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10 things to do in the Philippines

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Where is the best trip to the Philippines for the first time? With over 7,000 islands, the country has a lot to do and see. Sabaiasia.ru presents the best ideas and places to visit that will appeal not only to beginners, but also to experienced travelers.

Of course there is much more, but in the process of forming the list, we took into account a broader view of the areas that really make the Philippines unique in the rest of Asia. This list includes the main choices for those who want to start exploring the beautiful and amazing places of the Philippines, and those who want to get vivid impressions for their next trip in 2017.

1. Palawan

Reasons to visit: if you have the annoying dilemma of choosing only one place to visit in the Philippines, Palawan should be the top of your list. You are going to the country to see wonderful beaches and islands. The best you will find in Palawan.
  • Amazing pictures of the underwater world and spectacular sights "above the water" in El Nido (Bacuit Bay) and Coron (Kalamian Islands).
  • Custom island tours in San Vicente (Port Barton), Balabac, Taytay, and Quezon (Tabon Caves).
  • Chains of uncharted islands and excellent diving away from the crowds of tourists on Tubattaha reefs - UNESCO World Heritage Site (Cagayancillo), Linapakan, Cuyo (Cuyo) and sites of the island archipelago of Spratly (Kalayaan).
  • Convenient excursions to Puerto Princesa City, island tours to Honda Bay, and excursions to the Puerto Princesa Underground River - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the longest navigable underground river in the world.
  • Good opportunities for budget options and a great place for those who travel alone.
  • The best luxury hotels

Planning your trip: Puerto Princesa Airport is the most popular gateway to El Nido, Central and South Palawan. This is about one and a half hours southwest of Manila by plane. You can also choose a direct flight to Puerto Princesa Airport from Cebu and Iloilo. Coron Airport serves Coron and the island chain in the northern part of Palawan.

Read more.

2. Cordillera

Reasons to visit: The Philippines is not only picturesque beaches. The islands are also rich in steep alpine landscapes and rich mountain culture! Cordillera have many of the most beautiful natural landscapes, waterfalls and mountain peaks. Their famous tourist spots include Banaue, Sagada, and Baguio.
  • Rice Terraces Banaue - UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The unique and well-preserved culture of the people of Ihorot and other hill tribes.
  • Sagada caves and hiking trails.
  • Baguio City is the summer capital of the Philippines.
  • Low travel and hospitality of local residents.

Travel Planning: Traveling by land from Manila takes about 8 hours to Banaue, and 12 hours to Sagada. You can reduce travel time by arriving at the calmer Clark Airport (CRK), which serves direct international flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Seoul Incheon, and Doha. The nearest commercial airport is Tuguegarao (TUG), which serves direct flights from / to Manila.

Read more.

3. Iloilo

Reasons to visit: Iloilo Province is a mix of the best that the Philippines has to offer. Do not follow all that standard guidebooks offer, Iloilo is much more than just a working city and a transit point. It has its own set worthy of visiting places that are mostly still untouched by the tourism industry.
  • Charming beaches and islands in Gigantes, Guimaras, and Concepcion.
  • Cheap seafood and delicious national cuisine Ilonggo.
  • The main cultural and historical center, Iloilo is known for the Miagao Church - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Calle Real, a grand collection of colonial houses and heritage buildings.
  • The lively and laid-back Iloilo is an alternative entrance to the Central and southern parts of the Philippines, and one of the country's most comfortable cities for life, interested in preserving its cultural and natural heritage.
  • Low travel costs and largely non-tourist.

Planning your trip: Iloilo Airport is an hour away by plane south of Manila. You can fly direct from Singapore or Hong Kong. The airport also serves direct flights from / to Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Puerto Princesa.

4. Ilocos

Reasons to visit: Take a step into the historic and peaceful North Ilocos and Southern Ilocos. Both provinces are famous for their heritage, bewitching beaches, and the best Ilocano cuisine.
  • Historic Vigan is the best-preserved Spanish colonial city in Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Among the best heritage centers in the country. The house for the churches of Paoay and Santa Maria, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and notable historical sites in Laoag, San Nicolas, Batac, Burgos, and the city of Sarrat.
  • Decent beaches, surfing and coastal scenery in Pagudpud and Burgos.
  • Unique national cuisine Ilokano (Ilokano).

