Whether you’re a culture vulture, foodie, sports junkie or a sun-kissed beach bum, you will never run out of reasons to visit the Philippines. With its incredible natural beauty and abundance of joyful attractions to offer and famous for its pristine laid-back beaches and magnetic fusion of arts and culture, the “Pearl of the Orient Seas” is jam-packed with diversions, treats, exotic treasures and spectacles that guarantee to put you in a state of euphoria. Plus, it’s a cheap country to visit, and has locals that are simply charming, uber friendly, bubbly and resilient.
There are countless of reasons to include the Philippines on your bucket list of places to visit. And since we can’t squeeze everything into one post, we decided to pick 20 of the best reasons to travel to this wonderland.
The Philippines is truly a paradise for thrill seekers who are looking for an extra heavy dose of outdoor fun and adventure. Whether you’re into skydiving, white-water rafting, canyoneering or spelunking, this beautifully diverse Southeast Asian archipelago has an endless array of adventurous outdoor thrills and experiences to blow your mind and kick your adrenaline up a notch. Trust me, there is never a boring day or even a dull moment in the Philippines.
Speaking of exciting things, the Philippines also has a glut of modern-day extravaganzas that can give you a blast and unforgettable heart-pumping experiences. In Cebu’s Crown Regency, for instance, travelers and locals may experience a medley of avant-garde and pulsating extreme adventures, including as the Tower Zip, Edge Coaster and Sky-walk Experience. Of course, the Philippines is bursting with animating amusement parks as well, such as Star City Manila, Enchanted Kingdom and Sky Ranch Pampanga.
If you’re someone who eats, sleeps and breathes basketball, you will definitely find your bliss in this tropical archipelago. Known as a basketball powerhouse in Asia, the entire nation is literally madly crazily in love with this sport. As a matter of fact, you can find mini-basketball courts nearly in every corner of the urbanized areas in the Philippines.
What’s more, the Filipinos have combined basketball with yet another national pastime – singing – through their programmed karaoke machines. Yes folks, this wonderfully weird mash-up of basketball and karaoke lets you sing your favorite songs while watching jaw-dropping highlights of Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and other NBA greats.
The country’s pristine and gorgeous beaches are, without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest tourist draws of the Philippines. As a tropical archipelago with more than 7,000 islands and a coastline of over 36,000 kilometers, the Philippines is blessed with a galore of wondrous beaches that would give you a slice of heaven on earth.
What are the best beaches to visit in the Philippines? Check out our picks and suggestions:
• Sugar Beach, Bantayan
• Guyam Island, Siargao
• Paliton Beach, Siquijor
• White Beach, Boracay
• Daku Island, Siargao,
• Calitang Beach, El Nido
• Bounty Beach, Malpascua
Tired of sunbathing and swimming in salty waters? Then, take a refreshing plunge in a majestic Philippine waterfall! The country is teeming with splendid waterfalls with turquoise waters, which are often found in verdant natural surroundings like a rainforest.
Here are, in my book, the best waterfalls in this tropical destination:
• Tinagu Falls, Iligan
• Katibawasan Falls, Camiguin
• Aliwagang Falls, Davao
• Kawasan Falls, Cebu
• Cambugahay Falls, Siquijor
With over a thousand of islands dotting the Philippines, it’s no surprise the country is brimming with awe-inspiring natural landscapes, from steep volcanoes and majestic mountains to marvelous lakes. A special delight for nature lovers and photographs, this Asian hub is a host to some of Asia’s most stunning surroundings like El Nido’s incredible archipelago, Banaue’s Rice Terraces and the world-famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol. Likewise, it has dozens of dramatic volcanoes, such as the Taal Volcano and Mount Pinatubo.
Diving in the Philippines is a worthwhile experience that you will cherish for years to come. After all, the country is often deemed as one of top diving destinations, and is the world’s epicenter of Marine Biodiversity. In fact, 488 of the known 500 coral species on the face of the earth are found in this Southeast Asian hub, spreading out more than 12,000 square miles.
Cuddly and quirky, the Philippine Tarsier – the undisputed star of Bohol’s wildlife scene – is a small primate that will amuse you with its utter cuteness and peculiarity. One of the rarest animals in the world, the tarsier is an endangered species that can only be found in a handful places worldwide, including Bohol, Philippines.
