The Best Things to Do in the Philippines
Collected by Tina Lim, AFAR Local Expert
Not surprisingly, this chain of more than 7,000 islands holds a million wonders—wildlife, mountains, jungles, and the white sand beaches of your dreams. With so many places to go, you'll have to make some tough choices. What can wait for the next trip? Will you go island hopping or stay put on one of the larger islands? Will you head for the Chocolate Hills and the chance to see tiny primates with giant eyes? Or will you swim with whale sharks and go scuba diving off the low-key island of Palawan? There are no wrong answers.
Bambike HQ, Plaza San Luis Complex. Real St .cor General Luna St. Intramuros, M, Intramuros, Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines
Hop on a lightweight bicycle and learn about the history of the Philippines on a guided bike tour around Manila's old walled city of Intramuros. The bikes are handmade in the Philippines from bamboo, a natural vibration dampener, and fibers from...
Taal Volcano, Talisay, Philippines
Located in Tagaytay in Luzon, just an hour and a half by car from Manila, Taal Volcano has a complex and unique landscape and offers one of the most picturesque views in the Philippines. Taal Lake is a freshwater lake that partly fills the Taal...
Kilometer 47 Marcos Highway, Baras, Rizal, Philippines, 1970, Marcos Highway, Baras, 1970 Rizal, Philippines
The Masungi Georeserve is a conservation area in the rain forest of Baras, Rizal, just 30 miles from Manila. The landscape is a mix of jagged limestone rock formations (the reserve’s name comes from the word masungki, which means "spiked"),...
Donsol - Pio Duran Rd, Donsol, Sorsogon, Philippines
Donsol, in southeast Luzon, is the perfect place to snorkel with whale sharks, otherwise known as butanding. Each year from November to May, possibly the largest school of whale sharks in the world migrates here to feed on the dense concentration...
Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan, Philippines
Malapascua, a tiny island in the Visayan Sea north of Cebu, is well-known for its thresher-shark cleaning station, where divers gather daily to see these beautiful creatures ascend from below to be cleaned by fish before returning to deeper...
Mountain Province, Philippines
Most visitors to the Philippines will learn something about the country’s Spanish and American colonial history; fewer will learn about the people who were here before. The mountains of Luzon are still inhabited by distinct indigenous ethnic...
Batad Rice Terraces, Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines
Still in use today, the Ifugao Rice Terraces were carved into the hillsides of Ifugao Province by hand some 2,000 years ago, and are fed by an elaborate irrigation system that captures water from the forests above. While many people explore this...
Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
Puerto Princesa Underground River is set in a protected area of the St. Paul Mountain Range in Palawan. It’s a five-mile stretch of the Cabayugan River that runs through a huge limestone cave and directly into the West Philippine Sea near...
Tarsier Sunctuary Rd, Corella, Bohol, Philippines
The province of Bohol seems to encourage the bizarre. It contains one of the world’s strangest landscapes, a collection of some 1,700 hills in a 20-square-mile area called the Chocolate Hills. It is also home to a peculiar creature called...
Caramoan, Camarines Sur, Philippines
The Caramoan area, on the eastern tip of the Caramoan Peninsula in Bicol, is a rugged and remote landscape of white-sand beaches, rich woods, swampland, lakes, and caves. Numerous seasons of the reality TV show Survivor have filmed around this...
Baler, Aurora, Philippines
Fans of the movie Apocalypse Now probably know it was shot in Baler, some 150 miles northeast of Manila. At the time, locals were already well aware of the area’s killer waves, which caused trouble for the fishermen. But attitudes toward the...
Loay Interior Road, Carmen, Bohol, Philippines
One of the more bizarre landscapes in the Philippines is Bohol’s Chocolate Hills, a 20-square-mile area that contains some 1,700 hills. To date, these natural formations still baffle geologists, though legend claims the hills are rocks once...
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