Philippines Travel Guides
Top Things to See
The Philippines offers an impressive selection of sightseeing attractions. Tourists typically cling to the beaches, where white sands and plenty of sunshine frame the day’s activities. However, there is equally as much culture to encounter, with colonial architecture in most major cities and outlying hill tribes highlighting the interiors of some islands.
To the satisfaction of many travellers, the entire region of South Luzon doesn’t make it on most tourists' itineraries. The result is an unspoilt haven for trekkers or those simply seeking respite from the country’s often crowded cities. The conical volcanic peaks that characterise the landscape here are remarkable. Marine tours around the fishing village of Donsol lead tourists to the whale sharks that frequent this area.
Bohol is a fantastic place for nature and wildlife enthusiasts. Spectacular coral reefs line the beaches, and whale-watching and swimming with dolphins are both popular pastimes. Heading inland to Sikatuna, tiny wide-eyed tarsiers greet visitors along hiking trails through the wildlife sanctuary. Meanwhile, Panglao Island has activities for sun-bathers, divers and spelunkers alike. The nearby Chocolate Hills are a tourist draw card best visited in the dry season when the arid weather turns everything chocolate-brown.
Most famous for White Beach, Boracay is a paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Spend time at the beach windsurfing, jet-skiing, diving, snorkelling or kite surfing, followed by horseback riding or mountain biking. This area is well-landscaped, and despite the developing resorts you're never more than a few minutes away from a lovely, secluded spot. Plenty of nice restaurants line the beaches here, and a thriving night scene spurs excitement well after sunset.Visit this website for photographs and further information about Boracay Philippines
Cebu sits at the heart of the Visaya archipelago. These were the islands that Magellan once visited. The proceeding entourage of conquistadors left behind an impressive legacy of history and architecture. Fort San Pedro (the oldest fort in the Philippines) is here, and you'll also find a nice basilica housing the Santo Niño statuette—said to have come from Magellan, himself. Chances are you'll find yourself in Cebu City at least once, as many transport links are routed through this area.
A popular daytrip from Manila, this little island is situated on the outer edge of Manila Bay. This was the last stronghold in Manila to fall to the Japanese during WWII, and an interesting variety of WWII-era relics remain to this day. The tunnels that burrow into the heart of the island were once home to an infirmary and an arsenal, both of which have been replaced by a museum displaying vestiges of the war. Cruises and boat tours to Corregidor can be arranged with travel agents in Manila.
Just north of Cebu, this little island is an up-and-coming resort destination. Development plans here are still in their early stages. As a result Malapascua Island is quiet, secluded and offers relaxing beaches and a carefree atmosphere. The beaches double as favourite diving spots, and it is possible to sight a thresher shark in these waters. On the northern tip of the island, the little village of Logon has a lighthouse. The whole island can be traversed on foot; in fact, cars and rickshaws aren't even allowed onto the island.
Technically, Puerto Galera is the port of entry for the resort beaches of northern Mindoro. The reefs in this area enjoy the patronage of UNESCO and host some of the best scuba diving in the Philippines. Aninuan and White Beach are the more secluded and picturesque beaches, while Sabang sees a heavy influx of tourists who come to dive by day and party by night. The 'Floating Bar' off the shores of Sabang starts the party well before sunset.
The town of Tagaytay is synonymous with Taal Volcano. A period of relative dormancy has permitted the development of fine tourist infrastructure around Taal. Wealthy weekend vacationers from Manila frequent this area, and Tagaytay hosts a vibrant fruit market and frequent festivals throughout the year. A few miles outside of town, Tagaytay Picnic Grove is a pleasant place to spend an hour or two, and the views of the Taal are outstanding here.
Top Things to Do
Charter an aeroplane. Several charter companies are located throughout the Philippines. These offer an excellent perspective over the small islands’ beautiful countryside, and airborne excursions of any length can be arranged. A particularly nice place for an aerial tour is the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao province.
Climb a volcano. Manila is overflowing with opportunities to strap on some climbing gear and scale cliffs. Whether you're looking for an extreme adventure or just a few hours practice on a climbing wall, you can arrange it in Manila. The Association of Philippine Mountaineers (APM) is a local organisation with up-to-date information.
Eat a peanut kiss in Bohol. While Bohol is famous for its 'Chocolate Hills', the locally-made peanut snacks are the region's best kept secret. The best time to visit the hills is during the dry season when they're at their brownest; but peanut kisses are available year round.
Go scuba diving at Batangas. Across the Philippines, the idyllic coral reefs and clear waters are perfect for diving. While there are numerous places to take the plunge, Batangas is one of the best. Local tour guides can arrange rental gear and take you to the best places to find exotic fish.
Soak in a hot spring. The Filipino archipelago has abundant geo-thermal sites. When visiting the beaches at Puerto Galera, make sure to reward a day of water sports and sunbathing with an evening dip in the local hot springs. These are some of the best in the country.
Swim with starfish. The numerous islets of Honda Bay (some of which are only visible during low tide) play host to ideal snorkelling waters. The aptly named Starfish Island is home to plenty of its namesake; but there are also plenty of other islands and interesting marine life to explore in this area.
Visit the ethnic tribes. The Philippines are home to a staggering variety of ethnic minority tribes. Many tribal villages are within short range of Davao, such as Bagobo village in Binaton and B'laan village in Matanao. There's also a village in Sinawilan where locals weave mats and other handicrafts.