The Philippines is home to over 7,000 islands and is at the eastern edge of Asia. This archipelago packs a lot of punch when it comes to unique places to go visit. From marvelous natural wonders to pristine beaches, historical sites and a whole lot more, there is surely something in store for every kind of traveler. For a start, here are the top places to go in the Philippines.
1. Banaue Rice Terraces
The Banaue Rice Terraces was carved on the side of the mountains by the Ifugao tribes without the use of modern tools. Your visit to the Philippines wouldn’t be complete with witnessing for yourself these awe-inspiring terraces which resemble giant steps that reach to the sky. Although more of the younger generations of Ifugao prefer to live in cities, locals still do plant rice on the terraces and keep the farming culture alive.
If small but terrible had a definition, this island would surely suffice. It has a plethora of treats for every wide-eyed wanderer. You can enjoy its award-winning beaches, fine-looking resorts and go on adventures such as scuba diving, kite surfing, snorkeling, horse riding, motorcycling, parasailing and even cliff diving. If that isn’t enough of a treat, you can also go watch dramatic sunsets and explore remote turquoise lagoon and volcanic caves via boat tours.
Still not contented? Indulge in the nightlife of the island and stroll around bars and restaurants that serve delectable food and drinks. There’s also fire dancing by the beach done by locals.
3. Chocolate Hills
As summer comes, the grass dry up and the hills turn brown, hence the name. But what are they exactly. These are geological formations which at made up of over 1,200 mounds throughout Bohol Island’s interior. The nearly symmetrical formations are 30 to 50 meters high. A theory goes that the Chocolate Hills are weathered marine limestone sitting atop a solid layer of clay.
If there is one thing this sleepy fishing village of unexplored caves, eye-catching waterfalls and pristine beaches is known for, it is whale sharks. These gentle giants of the sea can be seen between November and June. If you really would like a treat, the numbers peak around February to May. You can likewise enjoy a Donsol River boat cruise, navigate your way through palm trees and mangroves and watch millions of sparkling fireflies light up the night. Good news, the fun doesn’t stop there. You can also go on a traditional bamboo and nets shrimp-expedition and have your catch cooked for dinner.
5. Puerto Princesa Underground River
If you’re looking for a lover’s paradise, then this should be on your list. There’s a reason it was named as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This place host rich unspoiled landscapes teeming with wildlife. Nonetheless its claim to fame is among the world’s most peculiar natural phenomena, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, one of the few underground rivers on the planet. Nestled in a national park, this is the longest navigable underground river the world has to offer. You get to enjoy the scenery via paddle boat tours with a guide to show you fascinating rock formations.
6. Puerto Galera
Before being known as a party, this coastal town charmed visitors with excellent enthralling spots, gorgeous beaches and a very diverse marine life. Two of the well-known and well-loved beaches are Sabang Beach and White Beach that also offer hotel accommodations, nightlife, dining, and shopping in close proximity. You can likewise go restaurant, bar and shop hopping on Muelle Bay’s natural harbor.
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss here, it is snorkeling. Get treat to the best coral reefs in Asia and the world or get to dive among hundreds of species of fish and explore old shipwrecks.
7. Malapascua Island
Here another island with fishing communities, but this one packs a special treat. Aside from picturesque diving spots, it is known as the only location in the world where you can regularly see thresher sharks. You can also spot hammerheads as well as manta rays. The other gems of the island that you should set your eyes on include sandy white beaches with colorful coral gardens and coconut tree-bordered crystal clear waters.
8. Mayon Volcano
This 2400 meter volcano is known the world over for its almost symmetrical cone shape. Visit and enjoy taking pictures, bird watching, hiking, climbing as well as camping. One of the best spots to admire the beauty that is Mayon is the Cagsawa ruins.
Mayon has erupted 49 times over the last four centuries and is considered the most active volcano in the Philppines. Februar 1, 1814 was the most destructive eruption, which pelted neighboring towns with volcanic rocks and ash. The remains of the baroque church and the belfry are the vestiges of the 1814 eruption.
9. San Agustin Church
When visiting Manila, this is one site you never should miss. The Philippines’ oldest stone church was built in 1589 and is a survivor of two fires and seven earthquakes over four centuries. The Church is a reliquary of history and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Church is adorned with exquisite carvings on wooden doors and awesome paintings. Italian artists Cesare Alberoni and Giovanni Dibella painted the ceilings in the 1800s. With such beauty and elegance, no wonder this church is also dubbed as the wedding capital of the Philippines.
10. Tubbataha Reef
The Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park hosts this marine sanctuary in the Sulu Sea. Two atolls, the north atoll and south atoll, make up the reef. A deep channel, which is around 8kms wide, separates the two atolls. It is now one of the most well-known dive spots in the country due to its coral walls where shallow coral reefs give way to vast depths. If you want to have diving excursions, come here between April to June when the waves are most calm.