Discover the ultimate getaway to a paradise-like destination in the Philippines. In the Philippines, you can lounge in idyllic beaches and islands, experience fun outdoor activities with stunning sights, taste flavorful local cuisine, and join vibrant festivals. Read on and find out why you need to add the Philippines to your travel bucket list.
Escape to the Philippines, an archipelagic country found in Southeast Asia, that is made up of more than 7,000 islands with pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. Philippine islands and beaches like Boracay, Palawan, and Siargao have been consistently named as the best in the world.
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 official tourism slogan of the country 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:
If you’re craving for the rays of the sun to kiss your skin, the Philippines is your dream paradise. 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. During the rainy months, it’s still sunny and warm so tours in the Philippines are still ongoing with cancellations only necessary when there’s a typhoon.
The warmest months are during the summer season in the Philippines, covering the months of March, April, and May. Island and beach destinations in the Philippines such as Boracay, Palawan, and Cebu are best enjoyed during the summer season.
Aside from the picturesque spots in the Philippines, the warmth and hospitality of the Filipinos is a reason itself for you to visit the country. It continuously tops surveys on friendliness and was even considered 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 also 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 out.
Communicating is not a problem too. The majority of Filipinos speak and understand the English language, making it a truly convenient place for foreign visitors.
You need not worry about getting lost and asking questions on the road because Filipinos will guide you. You will most likely gain a lot of Filipino friends during your trip and they may just be the reason for you to come back.
Filipinos are very hospitable too. They have strong family ties as part 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 and may even serve you a feast of home-cooked Filipino food.
This reason alone will make you feel like the Philippines is your home away from home. Check out this video by the country’s Department of Tourism that showcases the warmth of the Filipino:
Cost is one of the major considerations of a traveler. Good thing, the cost of living and travel expenses in the Philippines is affordable. There are plenty of day tours that are just around PHP1000 (USD20).
You will find that there’s a lot of accommodation options for you in the Philippines as well: from hostels to cheap bed and breakfast accommodation that are both perfect for backpackers.
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 the 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 you can divide the costs.
As a budget-friendly destination, you can spend at least two weeks in the Philippines to explore a good bunch of islands or beaches and land attractions without having to spend that much.
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 and crystal clear blue waters, 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 the modernities of resorts, offering travelers their much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of life.
The Philippines is home to the most beautiful islands in the world including Boracay, Palawan, and Siargao. Boracay is home to the White Beach that is 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.
Siargao, on the other hand, is fast becoming a hub for surfers and beach lovers alike and also features untouched islands that you can visit by joining a Siargao island-hopping adventure.
It’s the longest navigable underground river in the world 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. Chocolate Hills actually resulted from coral deposits through rain and erosion.
If you want to see the mounds in its 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. There 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 best waterfalls in the Philippines by joining tours to Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Pagsanjan Falls in Pangasinan, and Bomod-ok Falls in Sagada.
Other natural wonders in the Philippines include the Taal Volcano in Batangas, the smallest active volcano in the world; and Mayon Volcano in Legazpi, which has the world’s most perfect cone.
Filipinos sure do know how to throw a street party, and they do it in colors and full costumes. Festivals in the Philippines are one 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 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.
Panagbenga Festival is an annual flower festival celebrated every February featuring life-sized floats that come in all shapes and sizes, all made with real flowers!
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 the influence in Philippine cuisine, you might not find a single answer when you Google “national food of the Philippines”.
Despite having food that have either taken its roots from another culture or have 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; lechon or roasted whole pig which the late Anthony Bourdain swore by and is best tried first in Cebu.
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 of fresh crabs, shrimps, and other tasty seafood dishes, do a food tour in Roxas City in Capiz, the Seafood Capital of the Philippines.
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. Dive and be in awe of the country’s rich marine biodiversity. 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 of almost half of the world’s coral. 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 renowned diving spot in Cebu is Malapascua, where thresher sharks are more commonly seen. Other species you’re sure to see are lionfish, batfish, tunas, and many more.
Another worth checking out is the diving package in Anilao, Batangas, only hours away from Manila. It’s perfect for travelers who have a 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 Philppines might be tiring but you will be rewarded with beautiful sceneries like 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.
Wherever you are in the country, there is surely at least one mountain to hike.
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 their livelihood. Filipinos are becoming more aware of this impact too with the rise of ecotourism in the country.
If you’re an advocate of ecotourism, the Philippines offers experiences tailored fit just for you. There are eco-friendly tours you can avail of in places like Batanes, Bohol, Palawan, Camiguin, and Cebu.
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 the diversity of Philippine animals: ranging from the wild, rare ones to the most adorable species.
Aside from the underwater creatures that 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 to Donsol in the Bicol region.
It’s one of the migratory routes of whale sharks, locally known as butandings, where you can see and swim with them at a safe and unstressful distance for the giant gentle creatures.
Another beautiful creature not to miss when visiting in the Philippines is the majestic Philippine Eagle, the national bird of the country. 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 the roads of Manila 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 its 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 mode of transportation is the Philippines’ version of a rickshaw, also known as the tricycle or trike. This is almost comparable to Thailand’s tuktuk, 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 less 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 explore with 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’ with 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.
Stroll 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 with remnants of the past.
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 in the world, Filipinos know how to throw the best parties, be it in the city or in 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 pubcrawl. 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 beer 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 whether on the streets or in a private room.
Regardless, rest assured that Filipinos, whose majority of are really amazing singers, will not judge you if your tune is off!
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 to book a trip to the Philippines: it surely is and you will most likely find yourself looking forward to your next trip here again.