The Philippines is an extraordinary country, composed of more than 7,000 islands. This is a country with a rapidly growing population and needs to deal with a series of natural factors. There are 20 active volcanoes on the island, and the area is also vulnerable to typhoons and other severe weather conditions.
Despite these problems, there is a truly beautiful country worth exploring here, with many natural wonders to watch. If you are looking for a country like no other, then check out the 25 best things to do in the Philippines.
1. Relax for a few days in Boracay
Boracay in the Philippines is world-famous for its beautiful white sandy beaches. The island is only 7 kilometers long and 500 meters wide at its narrowest point, but people flock to it to enjoy the extraordinary beauty of the island. The main attraction is the white sand beach, which stretches for 4 kilometers and is surrounded by restaurants, hotels and diving shops. There are always parties on the island, with fire shows and live music performances, providing a night of uninterrupted entertainment for revellers. Over the years, the development of the island has continued, but there are still many places to relax and enjoy.
2. Admire the beauty of Banaue Rice Terraces
Many people consider the Banaue Rice Terraces to be the “eighth wonder of the world”, and it’s easy to understand why when you start to observe their cutting magnificence. The terraces have a history of 2,000 years and are carved on Mount Lugao with very few tools. These terraces are still used by locals today, who grow vegetables and rice there because they are naturally irrigated by the surrounding tropical rainforest.
3. Marvel at the miracles of St. Augustine’s Church
The San Agustin Church in Manila is an incredible building built during the Spanish colonial period. The church was the third building built in this space, because the first and second churches were built of wood and were destroyed by fire. The building is now built of stone and has withstood major earthquakes seven times. Many people come to visit this beautiful church to learn about its incredible history and admire its breathtaking scenery.
4. Visit the active Mayon Volcano
There is an active volcano on Luzon Island called Mayon Volcano, also known as Mayon Mountain. This volcano has earned the nickname “Perfect Cone” because of its symmetrical cone shape. Frequent volcanoes erupted and ash and mud poured down, causing a large number of evacuations in neighboring towns. The worst eruption on record occurred in 1814, killing more than 1,200 people. The volcano and surrounding area are part of the national park, and it is definitely worth a visit when you are in the Philippines.
5. Visit Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park
If you want to see something special, then a trip to this national park will make you feel like you just saw something incredible. The area is protected and has a very complex cave system. There is a river flowing 8.2 kilometers from the cave, and then directly into the sea. The underground river of Puerto Princesa has been declared one of the seven wonders of nature. You can take a paddle boat, which is a great way to see the river, learn about the rock formations and the thousands of bats that live there.
6. To spend time at the historic Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago in Manila is a castle built by the Spanish as a defensive fortress within the city walls. The fort is very popular with tourists and has a fascinating story. Jose Rizal is a national hero of the Philippines. He was imprisoned in the fort until he was executed in 1896. While exploring the fortress, you can look at the bronze footprints buried in the ground to mark the last step before the prisoners were executed.
7. Meet the heads of all churches
The Basilica of San Nino, also known as the Little Church of the Holy Child, is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country and was built in 1965. The Spaniards discovered the image of San Nino de Cebu, and a baby statue of Jesus and others built the church in the same place. Inside the cathedral complex is a museum that tells the history of Christianity in Cebu. It is worth a visit after visiting the cathedral
8. Take some time to relax in Rizal Park
Named after the national hero Jose Rizal of the Philippines. This 60-hectare park in Manila has many ponds, walking areas and ornamental gardens. There is of course a Jose Rizal monument in the park. In front of the monument is a 46-meter-long flagpole guarded by sentinels. There is a lagoon in the center of the park, with the heads of many Filipino heroes at the bottom. There is also an open-air concert held every Sunday evening. As night falls, the fountain will become colorful, and you can see many locals practicing Tai Chi every morning.
