- 36. Guimaras Smallest Plaza (Smallest Plaza in the Philippines)
- 35. Grand Hyatt Manila, Taguig (Tallest building in the Philippines)
- 34. SM North EDSA, Quezon City (Biggest Mall in the Philippines)
- 33. Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) (Longest Bridge in the Philippines)
- 32. Carabao Mango (Sweetest Mango in the World)
- 31. Malagonlong Bridge in Tayabas, Quezon (Oldest Bridge in the Philippines)
- 30. Philippine Arena, Bulacan (Largest Indoor Arena in the World)
- 29. Mactan Shrine, Cebu (Shrine of the first Filipino hero, Lapu-Lapu)
- 28. Santa Monica Parish, Capiz (Home of the Biggest Church Bell in Asia)
- 27. Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias Road in Ifugao (Highest Road in the Philippines)
- 26. Cagayan River (Longest River in the Philippines)
- 25. Anilao, Batangas (Nudibranch Capital of the World)
- 24. Tarsier (Second Smallest Primate in the World)
- 23. Lolong (World’s Largest Crocodile Captured)
- 22. San Agustin Church, Intramuros (Oldest Church in the Philippines)
- 21. Laguna de Bay (Largest Lake in the Philippines)
- 20. Manila Hotel (Oldest Hotel in the Philippines)
- 19. Whale Shark (Biggest Fish in the World)
- 18. University of Sto Tomas, Manila (Oldest University in Asia)
- 17. The Calbiga Caves, Samar (Biggest Cave System in the Philippines)
- 16. Panampangan Island, Tawi-Tawi (Longest Sandbar in the Philippines)
- 15. Aliwagwag Falls, Davao (Highest Waterfall in the Philippines)
- 14. Binondo, Manila (Oldest Chinatown in the World)
- 13. Batanes (Smallest Island Province in the Philippines)
- 12. Tabon Cave, Palawan (Where the oldest human bones in the Philippines were found)
- 11. Thresher Sharks diving in Monad Shoal, Malapascua (The only place in the world for daily sighting of thresher sharks)
- 10. Long Beach, San Vicente Palawan (Longest beach in the Philippines)
- 9. Masjid Sheikh Makhdum, Simunul, Tawi-Tawi (Oldest Mosque in Southeast Asia)
- 8. Kayangan Lake, Coron (Cleanest Lake in Asia)
- 7. Cloud 9, Siargao (One of the Best Surfing Spots in the World)
- 6. Cebu City (Oldest City in the Philippines)
- 5. Mt. Apo, Davao (Highest Mountain in the Philippines)
- 4. Tubbataha Reef (First National Marine Park in the Philippines)
- 3. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan (The Longest Navigable Underground River in the World)
- 2. Boracay (Won Best Beach in the World)
- 1. Palawan (Won Best Island in the World)
Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway and Mt Apo in Davao
Located in the Western Pacific Ocean, within the Southeast Asia region, the Philippines is an archipelagic country that is composed of more than 7000 islands. The most famous Philippines tourist spots are usually exotic islands, pristine beaches, and amazing diving spots. This abundance of Philippine natural wonders and stunning attractions is the reason why the country has been recognized as one of the best holiday destinations in the world.
- Learn about the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines that you should visit
Aside from natural attractions, the Philippines also has a colorful history, which started way before the Spanish colonial rule in the 1500s. It is a nation that has fought hard for its freedom and preservation of culture and heritage. Many of the Philippines' top historical sites are well-preserved for the younger generation to admire and learn from.
With so many places to explore in the Philippines, you may be wondering where to start. This article is your ultimate guide for planning the ultimate Philippine travel itinerary. It highlights the best attractions across the country, from the record-breaking to the award-winning.
Here are the longest, highest, oldest, award-winning and other must-visit attractions in the Philippines:
36. Guimaras Smallest Plaza (Smallest Plaza in the Philippines)
Photo by @chefxrph on Instagram
Guimaras lies in Panay Gulf, in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Aside from gorgeous beaches and tasty tropical fruits, this island province is also home to the smallest plaza in the country.
