them look like chocolate. The first review station of the Chocolate Hills is an administration claimed and worked resort called “Chocolate Hills Complex” situated in Carmen, Bohol, around 55 km (34 miles) from Tagbilaran. The second station is located at Sagbayan Peak, a mountain resort in Sagbayan town. It’s a must see destination in Philippines due to its oddness and its surreal beauty.

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Chocolate Hills Photo By Wikipedia.org

How to reach:

Plane: Daily flights to Tagbilaran from Manila city.
Boat: Ferries running between Cebu City and Tagbilaran.

Once in Tagbilaran, transports or taxis can take you to the inside of the island in a couple of hours relying upon the course.

Things to do:

  • Sightseeing
  • Visit Bohol Habitat Conservation Center
  • Explore the area on Motorbike or Scooter

Best time to visit:

Chocolate Hills can be visited throughout the year. Irrespective of the season, the view is always spectacular.

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#5 Tubbataha Reef

First discovered in the late 70s, Tubbataha Reef is known as world’s best dive sites due to its diverse marine life and extraordinary beauty. The Tubbataha Reefs Marine Natural Park is a protected area in Philippines and situated amidst Sulu Sea. The CNN Travel Website ranked it as one of the best Dive sites in the world. For diver, Tubbataha reef is a dream come true. As a result of its confined area, Tubbataha must be gone by on a liveaboard boat. The reef is home to an extraordinary diverse marine life. Divers may encounter Whales, dolphins, sharks, turtles and Napoleon wrasse, which are amongst the key species found here.


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School of fish and Scuba Diver. Photo by q phia

How to reach:

Plane:Manila to Puerto Princesa
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Boat: 10hrs boat cruise Puerto to Park.

Things to do:

Scuba Dive, Snorkle

Best time to visit:

Dive season is only three months long, Mid-March to Mid-June. The time is perfect for diving with calm sea, clear sky and great underwater visibility from 30 to 45 meters.

#6 Coron Islands

Coron is the third-biggest island in the Calamian Islands in northern Palawan in the Philippines on Busuanga Island. Its breathtaking and sensational volcanic limestone cliff tower, Cayangan Lake, Twin Lagoons and Barracuda Lake make you feel like you are in paradise. It is also famous for wreck diving and has been recognized as top dive sites in the world. One should also visit its tiny white sand beaches surrounded by limestone and wildlife.

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Coron, Palawan. Photo By Caryl Joan Estrosas

How to reach:

Plane: Manila to Busuanga, Cebu to Busuanga

From airport you have to take a van to reach the town.

Boat:  Puerta Princess to Coron, Manila to Coron, San Jose & Mindoro to Coron

Things to do:

  • Snorkel
    Swim, Dive
    Trek
    Mountain Biking
    Jungle Trek

Best time to visit:

Jan to May as the weather is sunny and sea is calm.

#7 Apo Reef

The Apo Reef, famous as the best dive site in the Philippines is a marine sanctuary located on the western waters of Occidental Mindoro. Incorporating 34 square kilometres, it is the world’s second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the nation. The reef has rich marine life and includes species like shark, barracuda and manta rays. For divers, it’s a treasure spot and unlike earlier, it is now easily accessible because of improved infrastructure on Mindoro.


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Sea Turtle at Apo Reef. Image by Allan Ascaño

How to reach:

Plane: 90 mins flight from Manila to Dumaguete
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Bus: Dumaguete to Malatapay, Zamboanguita
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Boat: Take Bangkas (native boat) to Apo Island

Things to do:

One can snorkel and dive to mesmerise in rich marine life or can choose to trek.
Relaxing on beach is another thing you can do. Watersports, nightlife and shopping are some other activities which may fascinate you.

Best time to visit:

Unlike Tubbataha Reef, Apo Reef is open all round the year but it’s recommended to visit during January –May as the weather conditions are best with fewer chances of rain and rough sea.

#8 Historic City of Vigan

Built up in the sixteenth century, Vigan is the best-saved case of an arranged Spanish pioneer town in Asia. Its Spanish colonial impact in its architecture and old-world appeal make it a one of a kind city in the Philippines. This is a perfect destination for travellers looking for a romantic adventure. Vigan city, capital of the Ilocos Sur province is a UNESCO World Heritage City and among the New7Wonders Cities.


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Ilocos Sur. Crisologo Street. Photo by Benjie Ordoñez

How to reach:

Bus: Direct buses are available from Cubao, Pasay City and Manila and also from Baguio.
Air: Manila to Laoag in Ilocos Norte

Things to do:

Get a wonderful glimpse of Philippines’ colonial past at The Mestizo District, visit St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedra, antique and souvenir shopping, and visit 17th century monuments.

Best time to visit:

Dec to Feb is the best time to visit Vigan City. Visit amid the Christmas occasions, New Year’s, Vigan City Festival, Holy Week and Viva Vigan festivities are suggested.

#9 Surigao Del Sur

Surigao del sur is a province in the Philippines situated in the Caraga locale in Mindanao, popular for its stunning coastline and scenic beauty. Travellers looking for fun, relaxation, beaches and surfing, this town will sure not disappoint them. Some famous spots are Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, Cagwait Beach and 24 islets of the Britania Group of Islands


surfer surfing

How to reach:

Plane: Manila to Butuan City, Cebu to Tandag
Bus
Sea: Lipata with Ferries to and fro Manila, Cebu and Liloan

Things to do:

  • Surfing
  • Swim
  • Island Hopping
  • Eat

Best time to visit:

Jan to May as the weather is sunny and beautiful.

#10 Mt Pinatubo

Travelling to Mt Pinatubo is highly recommended due to its rugged landscape and extraordinary amazing beauty. Pinatubo trek is a 2 hour climb setting off to the crator, which can be reached through 4×4 vehicles. The drive to the crator lake is scenic and sublime with amazing view of valleys, canyons and rivers. Want to quench you thirst for real adventure? Mt Pinatubo is the perfect destination for you!


Mt_Pinatubo

Mt Pinatubo and Crator Lake Photo by Wikipedia

How to reach:

Bus:Manila to McDonalds, Capas.
Jeepney:
Angeles or Tarlac to Capas
Further take a tricle or jeepney to

Private tours are another options you can avail to reach Mt Pinatubo.

Things to do:

  • Off Road Driving
  • Trekking
  • Day Tour

Best time to visit:

Dec to May is the ideal time to visit.


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