Philippines: Your Next Fun Island Destination
By Tourism Promotions Board Philippines
Spread across 7,641 islands, big and small, the Philippines is more than just the thrill of Manila for big city excitement, or winding down in Boracay for a taste of idyllic island life.
The unique geography of the Philippines presents itineraries that include activities like canyoneering, diving, island hopping, surfing, or simply marvelling at wondrous natural sights.
For those looking for arts, culture, gastronomy and historical experiences, the blend of Filipino and Spanish Catholic traditions and American and other Asian influences is a showcase like no other.
Make sure to include these activities in your next trip once borders reopen and find out why Its More Fun in the Philippines!
01. Pump Up Your Adrenaline in Cebu
The island of Cebu is known for its historical sites, luxury resorts and vibrant nightlife. But not many may know that the southern part of this urban destination is where adrenaline junkies go for a heady rush.
Adventure seekers can take a leap from small waterfalls, navigate river rapids and free float through river canyons.
For a safe and enjoyable canyoneering experience, book a tour and explore with licensed guides. The guides know where to jump, land, step, what areas are safe and help you hold on in the water.
Don’t forget to bring a dry bag and wear covered shoes with good grip for climbing on slippery rocks. Cebu’s location in Central Philippines is ideal as it provides connectivity between Luzon and Mindanao, and serves as an alternative gateway to the Philippines.
02. Cool and Artsy Baguio
For cooler weather, head to Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines, where temperatures range from 15°C to 23°C and rarely exceed 26°C.
The welcoming weather makes it ideal to spend time visiting Baguio’s varied museums and art galleries.
Visitors can view the permanent and private collection of Philippine national artist Benedicto
Cabrera at the eponymous BenCab Museum. Museo Kordilyera, located in the University of the Philippines Baguio campus, is the first ethnographic museum in the Northern Philippines and houses artifacts unique to the Cordillera region.
Baguio Museum presents the cultural history of Baguio City, while Aguinaldo Museum, inspired by revolutionary hero Emilio Aguinaldo, features other heroes who contributed to the country’s independence.
Bell House, named after Major Gen. James Franklin Bell, showcases American colonial architecture. The building, part of Camp John Hay, has been perfectly preserved and is now a museum. Bell, a former commanding general of the Armed Forces in the Philippines transformed the camp into a military resort.
03. Explore South Cotabato’s Rich Culture
Lake Sebu in Cotabato is the ancestral dwelling of the T’boli and Ubo tribes.
The lake and its surroundings are now being promoted as one of the prime ecotourism destinations in Mindanao.
Consisting of the expansive Allah Valley, the area is recognised as a cultural landscape by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Apart from Lake Sebu, the valley is also known for its natural environment and attractions which include Lake Holon, Baras Bird Sanctuary and Esperanza Hot and Cold Springs.
Lake Sebu has also been identified as one of the priority sites under the ASEAN sub-regional tourism growth cluster.
04. New Tastes on Pampanga Gastronomic Journey
Northwest of Manila in Central Luzon is Pampanga, regarded as the country’s culinary capital, and famed for its exotic Kapampangan cuisine.
Foodies will be able to sample Spanish-inspired dishes and the more unusual like farm-raised stuffed frog, water buffalo stew, cricket adobo braised with tomato and vinegar, sour guava soup and lechon, or pork, prepared five ways.
Considered a Filipino heirloom cookie, St Nicolas Cookies, or Sanikulas cookies as the locals call them, are not to be missed.
These special cookies, made with simple ingredients, can be traced back to Italy’s San Nicolas de Tolentino, who lived some time in the 13th Century. He was the patron saint of bakers, the sick, children, the souls in purgatory and of calamity.
05. Take a Walk in Historic Manila
Intramuros, which means “within the walls”, is the historic core of the Philippine capital, and the oldest part of the city is encircled with massive thick high stone walls and moat.