The Guimaras Plaza is located along Jordan-Hoskyn Road, Jordan. It covers an area of less than 300 square meters. In the middle of the plaza lies a pedestal with stairs that houses the statue of Dr. Jose Rizal - the Philippines’ national hero. At one point, this plaza was the smallest one in the world until another place claimed the title. Nevertheless, the Guimaras Plaza remains an iconic landmark in the province.
35. Grand Hyatt Manila, Taguig (Tallest building in the Philippines)
Photo by Grand Hyatt Manila
Standing at 318 meters (1,043 ft), the Grand Hyatt Manila in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig, is the tallest building in the Philippines Although it carries the name of the popular hotel chain, the Grand Hyatt Manila building has mixed uses. The hotel section of the towers features 461 guest rooms, which are located on the top 25 floors.
Grand Hyatt Manila has three onsite restaurants - The Peak, The Grand Kitchen, and No. 8 China House. It has a total area of 2,281 m2 (24,550 sq ft) dedicated to meeting spaces and events rooms. The Grand Hyatt Manila exhibits state-of-the-art engineering design and architecture. The tower was built to be resistant to harsh elements like wind, shock, and seismic vibrations.
34. SM North EDSA, Quezon City (Biggest Mall in the Philippines)
Photo by SM City North Edsa
Malls are go-to spots not just for locals in the Philippines, but also international travelers. In Philippine malls, you can shop, dine, have fun and find almost everything in these large, fully air-conditioned spaces. Metro Manila is home to some of the biggest malls in the world like SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia.
But the title for the largest mall in the Philippines goes to SM City North Edsa, which is also the 8th largest in the world. SM City North is situated along North Avenue corner EDSA, Quezon City. It boasts a total floor area of 498,000 sqm and offers convenient and easy access to the MRT train line. SM North Edsa's main amenities include an amusement center, a bowling alley, a bingo hall, an IMAX cinema, and a sky garden.
33. Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) (Longest Bridge in the Philippines)
Stretching to 8.5-kilometers, the new Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) connects Cebu City and Cordova. It was inaugurated on April 27, 2022, taking the title of the longest bridge in the Philippines from San Juanico Bridge.
San Juanico Bridge
The 2.16 kilometers long San Juanico Bridge that links Leyte and Samar Islands used to hold the title of the longest bridge in the Philippines since 1973. One of the top Leyte tourist spots, it has two lanes and connects specifically to Tacloban City (Leyte) and Santa Rita City (Samar).
The Panguil Bay Bridge in Tangub City is underway and this bridge is set to be 3.16 kilometers long and will beat San Juanico in second place once it's completed. Another notable road structure in the country is the Metro Manila Skyway, one of the longest elevated expressways in Asia.
32. Carabao Mango (Sweetest Mango in the World)
Photo by Guimaras Provincial Economic Development Office
If you are a fruit lover, another reason to love the Philippines is it is home to the sweetest mango in the world. In 1995, the Guinness World Records declared the Carabao Mango as the sweetest mango variety. This special fruit is grown in the coastal region of Zambales.
A local government report in 2013 revealed that the Carabao Mangoes from Masinloc Zambales, in particular, have a total soluble sugar content of 23 percent. Aside from Zambales, the island province of Guimaras in Western Visayas is another widely known destination for its sweet mangoes. In fact, Guimaras is often referred to as the Mango Capital of the Philippines.
31. Malagonlong Bridge in Tayabas, Quezon (Oldest Bridge in the Philippines)
Malagonlong Bridge was built in 1841 during the Spanish Colonial Period. Even after more than two centuries, this historical bridge (Puente de Malagonlong in Spanish) remains intact today and is one of the most prized heritage sites in Quezon and the Philippines.