A visit to this tropical wonderland is a chance for you to get up close and personal with a bunch of 10-meter long butandings, or also referred as whale sharks. In the Philippines, there are a number of places where you can spot and swim alongside these friendly gigantic sea creatures, including Palwan, Donsol and Oslob in Cebu. And the best part of it is that you won’t have to spend a fortune to experience this one-of-a-kind aquatic adventure. But, please don't touch or harm these creatures, as you swim with them.
It’s eerie, bizarre and absolutely not the most glamorous attraction in the Philippines, and yet it draws throngs of tourists on a daily basis. For me, these coffins are quite interesting to see, and they can also give you a sneak peek of the rich history and customs of the Igorot tribe. Not to mention, it’s a great hike, and will delight your eyes with some awesome sights of Mother Nature’s creations.
As far as historical sites and treasures, the Philippines is not as diverse and abundant as China, Cambodia, Spain and Italy. Nevertheless, it has a rich cultural heritage, and is home to a host of UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Historic Town of Vigan in Ilocos Sur and the distinctively beautiful baroque Saint Augustine Church.
Are you a sucker for eye-catching sunsets? The sunsets in this part of the world are nothing short of amazing. Whether you’re hanging out in Manila Bay or lounging on the powdery white sands of Boracay, watching the beautiful sunset in the Philippines will guarantee to awestruck and enthrall you.
Blessed with the riches of the sea, the Philippines is, as far as I’m concerned, the ultimate destination for seafood lovers. From cheap seafood cottages to fancy and expensive beach resorts, fresh and mouthwatering seafood is practically everywhere in the Philippines. Furthermore, the Filipinos know how to prepare prawns, squids and lobsters quite well, allowing you to indulge on a hearty and memorable seafood experience.
Just because the Filipino cuisine isn’t internationally renowned, it doesn’t mean the food in this country tastes bad, and is not worth trying. For those who have yet to sample the Filipino cuisine, there are a lot of luscious and filling dishes in this Asian country that would give you a filling and super tasty gastronomic experience.
Here are some of the dishes and delicacies that you must try during your trip to the Philippines:
No trip to the Philippines is complete without experiencing its colorful and gleeful festival. As you participate in a Filipino festival, you’ll get a glimpse of the country’s culture, through the charming cultural dance performances with dancers painted in tribal designs and adorned in elaborate and prismatic costumes.
Most popular festivals in the Philippines:
• Masskara – Bacolod
• Kadayawan – Davao
• Panagbenga – Baguio
• Sandugo – Bohol
• Sinulog – Cebu
• Feast of the Black Nazarene – Manila
You won’t have a hard time communicating and interacting with the country’s locals since English is spoken widely in the Philippines, even in secluded islands and remote rural areas.
Need a cozy place to stay? You don’t need to pay top dollar to have a safe and snug place to stay in this Asian destination. In major cities like Manila, there are plenty of cheap inns, hostels, and boutique hotels where you can have a good night’s sleep. Of course, there are also cheap places to stay in the far-flung areas of the country.
Filipinos, in general, are supremely hospitable, and you do not have to worry about feeling left out or lonely. The Philippines, with its friendly and hospitable locals, is an Asian land that you can really call your second home or a home away from home.
Filipinos are a pretty resilient and lighthearted of bunch of people as well. Even though they have to endure cyclones, tropical diseases, earthquakes and crooked politicians, these people just keep on smiling, giving their foreign visitors a silent lesson in resourcefulness, fortitude and gracious humility.
With today’s fast-paced lifestyle and ever changing technology, most of us tend to overlook the simpler things in life. As we become too consumed by materialism, we also forget how fortunate we are for all the blessings that our creator has given to us. But, try to take a trip down to one of the largest slums in Tondo, and I guarantee you that you will have a different outlook in life afterwards. It’s not your quintessential idea of sightseeing, but delving into the country’s harsh realities will move you, and may help you become a better person.
When it comes to transportation, the country doesn’t have a potent system that is as fast and efficient as the high-speed bullet trains of Japan. Travelers, however, will find joy exploring the Philippines through its eccentric modes of transportation, such as the tricycle, habal-habal and jeepney. And by the way, did we mention that it is the land of talented singers and gorgeous beauty queens?
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