If this is your first time in the Philippines, yes, it could be daunting planning a trip. And we know why, Philippines has more than 7000 islands to visit, and yes it will take you years to visit all of its islands!
We are going to summarized the best things you can do in the Country, from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Luzon sits at the northern end of the Philippines, and is the country’s largest and most populous island. It’s known for its mountains, beaches and coral reefs, and is home to Manila, the national capital. Set on a deep bay with famed sunsets, the city has many Spanish-colonial landmarks, national memorials and monuments, a centuries-old Chinatown and a diversity of museums.
Puerto Princesa Underground River
Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River or the Puerto Princesa Underground River is a New 7 Wonders of Nature holder and UNESCO World Heritage Sites lister. It’s a consistent placer in many travelers’ bucket lists, too.
The 8.2-kilometer-long Puerto Princesa Underground River is known for its cave formations, stunning limestone cliffs, and pristine waters. Here, you’ll feast your eyes on stunning sights while cruising on a paddleboat. Once you reach the caves, you’ll be in the company of stalactites, stalagmites, birds, bats, and fishes that inhabit the Underground River’s ecosystem.
Explore this jaw-dropping, breathtaking beauty by joining a Puerto Princesa Underground River tour. Book your Puerto Princesa tours in advance because this sought-after tourist spot in Palawan has a long line of eager visitors to witness its beauty. It’s also highly recommended to schedule your trip during the dry season and consistently check weather updates from time to time.
The diving site Tubbataha Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a part of the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. It is regarded as one of the best diving spots in the Philippines serving as a sanctuary for marine biodiversity. Located at the center of the Sulu Sea, the Tubbataha Reef sits quietly in between the Visayan region and the island of Palawan.
If you wish to see the immaculate beauty of this underwater world, it's best to join diving tours during the dry months of March to mid-June when the waters are more still. There are flights, buses, and ferries from Manila that can take you to Puerto Princesa in Palawan, which is approximately 594KM away.
From the Puerto Princesa wharf, you can book a liveaboard which will take you to Tubbataha Reef, about 10 hours away from the city. These liveaboards are available for pre-bookings and sail on a weekly basis.
As with any sanctuary, the Tubbataha Reef has strict diving protocols to follow. It's a small thing to do compared to the awe and jaw-dropping beauty that it will give you.
Kayangan Lake, Coron
Also found in the southern tip of Luzon is Kayangan Lake in Coron, Palawan. The emerald-like beauty of Coron's waters are famous all around the world. One of the top tourist spots included in Coron island-hopping tours is Kayangan Lake, locally known as "the blue lagoon." Hidden within marble-esque limestone formations, you'll find its crystal-clear waters truly inviting.
Kayangan Lake also features a view deck that is 150 steps high up, giving you a 360-degree view of picture-perfect surrounding areas. Just remember to protect yourself from the sun, pack light, and bring ample drinking water to quench your thirst after a long day of swimming and visiting Kayangan Lake.
For Tours, Transfers and Activities in Palawan, Lagum Adventure Tour is everything you need.
Located in Albay of Bicol region rests the fabled volcano with the perfect cone, Mt. Mayon or Mayon Volcano. The 2,462-meter-high volcano is a sight to behold from anywhere in Legazpi City.
From the Legazpi Airport, you will already be treated to the majesty of this must-visit Bicol tourist spot. To get an even better view, hop on an ATV in Mayon Volcano tours and drive past rocky and muddy terrain, climb up the lava wall, and take in the breathtaking view as you stand close to the foot of the volcano.
Be sure to check out the other nearby sights in Legazpi, such as the Cagsawa Ruins, Daraga Church, and Sumlang Lake, all of which have a unique unobstructed view of Mayon's perfect cone.
Take a short drive to Tagaytay City and treat yourself to cold weather, good food, and scenic views of Taal Volcano and Lake at this popular family-friendly destination. The Taal Volcano is famous for being the smallest active volcano in the world.
Though trips to the active volcano are not allowed, viewing the “island within a lake, inside a volcano” from the restaurants, parks, and Tagaytay hotels is part of the experience when traveling here.
If you're traveling with kids, you'll never go wrong with Sky Park that even grownups will enjoy it. If you want a place to chill and buy trinkets as a remembrance, Picnic Grove is for you. If you're on the lookout for goodies to bring home, head to Rowena's Pasalubong Center. There are Tagaytay tours you can book to help you experience the most on your visit.