- Check out the best resorts in Quezon Province
Although there are other stone masonry bridges found in Tayabas, Quezon, Malagonlong is considered to be the oldest and longest of them all. This stone arch bridge extends to about 445 feet. According to the National Historical Institute, the Spanish government forced the locals of Tayabas to build the Malagonlong. The forced laborers used about 100, 000 adobe blocks to complete the bridge.
30. Philippine Arena, Bulacan (Largest Indoor Arena in the World)
Photo by Philippine Arena
Guinness World Records has recognized the Philippine Arena as the largest mix-used indoor theater in the world. This indoor arena impresses with its ability to accommodate 51,000 people in a fully enclosed space. This fully air-conditioned arena has hosted a variety of large-scale music, sport, and social events. It is located in a 140-hectare tourism enterprise zone called Ciudad de Victoria within Santa Maria and Bocaue, Bulacan.
- Check out other top tourist spots in Bulacan
The firm Hanwha E&C built and designed the Philippine Arena using innovative technology. The Philippine Arena has multiple structural reinforcements to help it resist the damaging effects of earthquakes and typhoons. Aside from its main indoor space, it also owns an outdoor area that can facilitate nother 50,000 people.
29. Mactan Shrine, Cebu (Shrine of the first Filipino hero, Lapu-Lapu)
Established in 1969, the Mactan Shrine (also known as Liberty Shrine) in Cebu is one of the iconic historical spots in the Philippines. This memorial park honors the historic battle of Mactan. At the heart of the shrine is the 20-meter bronze statue of Rajah Lapu-Lapu on top of a pedestal. The statue was erected to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of Rajah Lapu-Lapu, the first Filipino hero.
- Learn about the top tourist spots in Cebu
Lapu-Lapu was the native chieftain of Mactan Island who defeated Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his soldiers. At that time, Magellan wanted to claim the Philippines as a colony of Spain. Aside from the Lapu Lapu statue, the park also houses the Magellan Monument. Visitors can find Mactan Shrine in Punta Engaño, Mactan Island, Cebu.
28. Santa Monica Parish, Capiz (Home of the Biggest Church Bell in Asia)
Built during the 1700s, the Santa Monica Parish in Panay town, Capiz, is one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in the country. This baroque-style church is also often referred to as Panay Church. It is declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
Santa Monica’s history and architecture are not the only things impressive about it. This church is also special as it houses the biggest bell in the Southeast Asian region. This massive bell stands at 5 feet high and weighs more than 10 metric tons. It has an impressive diameter of 7 feet (2.1 meters).
27. Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias Road in Ifugao (Highest Road in the Philippines)
Halsema Highway in the Atok region used to be considered the highest elevation point in the Philippine road network. However, the country’s Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has turned over this title to the Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias Road.
According to DPWH, a section of the Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias Road reaches a height of 2,428 meters above sea level (7,968 feet). This height is about 173.6 meters higher than the Halsema Highway, which stands at 2,255 meters (7,400 ft). Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias Road is characterized as a very steep road that goes through a mossy forest. It was virtually unknown before it was converted into a national road in May 2013. Kiangan-Tinoc-Buguias Road stands on Mt. Gui’ngaw in Barangay Eheb, Tinoc, Ifugao province.
26. Cagayan River (Longest River in the Philippines)
If you enjoy water activities like kayaking and whitewater rafting, the Cagayan River is an excellent holiday choice. Boasting a length of more than 500 kilometers. This river is considered the longest, largest, and widest of its kind in the Philippines.
Cagayan River (Rio Grande de Cagayan) passes through the Sierra Madre region in northeastern Luzon. It then goes through provinces in the Cagayan Valley like Quirino, Isabela, Cagayan, and Nueva Vizcaya. These places make excellent gateways to the great Cagayan River.
The Cagayan River ends its journey by flowing into the ocean through the Babuyan Channel of the Luzon Strait. The Chico, Ilagan and Magat Rivers are the main tributaries of the Cagayan River.