Trip planning: Laoag Airport (LAO) is an hour away by plane north of Manila. You can also fly to Clark Airport and travel to Ilocos by land.

5. Iligan & Northern Mindanao

Reasons to Visit: One word. waterfalls! The Iligan and the rest of Northern Mindanao are home to many of the country's most spectacular cascades.
  • Some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines include Tinago, Maria Cristina, and Limunsudan.
  • Discover more waterfalls and mountain views in North Lanao (Lanao del Norte), East Misamis (Misamis Oriental), Bukidnon, and Camiguin.
  • In Cagayan de Oro, you should try rafting on rafts - one of the most spectacular in the Philippines.
  • Wild beaches, diving, and hiking in Camiguin.

Travel Planning: Laguindingan-Cagayan de Oro International Airport (CGY) is the main air gateway to the treasures of Iligan and Northern Mindanao. It is 1.5 hours by plane south of Manila. From the airport, the trip to the center of Iligan takes about 1 hour.

1. Start your journey from Manila

Manila - the capital of the Philippines, due to its small area is considered the most densely populated city in the world. Manila has many skyscrapers and modern malls along with a magnificent promenade, where you can have a great evening. The city also has many attractions dating back to the times of colonial conquest. One of them is Fort Santiago, built by the Spanish conquistadors under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. On the vast territory of the fort, picnics and theater shows are often arranged. The fort is located in a historical area called Intramuros, there is also the Cathedral, or the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

2. Relax on White Beach

Boracay Island is one of the most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world. Boracay is directly associated with those places on earth for which the cliché of the Bounty Island is entrenched. There is a lot of entertainment, rich flora and fauna, white and fine, like flour, sand on the beaches, clear water in the sea, and the coastline is bordered by tall coconut palms. On the island you can rent villas, stay in fashionable hotels, as well as find inexpensive budget accommodation - that is why a huge number of young people flock here from all over the world.

Boracay Island is considered the capital of night and evening life. Apart from that, White Beach is the longest beach on the island, spread over 4 km along the entire east coast. The coastline is famous for its perfect cleanliness and developed infrastructure. You can’t drink and smoke on the beach, but in the many restaurants, bars, disco, located around the entire perimeter of the beach - as much as you like. Night life is in full swing until the morning. On the opposite, western shore of the island, constant winds blow, so lovers of wind and kite surfing flock to the Bulabog beach from all over the world. For a moderate fee, you can learn these sports in one of the many schools located on the beach.

6. Bicol

Reasons to Visit: Do you want to add unusual photo souvenirs of beautiful nature to your selfie collection of beach holidays? In Bicol, you can find the world's best cone-shaped volcano and swim with whale sharks in addition to some of the most picturesque islands.
  • The majestic Mayon (Mayon Volcano) is a volcano with the most perfect cone.
  • Snorkeling with whale sharks in Donsol.
  • The best beaches and island tours among other Philippines you will find in Caramoan and Calaguas.
  • The largest heritage center with many wonderful Spanish colonial churches and historical sites.
  • Good surfing in Daet.

Trip planning: Legaspi Airport (LGP) and Naga Airport (WNP) are the main air gates to Bicol. Both are located about 1 hour by plane southeast of Manila. Legaspi Airport also serves direct flights from Cebu International Airport.

Reasons to visit: Endless stretches of white sandy beach and party places - aren't these the very paradise islands? Surigao has many beautiful and unusual places for true travelers. It also boasts cool surfing!
  • Cloud 9 in Surigao is the best surf spot in the Philippines.
  • Exotic lagoons of Sohoton and harmless jellyfish on the island of Bucas Grande (Bucas Grande Island).
  • Island & Beach Tours in Surigao, Bucas Grande, Dinagat, and Britain.
  • Unique Enchanted River

Travel Planning: Surigao Airport is the busiest airport in the country. It is located about 1 hour and 40 minutes flight southeast of Manila. You can also get to Surigao City from Cebu Airport, or fly directly to Tandag (TDG) or Siargao / Sayak (IAO), South Surigao.

