The Philippines, with its 7,641 islands of unmatched pristine beaches, rugged terrain, and booming urban jungles, is undeniably one of the world’s top tourist attractions. Add in its rich, captivating culture and hospitable people, then you have a destination like no other.
Most will agree that embracing the country’s offerings is best when shared. But sometimes, the most amazing moments unravel while traveling alone. The Philippines is no exception. One can easily get lost in the beautiful chaos of its cities or the laid back atmosphere of its provinces.
Planning to make a quick escape? Here’s a rundown of the coolest local destinations for the weekend solo traveler:
1. Metro Manila
The country’s beating heart, where almost everything can be found and can be done. From historical and cultural hubs to progressive business and commercial centers, world-famous restaurants and local eateries, there’s something for everyone. Here are some activities a solo traveler can indulge on the Manila:
- Museum-hopping — after visiting our historical museums, take your senses to new heights at the more interactive Mind Museum, The Dessert Museum, Art in Island, and Virtual PH. These places are perfect for curious and playful minds looking for picturesque, yet engaging and informative venues.
- Bambike Intramuros Tour — the trip takes adventure-seekers and culture vultures around Intramuros, aboard handmade bamboo bikes by local artisans. Discover interesting facts during the Spanish colonial period, visit Fort Santiago and other heritage sites, or check out the sunset at the Bayleaf Hotel Skydeck. Sunset and night tours are available.
- Binondo Food Trip — whether a foodie or not, getting immersed in the delicious Filipino-Chinese culture, the gastronomical way, is a win. More so when it’s held in the oldest Chinatown in the world—Binondo. Sample some of the best dishes whipped-up by the most sought-after restaurants while taking in the bustling energy of the community.
- Feel like royalty in Bonifacio Global City — perhaps the only central business district to rival Makati, BGC is a tourist-friendly melting pot of high-end shopping boutiques. Cop the latest fashion pieces from local and global brands, while indulging on top-shelf libations and grub from the finest culinary establishments around.
- Explore Poblacion —right smack in the middle of Makati City is this backpacker’s haven. Once a sleepy neighborhood-turned-creative hotspot, Poblacion is a walkable area where creative minds’ ventures on food and beverage, arts and culture, have manifested. Meet the friendly, trendy, and happy-go-lucky people who often the area and spark connections over experimental dishes and world-class cocktails.
Read 15 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Taguig
Closed for a few months for rehabilitation, the world-famous Boracay Island is more vibrant and cleaner than ever. The usual favorites remain as staples—sun-bathing, wading in the crystal clear waters, inflatable rides, and parasailing. But to be able to appreciate this gem’s beauty, one should also take on its other exciting, usually-overlooked activities.
- Helmet-diving — wearing a glass helmet underwater, tourists get to meet unique species of colorful fish and corals up close. First-timers need not worry because PADI-certified dive instructors are there to guide them all throughout the experience. Photo opportunities can be availed.
- Paddle-boarding — paddle-boarding is a fun balancing activity recommended for those looking to enjoy Boracay’s stunning views in a different perspective. A 30-minute session is a minimum, plus a certified instructor will be on watch.
- Cliff-diving — take the plunge at Ariel’s Point, one of the world’s top cliff-diving sites. Enjoy the adrenaline rush and the calming feeling after a swim in the crystal blue waters at Ariel’s Point. Kayaking, snorkeling, and other activities are also available, plus a free transport service from Stations 1-3.
- Pub-crawling — if you’re literally thirsty, just want to have an amazing night, and need liquid courage to socialize amongst hundreds, then this one’s for you. Get access and discounts to the island’s most popular bars and clubs, and go all out to parties by the beach.
- Head to Tibiao, Antique — this one-day tour is all about free-spirited adventure and Instagram-able locations. Get into the cool waters of Bugtong Bato River, checkout the nearest waterfall, and go tubing in the rapids. Before the day ends, soak yourself in a hot bath basin called, “kawa”.
Read 15 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Boracay
There can never be enough amazing words to describe how perpetually majestic Palawan is. Whether it’s Puerto Princesa, Coron, or El Nido, one just has to experience this one of a kind island to be able to realize its true beauty.