25. Anilao, Batangas (Nudibranch Capital of the World)
Photo by Wowie Wong
Anilao, Batangas is a world-renowned destination that offers more than 50 wonderful dive sites that features coral gardens, macro life, wreckages, and house reefs.
Diving experts and enthusiasts also often refer to Anilao as the “Nudibranch Capital of the World”. Nudibranchs are soft-bodied and shell-less mollusks. People also call them sea slugs. Anilao is home to a large number of nudibranchs. Thus, this world-class diving destination is where you can most likely view the most number of nudibranchs in one single dive.
- Browse our list of the best Batangas resorts
Diving operators in Anilao already know the spots that guarantee nudibranch sightings for divers. Some of the most stunning nudibranchs in Anilao are microscopic. Thus, operators often encourage divers to bring special dive mask magnifying lenses to maximize their nudibranch diving experience.
24. Tarsier (Second Smallest Primate in the World)
With a head-to-toe measurement of 4-5 inches, the Bohol Tarsier (Tarsius Syrichta) is the world’s second-smallest primate. A normal tarsier of this species weighs about 113 to 142 grams. They are known for their large brown eyes that are bigger than their stomach and brain. Tarsiers can rotate their head 180 degrees in both directions.
Tarsiers are nocturnal primates that live in the dense forests of Bohol, Samar, Leyte, parts of Mindanao. Unfortunately, some people capture and exploit them for money. The most ethical way to view tarsiers is to visit the 167-hectare Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary within the Corella, Sikatuna, and Loboc municipalities of Bohol. Tarsier conservation tours involve a guided forest trek to spot the tarsiers in their natural habitat with minimal disturbance.
23. Lolong (World’s Largest Crocodile Captured)
Photo by National Museum of the Philippines
Lolong is the name of the giant crocodile captured in the town of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur in September 2011. This reptile measured 6.4 m (21ft) in height and 1,075 kg (2,370lb) in weight. The National Geographic and Guinness Book of Records both acknowledge Lolong as the largest crocodile captured by man. The crocodile was named after Ernesto "Lolong" Goloran Cañete, a veteran crocodile hunter of the Palawan Crocodile and Wildlife Reservation Center.
During the crocodile’s capture, experts believed that he was at least 50 years old. Lolong became an instant tourism sensation. The crocodile is truly a wonderful sight to behold. But sadly Lolong passed away in February 2013. You can still view his well-preserved skeletal remains at the Philippine National Museum of Natural History.
22. San Agustin Church, Intramuros (Oldest Church in the Philippines)
As the oldest church in the Philippines, San Agustin Church amazes its visitors with its history, resilience, and architecture. Showcasing the Neo-Gothic style, San Agustin sits within the compound of the Spanish walled city called Intramuros. Intramuros is now part of modern-day Manila City.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built between 1587 and 1606 and was designed by Fray Antonio de Herrera. Its official name is Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin. After sustaining several renovations, natural calamities, and threats including a military attack during World War II, San Agustin miraculously still stands as a witness to the country’s past. Some of its remarkable features include its Baroque style altars, wall buttresses, and tromp l’oeil style ceiling paintings.
21. Laguna de Bay (Largest Lake in the Philippines)
The largest lake of the Philippines title belongs to Laguna de Bay. This massive lake measures about 900 square kilometers and surrounds the cities of Pasig, Taguig, and Muntinlupa. It all goes through the provinces of Laguna and Rizal. Laguna de Bay is also the third-largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.
21 rivers feed Laguna de Bay but the lake has only one outflow, and that is the Pasig River. This lake remains to be a prime source for water supply, irrigation, and fishing farms. Laguna de Bay area has around 8 million inhabitants. Hence, continuous efforts are made to make sure the lake stays clean and healthy.
