01 Sight seeing
The Philippines offers a lot of different cultural, historical and natural sites. Some of which are:
- Banaue Rice Terraces which are a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Baroque style churches from different provinces including the San Agustin Church in Intramuros.
- The historical town of Vigan where cobblestone streets and horse drawn carriages are popular and the Spanish style of architecture is well preserved.
- Natural sites like Taal Volcano in Batangas, which is the smallest active volcano in the world, and Mayon Volcano in Legaspi, which is famous for its perfect cone-shape structure.
- The Chocolate Hills in Bohol which are known for their unique land formations.
- Different endemic Philippine fauna like the Tamaraw, Tarsier and Philippine Eagle.
02 Beach Holidays
The Philippines is made up of 7107 islands and is one of the longest coastlines in Asia, 36,289 kilometres long. It is a country where no one is more than 2 hours away from a beach. It has numerous beaches, most of which have fine sand and have clean, clear blue waters. Being a tropical country, you will surely enjoy basking in the sun and getting a perfect tan. Different activities are available in most resorts to ensure that your stay will be enjoyable and fun. Some of the best beach destinations are Boracay Island in Aklan, El NIdo in Palawan, Camiguin Island, Pagudpud Ilocos Norte, Puerto Galera in Mindoro.
The Philippines is Asia’s Diving Capital. It has the highest density of coral species in the world. The Philippine seas are some of the most bio-diverse and marine-rich waters in the world and have diverse species of aquatic resources.
The most popular diving spots are:
- Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park. This is a UNESCO world heritage site. It has a very high density of marine species surpassing any reef of the same size in the world.
- Verde Island in the Mindoro Oriental
- Apo Reef National Park in the Mindoro Occidental. This is the largest atoll-like reef in the Philippines which includes species of fish and corals which are featured in the SHEDD Aquarium permanent Philippine reef display in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
- Apo Island Marine Reserve and Fish Sanctuary in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
- Balicasag and Pamilacan Islands in Bohol
- Malapascua and Moalboal/Pescador Islands in Cebu
04 Outdoor Sports or activities
The Philippines offers a variety of sports activities in different locations.
- Golf: a very popular sport and there are over 50 golf courses in the Philippines, a number of which were designed by some of the most famous golf celebrities in the world.
- Snorkelling and interacting with different underwater species: you can even meet whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon, and swim with them.
- Surfing in Baler, La Union, Zambales, or enjoy watching professionals surf at Siargao because of the big, strong waves which batter the coastline here.
- Trek Mt Pinatubo or climb Mt. Apo, the Philippine’s highest peak, at 9689 feet
- Windsurf in Lake Caliraya or in Taal Lake
- Kitesurf in Boracay
- Wakeboard in Pili, Camarines Sur
05 Spa treatments
Get pampered in a spa, wellness centres or detox retreats and experience their relaxing treatments. There are so many to choose from. You can select them from a list of centres that cater to all kinds of budgets, from affordable to the most luxurious.
06 Local Specialty Food
One of the highlights of travelling is trying the local food. The Philippine cuisine is as exotic and as exciting as its people. Here are some of the best dishes to try:
Marinated pork or chicken in vinegar and soy sauce. There are various versions around the country.
A popular tamarind, calamansi, guava or green mango based soup.
Diced pork ears and cheeks served on a sizzling plate. Best served with ice-cold beer.
- Kare kare
Stewed oxtail, beef or tripe and vegetables in peanut sauce.
- Halo halo
A mix of different sweet beans and fruits combined with shaved ice and milk.
Split-roast pig with liver sauce.
For the more adventurous, try:
Boiled duck eggs with partially formed embryo
Pork blood stew
Read more about Filipino food: Top 10 local foods you must try in Philippines.
Shopping in the Philippines has so much diversity. It has everything from farmers’ markets and street markets to the third largest mall in the world. In major cities like Manila, Makati, Cebu and Davao, most malls offer diversity of products from designer brands to the native handicrafts. You will find pretty much everything you need. Around the country, flea markets abound offering quality items at bargain prices.
Every major city in the Philippines has an active nightlife district with restaurants, cafes, bars, clubs and karaoke bars all, promising a good night out and lots of fun. In Manila, the country’s capital and Makati, the country’s financial district, there are a wide range of nightlife events to choose from. Areas like Timog and Tomas Morato in Quezon City, and Eastwood in Libis are also teeming with clubs, restaurants and bars. This is where the locals go and as most clubs are so close to each other, it is common to bar hop. The island of Cebu is a popular destination for most tourists because its nightlife is at a par if not better than the one in the metropolitan area in Manila. The ultimate place for partying on the islands is in Boracay. It is known for its carefree attitude and is home to a lot of beach clubs and bars.
09 Philippine Cultures
The Philippine culture is best experienced when attending the many events and festivities which are regularly held around the country. The biggest festival is the Ati-Atihan festivals in the town of Kalibo in Aklan in January. Groups of dancers dressed in aboriginal Atis participate in this weeklong street party to commemorate and highlight the history of their patron saint, St Nino. The festival of Pahiyas in Quezon, on the 15th May, is where you will witness a colourful display of offerings hung on houses to celebrate the annual harvest, and where you can watch a procession to commentate the feats of their patron saint, San Isidro Labrador. Masskara Festival in Bacolod City is celebrated in October. During this festival, costumed and masked street dancers parade with giant papier-mâché effigies, Mardi Gras style. There are many small festivals in other towns where you can celebrate with the Filipino people.
Another unique Philippine cultural event is the Santacruzan. It’s a Maytime procession of beautiful Philippine maidens re-enacting St Helen’s quest for the Holy Cross. Filipino religiosity is also displayed in the Black Nazarene procession held in January in Manila, and the Holy Easter Week rituals in San Fernando Pampanga. During the month of December, you will witness displays of Christmas lanterns, experience dawn masses and traditional feasts, like La Noche Buena, that mark the Filipinos’ way of celebrating Christmas.
10 Cultural Show
Experience show performances by a number of Filipino artists. From time to time, world-renowned artists, such as Lea Salonga and Cecile Licad, perform at the major concert halls in Manila. The Cultural Centre of the Philippines occasionally stages performances by the Philippine National Ballet, the Madrigal Singers and the Bayanihan Dance troupe. The Centre of Arts in San Antonio in Zambales often features performances by the violinist Alfonso Bolipata and his Pundaquit Virtuosi. Colleges and Universities in the Philippines are home to award-winning performance groups that have been internationally recognised for their artistry and excellence in the performing arts.
All around the country, in simple stages, live bands and professional singers perform in clubs and music halls showcasing Filipino talent in entertaining.
Top 10 things to do in the Philippines
- Banaue (Ifugao Rice Terraces)
- Top 10 places to visit in the Philippines