Before deciding where to spend your next vacation, be sure to read our top 13 reasons why you should visit the Philippines. Learn about what makes the Philippines unique and what makes visitors return and explore more of this tropical getaway.
The Philippines is an archipelago found in Southeast Asia comprised of more than 7,000 islands dotting the Pacific Ocean. With its long aggregate coastline, the Philippines is gifted with stretches of pristine white sand beaches leading into crystal clear waters.
The Philippines is also home to world-renowned natural wonders like an underground river and rice terraces, incredible diving spots rich in biodiversity, colorful public transportation, unique cuisine from savory to sweet, vibrant festivals that showcase its colorful culture, and friendly locals regarded as some of the happiest in the world.
The country's official tourism slogan is “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” because whatever type of travel adventure you’re looking for, you’re bound to discover a fun experience in the Philippines. Read on to find out why the Philippines deserves to be on top of your travel bucket list:
Escaping winter? If you’re craving for the rays of the sun on your skin, the Philippines has that in spades. As a tropical country, the Philippines only has two seasons: dry and rainy seasons.
The dry season covers November to May, while the rainy season is usually from June until October. It’s still sunny and warm during the rainy months, so tours in the Philippines are available year-round, with cancellations only necessary when there’s a typhoon.
The warmest months are during the Philippines' summer season, covering March, April, and May. January and February are also ideal months for travel as the sun shines on, but the weather is cooler overall. Island and beach destinations in the Philippines, such as Boracay, Palawan, and Cebu, are best enjoyed during the dry season.
Aside from the Philippines' picturesque spots, the Filipinos' warmth and hospitality is a reason itself for you to visit the country. In fact, the Philippines often rank as the friendliest country in Asia. The moment your plane lands here, you will be greeted with the genuine and loving smiles of Pinoys.
Filipinos are very proud of the beauty of their country and their culture. That’s why when they meet travelers who are visiting the country, the locals will go out of their way to help you experience this. Filipinos acting like tour guides come naturally, from teaching you local words to pointing out the best places to visit or delicacies to try.
Communicating with locals is not a problem. English is one of the Philippines' official languages, and most Filipinos speak and understand it.
Filipinos are very hospitable too. The concept of the "extended family" is an important aspect of their culture. If you have Filipino friends who invite you to their home, they will treat you like you’re a part of their family, oftentimes preparing you a feast of home-cooked Filipino food.
Cost is one of the major considerations of a traveler. Good thing, traveling in the Philippines is very affordable. For example, there are plenty of day tours that just cost around PHP1000 (USD20).
You will find that there’s a lot of cheap accommodation options for you in the Philippines as well: from dorm-type hostels to bed and breakfast homestays that are both perfect for budget-conscious travelers. For those looking for a better value, resorts also come in a whole spectrum of pricing. Oftentimes, package deals can be found if you know where to look.
Food in the Philippines is cheap too. For roughly around PHP100-150(USD2-3), you will find yourself a decent breakfast place that offers classic Filipino food with coffee. The same goes for your lunch and dinner.
Even alcohol is cheap, so you can have a fun nightlife while traveling without breaking the bank. Local transportation doesn’t cost much as well, and you just might find them a lot cheaper if you’re traveling with a group so that you can divide the costs.
Services deemed luxurious such as pampering services and products like spa, massage, and fine dining are also relatively cheaper in the Philippines.
If you’re lucky, you just might have some money left after your trip that you can use to buy locally-made souvenirs in the Philippines.
With over 7000 islands and white sand beaches that stretch from coast to coast, you can’t deny the fact that the Philippines is gifted with the magic of nature’s wonder.
You will not run out of islands to visit in the Philippines. The majority of these islands are untouched by resorts' modernities, offering travelers their much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of life.
The Philippines is home to the most beautiful islands globally, including Boracay, Palawan, and Siargao. Boracay is home to the White Beach, a long stretch of powdery white sand where you can enjoy water activities aside from enjoying the sunset views.
Two towns in Palawan are always included in travelers' must-visit list: El Nido and Coron, both home to pristine islands with majestic towering limestone rock formations that you can visit with El Nido island hopping packages and Coron island-hopping trips.
On the other hand, Siargao is fast becoming a hub for surfers and beach lovers and features untouched islands that you can visit by joining a Siargao island-hopping adventure.
It’s the longest navigable underground river globally and is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The Puerto Princesa Underground River features an underground river cave system with impressive stalactites and stalagmites formations.
The Philippines is also home to the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, thousands of hills that look like giant chocolate Kisses (like the chocolate brand). Chocolate Hills actually resulted from coral deposits through rain and erosion.
If you want to see the mounds in their brown color, it is best to explore Chocolate Hills during the dry season of November to May. They turn green during the rainy season of June to October.
