In the Philippines, you’ll never run out of places to see and experience. All you have to do is point to a map and start exploring. Now if you still can’t decide where to go, here are a few suggestions to give you a head start in your 2017 travel goals.
Wondering where to go on a weekend? Then try the different recommended spots you can visit in Manila. Most of these are trips that will not break the bank. All you have to do is enjoy the view, revisit the past and indulge in a food escapade.
- Intramuros – Within Intramuros, you can roam around Fort Santiago and learn more about the Spanish colonial times. Museums like Bahay Tsinoy boasts of galleries, artifacts and other important documents showing the Chinese influence in Philippine history, society, culture and politics.
- Binondo – Never leave Manila without dropping by the oldest Chinatown in the world in Binondo. Local and foreign tourists usually come here for the walking tours and/or the food crawl. Drop by the popular Eng Bee Tin food shop, home to the best hopia in town.
- Luneta Park – Luneta Park is a good place for a laid-back Sunday. Activities such as aerobics, kite flying and local board games are regular scenes here. The National Museum and the Planetarium Manila, which are a few minutes away from the park, are worth visiting too.
Tagaytay is a famous weekend getaway for couples, families and friends. Theme parks, retreat houses, and food havens abound here.
- Taal Volcano – Your Tagaytay trip will never be complete without seeing the beauty of Taal Volcano. This spectacular view is much enjoyed while dining in restaurants along the Aguinaldo Highway.
- Sky Ranch Theme Park – Go for an afternoon adventure with famous rides like Viking, Jump Around, Log Coaster Flying Bus, Zipline and The Sky Eye, which is dubbed as the tallest ferris wheel in the Philippines.
- Pink Sisters Tagaytay – For a spiritual retreat, head to the Pink Sisters Tagaytay. Here, you can unwind, meditate and be one with nature.
- Picnic Grove – Picnics are best done here. Families and friends will be afforded scenic views of the Taal Volcano while enjoying some bonding time.
The Philippines’ summer capital, Baguio has been blessed with a climate much colder than other parts of the country. Here, you get to enjoy long walks and budget-friendly tours since most tourist spots are near each other.
Aside from the usual Mines View Park, Burnham Park or The Mansion, you might also want to check out the following areas:
- Café by the Ruins – Highly recommended for tourists, Cafe by the Ruins is often visited for its original menu and artsy interiors.
- Night Market on Harrison Road – If you like shopping without breaking the bank, then drop by the night market on Harrison Road. Score a pair of good jeans for only P50. If you get hungry, there’s plenty of street food in the area.
- BenCab Museum – From the National Artist Benedicto Cabrera comes a museum and café in one. This place showcases Cabrera’s masterpieces, a landscaped garden and scenic views.
Boracay is on top of almost everyone’s list when it comes to beach destinations in the Philippines. Its white-sand beaches and azure waters attract people from all over the world. Here are other activities you can do on the paradise island:
- Pub Crawl – The Boracay Pub Crawl is one of the hippest happenings to hit Boracay of late. At each bar that your group visits, you will be asked to do certain challenges until you end up literally crawling out of the place.
- Motag Living Museum – If you want to take a break from the maddening crowd and learn what life was like in Boracay before it became the party place that it is now, then come by this place.
Historical landmarks, modern commercial establishments, and beautiful beach destinations make Cebu City a top tourist destination for both local and foreign visitors. If you find yourself in the Queen City of the South, don’t miss the following hot spots:
- Magellan’s Cross and the Lapu-Lapu Monument – A few steps away from the Basilica del Sto. Niño is the Magellan’s Cross which symbolizes the colonization of the Philippines by Spain. The Lapu-Lapu monument, on the other hand, is at the Mactan Shrine where the Kadaugan sa Mactan Festival is held each year on April 27.
- Taoist Temple – Located inside the Beverly Hills Subdivision, the Taoist Temple is one of the most picturesque sites in Cebu City.
- Oslob, Cebu – Experience the adventure of a lifetime by swimming with the butandings or whale sharks here.
From affordable resorts to amusement parks and beaches, you will never run out of things to do in Subic.
- Ocean Adventure – This is an awesome place to have fun while learning about marine life. Kids will love the Sea Lion Marine Patrol and Dolphin Tales shows.
- Zoobic Safari – Another unique experience for everyone, the Zoobic Safari lets tourists get up close and personal with exotic birds and some wild animals like tigers.
- El Kabayo Stables – Channel the cowboy or the cowgirl in you as you go horseback riding at the El Kabayo Stables.
The hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte offers a slew of activities for any traveler. The city is clean, the people are welcoming, and the things to see and do are amazing.
- People’s Park – A popular theme park in Davao, it features local art including giant sculptures and nature perfect for the whole family.
- Davao Crocodile Park – If you’re into wild animals, head to the Davao Crocodile Park. Here you can feed crocodiles and see tigers and giant lizards.