4. Swim along the underground river

The Puerto Princesa Underground River is a river on the island of Palawan, about 50 km north of the city of the same name. Puerto Princesa - one of the longest underground rivers in the world, it stretches for 8 km through the caves. Rafts are organized along the river, their distance is limited to only one kilometer, since longer distances are not entirely safe. This is largely due to the limited amount of oxygen and pressure in the cave. The existing route is enough to enjoy the beauty of the underground river, making memorable videos and photos as a keepsake.

5. Get to know the architecture of Cebu Island

Cebu Island is a popular destination among tourists from all over the world: magnificent beaches, many historical attractions, as well as great places for diving and snorkeling. Most of the island's resorts are located a short distance from the center or on the small satellite islands of Badian and Mactan.

Tourists will enjoy a fascinating journey through the places of the Spanish conquistadors. So, on the island there is an old Spanish fort San Pedro, the construction of which began in the XVI century and was completed only two centuries later. The bastion is built in the form of a terugolnik, one of the walls facing the land and two to the sea. Today, San Pedro is the oldest fort in the country, and architectural solutions make it an attractive attraction for tourists.
The Basilica of Santo Nino is also interesting. This temple was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century on the site where the image of the baby Jesus, previously brought by the discoverer of these lands, navigator Magellan, was found. There is a museum in the basilica, and in the very center of the chapel is the cross of Magellan, which he left at the very beginning of the 16th century to mark the arrival of the first Europeans to these lands.

6. Learn how rice is grown

Banaue Rice Terraces are located on Luzon Island north of Manila. At the end of the last century, they were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The views of the terraces are simply mesmerizing: numerous steps covered with dense vegetation go to the sky. The total length of the terraces is about 22 thousand square meters. Many centuries ago, a unique irrigation system was created here, which works to this day. Thanks to it, water can be raised to a height, as well as quickly drain plantations.

7. Take a picture of tarsiers

The Philippines is one of the few places where a very rare species of monkeys lives - tarsiers. On the island of Bohol, there are two reservation centers for these rare and cute animals: in the cities of Corella and Lobok. Tarsiers are small animals, very kind and disposed towards humans, with huge round eyes and soft fur.

8. Swim with whale sharks

Whale sharks live in the immediate vicinity of the southwestern coast of the island of Cebu, in a place called Oslob. These huge inhabitants of the ocean reach up to 20 m in length and are completely safe for humans, as they feed exclusively on plankton. For swimming with sharks you will need a mask, snorkel and flippers, as well as a small fee for renting a boat with a rower. Sharks swim in close proximity to divers, so making unique photos and videos is not difficult. The Philippines has many popular diving sites with rich flora and fauna, as well as many sunken ships. Places such as Subic Bay, Coron Bay, Tubbatah Reef and dozens of others are suitable for diving and snorkeling.

10. Find Kawasan Falls

In the jungle on the island of Cebu is one of the main places that must be visited in the Philippines - Kawasan Falls. Crystal clear turquoise waters of a three-cascade waterfall and rich tropical vegetation will not leave anyone indifferent. To get to the waterfalls, you have to go along a narrow path through the jungle and a thicket of impassable vines with two-meter ferns. In addition, it is necessary to overcome three bridges hanging over deep abysses, so that on the way to paradise adventurers will also find for themselves some elements of extreme sports.

Where is the best place to relax in the Philippines?

There are more than 7,000 islands in the Philippines and in this review article I will share with you where it is better for a European traveler to relax.

The Philippines is a Christian country with kind locals.

Filipinos love basketball, cockfights, singing karaoke and rice. Filipinos love and appreciate real chocolate, so grab a few tiles for them as a present.

I really like that Filipinos know English.

In this article I have collected the best resorts of the Philippines, the islands on which you can do:

  • snorkeling
  • diving
  • beach vacation
  • wintering
  • freediving
  • wellness
  • sightseeing holidays
  • fishing
  • active sports (surfing), etc.

The islands are suitable for:

  1. solitary rest
  2. rest savage
  3. have a good rest
  4. active rest,
  5. romantic getaway
  6. for relaxing with children.

