Best 30 Places To Visit In The Philippines - Updated 2021

best places to visit in philippines
Isha
Isha
Updated

A giant among the famous tourist destinations of Asia, the Philippines is a country that needs no introduction. With picture-perfect beaches, rich biodiversity, colonial architecture, and indigenous culture, these islands attract millions of visitors each year. Whether you are looking for the best diving sites, the most exotic jungle landscapes, the most dangerous volcano hikes, the ideal whale shark encounter, the best Spanish colonial buildings, or the most Instagram-worthy spots on the planet, this country has them all! From Luzon to Mindanao and every other province in between, we will give you the low down on the best places to visit in the Philippines. Scroll down to know more!

Guam Air V&V

1. Boracay (from USD 19.0)

Recently reopened after a six-month ban due to overcrowding, Boracay is the ultimate beach destination in the Philippines and one of the top-ranked beach vacation spots in the world. Visitors to Boracay island can enjoy a range of water activities like jet skiing, scuba diving, windsurfing, kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding, snorkelling, or swimming. The powdery, white sand beaches of the island are immaculately clean and the blue waters are crystal clear. You can also enjoy delicious local treats, shop for shell jewellery, or explore the various beaches via a local mode of transport: an e-jeepney.

Boracay Tour Package (Island Hopping)

2728 reviews

2. Cebu (from USD 106.0)

As a well-known tourist spot, Cebu is very easy to access from almost anywhere in the Philippines. There are beautiful beaches, spectacular diving locations, resorts and luxury hotels, heritage sites, and many beautiful islands. Diving and swimming with whale sharks is a popular tourist activity here. Visitors can even explore the nearby islands of Bohol Strait via boat rides. Several Spanish colonial-era churches, shrines and landmarks that dot the region should also be visited while you’re here.

3 Day Cebu Highlights Tour

Duration: 3 Day(s) Duration

21 reviews

3. El Nido, Palawan (from USD 17.0)

Constantly making it on the world’s top beach destination lists, El Nido in the Palawan region of the Philippines is blessed with mesmerising natural beauty. This hot spot is comprised of a group of islands with a very diverse ecosystem, home to many unique geological formations, as well as flora and fauna. Visitors are attracted in droves to El Nido’s sandy beaches, dense forests, waterfalls, lagoons, caves, and enchanting cliffs. Diving is one of the most popular activities here, especially in Bacuit Bay. Swimming, snorkelling, hiking and visiting the various islands are other activities you can enjoy here.

El Nido Tour A

Duration: 4 Hrs - 5 Hrs Duration

2514 reviews

4. Bohol (from USD 60.0)

Famous for its dense forests and thriving jungle life, Bohol is another popular tourist spot in the Philippines. It covers quite a large area consisting of the main island and 75 surrounding islands. You can explore the brown limestone mounds of Chocolate Hills, visit the fabulous diving sites at Panglao Island, or cruise on the Loboc River. Learn about Asia’s smallest primate, the Philippine Tarsier, at the Tarsier Conservatory. These are some of the most popular activities to do here. Vistors to Bohol will also enjoy admiring the beautiful architectural landmarks, beaches, caves, and waterfalls. The region’s capital, Tagbilaran, is worth checking out too, with its many restaurants, bars and shopping avenues.

Bohol Day Tour from Cebu

Duration: 8 Hrs Duration

377 reviews

5. Vigan City

VIGAN CITY
Source: Photo by user Obra19 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vigan City is the only surviving city in Asia that still has its original Spanish, oriental, and native Philippine structures intact. Visitors throng to this 16th-century city to admire the amazing architecture, especially in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Walk through the cobblestoned streets of Calle Crisologo, and visit popular areas, including Plaza Salcedo, an Earthquake Baroque church known as Vigan Cathedral, Plaza Burgos, the many traditional Bahay na Bato houses and more. Sampling the local food at restaurants and cruising along the Mestizo River are other popular activities to try here.