9. Enjoy the unusual Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills is located in Bohol Province in the Philippines. It is a rare and charming attraction. There are at least 1,260 hills spread over an area of approximately 20 square miles. The hills are covered with grass, and as the dry season progresses, the grass turns from green to brown and begins to look like chocolate. The hills range from 30 to 50 meters high and are indeed the iconic landmarks of the country. Without a trip to the mountains, a national trip would be incomplete. Want to learn more about Bohol? Check out this post!
10. Travel to the volcanic island
Taal Volcano is located on Luzon Island and is an active volcano that has erupted at least 33 times before. Due to the location of the volcano, previous eruptions caused a lot of loss of life. It is now impossible to live on a volcanic island because the Philippine Volcano and Seismological Institute has declared the entire island a permanent danger zone. The trip here is very worthwhile, especially since the crater lake on the island is the largest island in the lake in the world.
11. Island Hopping from your base in Mactan
If you want to escape from any city and just want to spend a good time on a beautiful beach, then Mactan Island may be the place you are looking for. There are many water sports to participate in on this beautiful island. There are many diving spots around, and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the local marine life. Mactan Island is connected to Cebu and is also a great place to start an island hopping tour. Accommodation on the island can meet the needs of all budgets, from cheap and affordable hotels to luxurious Shangri-La resorts.
12. Forget the real world of mom taking photos of Luffa Island
There are 7,107 islands in the Philippines, so it is almost impossible to get around them, but Momma’s Luffa Island is an island you shouldn’t miss. This island is a small beach paradise that provides you with a retreat and a chance to get away from everything while you relax. You can rent a small beach bungalow and stay for a few days while dealing with the locals and their communities. Compared with western countries, life on the island is still quite primitive. You may lose electricity for a period of time every day, and the water needs to be taken out of the bottle, but these will increase the real feeling of your stay when you are resting.
13. Go diving in Tubbataha Reef
If you like diving, then diving in Tubbataha Reef is a must! This brilliant diving spot was discovered by divers in the 1970s and is famous for its incredible coral reefs. The location is very remote, so you need to take a liveaboard to reach it, but once you experience the underwater sights and large marine life, the trip becomes worthwhile. The diving season here is very short, so be sure to go between mid-March and mid-June.
14. Visit the Black Temple of Nazareth
The Black Nazareth Chapel is a Roman Catholic church in Manila. This church is famous for its temple of Black Nazareth. Black Nazareth is a statue of Jesus Christ, which is said to have magical powers. Many local and foreign people poured into the cathedral to see the Black Nazarene and kiss his feet or wipe him with a handkerchief. Every January, the statue leaves the church to participate in the Black Nazareth Festival and parades in the streets as part of the procession.
15. Visit the lakes of Coron Island
From the town of Coron, you can reach Coron Island a short distance away, which is famous for its two lakes. To enter the first lake, you need to be ready to climb the steep terrain for 10 minutes, which will definitely leave you a little breathless. You will arrive at Kayangan Lake, the lake is crystal clear, nestled in the mountain wall. You can swim in the lake and there is a small wooden platform where you can place your belongings. The second lake is called Barracuda Lake, where the water temperature can reach 38 degrees Celsius, and you can see it by climbing over some jagged rocks that go directly into the water.
16. Explore the historic Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island is located at the entrance of Manila Bay. It commemorates the Filipinos and Americans who sacrificed to defend the country from Japanese intrusion during World War II. The ruins on the island tell a touching story of the battle, and the guide will provide you with all the information you need to understand the great history of this special place. For those who want to experience the island longer, the hotel offers first-class accommodation and knowledgeable staff.
17. Enjoy some activities at Burnham Park
Burnham Park is located in Baguio City, Philippines. It is named after Daniel Hudson Burnham (an American architect who drew up plans for the city). The park offers a variety of activities that you can take part in, including an ice skating rink and a football field. There is also a small shop where you can rent bicycles so that you can more easily explore the 32 hectares of land provided by the park. If you want to go out on the water, there is an artificial lake in the park and you can rent a paddle boat. There are many beautiful flowers in the park. Don’t miss the trip to the Orchid Pavilion in the park.