For each of the islands I will indicate the level of living comfort, the level of prices and the number of days that it costs to spend on them.

Prices in the article are in Philippine pesos. Presently, 1 peso is equal to 1.21 rubles.

There are islands with round-the-clock supermarkets, huge shopping centers, IMAX cinemas and food courts.

There are also non-tourist islands, on which after 19 pm all establishments are closed.

So, where better to go on a beach holiday (and not only) in the Philippines?

Type of rest: active

What to do? Diving, freediving, swimming with whale sharks, waterfall, try Filipino cuisine

Comfort, modernity of life: average

Rates: medium

How much to come? 3-7 days

On the island of Cebu, urban infrastructure is quite developed: there are several shopping centers with cinemas, food courts, fast food, and hotels.

To book guesthouses, hotels in the Philippines are more profitable on the websites: Agoda.com and Booking.com.

Local cuisine is prevalent everywhere on the street in Cebu: meat products, egg noodles and rice. At the time of 2015, in the city of Cebu, in many parts of the island there was a very weak Internet connection.

In my opinion, there is nothing to do in the city itself, if only you buy in the shopping center the necessary things for excursions, diving or just relaxing.

Cebu city is notable for its food. There is a lot of her here and she is everywhere, especially meat products. It is in Cebu that you can meet unusual-looking fat (from overeating) Filipinos.

The main attractions of the island:

Whale shark swimming

You can swim with whale sharks in Oslob, which is located 128 km from the city of Cebu (3 hours by transport). This pleasure is worth about 2,000 pesos or more.

This interaction with sharks is more like a shark-exploited zoo than the natural interaction with them.

Kawasan falls (cascading waterfall)

Kawasan Falls is incredibly beautiful due to the turquoise color of the water and is recommended for visiting. It is located 3 hours from the city of Cebu.

The cheapest and easiest way to get to Kawasan Falls is by bus. From the city of Cebu, go to the southern bus station and hop on any bus bound for Badian.

An air-conditioned bus from Cebu City to Kawasan Falls costs 150 pesos. The first bus from Cebu leaves at 5 in the morning.

Входная плата на водопады Kawasan Falls: 40 песо

Дайвинг, ныряние в Moalboal (Моолбол) – полуостров на юго-западной оконечности Себу

расположены в 89 километрах от города Себу, примерно в 2,5 часах на автобусе. На пляже Панагсама – расположены большинство курортов и ресторанов.

В Моолбол идеальный риф. Структура рифа, следующего за всей береговой линией, сделала это место идеальным местом для подводного плавания, дайвинга и фридайвинга.

Дайверы могут наслаждаться легким доступом к рифу, так как выпад неглубокий и близок к берегу, но глубина опускается до более чем 40 метров.

Сикихор (Siquijor)

Вид отдыха: активный, романтический, отдых с детьми

Чем заниматься? Beaches, waterfalls, natural wonders, relaxation

Level of comfort, modernity of life: average

Rates: low

How much to come? from 3 days to a week, and maybe more

On this island, which is located near the islands of Bohol and Cebu, beautiful beaches, the underwater world and cheap life (comfortable hotels with an infinity pool, in the front page from the sea and with breakfast for $ 12).

Like most islands in the Philippines, Siquijor also boasts several natural wonders from pristine beaches, man-made forests and waterfalls.

Budget resorts such as Tori’s Paradise rent their rooms in a dormitory for 300 pesos per night.

It is more profitable to book guesthouses in Siquijor on the following sites: Agoda.com and Booking.com.

On the island you can rent a motorbike for little money and travel around the whole island in just 3 hours.

Malapascua

Type of rest: romantic, holiday with children

What to do? Beaches, relaxation, snorkeling, hammer shark swimming, diving, drone, take excursions to small neighboring islands

Level of comfort, modernity of life: average

Rates: medium

How much to come? from 7 days to several weeks

Malapascua Island is ideal for a beach holiday.

Bounty beach on this island is one of the best in the country, although it is quite touristic, but there are more secluded beaches in Malapascua.

The underwater reef is ideal for snorkeling and diving and you can easily rent a snorkelling mask on the island.

