Years ago, when I traveled to Philippines, many of my friends did not even know where the Philippines are. Honestly told, I did not know what to expect from them either, but maybe that is why, Philippines did impress me so much.
Best 10 Philippines tourist attractions
1. Islands and paradise beaches in the Philippines
The Philippines have 7107 islands and islands are definitely the most famous Philippines tourist attractions. Nowadays one of the most popular Philippines islands is Palawan – wild, unique and with some of the most amazing beaches in the world. If you are not much into wilderness, best islands to visit for holidays and relaxation are Cebu, Bohol and Borocay.
2. Banaue rice terraces
Rice is the staple food in the Philippines. It is eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My favorite was the fried garlic rice and even though I ate it three times per day, during my one month travel around the Philippines,I would not mind a portion or two now. The rice has been the main ingredient in the Philippines forever, which can be well observed if heading to Banaue. Banaue is home to mind blowing rice terraces, which you should not miss. They are more than 2000 old and visiting them with making a three day trek, might be the highlight of your Philippines travel.
3. Water sports in the Philippines
Philippines are mostly known as the perfect diving and snorkeling destination. Amazing underwater world on its coral reefs is definitely a tourist attraction worth visiting, but Philippines offer so much more. The Philippines are perfect for kayaking tours (best are in Palawan), surfing (La Union), kite surfing (Boracay and Palawan) and wake-boarding (best wake park in Asia is Cam Sur on south part of Luzon).
4. Volcanoes in the Philippines
Most of the islands in the Philippines are volcanic origin. In fact, even now, there are 18 active volcanoes there. If you like to hike, you can climb on some of them. Two of the most popular volcanoes to hike to are Taal and Mount Mayon. You can even reach the top of the highest peak in the Philippines – Apo (3.146 meters above the sea level).
5. Swimming with whale sharks and hunting for tarsiers
Philippines have rich flora and fauna, but if you are a big fan of both worlds, you definitely know that Philippines have two animal species, which will leave you speechless. Visiting Philippines and its island of Bohol, will show you the smallest monkeys in the world, known as the tarsiers. If you are brave enough, visit Donsol and go swimming with the whale sharks (largest specie of fish in the world) –unforgettable and adrenalin full experience for sure.
6. Hanging coffins in Sagada
The tradition, where burying the deaths in hanging coffins, is hardly alive today, but Philippines are one of the rare countries, where you can still see it. The village of Sagada can be found in the northern mountain province, on Luzon island. Reaching Sagada is a little bit challenging, but the vibe you get there, is well worth all your effort. I stayed here for two days, but could easily stay for a week or even more. The time flies by slowly and everything is more relaxed and quiet. The main reason for travelers to visit Sagada are the hanging coffins. Some indigenous people in Sagada buries their ancestors in this hanging coffins even today. They believe, that the deaths are closer to heavens this way.
7. Chinese cemetery in Manila
Manila, capital of the Philippines, is not really a favorite stop among travelers. This huge metropolis is not really a relaxed place, but nevertheless, we can still find some very interesting tourist attractions here. If you are limited with time, the most unbelievable attraction is the Chinese cemetery, where only the richest Chinese families are buried. The Chinese cemetery looks like a housing estate. All the tombs are build like houses and are equipped with running water, electricity, toilets and even kitchens… Walking around it and knowing Manila’s biggest problem is poverty and its slums, force you into asking yourself how this can even be possible.
8. Cheap massages
Sun, sea and sand… What more can you wish from the Philippines, right? Well, to make your holiday break even better and more relaxed, a massage or two don’t hurt. The Philippines are fantastic holiday destinations as massages are very affordable. The price ranges from the destination, but I got the cheapest one for 2 EUR (90 minutes) and the most expensive one at 5€ (60 minutes).
9. Food in the Philippines
It is hard not to get rice in the Philippines as this is a must with all the meals, but luckily the food in the Philippines can still be very diverse. If you like sea food, you came to the right place – it is fresh, delicious and also ridiculously cheap. Eggs are also on a daily menu. Don’t be to shocked, when you’ll be challenged with Balot – boiled duck embryo eaten in the shell. I must admit, I could not eat it, even I was well determined to do it… Maybe next time. Last but not least, Philippines are rich in fruit and vegetables too. One of my favorite fresh juices was made out of »calamansi«, known as Filipino juice, made out of miniature lime. Yummy!
10. People in the Philippines
It is known that Filipinos are one of the kindest nations in the world. I can easily confirm this statement myself, as traveling around the Philippines for a month, showed me nothing but kindness. It is not just that people in the Philippines are kind, they are also honest and welcoming, not to mention English is their official language, what makes communication easy.
I often wonder why I fallen for the Philippines completely. Maybe it was because I did not expect anything from them, but got so much in return. And there is of course one personal and major reason, why Philippines are still one of my TOP travel destinations (no, it’s not a guy). I actually traveled to Philippines to meet my long time pen-friend. I was so nervous to meet a friend, which I knew just threw letters, sharing my deepest feelings and secrets with her… We have been friends for almost 20 years now and I cannot wait to see here again. That is also one of the best reasons, I will be back to Philippines again for sure.