20. Manila Hotel (Oldest Hotel in the Philippines)
Photo by The Manila Hotel
Manila Hotel is considered to be the oldest hotel in the country and one of the best Manila hotels. It first opened its doors on June 4, 1912, to commemorate the American Independence celebration. Manila Hotel is a five-star hotel that features 570 rooms and houses some offices. The hotel is an iconic historical landmark that reminds people of the Philippines’ hospitable nature and colorful history.
Since its opening, Manila Hotel has hosted many prominent personalities like General Douglas MacArthur, The Beatles (band), Ernest Hemingway (author), and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. This hotel sustained major damages during the 1945 Battle of Manila but has undergone reconstruction since then. Manila Hotel is located at 1 Rizal Park, along Roxas Boulevard, Ermita Manila.
19. Whale Shark (Biggest Fish in the World)
The Whale Shark is the biggest fish species in the world. This gentle creature is only called a “whale” due to its large size, which can reach over 40 feet in length.
There are a few spots in the Philippines where whale sharks (locally called butanding) can be seen frequently, and the most popular is Donsol, Sorsogon and Oslob, Cebu.
Donsol Bay in Sorsogon, Bicol region has become a world-renowned whale shark viewing spot because sightings of these large creatures are almost a guarantee when you visit at the right season (November to May). The whale shark tour starts with a safety and ethical behavior briefing with a Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO).
18. University of Sto Tomas, Manila (Oldest University in Asia)
Photo by University of Santo Tomas/Hans Lawrence V. Malgapu
The University of Santo Tomas holds the distinction of being the oldest existing university in all of Asia. Founded in 1611, this education institution was the initiative of the former Archbishop of Manila, Miguel de Benavides. It was originally established to become a seminary college. Later in 1624, the college also offered academic degrees in arts, theology, and philosophy.
The university, commonly called by its acronym UST, was named after the Dominican theologian Thomas Aquinas. The first campus was built within the walled city of Intramuros. However, in 1911, the university site moved to Manila’s Sampaloc district to occupy a bigger land area of 21.5 hectares. Today, it is also one of the largest Catholic universities in the world in student population on one campus.
17. The Calbiga Caves, Samar (Biggest Cave System in the Philippines)
Tucked in the town of Calbiga, Samar province, the Calbiga Cave system is the largest of its kind in the country. It is also one of the biggest cave systems in the Asia region. This set of caves is also called Langun-Gobingob Caves.
The space inside Calbiga is amazingly vast and gives off a surreal vibe. It houses several chambers, some of which are as large as coliseums. Researchers estimate that 12 caves make up the system, which covers an area of more than 2900 hectares. Calbiga caves are home to rare species of bats, crickets, fish, and spiders. Organized caving tours are available within the Calbiga region. The most visited cave sections are called Langun and Upper Gobingob Cave.
16. Panampangan Island, Tawi-Tawi (Longest Sandbar in the Philippines)
Photo by @bryehero on Instagram
Philippines tour packages and travel itineraries often leave out Tawi-Tawi as a destination because of its location, but this southernmost province of the Philippines boasts incredible natural beauty. Tawi-Tawi is home to Panampangan Island, the longest sandbar in the Philippines and one of the best sandbars in the Philippines. This island sits within Basibuli Shoal in Sapa-Sapa Municipality.
Panampangan Island is located on the northern part of the Celebes Sea. The nearest jump-off point to it is Barangay Batu-Batu of Panglima Sugala Municipality. You need to take a 2-hour boat ride from Batu-Batu to reach Panampangan Island. The island exhibits powdery white sand and stretches to more than 3 kilometers. During low tide, you can walk from Panampangan to the nearby island named Basibuli. These two islands connect and form a crescent shape.
15. Aliwagwag Falls, Davao (Highest Waterfall in the Philippines)
Aliwagwag Falls is one of Davao’s prized tourist destinations. It holds the distinction of the highest waterfall in the country. Aliwagwag features 84 tiers and 130 cascades. It has a total height of 1,100 feet and is admired for its numerous boulders that look like staircases.
