Last updated on January 19th, 2019 at 06:19 pm
With over 7000 islands and 81 provinces, Philippines is without a doubt a crowd favorite when it comes to vacation and traveling because of the breathtaking sites it offers. In this Philippines travel guide, we will share 21 stunning places to visit in the Philippines!
Whether you love nature, historical spots, and even modern buildings and infrastructure, you surely wouldn’t want to miss the different places to visit in the Philippines we are going to recommend in this blog post.
Rachel and I are excited to share this with you because we love the Philippines so much! Not just because it is Rachel’s home country but because of its beauty, its culture, and of course, its people.
Read here 40 Breathtaking Batanes tourist spots.
Basic Information about the Philippines
Yup! We mentioned on the first part of this blog post that Philippines has over 7000 islands, making it an archipelago. It just means that most of the time, you have to ride a boat or ferry to reach some islands.
Riding an airplane is also one of the best ways to get on far islands of the country. It depends on your preference and budget.
Three Main Islands
The three biggest and main islands of the Philippines are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Luzon is the biggest and the island in the northern part of the country; Visayas is the smallest and it is located in the middle part; lastly, Mindanao is in the southernmost part of the country and it is the second to the largest main island.
Later we are going to tell our recommended places to visit in the Philippines from each of these main islands.
Located in Luzon, the capital of the Philippines is Manila. It is the densest city in the world. It is also the most accessible part of the country from different parts of the world. Their main airports are here.
Their currency is Philippine Peso. Currently, 1 USD is equivalent to more or less 50 pesos. Click here to check the exchange rate.
There are hundreds of languages and dialects in the Philippines. Their official languages are Filipino and English. Yup! Majority of the Filipinos can speak English. You don’t have to worry not being understood when you speak English there. 😉
Visiting Philippines is not that difficult especially if you are one of the nationalities who can go to Philippines without Visa. Click here to know if you are one of them and to know the Visa policy of the Philippines.
Click here to read our blog post on how you can extend your stay in the Philippines.
Weather and Climate
The Philippines has only 2 seasons- wet and dry season. During March to May and even up to June, the weather is hot and humid. From June to November, expect the weather to be rainy and cold. Wet season can start as early as May.
You can click here for real time updates on weather.
Personally, as a foreigner in the Philippines, I can say that it is totally safe in this country plus the people are too kind and hospitable. Rachel agrees that the Philippines is a safe country, but we remind you to be always mindful of your belongings everywhere you go. A basic rule! 🙂
Best Time to Visit the Philippines
If you don’t want to experience the hot and humid weather, we recommend that you visit the Philippines on the month of January.
If you love to tan in the Philippines and experience the REALLY hot summer there, visit during the months of March to May. Expect accommodation prices in tourist spots to be high because it is peak season.
The best time to visit the Philippines is according to your preference and budget. 🙂
How to get there
Good news is that every main city in the Philippines is accessible from most parts of the world. Check Skyscanner to get the best flight deals in your country!
Modes of Transportation in the Philippines
Transportation in the Philippines is good! There are many ways you can travel by land (jeepney, taxi, Grab, tricycle, ride-sharing cars, buses, trains, etc.); by sea (ferry, boat); and by air.
We are warning you of the traffic in Manila, though! It is heavily congested especially during holidays, paydays, and weekends.
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Where to Stay in the Philippines
Hotels and inns are everywhere in the city. Just do your research during your planning stage for a hassle-free trip.
Daily budget to visit the Philippines
Travelers visiting any destination in the Philippines will be pleased to know that the cost of living in the country is relatively low, especially compared to countries that charge by the dollar, pound or euro. A decent meal here can go for less than 100 PHP, especially if you eat at local eateries and avoid fancy restaurants and fast food chains. If you’re feeling a bit fancy and want to splurge a bit with a significant other, 700 PHP (or $14 USD) will take you far. Beer in the Philippines is also very inexpensive, at 40-70 PHP per bottle. Prices tend to go lower in provinces, except for very touristic places, in resorts and in bars.