6. Siargao (from USD 44.0)

Shaped like a teardrop, Siargao is a beautiful island in the Philippine Sea. It is renowned for its epic surf breaks, which attracts professional and amateur surfers from across the world, especially at the Cloud 9 surfing spot. But for those who are not into surfing, this island also offers other fantastic experiences like snorkelling, swimming, and lazing around on the beach. Check out the cliff jumping opportunities at Magpupungko Rock Pools, caving at Tayangban Cave Pools, or the island-hopping excursions to Dako Island, Guyam Island, and Naked Island.

Siargao Island Hopping

Duration: 4 to 10 hours

1 review

7. Davao City (from USD 49.0)

Even though it is one of the most populated cities in the Philippines, Davao City is a thriving tourism hub in the country. A number of museums and historical sites dot the city, including Mindanao Folk Arts Museum, Japanese Tunnel, Davao Museum, and Philippine-Japan Museum. Visitors should also check out the Philippine Eagle Foundation and Nature Center that is home to the endangered Philippine eagle. On your trip here, climb the majestic Mount Apo, sunbathe on the scenic beaches of Samal Island, or participate in the Kadayawan Festival.

Davao City Tour

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

8. Banaue (from USD 923.0)

Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Batad Rice Terraces and Bangaan Rice Terraces, Banaue is another well-known destination in the Philippine tourism map. Said to be at least 1000 years old, these rice terraces go up thousands of feet in the mountains. These mud-walled rice terraces are not just beautiful to look at, but they are awe-inspiring too, considering the ingenious irrigation method used to maintain them. There are more than 48 rice terraces in this area, and they occupy a large portion of the Ifugao province. In Banaue, you can also learn about the Ifugao culture while visiting the villages.

Banaue rice terraces and Sagada

Duration: 4 days

9. Baguio (from USD 187.0)

Aptly nicknamed the ‘Summer Capital of the Philippines’, Baguio is situated in a mountainous area and enjoys a year-round cool climate that attracts both domestic and international tourists. Visitors can go boating in Burnham Lake, enjoy views of the Cordillera mountains from Mines View Park, admire the architecture of the Mansion, or visit the Baguio Cathedral. Several museums that highlight the culture and history of the area are also worth visiting, like Baguio Museum, Museo Kordilyera or Laperal White House. It is also well-known for its folk art and craft traditions like weaving, tattooing, and silver craft.

Baguio City Sightseeing from Manila (Private Tour)

Duration: 13 hours

10. Puerto Princesa (from USD 12.0)

Nicknamed the ‘Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines’, Puerto Princesa is a well-known city on Palawan Island, Philippines. It is often used as a start-off point for tourists heading to Coron, El Nido, and other similarly exotic destinations. But the city offers many attractions that warrant an extended stay. Check out the Puerto Princesa seafront, Emerald Beach and Nature Park, Palawan Rescue and Wildlife Center, Puerto Princesa Immaculate Conception Cathedral, or Sabang Beach. Many restaurants and bars that serve excellent seafood and local dishes are also available here. A tour of Puerto Princesa Underground River is another experience you should not miss in this coastal city.

Puerto Princesa City Heritage Tour

Duration: 4 Hrs Duration

552 reviews

11. Mactan Island (from USD 102.0)

Located in the famous province of Cebu, Mactan Island is a relatively overlooked destination by most tourists. It is a coral island and as such, it offers some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the country right off its shores. Island hopping to the Bohol Strait is another popular activity here, along with water sports like sailing, jet-skiing, and more. Many marine conservation centres like Nalusuan Island Marine Sanctuary and San Vicente Marine Sanctuary are also located nearby.

Mactan Island Hopping and Snorkeling

Duration: 6 to 8 hours

12. Tagaytay (from USD 73.0)

Known as the ‘second summer capital of the Philippines’, Tagaytay enjoys a cool climate and scenic views all around. It is a popular destination for domestic tourists due to its proximity to Metro Manila. The main attractions of Tagaytay include awesome views of Taal Volcano and Taal Lake, which can be enjoyed from various points in the city. Besides this, visitors also flock here for the shrines and churches, the old-fashioned amusement park of SM Sky Ranch, Picnic Grove Complex, Ayala Malls Serin, People’s Park in the Sky, and more.