Old-world Intramuros with its Spanish-era landmarks like Fort Santiago, featuring a large stone gate and a shrine to national hero José Rizal, takes visitors back in time.
Attractions also include the ornate Manila Cathedral which houses bronze carvings and stained glass windows, while religious artwork and statues are on display at the San Agustin Church Museum.
Better yet, go on a Bambike tour cycling around on a one-of-a-kind bicycle made of natural bamboo. Craftsmen known as Bambuilders, who make them by hand, can take up to four months or more to produce one bicycle.
06. Relaxing In Boracay
Famed for its white sand beaches, stunning sunsets and nightlife choices, award-winning Boracay gives visitors a taste of island life.
Once they arrive, they can slow down, take a break from the daily hustle and bustle and recharge.
It is easy to enjoy a relaxing time in some of the best hotels in the Philippines. Try exciting watersports with energy fully charged and wind down in a host of bars and restaurants before calling it a night.
Families and groups can enjoy varied day excursions and shopping trips, while couples can spend time alone exploring uninhabited coves on island hopping tours.
Boracay offers visitors the option to do nothing one day and be out and about the next, trekking in Mount Luho, the island’s highest peak, going on a helicopter tour or visiting a shooting range.
07. Surf and Ride the Waves
Three places stand out when it comes to riding the waves in the Philippines—Siargao, La Union and Baler.
Once a well-kept secret, Siargao island in Surigao del Norte province—north-east of Mindanao, 800km south-east of Manila—is the surfing capital of the Philippines.
Siargao is sought-after for its world-class waves, white sand islets, turquoise tide pools and hidden lagoons.
For an easy-wave experience, head to La Union known for its consistent intermediate quality surf. The surfing seasons are July to October and November to March.
And surfing in Baler, the capital of Aurora province, is year-round. The surf in Cemento Beach is said to be powerful and Charlie’s Point and Lindy’s Point are also popular.
08. Bohol’s Sightseeing Wonder
The unique and majestic Chocolate Hills in Bohol are one of the most visited destinations in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines.
So called because the grass-covered hills turn chocolate brown during the dry season, the area which covers the towns of Carmen, Sagbayan, Bilar, Sierra Bullones and Valencia, transform into seemingly endless rows of Hershey’s “chocolate kisses”.
It is estimated that the island of Bohol is home to up to 1,800 of them.
At the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park, an ecotourism attraction and a 75-minute drive from Tagbilaran City, visitors can try a number of Zipline activities, drive an ATV or all terrain vehicle, go mountain biking or horseback riding, explore nature and camp outdoors.
09. Island Hopping in Palawan
Made up of 1,780 islands, the 90-minute flight from Manila to the capital Puerto Princesa, takes visitors to the centre of this ecotourism paradise.
Traditional outrigger boats, called banca, take visitors from island to island in nearby Honda Bay for snorkelling, swimming and spotting marine life.
Those planning to visit the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park—a UNESCO World Heritage site voted one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature—must have a permit.
It is best to book a guided tour, which includes a permit, to glide through the park’s cathedral-like caverns on one of the world’s longest navigable underground rivers.
Island hoppers can also choose to fly into Coron, explore Busuanga and sail towards the karst limestone formations of El Nido, or reverse the journey.
A tailor-made onboarding itinerary can include stops to meet island communities, shop at a lobster farm for tonight’s dinner, or picnic on deserted islands.
10. Scuba Diving in Anilao
The Philippines offers some of the best scuba diving experiences with its pristine coral reefs, lush coral gardens, huge schools of fish, rare sea creatures, manta rays and even whale sharks.
Among the country’s top dive destinations is Anilao, in Batangas province, about a three-hour
drive south of Manila.
Divers and underwater photography enthusiasts are drawn to Anilao for its incredible diversity and its alluring beachfront resorts.
For more information, visit:
www.philippines.travel and www.tpb.gov.ph
Tel: (+63) 84042641 / (+63) 85259318