- Check out other scenic waterfalls in the Philippines
Aliwagwag Falls is tucked within Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental. It is surrounded by lush vegetation that enhances its natural beauty. Locals regard this waterfall as a gift from the gods. The local government has made the area surrounding Aliwagwag an eco-park that offers tourist activities like zip-lining, swimming, and monkey bridge trekking.
14. Binondo, Manila (Oldest Chinatown in the World)
Binondo is one of the most prominent historical spots in the Philippines. This district is the oldest Chinatown in the world. The Spanish colonial government established Binondo in 1594 so Catholic-converted Chinese immigrants can have a permanent settlement. Soon after this decision, the Chinese community thrived in Binondo. They were given autonomy, tax-free livelihoods, and the power to choose their own governor.
Chinese immigrants have flocked to Binondo in search of a better life. By the 19th century, Bindondo had become Manila’s financial and business center. The heart of Binondo is Escolta Street, where the Philippines’ first major commercial and business buildings were built. Domestic tourists often come to Binondo to taste authentic Chinese Filipino dishes, some of which are hard to find anywhere else.
13. Batanes (Smallest Island Province in the Philippines)
Batanes is one of the most stunning and unspoiled Philippines tourist spots despite being the country’s smallest province. It lies on the northern tip of the Philippines and has a total land area of 230 kilometers. Although relatively small, Batanes’ unspoiled beauty and isolation are what make it very attractive to tourists. The local life and culture here can be best described as peaceful and simple.
Batanes is often called the Home of the Winds, because of the strong winds that go through this region for most of the year. Despite being in a secluded location, the province’s capital Basco remains accessible as it has a dedicated airport that facilitates daily flights from all over the Philippines.
12. Tabon Cave, Palawan (Where the oldest human bones in the Philippines were found)
Palawan is a widely known tourist destination because of its Palawan beaches, caves, and islands. But curious visitors, especially those interested in archaeology, have another reason to visit the province, and this is the Tabon Cave.
Tabon Cave is the site where the Philippines’ oldest human bones were found. The fossil remains of the “Tabon Man” are evidence of the earliest modern man (Home sapiens) living in this region of the world. The remains include the frontal skull bone, some teeth, and two jaw bone fragments. You can find the Tabon Cave in Lipuun Point, Quezon Municipality and explore it by joining a Tabon Cave tour. The cave is on the western section of a limestone cliff that overlooks the South China Sea.
11. Thresher Sharks diving in Monad Shoal, Malapascua (The only place in the world for daily sighting of thresher sharks)
Malapascua is an island off the northern coast of Cebu. Aside from unspoiled beauty, it is also the gateway to some of the best diving spots in the world. The Monad Shoal lies off the southeastern coast of Malapascua Island. This shoal is world-famous as it is often regarded as the one place in the world where thresher shark sightings happen almost every day.
Thus, diving in Malapascua is the number one activity for tourists. You can find numerous Philippines package deals that focus on diving in Malapascua. There are also diving shops and certification schools on the island. Aside from Malapascua, another world-class Cebu diving attraction is the sardine run that occurs right off the coast of Moalboal town.
10. Long Beach, San Vicente Palawan (Longest beach in the Philippines)
Long Beach in San Vicente is one of the distinguished and best beaches in the Philippines. It manages to set itself apart because of its powdery white sand and sheer length. With a total length of more than 14 kilometers, Long Beach is the longest white beach in the Philippines.
Despite its impressive length, the beach managed to stay low key with most of its shoreline undeveloped. Most visitors make their way to Puerto Princesa and El Nido. Thus, San Vicente, which sits on the northwestern section of Palawan Island, remains a hidden tourism gem.
Long Beach covers the coast of three San Vicente fishing barangays (villages), which are San Isidro, Alimangoan, and New Agutaya. It is a jumping point for island hopping tours and a great place to relax and rejuvenate.