Tagaytay Day Tour Sightseeing From Manila (Private Tour)

Duration: 14 hours

13. Batan Island (from USD 71.0)

As the main island of Batanes, the northernmost region of the Philippines, this destination offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the wild and raw beauty of the country. The scene of the Japanese invasion during WWII, Batan Island is known for being home to many active and inactive volcanoes that are responsible for the lush, green, and hilly geography of the island. Visitors can admire the beauty of the rugged coastal cliffs and quaint limestone and coral houses, or visit Valugan Boulder Beach and Basco Lighthouse. Taking a boat trip to the nearby Sabtang Island is another popular thing to do from Batan Island.

2 Day North Batan and South Batan Tour

Duration: 2 Day(s) Duration

3 reviews

14. Siquijor

Paliton Beach, Siquijor, Philippines
Source: Photo by user Checawey used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Shrouded in mystical traditions, the island of Siquijor is an up and coming tourist destination in the Philippines. During the Spanish occupation of the island, it was known as Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) from the magical glow it emits due to the thousands of fireflies inhabiting the island. In reference to its mystical practise of sorcery and magic, the island holds many festivals where mountain healers make potions and practise ancient rituals. Siquijor is also home to the beautiful Cambugahay Falls, the 100-year-old Balete tree, and several beaches and caves. Ringed by coral reefs, the island also offers amazing diving and snorkelling opportunities to visitors.

15. Donsol

Whale shark
Source: Maxpixel.net

Known as the best spot to swim with whale sharks in the Philippines, Donsol has firmly established itself on the tourist map of the country. To go swimming with whale sharks here, the easiest way is to book guided tours with recognised dive centres in the area. This municipality also offers offbeat tours like night shrimp-catching or firefly watching. There are plenty of hills in this area which provides great biking and hiking opportunities. Diving trips to nearby islands can also be arranged from here.

16. Sabtang Island (from USD 52.0)

Another awesome island in Batanes is Sabtang Island. It is the smallest among the three major islands of Batanes but is well known for its traditional limestone-walled and cogon grass-topped houses, beautiful beaches, and Mission-style churches. Visitors can admire the well-preserved Chavayan and Savidug villages and learn about the Ivatan culture on the island. The San Vicente Ferrer Church, ruins of ancient fortresses, and the natural stone arch on Morong Beach are a few must-visit places on Sabtang Island.

Sabtang Island Day Tour from Batan Island

Duration: 9 Hrs Duration

8 reviews

17. Taal Volcano (from USD 69.0)

Taal Volcano has a rather interesting geography, which is aptly described by its moniker ‘island within a lake within an island within a lake’. It is located next to the hill town of Tagaytay and is a popular weekend destination for Manila residents. Taal Volcano is considered to be the smallest active volcano in the world, with 30 eruptions recorded thus far. Visitors can hike to the top of the volcano and enjoy panoramic views of the crater, Taal Lake, and the surrounding mountain landscapes from the rim. The views from atop the volcano are said to be wallpaper-worthy and absolutely breathtaking.

Taal Volcano Day Tour from Manila

Duration: 12 Hrs Duration

6 reviews

18. Camiguin Island (from USD 107.0)

Situated off the Bohol Sea, Camiguin Island is a picturesque piece of paradise that will enthral all kinds of visitors. The island is home to four volcanoes that have given rise to dense forests, waterfalls, and springs. Several beautiful beaches are also found on the island, enabling snorkelling, diving and swimming opportunities. Visitors to Camiguin can climb a volcano, participate in the annual Lanzones Festival which celebrates the sweet fruit, and admire many cultural landmarks, including the Old Bonbon Church ruins, Santo Rosario Church in Sagay, the Spanish-era watchtower in Guinsiliban, the old Mambajao Fountain, and Sunken Cemetery of Catarman.