As for going around the country, transportation is also very affordable. Short distances can be covered by the jeepney, with a flat rate of 9 PHP. Taxis also have a flat rate, 40 PHP, and the price increases by the meter. Many of the destinations in the Philippines can be reached by a bus taken from various terminals in Cubao. For example, a trip from Cubao to Baguio City costs 445 PHP in a regular air conditioned bus and 750 PHP for first class bus. You can also ride the bus to Zambales for 375 PHP. You can read our travel guides to Dumaguete, Bohol, Malapascua Island, Siquijor and Samal Island to learn about the transportation costs to visit those beautiful destinations.
Accommodations in the Philippines also vary from province to province, island to island and city to city. It is safe to say that 850-1000 PHP will go a long way as far as lodging goes. You can always check Booking and Agoda for the best room deals before your trip to the Philippines! AirBnB is also very popular in the Philippines. Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!
Places to Visit in the Philippines
If you are an avid reader of our blog, you already have a hint of how beautiful and exciting it is to travel in the Philippines. We really love every minute we spend in this amazing country. So, without further ado, here are 21 breathtaking places to visit in the Philippines!
1. El Nido, Palawan: Our top choice on places to visit in the Philippines for Couples
This is on the top of our list despite of its actual location being on the southern part of Luzon. We just can’t help it because it is one of our favorite places in the world! We have been here a few times already and every single visit was unique, and we loved every single experience we had.
You will seriously forget all the problems you have once you step on the clear waters and white sand beaches of El Nido. It was once a quiet place north of Palawan but because of number of people visiting here, it was developed but still beautiful!
If you love nature and beaches, you shouldn’t miss exploring this part of the Philippines. This spot is also a favorite place to visit of couples and group of friends. Enjoy kayaking, swimming, diving, island hopping, and relaxing in this picturesque island.
Read our blog post about our off-the-beaten path in El Nido!
2. Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Another gift from above, Puerto Princesa! It is the capital of Palawan and the most visited part of the province. Unlike El Nido, the capital is not famous for its beaches.
But it is famous worldwide for its UNESCO World Heritage Site– the Palawan Underground River or also known as Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park. You will see unbelievable limestone formations here as you explore the underground river.
3. Coron, Palawan
Isn’t it obvious that we love Palawan so much? Another spot we recommend you include in the places to visit in the Philippines is Coron.
You will surely love diving and snorkeling here. Island hopping is also a famous activity in Coron that you shouldn’t miss. Lastly, if you have time don’t forget to hike Mount Tapyas. You have to hike for 20-30 minutes to get to the top and enjoy the picturesque views. It is surely worth it!
These three spots in Palawan are highly recommended. Transportation is easy because you just have to ride ferries or speed boats to get to the islands. Or you can book tours according to your budget and preference.
4. Banaue, Ifugao
Found on the northern part of Luzon, Banaue is one of the tourist spots in the Philippines. This is the perfect place if you want to take a break from the city and inhale fresh air, feel the cold breeze, and feed your eyes with stunning views.
Hike the downtown up to Banaue Viewpoint because it really feels good to be at the top of the mountain! Banaue is one of the spots where you will realize how beautiful nature is. 🙂
You should also try watching Ifugao cultural shows and dance to the sound of gongs.
5. Sagada, Mountain Province
Sagada is 3 hours away from Banaue. Tourists are encouraged to go here from Banaue during daytime as transportation might be quite difficult during the night.
It is famous for the hanging coffins, rice terraces, lakes, and rich heritage and culture. It is also a popular spot for locals during the holy week, as a pilgrimage.
6. Baguio City
After visiting Banaue and Sagada, you might want to go on a trip to Baguio City, the Summer Capital of the Philippines. It is a famous place for its temperature, beautiful views, and of course, strawberries!
If you are available, try to visit during the month of February because it is when the month-long Panagbenga Festival is celebrated! Panagbenga Festival is also known as the Flower Festival and it is the most awaited festival in Baguio City. Experience dancing on the streets with large flower costumes and loud music.
7. Subic, Zambales
One of the most adventurous places in the country, Subic should be in your list of places to visit in the Philippines.
They are famous for their Zoobic Safari, where you can experience the country’s very own African adventure. You just have to pay for the entrance fee and enjoy taking pictures of the animals. They also offer a closer look at tigers while riding a safari jeep. You can feed the tigers, for another fee.