Tagaytay City might be small, but it is packed with well-loved tourist spots like Bag of Beans restaurant, Puzzle Mansion, and Sonia's Secret Garden. It also has new must-try places like The Bathhouse at Qiwellness Living, Ayala Malls Serin, and many more.
Head up north to the highlands of Luzon for an adventure at one of Sagada's best natural attractions, the Sumaguing Cave. Known to be the deepest cave in the Philippines with the nickname "The Big Cave," it holds within its caverns wondrous rock formations created over thousands of years.
Revel in the beauty of the underground in this breathtaking activity. While the local guides would allow newbies to take part, it's not for the faint of heart. You will be crawling through tight crevices, getting drenched in ice-cold cave water, and scrambling in the dark.
If you're up for an adventure, then a visit to the Sumaguing Cave, one of the top Sagada tourist spots, is a must-try for you. Just remember to wear the right clothes, bring extra and waterproof everything before you start your ascent!
Spelunking inside Sumaguing Cave can take about 3-4 hours, depending on your pace. To get there, you will have to take an 11-hour bus ride to Sagada from Manila and another 30-minute tricycle ride to the cave, so be sure to properly plan your trip.
Big Lagoon, El Nido
Beaches in the Philippines are plentiful, and some of the most beautiful ones can be found in El Nido, Palawan. The top activity here are the El Nido island hopping tours that will take you to not just one but multiple islands, hidden beaches, and lagoons. One of the most enchanting destinations when island hopping in the Philippines is the Big Lagoon.
It will seem like you’ve been transported to an ethereal fantasy world, but you’re only gazing at one of the most fabled tourist destinations in the country. Swim in the crystal clear waters of the lagoon, or rent a kayak for an all-worth-it experience.
There are other beaches and lagoons you can visit in a day in El Nido. The Big Lagoon is usually lumped in together with visits to the Secret Lagoon, Payong-Payong Beach, and 7 Commandos Beach.
For Tours, Transfers and Activities in Palawan, Lagum Adventure Tour is everything you need.
One of the best places to visit in Cebu is Oslob. Perhaps you’ve already heard about it because of what it offers to its visitors. People can watch the gentle giants also known as whale sharks or if you’re adventurous enough, you can also swim with them to get a closer encounter.
While the island’s name means “Bad Easter,” this tourist spot in Cebu is far from giving you a bad experience. Malapascua is a great destination for both divers and non-divers. You won’t get disappointed upon seeing its unspoiled white sand beaches, beautiful coral gardens, and rich marine life. That’s why it has caught the attention of travelers across the world and eventually gained the title of being one of the Philippines’ best diving spots.
Kawasan Falls is one of the top Cebu South tourist spots. It is a three-stage cascade of clear turquoise water from the mountain springs of Mantalongon mountain range. Aside from its natural beauty, Kawasan Falls has also become famous because one of the most popular activities in Cebu is done here—Canyoneering.
The canyoneering adventure starts at Canlaob river downstream going to Kawasan Falls. There are local accredited guides who accompany all tourists and facilitate activities at this tourist attraction in Cebu such as walking, jumping, swimming, climbing, and abseiling through the streams.
For Kawasan Canyoneering Activities, Lagum Adventure Tour Organizes daily trip to this awesome Cebu Destination.
Sumilon Island is a small sandbar island located on the Southeastern tip of Cebu, just a short boat ride around from Oslob. Once you arrive at the tourist spot, you can explore water activities like snorkelling and diving. If you’d like to spend a night or two, you can check-in at Bluewater Island Resort — the one and only resort located on the tiny island.
Camotes Island has become an increasingly popular summer tourist spot in Cebu due to its budget-friendly accommodations, great beaches, and natural wonders. The island consists of three smaller islands, so you know that you’ll never run out of beaches to go to and activities to do. Several resorts have also been established here, making looking for accommodation convenient.
On this island, you can get lost in their falls, caves and be in awe of their rock formations.
Visit the Chocolate Hills
Bohol's claim to fame is unique geological formations of over 1000 cone-shaped hills that change in color depending on the season – the Chocolate Hills. You can view the hills from the Chocolate Hills Complex where there’s a viewing deck with a stunning 360° view of the cone-shaped hills.
These giant mounds of chocolate-colored earth on the dry season that turn green during the wet season are known across the world for their enchanting beauty. The hills are spread out on a 50-square kilometer land and vary in size.
No trip to Bohol is complete without seeing this iconic landmark, which is even featured in the local currency.