Camiguin Island Tour

Duration: 6 hours

19. Catanduanes

Binurong Point, Catanduanes
Source: Photo by user ASEBASTIAN1218 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The island province of Catanduanes consists of several islands and islets and is often known as ‘The Land of the Howling Winds’ due to its typhoon-prone location. Despite this, it is a popular tourist spot famous for its lagoons, beaches, bays, churches, prehistoric caves, and a variety of flora and fauna. Snorkelling or swimming in the lagoons and glimpsing the diverse wildlife are some family activities you can enjoy here. Visitors can go surfing at Puraran Majestic Wave Beach, check out the stunning Luyang Cave, or admire the rugged mountainous topography from Binurong Point. Don’t forget to marvel at the architecture of the Holy Cross of Batalay Shrine, as well as the Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church (otherwise known as Bato Church).

20. Manjuyod Sandbar (from USD 229.81)

manjuyod sandbar

Nicknamed as ‘The Maldives of the Philippines’, Manjuyod Sandbar is a seven-kilometre (4.3 mi) strip of white sand in the Negros Oriental province of the Philippines. To reach the sandbar, visitors have to take a ferry that often includes a dolphin or whale watching tour as well. Depending on the tide, you can choose to sunbathe or laze around on the shoal, or you can swim, snorkel, and frolic in the water. Starfish are easily spotted in the surrounding waters. Other nearby attractions include the natural rock formation of Himampangon Cave and the protected Candabong forest.

Dumaguete: Dolphin Watching & Manjuyod Sandbar Private Tour

Duration: 10 hour

21. Iloilo City

Jaro Cathedral
Source: Photo by user Kguirnela used under CC BY 2.5

The very modern and urbanised Iloilo City is located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Amidst modern features, there are plenty of charming attractions here, including numerous museums, art galleries, and historic churches. Many cultural and religious festivals are also fervently celebrated here. Visitors can check out Museo Iloilo, Western Visayas Regional Museum, Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art, and Museum of Philippine Economic History. Admire the Spanish colonial architecture in Calle Real, Iloilo Customs House, and the old Iloilo City Hall of the American colonial period. Marvel at the opulent mansions like the Mansion de Lopez and Villa Lizares, or visit religious buildings like Jaro Cathedral and Molo Church. Several parks and shopping areas are also scattered across the city.

22. Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano and Cagsawa Church Ruins
Source: Photo by user nish.iona used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located on the Luzon Island of the Philippines, Mayon Volcano is a perfectly conical active stratovolcano that erupted as recently as 2018. Despite threats of eruption, tourism has continued to boom in this area. Besides taking pictures of the incredible Mayon Volcano, the most popular draw here is the Cagsawa ruins. It consists of a dilapidated stone church belfry standing alone in the grass. It is a testament to the violent nature of the nearby volcano when it buried nearly 1200 residents in 1814. Visitors can also attend one of the numerous festivals held in honour of the volcano, or explore Albay Biosphere Reserve.

23. Kalanggaman Island

Kalanggaman Island
Source: Photo by user Exec8 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The idyllic island paradise of Kalanggaman Island looks like something out of a movie, with its azure waters, brilliant white sand beaches, swaying palm trees, and an overall laidback island vibe. The sandbar extending out to the side is the main attraction of this island. The surrounding crystal clear waters are suitable for diving, snorkelling, standup paddleboarding, swimming, and kayaking. Or you can just laze around on the beach and mingle with the friendly island locals.

24. Mount Pinatubo (from USD 180.0)

Nestled in the Zambales mountain range of Luzon is the volcanic Mount Pinatubo. Though it had catastrophic effects on the surrounding areas after it erupted in 1991, Mount Pinatubo is a safe place to visit today. Due to its proximity to Manila, the mountain is a popular trekking destination for locals and visitors alike. The lake formed in the crater of the volcano, Lake Pinatubo, is filled with crystal clear water that is majestic to look at, but not suitable for swimming. For those who wish to admire the beauty of this area, adventure tours offered by multiple operators are available from Manila.

