Top things to do in the Philippines
Discover all the adventures you can experience in the Philippines
Photo of Coron, Palawan's Twin Lagoon (left) and Martabak Cafe Indo Malay Restaurant in Manila (right)
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, mostly because of its history under the rule of Spain, which brought the Catholic faith to its shores. However, it doesn’t mean that other religions have not influenced the history and identity of the Philippines. In fact, many historians believe that prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, Islam had already been established in the country.
Today, there are several Muslim-friendly destinations in the Philippines where you can see these influences. Muslim-friendly or halal destinations are those that have services and establishments that take into consideration the needs of those who practice Islam. For example, these destinations usually host several halal restaurants, halal hotels, mosques, and prayer rooms that Muslims can visit during their trip.
Muslims looking for a Halal trip will easily find it in this list of halal-friendly places in the Philippines. Not only will they be able to practice their faith in these destinations freely, but they will also be able to try halal Filipino cuisine and visit some of the top Philippine tourist spots, including the best beaches in the Philippines and top historical spots in the Philippines.
Photo of Burnham Park
For a spontaneous and quick getaway from Metro Manila, many tourists have Baguio on top of their list, and the City of Pines is also a good option for Muslim travelers looking to do the same. The city is home to several mosques, including the Baguio Grand Mosque, where Muslims can go to pray.
Several restaurants in Baguio also serve halal food, including Ahmad Brother’s Cafe, which serves halal pizzas, sandwiches, kebabs, tandoori-grilled meat, and other dishes. For Malaysian and Indonesian dishes, head to Rumah Sate in Mines View Road and try their laksa and satay.
Photo by Rumah Sate Indonesian & Malaysian Restaurant
Of course, while in the city, you can’t miss the top tourist spots in Baguio, including Burnham Park, Camp John Hay, and the Baguio Night Market.
Photo of Mt. Pinatubo's crater lake
Pampanga is known for its delicious and unique Kampangan dishes featured in many Pampanga restaurants. Travelers looking for halal restaurants in Pampanga won’t have a hard time finding one as there are many in the province.
Some of the halal restaurants you can choose from are Ali Al Kabab Halal Food Restaurant in San Fernando, Red Sea Bar & Restaurant in Angeles City, and Zarina Halal Food Restaurant, a halal restaurant in Clark Pampanga that serves Filipino, Arabic, Indian, and other Asian cuisines.
Photo by Ali Al Kabab Halal Food Restaurant
If you want to drop by a mosque during your Pampanga trip, you can head to Guagua and visit Arrahman Mosque. You can also visit the Islamic Library and Information Office in Angeles City so you can learn more about Islam in the Philippines.
While you’re in the province, make sure to also visit top Pampanga tourist spots like Mount Pinatubo, Mount Arayat, and Miyamit Falls.
Photo of Ilolo's Cabugao Gamay in Islas de Gigantes
The province of Iloilo is not only home to several Iloilo tourist spots like Islas de Gigantes, Molo Mansion, and Sicogon Island, it is also here where you can find three mosques: Molo Mosque, Iloilo Pioneer Mosque, and Al-Khabeer Mosque. According to the Iloilo United Muslim Community, there are around 3,000 Muslims in Iloilo.
Photo by Great Cyrus
The local business sector in Iloilo has also been developing halal-friendly establishments in the province to encourage more Muslim tourists to visit Iloilo. For halal food, visitors can try Great Cyrus, a Persian restaurant in Iloilo City.
Tourists can also try to dine at Richmonde Hotel, one of the best Iloilo hotels. While the hotel doesn’t have a halal menu, they can accommodate halal food requests from diners. If you’re looking for meats and food items that you can prepare yourself, you can order them from the Iloilo City Halal Food Products store.
Boracay and its White Beach are two of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, and Muslim visitors can enjoy the islands, beaches, and other Boracay tourist attractions without compromising their beliefs and practices. The island is home to several halal-friendly establishments, including about a dozen halal-friendly Boracay restaurants.
Photo by Kabsah Boracay
If you’re looking for delicious Moroccan food, head to Station 1 and look for Kasbah. Its prime location along White Beach also makes it a good spot to enjoy a view of the beach while having lunch. Bismillah Halal Turkish Kebab BBQ House serves affordable Turkish food, and they also have a 24/7 delivery service within the island!
For those in search of Muslim-friendly Boracay hotels and resorts, look no further than Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa. Guests can request that their food be prepared and served halal, and prayer mats can be provided by the hotel upon request.