If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to live back when modernization hasn’t taken place in the Philippines yet, a trip to the Cordilleras in North Luzon will give you an idea. You will see the Rice Terraces of the Ifugao, an indigenous group of people living in the Cordillera mountains.
This spectacular mountain landscape with terrace after terrace of man-made rice fields date back to pre-colonial Philippines and is considered a repository of Philippine culture, tradition, and craftsmanship.
The waterfalls in the Philippines are also an enchanting sight. You can explore some of the Philippines' best waterfalls by joining tours to Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Pagsanjan Falls in Pangasinan, and Bomod-ok Falls in Sagada.
Filipinos sure know how to throw a street party, and they do it in colors and full costumes. Festivals in the Philippines are some of the most joyous, fun, and loud in Asia. Make sure to have your camera ready to snap the wildest smiles and happy faces.
Festivals (or fiestas) in the Philippines are either religious, historical, or cultural. Religious festivals honor Roman Catholic figures, historical festivals celebrate significant events, while cultural festivals celebrate a bountiful harvest or promote products.
One of the religious festivals includes Ati-Atihan Festival celebrated in Kalibo, Aklan, every January in honor of the Santo Niño (Child Jesus). Watch performers with extravagant costumes and celebrate with the locals as they anticipate the parade and go crazy over food stalls and a lot of street dancing.
Yet another much-awaited festival every January is the Sinulog Festival in Cebu, also in honor of the Santo Niño, which attracts millions of festival-goers.
The annual Grand Street Parade features street performers doing the Sinulog Dance while clad in colorful costumes. You'll be treated to a fireworks display and get to join street parties that will make you feel like you’re a part of one big community.
Filipinos’ love for merrymaking is also evident in the Panagbenga Festival, the pride of Baguio City. If you love flowers or gardening, this one is a must-see.
If there’s one thing to describe the Philippines that will set it apart from neighboring Asian countries, it’s being the melting pot of different cultures having been colonized by Spain, the US, and even Japan.
Not only that, the Philippines has deep ties to the Malays and the Chinese. This rich history and culture translate to one thing that remains to be a universal thing for all: food.
Because of the diversity of Philippine cuisine's influence, you might not find a single answer when you Google “national food of the Philippines.”
Despite having food that has either taken its roots from another culture or has been recreated to fit the Filipino taste, the Philippines has still successfully carved its own space in the gastronomic scene.
Some most notable Filipino foods include adobo, chicken or pork meat cooked in soy sauce and vinegar, and lechon or roasted whole pig, which the late Anthony Bourdain swore by as the best pig he has ever tried.
There's also balut (duck embryo), a Filipino street food perfect for those who like trying exotic dishes, and halo-halo, a famous summer staple with crushed ice, milk, and sweetened fruits.
Your trip to the Philippines won’t be complete without feasting on fresh (but really affordable!) seafood. If you can’t get enough fresh crabs, shrimps, and other tasty seafood dishes, do a food tour in Roxas City in Capiz, the Philippines' Seafood Capital.
Want to taste the sweetest mangoes? Add a Guimaras Island day exploration to your itinerary.
The Philippine diving spots offer an underwater experience like no other. In 2006, a team of marine conservationists declared the Philippines as the geographic center of marine biodiversity in the world. You will find that the Philippines is more than just its beaches and islands; it’s also a paradise for underwater life.
Palawan is home to Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which boasts more than half of all known corals. Here you will find yourself swimming with turtles, black and white-tip reef sharks, and manta rays, among others, and admiring the beautiful corals under the water.
Cebu prides itself on diving spots that are at par with the world’s best. You can visit Cebu's Moalboal, where you can do the sardine run experience and swim with millions of sardines.
Another worth checking out is the diving package in Anilao, Batangas, only hours away from Manila. It’s perfect for travelers who have limited time to explore diving spots in other islands or provinces.
The Philippines has a wide range of picturesque mountains and trails for hiking adventures that you can choose from, and they all come in different sizes. So whether you’re a beginner or a pro, hiking in the Philippines will be a great adventure for you.
Hiking in the Philippines might be tiring, but you will be rewarded with beautiful sceneries like a sea of clouds or majestic waterfalls.
Some of the must-try hiking tours to include are the Mount Pulag hike in North Luzon, Mount Pinatubo day hike in Tarlac with 4x4 trail ride, Mount Pico de Loro hiking tour in Batangas, and the highest in the country, Mount Apo in Davao.
There’s absolutely no reason for you to stay indoors and not enjoy these activities outside when in the Philippines. Even more perfect is if you get to share the thrill with your friends or newfound ones.
As a traveler, you’re also exposed to the realities of the world, seeing how much tourism can affect a place and its local community. Filipinos are becoming more aware of this impact too, with the rise of ecotourism in the country.