9. Masjid Sheikh Makhdum, Simunul, Tawi-Tawi (Oldest Mosque in Southeast Asia)
Photo by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Masjid Sheikh Makhdum was certified as a National Historic Landmark last May 24, 3013. Masjid Sheikh rightfully deserves this accolade as it is considered the oldest mosque in the Philippines but also in Southeast Asia. It is named after Sheikh Makhdum Karim, the Arab trader who commissioned the building of the mosque in 1380. There have been renovations done to the Masjid Sheikh ever since. The current structure of this mosque today still has the pillars that were reconstructed during the 17th century.
Masjid Sheikh Makhdum stands in the town of Tubig Indangan, Simunul, Tawi-Tawi, the southernmost island province in the Philippines. As an official historical landmark and one of the best historical tourist spots in the Philippines, the mosque is under the supervision and preservation of The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
8. Kayangan Lake, Coron (Cleanest Lake in Asia)
Kayangan Lake is located between Coron and the Calamian Islands in Northern Palawan. Because of its remote location, Kayangan Lake boasts some of the clearest and cleanest lake water. Although it is not an official title, travel experts and enthusiasts often dub Kayangan Lake the cleanest lake in the Philippines and Asia. Aside from having crystal clear emerald-colored water, Kayangan Lake also offers breathtaking views of the nearby gigantic limestone karsts jutting out of the sea.
Kayangan Lake is composed of 70% freshwater and 30% saltwater. It is one of the two lakes in the Coron area that are open to the public. Coron Town is the jumping point to Kayangan. From the town, you need to take a 30-minute boat ride to reach it or join Coron island hopping tours.
7. Cloud 9, Siargao (One of the Best Surfing Spots in the World)
Situated in Surigao del Norte, Southern Philippines, Siargao Island is often referred to as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. For years, it has been attracting surfers from all over because of its world-class competition-level surfing waves.
- Check out our list of the best Siargao resorts
One of Siargao’s most prized surfing spots is called Cloud 9. CNNGo, a travel site of CNN International, has hailed Cloud 9 as the Top 8 among the World’s Best Surfing Spots. Siargao surfing is widely known for its powerful reef breaks and broad hollow barrels. It has been home to big competitions, including the Siargao Cloud 9 Surfing Cup, which attracts the best surfers in the world. The best time to surf in Siargao is between September and March.
6. Cebu City (Oldest City in the Philippines)
When the Spanish first came to the Philippines, Cebu was merely a sleepy fishing village. It eventually became the first Spanish settlement in the country. The Spanish government industrialized and expanded Cebu. By April 27, 1594, the King of Spain, Philip II, officially classified Cebu as a city. This declaration made Cebu City the oldest city in the Philippines.
- Browse our list of the best hotels in Cebu City
Cebu City still thrives today as the second major city in the Philippines. Philippine tours highlight Cebu City as the center of commerce, culture, and culinary heritage in the Visayas Region. This city lies in the eastern section of Cebu Island. It is about 15 kilometers away from Mactan Island, where the region’s major domestic and international airport, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, is located.
5. Mt. Apo, Davao (Highest Mountain in the Philippines)
There are many mountains in the Philippines, but Mt. Apo surpasses all of them in height. This active stratovolcano features a height of 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) above sea level, making it the highest mountain in the country. Mt. Apo's height and beauty have made it a sought-after hiking destination.
Mt. Apo has many designated trails, and the easiest one is the Kidapawan-Magpet trail, which goes through dense forests, Lake Agko, Marble River, and Mainit Hot Springs before reaching the peak. Mt. Apo’s crater, which is around 500 meters wide, contains a small lake. This mountain specifically lies between Davao del Sur and Cotabato provinces. But the most known jumping point for Apo trekking tours is Barangay Ilomavis, in Kidapawan, Cotabato.
