Dive into the adrenaline-pumping extreme adventures that await you in the Philippines! Find out the different outdoor activities that you can try around the country. Choose from water, inland, to high-altitude experiences in this travel guide.
The Philippines is a great destination for travelers looking for exhilarating adventure tours. From caving adventures, hiking and trekking, to extreme water activities, the Philippines has it all.
The country's diverse natural wonders make it a sought-after destination among adventurers. Whether you like outdoor adventures in the air, land, or water, take your pick from the following top activities to try during your trip in the Philippines:
One of the most exciting, unique, and spectacular things to do in the Philippines is seeing one of the top tourist spots in Moalboal, in the province of Cebu, the sardine run. This year-round diving activity is a unique experience where you can swim with thousands of sardines surrounding you.
When it comes to caving tours, nothing beats the experience in Samar. Also called the Cave Capital of the Philippines, Samar has the largest cave system in the Philippines (Langun-Gobingob Caves in Calbiga). It has hundreds of caves that have already been explored, but it's still just a small portion of the total known number of caves.
Caving excursions in Samar range from 1-day "discovery" trips, to multi-day tours where you get to spend a night or two inside the caves.
The Philippines is not only famous for its stunning beaches but also for its hiking adventures. Mt. Pulag in Benguet, the third highest peak in the country, is a popular hiking destination for both beginner and experienced mountaineers because of its famous sea of clouds view.
The Mt. Pulag National Park has one of the richest biodiversity in the country, having vast forests full of pines, moss, and grass. It is a mountain worth climbing, both for its challenging trails and its natural beauty.
The duration of hiking in Mt. Pulag will depend on the trail you want to take on. Beginner climbers take the Ambangeg trail which is possible on a day hike but overnight trip, while the Mt. Pulag-Akiki trail hike is a challenging, multi-day hike for experienced hikers.
Wakeboarding is a fun water activity where you ride a wakeboard on the water surface while being pulled in fast by a motorboat or by closed-course cable systems.
The best destination in the Philippines to try this is in Camarines Sur's CamSur Wakeboarding Complex, a world-class water sports complex in the Bicol region, and the first in the Philippines and in Asia.
Aside from wakeboarding, visitors can also try water skiing, kneeboarding, and wake skiing. It's a great side trip when visiting Mt. Mayon in nearby Legazpi, Albay.
Surfing escapades are exciting, and the Philippines has a number of surfing spots for every experience level of surfers.
The most popular, however, is Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte because of multiple surfing spots where you can ride waves on the island. Its Cloud 9 reef break has been called one of the best waves in the world.
Siargao does not only offer good surfing breaks, but also some of the best tourist spots from lagoons, caves, and the stunning beaches.
Whitewater rafting, a recreational outdoor activity where you ride an inflatable raft to navigate the wild current of a river is one of the most exciting things you can try in the Philippines. Getting thrown off your raft and good teamwork is part of the whitewater rafting experience.
In the Philippines, there are several places where you can go whitewater rafting. The two most popular whitewater rafting destinations are Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao and Kalinga in Luzon.
Cagayan de Oro is known as the Adventure Capital of the Philippines. Whitewater rafting in Cagayan River is the top activity among all Cagayan de Oro tourist spots. It offers rapids with varying grades that suit everyone, from beginners to whitewater rafting experts.
In Kalinga, you'll have the best time navigating the 175-kilometer-long stretch of the Chico River. You can even bundle it up with other activities in Kalinga, like getting a traditional tattoo from Apo Whang-Od at the Buscalan village.
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
Ultralights are small 1- or 2-seat fixed-wing aircraft. For travelers who want to experience flying and being in a small aircraft, ultralight or microlight flying is a perfect activity for you. You will also experience flying with the wind on your face as the ultralight has an open-air cockpit.
The Philippines is a good place to try the ultralight flying experience since we only have the dry and wet season, with most months having more sun than rain. One of the best places to experience this is in Pampanga, just a couple of hours away from the capital city of Manila.