The Philippines is also home to the smallest primate in the world, the tarsier, that you can visit in tarsier conservation. These nocturnal creatures have distinct big eyes and can be found in Bohol.
Aside from the tarsiers, you will be surprised by Philippine animals' diversity: ranging from the wild, rare ones to the most adorable species.
Aside from the underwater creatures, you can encounter when diving in the Philippines, like the sardine run in Moalboal and thresher sharks in Malapascua, a once-in-a-lifetime experience is a trip Donsol in the Bicol region.
Another beautiful creature not to miss when visiting the Philippines is the majestic Philippine Eagle, its national bird.
It’s one of the largest and rarest eagles in the world that you can visit in Davao’s Philippine Eagle Center when you join a Davao City trip.
Once you arrive in the Philippines, you’ll notice colorful vehicles plying Manila's roads and other busy centers in the country. These are called jeepneys or jeep and are unique to the Philippines as one of the main local public transportation. The fare is quite cheap too.
Riding a jeepney is considered by many travelers as a must-do when in the Philippines because of the local and cultural immersion.
Jeepneys are usually painted in loud colors, with their route plastered in front of it. Take note of local words like “para” (stop) and “bayad po” (here’s my payment) if you’re riding a jeepney.
The Filipinos’ culture of being helpful is also reflected as they help one another transfer payment to the driver, especially if you’re seated right at the door of the jeep.
Another interesting transportation mode is the Philippines’ version of a motorized rickshaw, also known as the tricycle or trike. This is almost comparable to Thailand’s tuk-tuk, only it is a motorbike with a sidecar attached to it.
There’s another version of the tricycle with just a bicycle; the locals call it pedicab. These two vehicles are meant for shorter drives and are usually found in provinces with narrow roads and fewer jeepneys.
Make sure to take a photo of yourself as you experience these unique transport vehicles because no trip to the Philippines is complete without riding like a local. Some places in the Philippines are best explored through tricycle transport tours for a more rugged travel experience.
The best way to get to know one place is to understand its history, and the Philippines has its fair share of stories as it played many roles in the history of the world.
Learn about the Philippines’ historical and heritage tours and experiences from the precolonial period to the Spanish, American, and Japanese occupation to find out about the events that shaped the country into what it is today.
The Walled City, Intramuros, is a gem situated right at the heart of the Philippines' capital — Manila. It was built starting in 1521 and was the seat of power in the Philippines during the Spanish era.
As you walk around Intramuros, you will see the proof of Filipino resilience embedded in each ruin.
Ride around Intramuros on a bamboo bike ride with a guide or a horse-drawn carriage tour, and you will find some of the best repositories of the past, including two of the oldest churches in the Philippines: San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral.
One of the best Intramuros escapades is a trip to Fort Santiago in Manila, a magnificent Hispanic stone fortress that houses museums.
Another must-see is the Rizal Shrine, which pays tribute to the Philippines’ national hero from the Spanish era, Jose Rizal.
Nearby is the oldest Chinatown in the world, Binondo, where you can do a Binondo day trip and feast on tasty Chinese dishes.
Another must-try for history buffs is a tour of Corregidor Island, where you will find ruined buildings and tunnels, all reflections of the past, including the tragic Bataan Death March during the American-Japanese War.
Dig deeper into Philippine history and go beyond the colonial era, the Tabon Cave exploration in Palawan is a must-do. It’s known as the Cradle of Philippine Civilization because of the significant archaeological artifacts found here.
As one of the happiest people globally, Filipinos know how to throw the best parties, be it in the city or the pristine white sand beaches and islands.
Want a beach party under the stars? Head over to the island of Boracay, where you can do a pub crawl. Do you like partying while overlooking the city scrapers? Check out the bars in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig.
Are you more into hip speakeasies and laid back bars? There’s Poblacion, Makati’s strip of nightclubs and bars. Whether you like your parties loud or low key, Filipinos sure know how to do it.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try local beers in the Philippines. It’s cheap and is regarded by foreign travelers as one of the best in the world. Another famous party activity in the Philippines is karaoke, where you belt out your favorite songs on the streets or in a private room.
Discover for Yourself Why It’s More Fun in the Philippines
The Philippines as a travel destination isn’t just about its beautiful beaches and islands. It marries everything a traveler is looking for: culture, history, natural landscape, and most importantly, people. You will not run out of things to do, and you will not get tired of exploring something new.
Wherever you go, no matter how long you’ve got, the Philippines has a lot to offer, and you won’t even have to spend that much. As long as you know where to go and how to live like a local, it will feel like home.
Don’t think twice about whether it’s worth booking a trip to the Philippines: it surely is, and you will most likely find yourself looking forward to your next trip here again.