If you are traveling with a kid, you should also check Ocean Adventure. Have fun with the kids watching dolphin and sea lion shows. You can also find an Oceanarium, or a big aquarium where you can watch marine animals in their habitat.
8. Anilao, Batangas
Ah, one of our favorites! We loved our diving experience in this quiet barangay in Mabini, Batangas. It is just a 3-hour drive from Manila and is a famous spot for diving enthusiasts.
You can also do snorkeling here, as the water is clean and clear. It’s the perfect spot to relax after a long week.
Read our blog post about what to do and where to sleep in Anilao.
9. Taal Volcano, Batangas
Now if you love volcanoes and lakes, then it is recommended for you to visit Taal Volcano in Tagaytay. It Is the 2nd most active volcano in the Philippines and a popular tourist spot in Batangas. It´s a must in the places to visit in the Philippines.
You will fall in love with the views from the viewing point in Taal Volcano, but you will fall in love more with the view from the Red Lava Viewing Point, where you can view the crater of the volcano. No worries if you do not like hiking. It was just an easy hike, that even a kid can do it.
Read our blog post to guide you on planning for your trip to Taal Volcano.
10. Mayon Volcano, Bicol
This volcano is one of the things the Philippines boasts. It is an active, perfect-cone volcano that is famous to tourists.
Aside from the Mayon Volcano, don’t forget to taste the delicacy of the Bicolanos- spicy foods. You can even find chili ice cream here! Would you dare to try it?
11. Donsol, Sorsogon
And the last but not the least on our list of places to visit in Luzon- Donsol. This place is famous because it is known as the home of Butanding or the Whale Sharks.
When you visit Donsol, you shouldn’t miss diving and swimming with the whale sharks. Don’t worry becayse they are friendly creatures. Just don’t do anything that will stress or scare them.
More Places to visit in the Philippines
Cebu is home of numerous old churches, waterfalls, beaches, and yummy food. It is actually one of our favorite tourist spots in the Philippines as the list of activities you can do in Cebu gives you a looong list! These are some of our favorites:
If you have seen those turquoise blue waterfall pictures on Instagram, that probably is Kawasan Falls in Badian, Cebu. This spot is very famous to locals and foreigners because of its beauty and the adventure it offers to visitors.
Popular activities here include swimming, canyoneering, riding a raft, and of course, eating Cebuano food. Read our blog post to know how to get to Kawasan Falls from different parts of Cebu.
You should also consider visiting Bantayan Island in Cebu if you really love beaches! This is a famous place for snorkeling and diving because of their clear waters and white sand. You can just relax on the shore or rent a motorbike to explore the island.
Just like in Bantayan, activities you can do in Malapascua are diving, snorkeling, swimming and relaxing. We loved to dive and snorkel here because of its clean and very clear waters.
We hope they retain the cleanliness of the island. Read our blog post to be guided on what activities to do in Malapascua.
Just like in Sorsogon, you can experience swimming with whale sharks here in Oslob, Cebu! It was really fun to observe these creatures and swim with them. Just don’t forget about the fees that will include the boat ride, life vest, and the snorkeling gear.
13. Dumaguete, Negros Oriental
Enough with the whale sharks, ha! If you want to swim with the sea turtles, then you should go and visit Apo Island in Dumaguete!
This town will give you the best photos- aerial and underwater. Make sure to equip yourselves with the best camera to capture the beautiful Dumaguete.
Click here to see what activities we did in this town.
14. Siquijor Island, Siquijor
Aaahh, Siquijor. I remember the time when we really had a hard time checking on our online job because of the difficulty of connection here. Despite that, we had fun in Siquijor! Consider visiting churches, waterfalls, and beaches in Siquijor as it will give you a break you deserve from the tiring city life! 🙂
Recommended beautiful beaches in Siquijor are Salagdoong Beach, San Juan Beach, and Paliton Beach.
15. Kalanggaman Island, Leyte
Kalanggaman Island is a small, quiet island but it didn’t fail to strike us with its beauty. The most beautiful part about this island is its sandbar and very clear waters. Kalanggaman Island we recommend as one of the places to visit in the philippines for couples!