18. A day with family in Manila Ocean Park
If you are looking for activities that the whole family can participate in, then a trip to Manila Ocean Park will please everyone. The park has more than 8,000 square meters of space to explore. Some of the highlights of the park include a 25-meter-long acrylic tunnel through which you can walk and watch marine life from another angle. There is a penguin exhibition hall with many swimming penguins and a long slide that can be ridden on a sled. There is a wide range of food choices, with 25 different restaurants to choose from.
19. Take great photos at Cebu Taoist Temple
The Taoist Temple in Cebu was built by a large number of Chinese living in the area surrounding the temple. The temple is 300 meters above sea level and is a large building that can be accessed through three different paths. This temple is an active Taoist temple, and you will see many believers when you visit. The temple has 81 steps, and each step represents one of the 81 chapters of the Taoist classics. The entrance of the temple was deliberately designed to look like the Great Wall of China. After entering the temple, you will be able to walk to the balcony where you can enjoy the beautiful view of Cebu.
20. Admire the spectacular scenery from the Mines Landscape Park
Baguio’s Mines Landscape Park is one of the best landscapes in the Philippines. There is an observation deck here, with panoramic views of the gold and copper mines below you and the mountains ahead. To reach the observation deck, you need to climb some winding steps. Unfortunately, these steps can become very slippery after rain, so it is always recommended to pay attention to your steps. When you reach the top, you can rent binoculars or have one of the many photographers around you take a picture of you. The best time to start is early in the morning to ensure that no fog will interfere with your vision.
21. Look at the impact of Mount Pinatubo
Mount Pinatubo is located on the island of Luzon. When it erupted in 1991, it became one of the most destructive eruptions of the 20th century. When a volcano erupts, it emits millions of tons of sulfur dioxide, and its effects spread all over the world. Before the eruption, 30,000 people lived on the slopes of the volcano. Fortunately, scientists were able to predict when the volcano erupted, saving thousands of lives. Hiking up the side of the volcano has become very popular now and is a great way to experience the awesome power of nature.
22. Visit the most famous waterfall – Pagsanjan Falls
Laguna Province is probably the most famous waterfall in the country. This is a three-level waterfall that can be reached by river trip, usually by canoe. The waterfall is 91 meters high, and once you reach the top, skilled canoeists will take you back to the waterfall through 14 rapids. If you don’t like fast cycling, you can also hike to a waterfall that includes two vertical ladders and 500 steps.
23. Climb the highest mountain in the Philippines
At 2,954 meters above sea level, Mount Awa is the highest volcano and mountain range in the country. To climb the mountain, you need a permit and a guide, but this is easy to obtain and the cost is very low. Depending on the weather and your pace, a complete hike to the summit will take one to three days. The temperature at night may drop to about zero degrees, so some warm clothes are needed. Along your route, you will experience many different bird species, for a total of 270 species, many of which are endemic.
24. Island Hopping in Hundred Islands National Park
As mentioned earlier, it is almost impossible to bypass the 7,107 islands in the Philippines, so completing 100 islands at a time is a good way to visit many places in a short period of time. The Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos is full of great places to explore. You can rent an outrigger from one island to another. Some have caves or hills, some can camp, and there are even houses for rent on Governors Island. Some islands have prominent names, such as Kissing Island or Devil’s Island, but the best way is to go out and explore whatever you encounter.
25. See starfish in Honda Bay
If a complete dive is a step away, then maybe you can consider snorkeling in Honda Bay. The waters located on the east coast of Palawan Island are usually full of starfish (sea star islands), and they can enjoy beautiful views when you gently snorkel in the calm waters. You can also book a tour from here or rent a boat to explore on your own.
Where to stay: the best hotel in the Philippines
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