- Samal Island – Take the ferry to get to Samal Island, where you can enjoy the sun, sea and sand with family or friends.
8. Puerto Princesa, Palawan
The hidden gem of Visayas, Puerto Princesa is certainly not to be missed. Nature lovers will have a thrill discovering its many hidden secrets.
- Puerto Princesa Underground River – Named as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, this underground river features beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites glowing like crystals in the dark.
- Port Barton – Snorkeling and diving are best done here. The site is simply teeming with rich marine life, including magnificent coral reefs.
9. Puerto Galera
If you want a quick beach getaway outside Manila, then go to Puerto Galera. Aside from its famous white beaches and diving spots, the area is also well-known for its nightlife and food hubs.
- Talipanan Beach – If you’re looking for something less crowded, Talipanan Beach is perfect for you. Here, you can relax while getting a good tan.
- Tukuran Falls – Go on a trek to Tukuran Falls and treat yourself to a waterfall massage.
- Mangyan Village – Pay a visit to the Mangyan Village for a unique cultural experience. Watch the Mangyans weave beautiful nito vine into handicrafts or enjoy a meal with them. Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs to support the community.
Bacolod is home to gastronomic delights, epic attractions and hospitable locals. It’s best to book your trip in time for the Masskara Festival so you can party Mardi Gras-style.
- The Ruins – Located in Talisay City, a 20-minute cab-ride from Bacolod, The Ruins is considered as one of the 12 most fascinating ruins in the world. It is often referred to as the “Taj Mahal of Negros”. Legend has it that Don Mariano Ledesma Lacos, a rich sugar baron, built this mansion in memory of his departed wife Maria Braga in the early 1900s.
- Mambukal Mountain Resort – A favorite spot for locals and tourists alike, the Mambukal Mountain Resort is blessed with beautiful sceneries including a hot spring.
Baler is known as one of the country’s top surfing towns. The waves here are perfect for beginners who can start their lessons for as low as P350.
- Sabang Bay – This is without a doubt the town where you can get your surfing career started. If you’re into diving, you can do so here too.
- Ditumabo Falls – Not to be missed in Baler is the trek to Ditumabo Falls. This is the biggest of all the waterfalls in Baler and its neighboring city. Do explore the rocky stream flowing into the Diteki river.
The beautiful city of Dumaguete is the capital of Negros Oriental. It boasts of many tourist attractions including beaches, dive spots and restaurants that you will surely enjoy.
- Dumaguete Belfry Tower – This landmark symbolizes Dumaguete’s historical past and how the city still clings to it while embracing modernity.
- Bais Dolphin Watching and Manjuyod Sandbar – If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with or get near dolphins, then a visit to Tañon Strait will definitely be worth your while. End your trip at the Manjuyod Sandbar, otherwise known as the “Maldives of the Philippines”.
- Twin Lakes of Balinsasayao and Danao – A must-see when in Dumaguete city, a trip to the twin lakes includes enjoying a short boat ride and a glimpse of the wildlife.
13. El Nido, Palawan
Pinoy travelers can’t miss the beauty of El Nido, Palawan. Go for a swim, dive or simply walk along the beach to capture nature’s magnificence.
- Corong-Corong or Calaan Bay – For beautiful and romantic sunsets, Corong-Corong or Calaan Bay is the place to be. Have dinner at one of the restaurants by the beach and just enjoy the view.
- Marimegmeg Beach – The beach is famous for its white sand and crystal blue waters. It is less commercialized too for those seeking peace and quiet.
People visit Iloilo for three things: historical museums, beaches, and authentic Ilonggo dishes.
- IloIlo River Esplanade – This serene spot provides visitors with a space to breathe and relax. Take a leisurely walk and be amazed by the landscapes especially in late afternoon.
- Calle Real – An interesting place to walk around in IloIlo is Calle Real. This place has been fully restored to its former glory, showcasing heritage buildings and other colonial structures that will bring you back to the Spanish era.
- IloIlo Museum – For a glimpse of IloIlo’s colorful past, spend an hour or two at the IloIlo Museum. Here you’ll find paintings by modern artists as well as antiques and other artifacts unique to Iloilo.
Batangas is known for its centuries-old churches, beautiful beaches, and diving spots. Whatever your pleasure, Batangas will surely cater for you.
- Mt. Maculot, Cuenca – If you love the thrill of mountain hiking, and if you’re a first-timer, then Mt. Maculot is for you.
- Laiya, Batangas – A lovely long stretch of beach awaits you at Laiya, Batangas. Plus, you get to choose from budget-friendly to high-end accommodations. The place is great for family and company outings or quick weekend escapades.
Bicol is another place that has everything you will need for a memorable vacation. Whether you love to eat, swim, surf, dive or to just walk around, Bicol has something for you.
- Mt. Mayon – There’s nothing more magical than seeing up close the perfect cone shape of the famous Mt. Mayon. Channel your adventurous side by renting an ATV at the foothills of the mountain.
