The beautiful Philippines are known for the beautiful beaches and deserted coastlines, smouldering volcanoes, cave systems and the many virtually undiscovered trails. The history of the country dates back many hundreds of years and the country is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, with almost 200 mammal species, 600 bird species and at least 400 types of coral.
The mountain ranges have more volcanoes per km2 than anywhere else in the world and the oceans are home to the most bio-diverse reef system on earth. There are plenty of adventures to be had in the Philippines, from diving and caving, to the popular hikes.
The best time to visit is December and January, though this is the peak so you need to book early; while April and November are the best months to travel if you’re interested in diving as this is when visibility is best.
The capital is Manila and this is by far one of most accessible destinations for tourists, though it is often overlooked. Other major cities include Davao and Cebu.
Things to see and do
Manila is known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and it is a bustling city with a rich history. Often overlooked by tourists as it has a reputation for being congested, the city is loaded with a multi-cultural heritage, fantastic nightlife and delicious cuisine.
Manila is located on Manila Bay in the South China Sea and there are 16 districts. Within these you will find a mixture of history and modern living, rich and poor. There are a number of museums that will take you through history, including the National Museum of the Philippines and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila; as well as a number of beautiful churches and parks and gardens.
If you love nature, visit the Manila Zoo (though it is in need of major renovations), Manila Ocean Park with its 8000m2 oceanarium and Arroceros Forest Park.
Davao is located in the southestern Mindanao region of the Philippines and it is here that you will find an intriguing mix of natural landscapes, from the highland mountains to the fruit plantations and the sandy beaches. Davao City itself is the main trade, commerce, and industry hub of Mindanao and it is home to the highest mountain in the Philippines, Mount Apo.
One of the city’s most popular attractions is the Crocodile Park, which is also home to the Davao Butterfly House and the cultural village, Tribu K’Mindanawan.
Outside the city and there is plenty to see and do, including a visit to the highest waterfalls in the Philippines at Aliwagwag Falls; exploring the Mahayhay Cave; and enjoying a visit to Samal Island – the largest resort city in the country, where you can stay at one of around 70 resorts and enjoy a range of activities.
Cebu is located in the south of the Philippines and is the country’s oldest city. It is an island province and is one of the most popular tourist destinations, particularly for those who love diving. Cebu City is ... Cebu is also home to 167 islets and islands where you can enjoy relaxing on the white sandy beaches, diving around World War II shipwrecks and the island of Pescador, visiting waterfalls and enjoying a walk through lush green forests.
Visit Bantayan Island if you want the perfect place to relax and laze around on the beach; Kawasan Falls for a swim in the stunning blue waterholes and to explore the 20 metre cascading waterfall; while at Oslob you can swim with the elusive and majestic whale shark. This is an experience you will never forget, though is only possible in the mornings and early afternoon.
Must do Activities
This trek will take you through sandy cliffs and up a single trail mountain path where you will be surrounded by the beauty of the Philippine landscape. The walk can be done in around 4 hours and is 5.5 kilometres each way. When you reach the summit you will be treated to views of the volcanic Crater Lake.
Mount Arayat, located in Pampang, is considered a mystical mountain, the legendary home of the Fairy known as Diwata Mariang Sinukuan, and is popular for hiking and camping. You can hike to the peak, though the trail is hard and includes steep slopes. When you get to the top it is well worth it though, with unforgettable views of the mountain and surrounding area, including Central Luzon Plain and Pampanga River.
If you’re a seasoned trekker and want to take on a challenge, Mount Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines and is dubbed “the Playground of The Gods”. See the legendary mossy forest along the way and experience astounding views from the top.
DON'T MISS MANILA
Manila Metropolitan Theatre
Binondo (for great food)