4. Tubbataha Reef (First National Marine Park in the Philippines)
Tubbataha Reef is one of the most prominent Philippines diving spots and home to some of the most diverse coral reefs in the world. This reef area was declared a national marine park in 1988. It is the first one to be declared as such in the country. In 1993, UNESCO inscribed it as a World Heritage Site. Tubbataha encompasses over 130 000 hectares of marine habitats, including three atolls. It is home to 374 species of coral and almost 500 species of fish.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, where marine creatures reproduce, colonize, and disperse. It lies within the Coral Triangle, the center of coral diversity in the world. Palawan’s Puerto Princesa is the main gateway to Tubbataha Reef. To reach this marine park, you need to take a 10-hour boat ride from Puerto Princesa.
3. Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan (The Longest Navigable Underground River in the World)
The Puerto Princesa Underground River is one of the most spectacular natural sites in the Philippines. With a length of about 8.2 kilometers, it is the longest navigable underground river in the world. This underground river, also called Princesa Subterranean River National Park, is also listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines.
- Browse our list of the best Puerto Princesa hotels and resorts
Puerto Princesa Underground River tour does not only excite visitors with its sheer length and size, as it also offers a spectacular landscape. It has towering limestone cliffs, cave formations, and crystal clear water. Boat tours can only take passengers to only 4.3 kilometers of this subterranean river. But this area is enough to make you realize how truly wonderful this natural site is. The town of Sabang, which is on the mid-western coast of Palawan, is the gateway to the Puerto Princesa Underground River.
2. Boracay (Won Best Beach in the World)
Located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, Boracay will not fail to mesmerize you. It is arguably the most popular Philippine island, and it rightfully deserves its popularity as the island is home to unbelievably gorgeous beaches.
With its powdery white sand and super clear waters, Boracay’s 4-kilometer White Beach is often considered one of the best beaches in the world. If you want to explore the best beaches in the Philippines, Boracay should be on top of your list.
- Check out our list of the best beachfront Boracay resorts
Travel + Leisure Magazine hailed Boracay as the Best Island in the World in 2012. In 2014 and 2020, Conde Nast Traveler declared Boracay as one of the 25 Best Island Beaches in the World. The list also mentioned the Philippine coastal town of El Nido. You can fly from Manila to Kalibo and Caticlan, which are both gateways to Boracay Island.
1. Palawan (Won Best Island in the World)
It is hard for anyone not to be amazed by Palawan, often called the Last Frontier of the Philippines. It is a narrow island in the country's western region and stretches to about 432KM(270 miles). Palawan looks like an extended arm on the Philippines map.
Palawan may be remote, but it is a world-class and award-winning tourist destination. A 2020 survey by travel company Travel+Leisure included Palawan in their Best Island in the World list. There is a lot to see while in Palawan. If you want to go to the more popular beach destinations, head to El Nido and Coron. But there are also other low-key but spectacular white sand Palawan beaches like Long Beach in San Vicente, Honda Bay in Puerto Princesa, and Port Barton.
As mentioned, Palawan is home to the world’s longest navigable underground river and the gateway to the beautiful Tubbataha Reef Marine Park.
You can visit the Philippines all year round. However, the best time to check out the top attractions mentioned in this article is during the dry season (November to April.) During the dry season, most of the remote islands are more accessible because of more favorable weather.
The fastest and most convenient way to get to splendid Philippine attractions is by plane. If you don’t have the time to plan and execute an itinerary, you can easily book Philippine tour packages to visit the places listed in this article.
Although it’s tempting to stay and relax on one of the white sand beaches in the Philippines, the country has a wide variation of tourist destinations and experiences. So during your visit, make sure to maximize the opportunity of experiencing the best tourist spots of the Philippines.
Best Palawan Guide: Top Tours, Where to Stay, How to Get Around
20 Most Beautiful Sandbars in the Philippines: White Sand, Longest, Vanishing
11 Best Santorini-Like Resorts in the Philippines: Near Manila, Cebu, Palawan, Vigan
15 Best Tropical Bali-Like Resorts in the Philippines: Near Manila, Siargao, Cebu, Bohol
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