Lounge at the Beaches of Panglao Island
If you’re the type who loves the beach and islands, Bohol will not disappoint. Bohol is also known for its white-sand beaches, islands, and diving sites that are usually included in Panglao Island tours.
The island is connected to the main Bohol island by bridges and can be traveled to by land vehicles. This is also where the new airport is located in.
The majority of top hotels and resorts in Bohol are situated in Panglao Island, some of which are some of the best Philippines luxury resorts. Most tourists who love the sun, sea, and sand stay in this part of the province because of its proximity to pristine beaches and islands.
Here are some of the beaches you can tour and see in Panglao Island to get your much-needed rest:
The Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte, commonly known as Samal Island, is the largest resort city in the Philippines that houses more than 30 resorts with over 1,000 rooms. Teeming with vibrant coral reefs and crystal clear blue waters, Samal Island boasts white-sand beaches like Kaputian Beach, Vanishing Island, and Talikud Island.
During low tide, you can walk over the so-called Vanishing Island. At Talikud Island, you can go scuba diving, snorkeling, or just lounge on its long stretch of powdery white-sand beach. You can also go hiking at Mt. Puting Bato and go spelunking at Baga, Magongawong, and Balete Caves.
Take a dip at Hagimit Falls, featuring 3-feet to 7-feet deep cascades with natural pools. Then, explore Monfort Bat Cave to see thousands of fruit-eating bats.
White Island (Camiguin)
Emerged from the shifting tides off the coast of Mambajao, Camiguin is a powdery white sandbar known as White Island. It is also called the Naked Temptress due to its immaculate white sands and crystal clear blue waters. Although the sandbar is originally boomerang-shaped, it changes its form every year depending on the tides.
Camiguin Island is also known as the Island Born of Fire due to its volcanic origin. At White Island, you will see the panoramic view of one out of seven volcanoes in Camiguin. Mount Hibok-Hibok is an active stratovolcano alongside a smaller volcano known as Mount Vulcan or the island’s last-formed volcano.
White Island’s clear waters are also ideal snorkeling sites. It is teeming with colorful reefs and vibrant marine life. Aside from swimming, you can also lounge and sunbathe on its pristine sandbar.
Mount Apo (Davao)
Towering over Southern Mindanao, Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines located in the Durian Capital of the country, Davao. It rises over 2,956 MASL and covers the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato.
Mount Apo features mossy forests, swamps, and volcanic structures. It possesses an array of lush landscapes that mountaineers can pass through by following the Kidapawan-Magpet Trail. When hiking Mount Apo, you must consider its difficulty level of 7/9 that requires a major climb.
You will cross the Lake Agko and Mabel River before reaching the first campsite at the Mainit Hot Springs. It has a small pool where you can take a soothing dip. Up next is Lake Venado, featuring a serene swamp with pine trees. After hours of trekking, you will reach the rocky summit, where you can find wild berries and temperate plants.
Lake Sebu (South Cotabato)
Situated in South Cotabato or the Land of the Dreamweavers, Lake Sebu is a major watershed recognized as a UNESCO cultural landscape in Mindanao. It irrigates the provinces of Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato. There are three lakes in the area: Lake Sebu, Lake Seloton, and Lake Lahit. What makes each of them stunning are the floating pink lotus flowers.
With its picturesque view, tourists will find themselves drawn to its beauty and charm. Apart from the lake itself, there are other attractions in Lake Sebu, including The Seven Fall with a total of 7 waterfalls and the Punta Isla Lake Resort, featuring the lake’s panoramic view.
Lake Sebu is also home to various indigenous tribes, including the Tirurays, Ubos, Manobos, and T’bolis. If you like to learn about the T’bolis rich culture, you can visit the T’boli Museum and School of Living Tradition (SLT). Then, see their special weaved fabrics at the Grand Dulay T’nalak Weaving Center.
Cloud 9, Siargao
Cloud 9 is one of the best spots to learn and practice surfing in the Philippines. This famous surfing destination is located on the laidback island of Siargao. Local and international travelers love going back to this place to witness its white-sand beaches, blue-green waters, and scenic islands.
Cloud 9 is recognized as one of the world’s best surfing destinations. It is even ranked as one of the top ten waves worldwide, where international surfing competitions are often held. Beginners can watch the pros showcase their skills and limits.
What is Mati city known for? Mati has always been known as a beach destination, with foreigners flocking to the city to enjoy what its beaches have to offer. Dahican is one of the most popular destinations in Mati with its 2-kilometer pure, fine white sand shore. It has recently become a prime destination for surfers and skimboarders