Top Philippine Travel Destinations
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With the closing of the year 2014 came the opening of the Visit the Philippines Year (VPY) 2015. Last year, the country’s Department of Tourism headed a campaign called “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”, which aimed to increase the tourism in the country, and this year’s tourism campaign, “Visit the Philippines Year 2015”, also aims to continue the advocacy.
Cambolo Rice Terraces in Ifugao Photo by Wikipedia Commons
It was seen in the past year that the tourism in the country has indeed improved, and the Philippines has still more in store for those who plan to visit it this year. Here are the top 15 travel destinations in the Philippines that you shouldn’t miss:
Marlboro Hills in Batanes Photo by Roger Alcantara
The waves of modernization seems to have never reached the Batanes group of islands. Instead of malls are the so-called “honesty stores”, where costumers take and pay for their things honestly without the owner looking after them, and instead of cinema houses is the scenic view of the starry sky and the sea. Batanes is secluded, small, and serene, and everyone here knows each other. Experience life at its most basic form in these little islands.
2. El Nido
El Nido Big Lagoon by Nennnn via Flickr
El Nido is one of the best places in the Philippines for all your seaside activities. If you’re skilled enough, you can go island hopping, beaching, swimming, kayaking, cliff-climbing, cave-exploring…you name it. If that’s not enough, its Bacuit Bay is also known for being a marine sanctuary, making El Nido your all-around marine paradise.
- El Nido Travel Guide
- El Nido Island Hopping Tour C
- My El Nido Palawan Experience
- Cheap Hotels and Resorts in El Nido
3. Siargao Island
Surfing in Siargao By Jun Lao via Flickr Creative Commons
The waves of Siargao Island are not too weak, nor too strong. They’re just right—and that perfect mix is what made Siargao Island the Surfing Capital in the Philippines. International and local surfing competitions are held here annually. Still, if you’re not a fan of surfing, Siargao Island also offers you a so-called Naked Island, a shifting sandbar where you can go do your own hobbies.
Sunrise in Coron by Alan Escano via Flickr
If you’re in for a little twist in your vacation, then you should visit Coron Island Palawan. Its Kayangan Lake is the cleanest lake in the Philippines, and its equally clean and crystal-clear blue waters make it one of the best diving spots in the world, according to an internationally renowned travel magazine. The twist you’re looking for should be found a few meters below sea, with the shipwreck of WWII Japanese warships. That’s right: Japanese warships below sea. Here you can travel meters below sea, and decades back in time.
5. Boracay Island
Boracay Beach by Toby Simkin via Flickr
Who hasn’t heard of Boracay Island’s pink sands? If you don’t like beaches, the sun, or the color of the sand, then try going to the Dead Forest at night. Locals say the forest scares at its best during the full moon… you’ll understand when you get there.
Chocolate Hills in Bohol
Last year, when the island of Bohol was hit by an earthquake, its tourism rates, which used to be on the top of the country’s list, decreased abruptly. This year, with the campaign “Visit Bohol 2015”, the government aims to help Bohol to regain its former glory. Come to Bohol and see how a fallen province rises up once again with the combined strength of bayanihan, and hope.
Sagada in the Morning
If you prefer to spend your vacations in the mountains, then Sagada in Mountain Province is the place to go. Here, you can either spend time with the locals by watching how crops get harvested, and how these fresh, but surprisingly cheap crops get sold in the famous “Saturday Markets”, or you can spend time with nature by going biking, hiking, or cave-exploring. Or you can do both.
Beach in Siquijor
As one of the smallest provinces in the country, it might come as a surprise to you if you find out that it’s actually packed with tourist attractions (here, even century-old Balete trees are must-sees). This place is known for its traditional healers and its mystery-shrouded churches like Sta. Maria Church and St. Francis de Assisi Church.
Related Article: Siquijor Island Travel Guide: The Mystical Island of Fire
Gota Beach in Caramoan
Attention all you nature lovers out there: If you don’t like the crowds too much, and if you want your trip to be as calm and close to nature as much as possible, then you should go see Caramoan. Caramoan is quite far away from mainland Camarines Sur, which allowed its islands, like Manlawi, to be untouched and be free of urbanization.
10. Davao City
Davao Eagle Park
Davao City is known for a lot of things: its beaches, its fruits, its Philippine Eagle Nature Center, its Crocodile Park, and a whole lot more. You can find almost anything here, and it’s impossible for you to get bored.
Related Article: Experiencing the South: 8 Things to do while in Davao
Beach in Mactan Cebu
Like most of the tourist hotspots in the country, Cebu also offers its visitors an array of Philippine culture—from its Sinulog Festival to its specially-crafted guitars. Cebu, however, is unique for its historical significance. It was in this place where Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan first set foot, and many infrastructures that have stood since the Spanish Colonization Era continue to do so even today.
Related Article: Travel Guide: Things to do in Metro Cebu
Street in Vigan City
Vigan City has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999—meaning it’s not just the Phillippines’ treasure, it’s also the whole world’s! Vigan features perhaps the most preserved cities on Earth, with its structures dating back to the early 1500s.
Related Article: Travel Guide: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
13. Baguio City
Baguio Japanese Tunnel
Baguio City has been known for being the Summer Capital in the Philippines—mainly because the climate here is cold all year round, and people escaping the summer heat from the lowlands come to this mountainous city. And, if Vigan is very Spanish, Baguio is very American. Most tourist attractions are named after the people during the American Occupation who transformed the mountains into a wonderland—some of which are Wright Park, Burnham Park, and Camp John Hay.
Related Article: Baguio City Travel Guide: Travel Tips, Itinerary and Things to do
14. Dumaguete City
Antulang Beach Resort
The City of Gentle People—as it’s often called—attracts tourists with its world-famous diving spots, and its world-famous friendly locals.
Related Article: Lost in Dumaguete
15. Banaue, Ifugao
Batad Rice Terraces in Banaue Ifugao
If you plan to go to Ifugao, then you shouldn’t miss the Banaue Rice Terraces, the world-famous handmade rice paddies—which is known for being one of the world’s Seven Wonders.