Canyoneering adventures are a must-do in the Philippines. This adrenaline-pumping experience involves hiking, bouldering, climbing, rappelling, jumping, and swimming in river canyons.
One of the best places to try canyoneering is in Cebu, where you will start in Alegria and end up in Badian where you can swim in Kawasan Falls.
A canyoneering trip will challenge you to conquer your fear of heights. It's perfect for non-swimmers too. For those who want a thrilling activity while exploring stunning canyons and falls, add this to your Philippine itinerary.
Whale sharks grow to 32-40 feet on average. But despite their size, they are known to be docile, earning them the “gentle giant” nickname. Interacting with these gentle sea creatures is one of the most unique experiences you can try in the Philippines.
One of the best places in the Philippines where you can swim with whale sharks is in Donsol, Bicol, where they practice eco-tourism.
Whale sharks are migratory creatures and are not supposed to be fed, that's why whale shark sighting is not assured all-year-round in Donsol. If you're lucky, you will likely see at least 5 during the peak season of November to June when they feed on planktons.
Photo from the Philippine Department of Tourism
Sandboarding is a recreational extreme sport similar to snowboarding but instead of snow, you ride a sandboard down or across the sand dune. It can also be done while standing up or lying on your belly. It is a popular sport in desert or coastal areas with sand dunes.
The best place to try sandboarding in the Philippines is in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. This sand dune is getting more and more popular not only for sandboarding but also for ATV and 4x4 riding and can be best experienced when you join Ilocos tours.
If you want to experience flying but find skydiving too extreme, paragliding is your next best choice. It uses a lightweight and free-flying glider aircraft and requires a licensed pilot to operate it.
You can also find paragliding experiences in Carmona, Cavite, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, and Cagayan de Oro. A paragliding trip takes only around 20 minutes, but it's more than enough to satiate your thirst form adventure.
If you can get over your fear of heights, and want a very unique perspective of seeing the Philippines from above, head to Bantayan Island in Cebu to go skydiving. The view of the numerous beautiful beaches in Cebu surrounding the province is priceless indeed.
Bungee jumping is not available in the Philippines yet. However, a very good alternative is the canyon swing called The Plunge in Danao Adventure Park in Bohol. Unlike bungee jumping where you jump off a platform, you'll hang by your feet in Danao and be dropped over 200 meters above the river. You'll get around 4 seconds of free fall before swinging around 100 meters wide around the canyon.
If you want to tick off "bungee jumping" from your bucket list but find the 200-meter The Plunge too much, head to the Tree Top Adventure in Subic. You will climb up to a 60-foot high platform and experience free fall for around a second, which means that before you can scream, the free fall is over.
The province of Sagada has more than 60 stunning caves with spectacular rock formations, the biggest of which is Sumaguing Cave. It is an expansive cave network known for its gorgeous stalagmites, stalactites, giant rock formations, and steep descents. It is also considered as the deepest cave in the country and has a big role in the culture of the people in Sagada.
It is best to join a Sagada tour that include guided spelunking of Sumaguing Cave with other breathtaking attractions such as the hanging coffins and burial cave.
As one of the biggest archipelagos in the world, it's not surprising that the Philippines is one of the top diving destinations worldwide. It is part of the Coral Triangle, an area in the western Pacific Ocean that's incredibly rich in marine life.
You'll find in the Coral Triangle hundreds of species of reef-building corals, six out of the world’s seven marine turtle species, and thousands of reef fish species.
One of the best places to go diving in the country is in Palawan, specifically Coron or the shipwreck diving capital of the Philippines. There are over ten shipwrecks in Coron that are within diving distance, most of which are for divers with advanced certification.
These ships date back to World War II and are still in great condition, perfect for underwater explorers looking for the most incredible diving spots and a once in a lifetime experience.
Start planning your adventure in the Philippines! Explore other adventure activities in the Philippines that you can add to your itinerary for an unforgettable travel experience.