Check out our article on other halal restaurants in Boracay.
Photo of Chocolate Hills in Bohol
Bohol and its world-famous Chocolate Hills are just some of the reasons you should visit the Philippines. Those looking for halal food in Bohol are in luck because there are many restaurants in Tagbilaran City offering halal food, including Halal Eatery and Khan’s Kebab Express Halal. While in Tagbilaran City, you can also drop by one of the mosques in Bohol, Masjid Darussalam. There is also a small Muslim village in the city.
There are also many other Bohol tourist spots that you should not miss during your visit, including Alona Beach, Baclayon Church, and the Bilar Man-Made Forest. If you want a chill Bohol activity, you can go on a lunch cruise along Loboc River or enjoy a firefly night cruise down Abatan River then enjoy the beach at the best Bohol resorts.
Photo of Puerto Princesa Underground River
Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Puerto Princesa Underground River in Puerto Princesa, Kayangan Lake in Coron, Nacpan Beach in El Nido, Long Beach in San Vicente, countless lagoons, paradise-like beaches and islands, and other Palawan tourist attractions, this province is one of the most visited destinations in the Philippines and has always been listed as one of the best islands in the world. Palawan has attracted many travelers globally not only because of its attractions but also because of its warm and welcoming people.
Photo by Bersian Restaurant El Nido
Those looking for a halal trip will appreciate the variety of halal food in Palawan. If you want to try halal food in Coron, head to the Muslim Restaurant in Coron town proper. Those staying in Puerto Princesa can try Taste of Indian Spices, which serves Indian, Malaysian, and Filipino food that is halal.
Other options in Puerto Princesa are Bersian Restaurant and Haim Chicken. If you’re looking for El Nido halal food, head to Holy Smoke Mediterranean Food House for falafel, hummus, wraps, and other snacks. The mosque Juma Masjid can also be found in El Nido.
Photo of view from Bud Bongao in Tawi-Tawi
The oldest mosque in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia can be found on the island of Tawi-Tawi. The Sheikh Karim al Makhdum Mosque is believed to have been built in 1380. It has been rebuilt many times, but four of the original wooden pillars inside the mosque still exist. The graveyard at the back is believed to be where the remains of Sheik Makdum Karim was buried. The mosque has been declared a National Historical Landmark and a National Cultural Treasure.
You should also include Bud Bongao in your Tawi-Tawi tourist spots itinerary, as it is believed that one of the followers of Karim ul-Makhdum, the preacher who brought Islam to the Philippines, is buried in the mountain.
Photo of Sheikh Karim al Makhdum Mosque
If you want to explore other tourist attractions in Tawi-Tawi, you can visit the Bolobok Rock Shelter, the Tawi-Tawi Provincial Capitol, and Panampangan Island, which is home to the longest sandbar in the Philippines.
Almost all of the people who live in Tawi-Tawi are Muslim, so it will be easy to find halal-friendly establishments on your trip.
Photo by @theboywhowantedtofly on Instagram
When visiting Cotabato City, it’s a must to drop by the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque. Also known as the Grand Mosque of Cotabato, it can accommodate up to 15,000 worshippers and is one of the largest mosques in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Around 75% of the city’s population are Muslims, and many of them celebrate the Shariff Kabunsuan Festival, which is celebrated to commemorate the Muslim missionary who brought Islam to the city.
If you’re looking for halal food in the Philippines, a visit to Cotabato City won’t disappoint as there are several halal restaurants here, including Hassaraff Seafoods and Grill, Mama Ping, Hashy’s Cuisine, and Picante, Pizza, Pasta & More.
While in Cotabato City, you should also drop by other tourist spots like the Sultan Kudarat Monument, the Barter Trade Center, and the Kutawato Caves, the only cave system located in a Philippine city.
Photo of Rizal monument at Luneta Park in Manila
Metro Manila is a melting pot of the culture and religion in the Philippines, and visitors won’t find it difficult to have a halal vacation here. For starters, those looking for a halal-friendly hotels in Manila to stay in will have options, including Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay, Dusit Thani Manila in Makati, and Marco Polo Ortigas Manila in Pasig. Aside from offering guests halal food, the rooms of these hotels are also marked with a prayer direction.
You can also choose to dine at halal restaurants in Manila like FETA Mediterranean, Hummus by Elijah, Gilak by Hossein, and New Bombay Restaurant to name a few.