What we love the most is that you can camp here (for a fee) for an overnight stay. You get to rest and relax in peace and enjoy the beauty of nature. What a catch, right?
16. Chocolate Hills, Bohol
We really loved the beautiful Chocolate Hills of Bohol! This is one of the most famous landmarks of the Philippines that you must see.
When it rains, the hills turn chocolatey brown in color, which explains why it is called the Chocolate Hills.
Read our full travel guide to Bohol here.
17. Boracay, Aklan
To finish our Visayas list is the all-time favorite- Boracay! It is not just popular to the Philippines, but to the whole world. People love visiting Boracay Island because of its white sand beach and clear, blue waters.
It is also visited by tourists because of the activities you can do here- snorkeling, diving, island hopping, riding a banana boat, riding a jet ski, visiting the oceanarium, parasailing, and the list goes on! You will really enjoy your stay in Boracay, whether alone, with loved ones, or with friends.
Note: Boracay is currently closed for rehabilitation due to the noncompliance of nearby businesses to policies. It will last for 6 months (April 26, 2018 – October 26, 2018).
More Places to Visit in the Philippines: Places to Visit in Mindanao
18. Samal Island, Davao
A pride of the south, Samal Island! This is one of the places a traveler should go to when they visit Mindanao, Philippines.
The views here are priceless, and the locals are welcoming. We loved snorkeling, diving, and island hopping here. We also loved the local food of Samal. This place is definitely worth the visit and we recommend Samal Island as one of the places to visit in the philippines for couples!
19. Mount Apo, Davao
Also located in Davao, Mount Apo is the highest mountain (a volcano, actually) in the Philippines. If you are into trekking, then you shouldn’t miss Mt. Apo!
It is home to the rare Philippine Eagle and relaxing springs. However, it is currently closed to the public because of the Martial Law in Mindanao.
20. Enchanted River, Surigao del Sur
The bright blue river in Hinatuan is indeed enchanted. Did you know that it is believed to be the home of spirits? Locals believe that the spirits are the one who take care of the river, making it aqua blue and deep.
Different types of fish swim in this deep blue river. It is a scenic spot for swimming. Take note that life jackets are required when swimming in the Enchanted River.
Siargao, Surigao del Norte
Siargao became in one of the most popular places to visit in the Philippines. This beautiful island is a must to explore. You can surf, realxing, swimming, island hopping and visit the best tourist spots in the Philippines in Siargao. You can get by plane from Cebu and there are also ferries coming from Surigao.
21. Maria Cristina Falls, Lanao del Norte
To complete our list is Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City. People love this waterfall because of its function- giving electricity.
It is called the twin falls as the flow is separated by a rock at the brink of the waterfall. It is truly a majestic view that will captivate you!
Book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Festivals in the Philippines
Celebrated in Baguio City during the month of February is Panagbenga Festival, a feat dedicated to the beautiful flowers of the Philippines. During the festivals, the city’s streets are filled with floats of colorful flora of all shapes and sizes. Another major part of Panagbenga is street dancing where participants wear flower-inspired costumes. Baguio City’s climate makes it the perfect spot to grow flowers and vegetables, and Panagbenga Festival honors the abundance of the region’s wet season.
One of the most important religious festivals in the Philippines is Sinulog Festival. It is celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January in Cebu City and honors Santo Niño. Like most festivals, it is full of processions and parades that aim to celebrate the country’s rich history. There are street parties at night, as well as performances, trade fairs and various contests during this colorful festival.
Another celebration of abundance in the Philippines is the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City. For an entire week, the city give thanks to the bountiful harvest and good fortune that the province receives. It honors all the fruits, orchids and other gifts of nature through beautiful floats, street dancing, tribal parades and a beauty contest. Kadayawan Festival is celebrated annually every 3rd week of August.
Now that you’ve seen the places to visit in the Philippines that we recommend, are you going to visit soon? Which are your top picks? Let us know if we forgot any of your favorite tourist spots in the Philippines!
Should we add more places to visit in the Philippines? Let us know in the comments below.