Mt. Pinatubo Crater and 4x4 Off-Road Tour from Manila

Duration: 15 hours

3 reviews

25. Pagsanjan Falls (from USD 138.0)

As the Philippines’ most famous waterfall, Pagsanjan Falls sees a steady footfall of tourists each year. The waterfalls are characterised by their unique three-tier shape and can be accessed in two ways - either by an adventurous canoe trip on 14 rapids from Pagsanjan, or a short hike from Cavinti town. The canoe trip is the most popular form of travel to the falls since it takes visitors through the spectacular boulder-lined Pagsanjan Gorge and ends at a natural pool under the falls. Devil’s Cave, which hides behind a curtain of water, is also a must-visit place here

Pagsanjan Falls Dugout Canoe Tour from Manila with Lunch

Duration: 8 hours

10 reviews

26. Manila (from USD 48.0)

manila

Since it is the capital city of the Philippines, most tourists use Manila as a base to hop off to other exotic beach destinations in the country. But there are a number of natural, architectural, and culinary attractions in the city. The most famous spots to visit here are the historic Walled City of Intramuros, where you can admire the stunning architecture, the National Museum Complex in Rizal Park that is home to a number of museums, Manila’s Chinatown (otherwise known as Binondo), where you can shop for inexpensive items or eat delicious fusion food, and Manila Ocean Park for some theme park fun for the whole family.

Manila: Old & New 4-Hour City Tour

Duration: 4 hour

104 reviews

27. Coron Island (from USD 60.0)

coron island
Source: www.viator.com

The stunning Coron Island is situated in the Calamian Islands in the Philippines and is a popular spot for ecotourism. It is best known for its breathtaking natural beauty. This destination boasts amazing diving and snorkelling opportunities since there are a number of WWII shipwrecks in the surrounding waters. Other famous natural attractions in the area include the rock formations, postcard-perfect cliffs of the Twin Lagoons, the crystal clear waters of Kayangan Lake and Barracuda Lake, various white sandy beaches and more. Coron Island also serves as a perfect base to go island-hopping. From here you can check out spots like Maquinit Springs, Malcapuya Beach, Coron Town, and more.

Full-Day Coron Island Ecotours

Duration: 8 hours

28. Corregidor Island (from USD 128.0)

Another strategically important island in the Luzon area, Corregidor Island was significant to the liberation of the Philippines from Japanese forces during WWII. The ruins of the American naval base, fortifications, barracks, bunkers, mortars, and secret tunnels can be explored via guided tours on the island. Visitors can even go walking, hiking, or biking along the many woodland trails. Enjoy birdwatching, take in spectacular sunsets from several viewpoints, go on a guided night visit to Malinta Tunnel or view the nearby sites of Fort Drum, La Monja, Mariveles, and more on boat tours.

Corregidor Island WWII Tour from Manila

Duration: 9 hours

43 reviews

29. Subic Bay (from USD 138.0)

subic bay

Located in the South China Sea, Subic Bay is a strategically important part of the Philippines. It was once home to a U.S. Naval Base. As such, there are several shipwrecks in this area perfect for wreck diving and snorkelling. The forest reserve of Pamulaklakin Nature Park provides visitors with a range of walking trails through lush jungles. Several theme parks and Zoobic Safari are also available in Subic Bay, making it an ideal family-friendly holiday destination. Visitors should also check out Malawaan Park, which offers scenic views of the bay area. While you’re here, catch a glimpse of the sunset at the Boardwalk, or admire the architecture of the Spanish Gate.

From Manila: Subic Bay and Zoobic Wildlife Zoo Adventure

Duration: 8 hour

5 reviews

30. Hidden Valley (from USD 148.0)

hidden valley

Located only a short drive away from Manila, Hidden Valley is home to natural springs in the middle of a lush, tropical rainforest. There are six natural hot and cold pools to be enjoyed here, along with several waterfalls, lagoons, and the majestic century-old Amlang tree. The family-friendly Hidden Valley has been featured in many television programmes and offers plenty of opportunities to relax, walk around, soak in the mineral-rich waters, or simply unwind in the lap of nature. Several species of bird and plant life can also be observed here.

From Manila: Day Tour to Enchanting Hidden Valley

Duration: 8 hour

10 reviews

Paradisiacal Philippines!

A group of islands with astounding natural beauty, friendly locals, and ancient culture mixed with colonial influences, the Philippines should feature on every traveller’s list. If you’re planning a holiday to this magical country, be sure to arm yourself with our list of the best places to visit in the Philippines.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Isha is a former corporate nobody. She lives a quiet life of travelling, writing, and minding her own business.

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