Photo by Martabak Cafe Indo Malay Restaurant
Those looking for a beautiful mosque in the Philippines will find some of them in Metro Manila. The Golden Mosque Manila, Masjid Al-Dahab, stands out in Quiapo. Less than 5KM away is the Al-Huda Mosque. You’ll find it hard to find a mosque in Makati, but there are several prayer rooms in the area, or you can just visit the Blue Mosque, which is located in nearby Taguig.
Photo of Merloquet Falls in Zamboanga
With over 300,000 Muslim residents, Zamboanga City is one of the cities with the largest Muslim population in Mindanao. It is also home to Taluksangay Mosque, the oldest mosque in Zamboanga City and Western Mindanao. The mosque’s striking red features also make it one of the most beautiful mosques in the Philippines.
Of course, there are many halal restaurants in the area, including Taam Halal Pizza, Turkish Grille Plus, Bay Tal Mal Garden Restaurant, and Dennis Coffee Garden.
The city also has many natural attractions that tourists can enjoy on their visit. Travelers can go experience one of the best island hopping in the Philippines in Once Islas, chill at the Pink Beach of Sta. Cruz Island, and get refreshed at the waters of Merloquet Falls. Another must-visit tourist spot in Zamboanga City is Fort Pilar, a fort built during the Spanish Era. The fort is now home to a park and a museum where visitors can check out galleries that house artifacts from the history and culture of the region.
Photo of Kawasan Falls in Cebu
Cebu in the Visayas is another top Philippines tourist hub and a great alternative as a gateway to the Philippines aside from Manila. The island has its fair share of Cebu beaches, natural attractions, historical landmarks, and urban comfort, making it a perfect destination for all kinds of travelers, especially for first-timers in the Philippines.
Photo by Persian Kebab Tandoori
While Cebu citizens are mostly Catholic, you can still find a mosque in Cebu. The Green Mosque Cebu City is a good place to start. As its name suggests, this mosque has green accents, making it a standout in the middle of the city. You can also visit other mosques like the Sittie Mariam Masjid and the Al-Khairiah Masjid in Cebu City and the Lapu-Lapu City Central Mosque in Lapu-Lapu City.
You’ll also have options when it comes to halal food in Cebu restaurants, including restaurants like Persian Palate, Shawarma Gourmet, Persian Kebab Tandoori, and House of Punjab Albarkah. If you want to stay at a halal hotel in Cebu, you can check out Crimson Resort & Spa Mactan. The hotel has a halal kitchen that serves halal food and a staff that is trained to cater to Muslim guests.
Photo by Eden Nature Park and Resort
Davao City and its local government have been pushing for the city to become more halal-friendly, and their efforts have paid off, as they have become the most Muslim-friendly destination in the Philippines. Apart from having the Davao International Airport that allows Muslims from other countries to travel direct to the city, they also have the Davao City Halal Council, which helps establishments become halal compliant.
Photo by Davao City Islamic Center
There are several Muslim-friendly Davao hotels you can stay at during your vacation, including Tinhat Boutique Hotel and Restaurant, El Bajada Hotel, and Sunny Point Hotel. Although a popular halal restaurant, Zabadani Cafe, has closed, you can still get your halal food fix at places like Black Seed Burger, Spichef, Coffee for Peace, and Al-Sultan. There is also the Davao City Islamic Center, a mosque in Davao City where Muslims can go and pray.
The city and its nearby areas are also home to Davao tourist spots that you should visit when given the chance. Eden Nature Park & Resort, the Philippine Eagle Center, and the Roxas Night Market are all within the city, but you can also venture out to the rest of the Davao region and visit Samal Island, Mount Apo, and Dahican Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Philippines.
Visit the Top Muslim-Friendly Philippine Destinations
Photo of halal-certified Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal Island, Davao
The Philippines has many destinations that offer halal tourism, and these 10 are just a few that you can visit on your vacation in the Philippines. While these destinations allow Muslims to practice their faith with ease, those who do not practice Islam will still be able to enjoy their visit and have a meaningful trip as these places can also serve as a gateway for non-Muslims who want to learn more about the Muslim faith and Islam in the Philippines.
You can also choose to continue with your halal vacation by exploring more of Mindanao, where many of the Muslim population in the Philippines lives. Apart from being halal-friendly, the region is also host to many Mindanao tourist spots, including some of the best beaches in the Philippines, which you can visit on your Muslim vacation. For a hassle-free and enjoyable trip, you can try any of our Philippine tour packages.