- Honda Bay island hopping — first things first, there’s a pickup and drop-off service when you decide to explore the porcelain beaches of Honda Bay. A part of this treat is visiting the nearby, equally-captivating islands of Cowrie, Luli, and Pambati. Underwater activities, such as swimming and snorkeling, can be done to better appreciate the diverse marine life.
- Underground River tour — this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a part of the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” and is a must-do when in Puerto Princesa. Discover its many wonders by navigating through its cave systems home to limestones and old-growth forests. Learn more about endemic wildlife care of a guided tour conducted in different languages.
- Watch thousands of fireflies — this tour takes participants to see these glowing insects within the lush mangroves of Iwahig. It’s ideal for travelers looking for a relaxed activity as it comes with a sumptuous meal before the river cruise. A transport service to and from the location can be availed.
- El Nido island tour — it’s all about hopping to the best beaches of the Philippines when aboard this tour. Get your fill of the towering cliffs on Helicopter Island and the religious sculptures on Matinloc Island. Check out also the Secret Beach, which allegedly inspired the movie, “The Beach”.
- Coron island tour — a UNESCO-recognized area, Coron’s natural wonders is larger than life. One can swim in the country’s cleanest lake, Kayangan, capture the splendor of the Blue Lagoon, or explore Coral Garden’s rich biodiversity. A transport service is available.
Read Fun-filled 4-day Puerto Princesa Itinerary for Families
Cebu is the conduit between Luzon and Mindanao, and is where the Spaniards first anchored. Its geographical qualities contain the best of both worlds—a well-featured landscape surrounded by serene shores.
- City and island tour — explore the fast-paced and energetic social and food scenes of Cebu. Head to popular tourist spots, such as the Temple of Leah, Magellan’s Cross, and Mactan Shrine, among others. Visit some famous diving spots, splash around Aguinid Falls, and get soaked in Sumilon Island.
- A day in Balamban Mountain — get engrossed over Cebu’s “mini Amsterdam” at the Sirao Garden, where Celosia flowers bloom in different vibrant colors. Enjoy zip lining, wall climbing, and other outdoor activities at the Adventure Café, while taking in the scenic views of Cebu City, Mactan, and Olango at TOPS of Cebu.
- Whale Shark watching in Oslob — swim with these gentle sea giants and feel the adrenaline rush as you revel in their beauty and splendor. Afterwards, go canyoneering in Badian and chillout in Tumalog Falls. Just a word of advice, be sure to be physically fit, most especially when you’re traveling alone.
- Pescador island hopping — Cebu City’s world-class dive site boasts of colorful living corals and a booming marine life. Snorkel and be one with the fish as you feed them in the island’s marine sanctuary. You may also pit your skills against some of the ocean’s fastest swimmers in the Sardine Run. Or get the chance to have a close encounter with sea turtles in Talisay Point.
- Lechon overload — when in Cebu, it’s a mortal sin to not get a dose of its famous lechon. Some of the favorites to have your fill in is at Rico’s and Se Ben’s, or wherever it’s sold! Take the word of the late great chef Anthony Bourdain that it’s “the best pig ever!”
Read The Ultimate Cebu Adventure Junkie Checklist
Bohol is probably one of the most underrated, best kept secrets of the country. Think unbelievable beaches, a good variety of terrain, historical landmarks, and endemic species. It’s famous for its Chocolate Hills and tarsier, but there’s so much more a solo traveler can appreciate.
- Discover the countryside — for a day, get stunned by the magic of the cone-shaped Chocolate hills. Go all mushy and meet the world’s smallest primates at the Tarsier Sanctuary. Lastly, enjoy a tasty local buffet aboard the Loboc River cruise.
- Loboc adventure — prepare your nerves as you go through Loboc’s famous zipline and cable car rides. Brace yourself during the declining cable option. This activity provides a free pickup transfer from any hotel within the Panglao area.