- Calaguas Group of Islands – Calaguas is a perfect place to unwind thanks to its serene surroundings. You will enjoy exploring the island, swimming in the crystal blue waters or simply sitting on the beach’s powdery white sand.
The island of Siquijor is famous for its mystique and mystery. It is dubbed as the Isla del Fuego or Island of Fire due to the glow it gives off once the sun sets. This started the belief from older generations that the place is enchanted.
Witchcraft and sorcery surround the area they say. But despite all that, many tourists still come to visit the island.
- Cabugahay Falls – Try the swing and jump into the cold waters below. The falls offers clean and clear water perfect for a summer trip.
- Salagdoong Beach – The place offers fun activities like cliff diving. You can also swim and snorkel or enjoy the food in the restaurant by the beach.
Sagada may be hard to reach but once you get there you will never regret it. Sagada is a remote mountain town with a small population of just 11,000 as of this writing. Once here, enjoy the cool mountain air and the beautiful landscapes.
- Sumaguing Cave – An awesome cave that will captivate you with its stunning rock formations. Going to the cave can be dangerous for first-timers as losing your balance is a real possibility. So be sure to have a guide with you as you go exploring inside the cave. The whole spelunking experience lasts about two hours.
- The Hanging Coffins of Echo Valley – This is another must-see for first time visitors to Sagada. The Hanging Coffins is one of the many pagan rituals for burying the dead that is still being practiced by the Sagada townsfolk today.
- Bomod-ok Waterfalls – Enjoy the picturesque sceneries on your trek to the waterfalls. You can also rent a van to get to the falls and enjoy the cold water. Be aware that this waterfall is sometimes closed to accommodate local rituals.
Pagudpud is located in Ilocos Norte, at the tip of Luzon Island. It is one of the most traveled places because of the variety of things to do here. From stunning beaches to falls and the famous windmills, Pagudpud is worth the trip.
- Burgos Lighthouse – A must-see when in Pagudpud is the Burgos Light House. Here, you can enjoy the view of the South China Sea. The lighthouse, also called Cape Bojeador, is a reminder of the Spanish colonial era.
- Bangui Windmills – This major landmark in Ilocos Norte is a great place for taking stunning photos and selfies. Bangui Windmills is actually a project of the local government to provide clean and renewable energy to the community.
20. Caramoan Islands
Island hopping is one of the top things to do when in Caramoan. The place offers unique places where you can swim, snorkel or go trekking.
- Matukad Island – Matukad is one of the small islands in Caramoan where scenes of the “tribal council” of the hit reality show, “Survivor Caramoan”, were shot. Here you can enjoy the beach or climb the steep rock formation that leads to the lake where you can find the “mystical” milkfish.
- Cagbalingad – For those who want to go on an unforgettable underwater exploration, Cagbalingad Island is the place to be. You can snorkel anytime you want and be close with the marine life there.
- Manlawe Sandbar – Known as the Maldives of Caramoan, Manlawe Sandbar is a slice of heaven here on earth. You can eat your lunch on a floating cottage and have halo-halo or mais con yelo for dessert. You can also buy pretty shells for souvenirs.
If you are looking for a much cheaper option to the Island of Batanes, then try booking a trip to Catanduanes. The province will remind you so much of Batanes with its howling winds, grasslands, mountain tops, ocean breeze and surrounding cliffs.
- Bato Church – A quick stop at Bato Church’s historical façade is a must when in Catanduanes. This is the perfect place to pray and meditate. You can also have a glimpse of the beautiful painting on the ceiling in front of the altar.
- Nahulugan Falls – Enjoy the clean and refreshing cold water after walking the virgin forest surrounding the area. Go here with a group of friends or family and just rent a simple cottage for the day.
The first and only UNESCO World Heritage site in the Philippines, Vigan is the place to be if you want to re-live the Spanish colonial times. The city is filled with 17th century cathedrals, Spanish-style homes and mansions complete with kalesa, or horse-drawn carriage.
- Calle Crisologo – Your Vigan tour is not complete without dropping by Calle Crisologo. Go here especially at night to admire the soft, ambient lights blanketing the streets and historical buildings.
- Bantay Bell Tower – This is another must-visit in Vigan. Visitors can climb up to the well-maintained bell tower and enjoy the view.
The province of Samar is one of the hidden gems of the country. This place offers great beaches for surfing, snorkeling and swimming. You will also find beautiful falls, numerous rivers, mountain ranges and coastal areas in this province.
- Biri Island – Seeing the rock formations found on Biri Island is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. You can do a ton of activities here –from paddle boarding to surfing and beach camping with friends and family.
- Lulugayan Falls – Lulugayan falls is one of most beautiful falls in the country. This is often referred to as the mini-Niagara Falls of Samar. Enjoy the river and the picturesque views.
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