With over 7,100 islands spread across the waters near the equator, there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in Philippines. The richness and diversity of this Southeast Asian country’s natural wonders are simply unbelievable. From white sand beaches with pristine waters to lush mountains, this nation has them all.
The charm of the Philippines, however, does not just end there. This country also has a rich history, starting from the early years of its indigenous peoples, then given some influence by the Spanish, Americans and Japanese because of colonization. Of course, a picture of the Philippines will not be complete without its joyful and friendly people. With all these, the Philippines is totally a must-visit destination.
Places to Visit in Philippines
You might be wondering: with thousands of islands, each offering a unique kind of adventure, where do I begin exploring the Philippines? Here are just some of the places you must visit in the Philippines, with information on how to get there, and what kind of wonder awaits you in these destinations.
1. Intramuros in Manila
This 64-hectare stone citadel is naturally one of the first places you should visit in the Philippines, because it is conveniently located in the capital, Manila, and just a few minutes away from the airport. This is considered to be the old city’s historic core, and a showcase of the Spanish influences in this country. Marvel at architectural wonders from the Spanish colonial era like the Manila Cathedral and the Palacio del Gobernador. Also walk down the cobbled streets of Fort Santiago, a stone fortress best known for being the place where the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was jailed. When you go hungry, head to Ilustrado Restaurant, which will give you a taste of local dishes.
2. El Nido in Palawan
This scenic destination in the western part of this tropical country is becoming more and more popular because of the international attention it has been getting the past few years, so this is definitely among the best places to visit in Philippines. It is best known for its towering and impressive limestone formations, its amazing white sand beaches, and its clear blue waters. Island-hopping in this place is a must; in fact, visit as many islands as you can.
To also fully appreciate the wonders that the waters in this area hold, you should try snorkeling or scuba diving when visiting this place. El Nido can be accessed through a four-hour land trip from the Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan.
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3. Boracay Island in Aklan
A list of the must-see places in the Philippines will not be complete without Boracay. This island takes pride with its powdery white sand, which is perfect for beach bumming. There are a lot of activities here for some fun in the sun, including helmet diving, parasailing and other water sports. At night, the island transforms into a vibrant party destination. Boracay can be reached through a short boat ride from the Caticlan Airport. Before planning a trip to this most attractive island, you should also know the best time to visit Boracay Island to make most of your trip.
4. Chocolate Hills in Bohol
Also among the places you must visit when you go to the Philippines are these natural wonders—over 1,700 mounds of earth that change colors with the season. During the rainy season, these hills are covered by green grass. However, come the dry season, they turn brown—just like little lumps of chocolates that grew from the face of the earth. The immensity of the area covered by the Chocolate Hills is a sight to behold. This popular tourist destination in the Philippines is accessible through a short drive from the Tagbilaran Airport in Bohol.
5. Mayon Volcano in Albay
Another wonder of nature that should definitely in your list of must-see places in the Philippines is this beautiful volcano, which can be found south of Metro Manila. The Mayon Volcano is known around the world for its perfect conical shape, making it truly marvelous and captivating. This picturesque volcano is best viewed near the Cagsawa Ruins, the bell tower of a 16th century church destroyed during of the Mayon’s eruptions.
6. Batanes Province
If you want the ultimate getaway which will take you far from all the hustle and bustle of the world, then this group of islands is a must-see place for you when you visit the Philippines. Located in the northernmost part of the country, Batanes draws its charm from its remoteness. Its lush green hills with a view of the sea are the perfect spot for someone seeking serenity. Also worth exploring are the sturdy stone houses on this island, built this way because of the many typhoons that hit this area during the rainy season. Batanes can be accessed through the Basco airport, and daily flights are available from Manila to this place.
7. Banaue Rice Terraces
Do you like hiking and some time to spare to travel to the northern Philippines? You should definitely include the Banaue Rice Terraces, considered to be the eighth wonder of the world, in your list of places to visit in Philippines. Get ready to be fascinated by rice fields carved out of the hillside to appear like steps of greenery leading to the sky. What’s more fascinating is that the natives were able to do these rice terraces without the help of any machinery. To see this beauty, take a 9-hour bus ride from Manila, and get ready to hike.
8. Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Get ready to be taken back in time when you go to this must-see place in the Philippines. These cobblestone streets in the northern province in Ilocos Sur feature Spanish-style houses, which are best viewed at night while riding a horse-drawn carriage known as kalesa. Explore the streets for antique furniture, cheap souvenirs and delicious local food.
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9. Samal Island, Davao
Head down south to the city of Davao for another must-visit destination in the Philippines, known for its long coastline with white and pink sand beaches. The crystal blue waters are perfect for basking under the tropical sun, and for snorkeling and diving, particularly at the Coral Garden Marine Park. The Pearl Farm Resort on this beautiful island is also popular for showcasing how these precious gems are cultivated underwater.
10. Coron, Palawan
This archipelago never seems to run out of beautiful beaches, and this destination also in Palawan province is also another must-see tourist spots in the Philippines. This place has it all: captivating white-sand beaches with blue seas, tranquil lakes with emerald waters, and some limestone formations. Make sure to also go snorkeling in Coron to see the rich marine biodiversity of this area. To get here, fly to the Busuanga Airport in Palawan, and then rent a boat for island-hopping.
These are only some of the marvelous places to visit in Philippines. There are still much more to see in this island rich in natural resources and unique culture. No matter where you choose to go in this country’s 7,107 islands, three things are guaranteed: nature, history and beauty.
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Feature image credit: Kai Lehmann