- Day trip in Panglao — consists of a day trip across Bohol’s most precious islands—Balicasag and Virgin. Here, snorkeling, turtle-spotting, and fish feeding at the Balicasag Island Marine Sanctuary are the primary measures of fun. One can also opt to get picked up at an earlier time to experience dolphin watching.
- River cruise — this provides an opportunity to better appreciate the surrounding flora and fauna of Loboc River. Ready your cameras for a totally movie-like visual spectacle aboard the boat. The ride begins in Carmen and flows into the Bohol Sea.
- Parasailing — from the sea to the land, it’s time to conquer the skies through parasailing. Get that perfect panoramic view of the island as you glide through the skies.
Read 15 Fun & Unique Things to Do in Bohol
Also known as the “Island Born of Fire,” Camiguin is a low-key destination that provides maximum travel satisfaction. The province is often associated to its main agricultural product, lanzones. Today, it has a reputation of taking people’s breaths away, because of its raw beauty and cool, enjoyable vibe. Solo travelers can expect this place to be, ironically, chill but extremely impactful.
- White Island chilling — the sandbar and breathtaking sunset views are insatiable. Be sure to bring the goods when heading to this place, because you’ll probably want to stick around.
- Soak in hot springs — Camiguin has way too many volcanoes which, consequently, have provided a network of hot springs that relaxes anyone.
- Fly above the island — if you’re looking for a different adventure and has some money to spend, take the Camiguin Aviation Sightseeing and Acro-Adventure Flights. This comes with a high-octane view of the island aboard a plane which you can co-pilot! If this doesn’t excite the adventure seeker within, then you should still go for it.
- Experience a clam-or — excuse the pun, but The Giant Clam Sanctuary let’s one get up close and personal with these larger-than-life shell fishes. The place also provide visitors information on these sea creatures’ ecological impact to marine life. Pay a visit, most especially if you’re an environmental advocate.
- Underwater cemetery — the San Roque Church is a National Cultural Treasure, as proclaimed by the National Museum of the Philippines. Despite its grim background and sinking after a volcanic eruption, the graveyard remains a popular tourist site. Feeling brave? Head on over, solo traveler!
The home of gentle folks, a rising creative hub, and the gateway to Siquijor, Dumaguete is ideal for a slow, relaxed vacation. Time spent here involves a lot of biking around the premises and visiting other nearby destinations.
- Silvanas — first thing’s first, you have to taste its famous silvanas to know that theirs is arguably the best ever. Follow it up with some of the other local favorites.
- City tour — via pedicab or bicycle, going around Dumaguete is but a short yet exciting task. Feel free to stop by Siliman University and see one of the best schools in town and in the country.
- Apo Island — with its well-preserved rich marine life, Apo Island is ideal when it comes to swimming with sea animals.
- Siquijor — take advantage of the proximity of one of the smallest yet most beautiful islands in the country. Infamous for its mystical local legends, tourists come for its virgin beaches and lucky charms.
- Roxas Boulevard — reminiscent of Roxas Boulevard, Rizal Boulevard is best for walking and soul searching. It offers romantic views of the sea and palm trees lining its spacious sidewalks.
Read 10 Best Things to Do in Dumaguete
This province in Panay possess agricultural, geographical, and cultural prowess. Apart from its kind-hearted people, Iloilo is famous for its food, beaches, access, and aggressive urban development. Solo travelers can automatically appreciate and explore the many offerings of this simple but inspiring province.
- Eat your way around the city — take a bite of the original La Paz Batchoy at Netong’s. Get you some Oysters and Sinugba (grilled food) at every turn. Bring home barquillos, and other delicacies from Biscocho House. Indeed, Iloilo’s culture is always best appreciated through the way of the stomach.
- Guimaras — just a few minutes from the city via boat ride, Guimaras is famous for its juicy mangoes and beachside calm.
- Gigantes — one of the more popular island destinations off the coast of Carles in Iloilo. The place does not only boast a post-worthy atmosphere, but also opportunities for other water activities.
- Concepcion — Concepcion provides crystal clear water and long stretches of sandbars. Going to this place alone can be relaxing, most especially when one needs an escape.