The main attractions of the island:

Calanggamen Island

You can sail to this island one day from Malapascua. The trip by boat will be 1.5-2 hours.

This island has a very long sandy coastline and a beautiful stretch of coconut trees.

Some consider it the most beautiful island in the Philippines.

A trip on a shared boat costs between 800 and 1,000 pesos, plus an entry fee of 500 Filipino pesos.

If you go to Malapascua for diving - 100% chance that you will see a shark hammer.

In addition to sharks, there are many diving sites with beautiful corals and fish. You will see seahorses, shrimp, crabs and other marine life on most dive slopes.

Recommendations for the traveler:

  • There is no ATM on the island, so do not forget to bring enough cash with you,
  • You can visit Malipascua all year round, but summer is the best time for tourism,
  • Take your medicine, there is no pharmacy on the island,
  • Take enough clothing with you as there are no laundry facilities on the island.

Palawan, El Nido

Type of rest: romantic, active, holiday with children

What to do? Snorkeling, drone, take excursions to hidden lagoons, to small beaches, islands

Level of comfort, modernity of life: average

Rates: above the average

How much to come?

from 5 to 12 days

You can get to the island of Palawan, to the city of Puerto Princess by plane from the city of Manila.

Most profitable to fly with a Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines low-cost airline.

From Puerto Princess, you will need to get to the paradise of El Nido by public transport (bus), which leaves there every hour. Travel time is about 5 hours.

In Puerto Princess, you can book a tour of the underwater cave at Klook.

In the dry, scorching time of the day, they are less common, but it’s still better to protect yourself from their bites and not go to bed even in peak heat on the beach.

El Nido has many paradise excursion tours: A, B, C, D, E. The most popular tours: A with secret lagoons and C with secret beaches.

8. Cebu (Cebu)

Reasons to Visit: Cebu is a surprisingly diverse destination and an excellent base for exploring central Philippines. Cebu is also a cool place in itself!
  • The bustling and historic Cebu Metro is home to many of the most important historical and heritage sites in the Philippines and a popular destination for tourists.
  • Easily accessible, and with top-class hotels on Mactan Island resorts.
  • Filipinos value beautiful white sandy beaches, and diving in Malapascua, Bantayan, Camotes Islands, and Moalboal.
  • More beautiful beaches and islands in Alcoy, Dalaguete, Aloguinsan, Badian, Barili, Cordova, Santander, San Remigio, Argao, Daanbantayan, and Lapu Lapu .
  • Stunning waterfalls & trekking to Osmena Peak, Samboan, Ginatilan, Badian, Oslob, and Barili.
  • Low travel expenses

Trip planning: Mactan-Cebu Airport is an hour's flight from Manila. The best option is to fly directly to Cebu from Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Nagoya, Taipei or Los Angeles. Cebu also has direct flights to major airports in Central and Southern Philippines.

Reasons to Visit: Bohol is a unique all-in-one destination complete with beaches, cultural sites, natural attractions, and convenient infrastructure.
  • The famous Chocolate Bohol Hills.
  • Dolgopyatov Nature Reserve (Tarsier sanctuary) is the center of the smallest primates in the world.
  • Beautiful beaches and world-class dive sites in Panglao.
  • Many noteworthy colonial Spanish churches and historical sites (some were destroyed by the 2013 earthquake).
  • Loboc River Cruise and picturesque waterfalls.

Travel Planning: Tagbilaran Airport (TAG) is an hour south of Manila. You can also get to Bohol from Cebu on a high-speed catamaran, the journey takes 1.5 hours.

10. Dumaguete & East Negros

Reasons to Visit: If swimming with sea turtles is on your list, you can do it in the Apo Island marine reserve. The extremely refreshing Dumaguete is the starting point for Apo Island, Siquijor, and the highlands of East Negros.

  • Swimming with sea turtles, snorkeling, and diving on Apo Island.
  • Many impressive waterfalls and mountain resort hotels.
  • Cheap accommodation in Dumaguete City.
  • Transfer point to Siquijor island.
  • Low travel & ideal for budget travel.

Travel Planning: Dumaguete Airport (DGT) is an hour south of Manila. You can also take a direct flight from Cebu. The flight time is only 30 minutes.

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