- Sicogon — previously an untapped strip of beach, Sicogon now hosts new establishments complementing the secluded vibe this island projects. For soul-searching travelers, this could be a perfect destination.
Read 13 Awesome Things to Do in Iloilo for First-Timers
Batanes is a magical place that doesn’t seem to be a part of the Philippines. Some say it resembles a little bit of Scotland, due to its stone houses upon rolling hills. Regardless of any comparison, this destination is straight out of a fantasy book.
- Vayang rolling hills — trek and pace yourself across this “Middle Earth-esque” location and just enjoy the view, the cold winds, and the isolation.
- San Carlos Borromeo Church — pay this national cultural heritage treasure a visit and take some time to reflect.
- Fundacion Pacita Nature Lodge — probably the nicest place you’ll ever stay in when in Batanes. This establishment provides you a home away from home that lets every guest be one with nature.
- Dipnaysupuan Japanese Tunnel — a little bit of history won’t hurt. Discover this network of interconnected tunnels that once served as the Japanese Imperial Forces’ shelter back in WW2.
- Marlboro Country — or Racuh a Payaman is a surreal patch of land that is breathtaking as it is simple. Pay this a visit and appreciate the simplicity it brings to the soul.
Read Top 8 Fun Things to Do in Batanes
10. Ilocos Norte
Old Spanish houses, empanada, pinakbet, and a whole lot more. This province is often overlooked due to its location. Now, accessible by plane, it could be time for Ilocos to live up to its potential and timeless allure.
- Vigan — walk around (or ride the horse-pulled carriage) this old city that houses traditional and modern establishments, Spanish era style. Take unlimited photos and purchase a handful or souvenirs shops around the area. This is perfect for people who love to stroll around vicinities that seem as if it still belongs to an old period in time.
- Paoay Church — one of the oldest churches in the country, Paoay’s regal structure can be overwhelming to tourists. However, its architectural aesthetics and endurance is something worth visiting.
- Paoay Sand Dunes — riding aboard 4×4 trucks traversing the bumpy sand terrain of this area is a must-experience. This is a surefire exciting travel hotspot that also provides sand surfing activities in-between rides.
- Bangui Windmills — an architectural and engineering marvel, these massive windmills by the beach produce natural, sustainable energy for the community. They also remind people that such structures can prove to be IG-worthy.
- Pagudpud — at the very end of the Ilocos region is Pagudpud, a stretch of beach fit for both relaxation and casual fun. This seemingly isolated place has a zipline that starts from a hill and goes down the beach area. Better not fall in the water!
Read Top Things to Do in Ilocos Norte
Unknown to many, the Philippines’ surfing mecca has other exciting activities in-store for travelers. It features a network of nearby islands, bodies of water that serve as homes for its diverse marine life, and a charming community.
- Tri-island tour — the islands of Daku, Guyam, and Naked are the usual suspects for bringing fun and excitement to island-hopping visitors of Siargao. There’s plenty of time to swim, snorkel, skim board, or play beach volleyball. But when it’s time to eat fresh seafood (boodle-style), everything has to be dropped. Return to General Luna in the late afternoon with a nice tan and ready for more!
- Cloud 9 — the waves here are world class. Even for non-surfer dudes, the intensity and beauty of this surf spot is undeniable. Make sure to get stoked here, before asking your local surf buddies where the other hidden places are.
- Sugba Lagoon — pass through a long stretch of mangrove forests and you’ll arrive in an other-worldly place. Here, you can dine, jump from a platform, and swim with fresh water fish. This place is truly IG-worthy, and even if it gets packed, it’s always worth a visit.
- Magpupungko Rock Formations — witness the glory of this beach during low tide. But careful on hidden holes as you traverse over this wonder, which contain pools that seem as if they’re bottomless.
- Sohoton Cove — a little further away from the usual island destinations is a sanctuary for a few species of jellyfish. It’s perfectly safe to swim with them, but be careful not to put sunblock on. These sea creatures are extremely sensitive to sunblock chemicals. Lagoons, rivers, and other bodies of water make this place even more worth it to visit.
Read Siargao on a Budget: Three Nights Stay For Less Than P10,000
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