The Philippines consists of over seven thousand islands, each with their own sights to be seen, landscapes to explore, and adventures to be had. While it’s difficult to narrow down the countless destinations, here are our top five places to visit in the Philippines.
1. Coron Island, Palawan
The island of Coron, in the Palawan province of the Philippines, looks as though it has been plucked straight from a postcard. From the turquoise waters to the white sand beaches to the lush green hills, Coron is a little slice of paradise.
It’s tempting to spend all your time here lazing on the beach, but if you’re looking for something a bit more active, Coron has plenty to keep you occupied. The surrounding waters are littered with sunken Japanese wrecks and coral reefs, and are perfect for scuba diving or snorkelling. Kingfisher park offers kayak tours through beautiful mangrove surroundings. And Maquinit Hot Spring is a great place to relax in a naturally heated pool.
Or, if you’d prefer to stay on dry land, Coron also boasts plenty of scenic treks, mountain bike trails, and wildlife watching.
2. Chocolate Hills, Bohol
The Chocolate Hills, in the province of Bohol, make for a surreal sight. These rounded humps remain green throughout the rainy season. But, as the dry season approaches, the hills slowly turn brown, giving them the appearance of mounds of chocolate. Whatever time of year you choose to visit, the Chocolate Hills are beautiful to see.
The Chocolate Hills are thought to have been formed by marine limestone that was unable to penetrate the clay foundation below. The hills cannot be climbed, instead, stairs lead to a viewing deck from where visitors can take in the panorama of over 1,000 hills spread out across 20 square miles.
3. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (also known as the Puerto Princesa Underground River) is a stunning park in the Palawan province. The park features an underground river that runs for over eight kilometres through a cave system, before reaching the sea. Boat tours take groups almost up the river, taking in sights of limestone formations, a fascinating ecosystem, and deep caves.
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. In 2012, the park was included in the list of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
4. Malapascua Island
There are over 7,170 islands throughout the Philippines. While it’s impossible to choose a favourite, many visitors are drawn to Malapascua. This tiny island is just about the most idyllic paradise on earth. Its relaxed pace and unspoilt palm-tree laden beaches make it the perfect retreat in which to relax and soak up some sun.
Malapascua also features world-class scuba diving sites, where divers can swim alongside manta rays and thresher sharks.
The island boasts a stunning collection of resorts.
5. Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifuagao
Though many people associate the Philippines with island hopping and tropical beaches, there’s far more to see in this country! Head inland to the province of Ifuagao to view the picturesque rice terraces at Banaue.
The Banaue Rice Terraces were created over 2,000 years ago, when they were carved by hand into the mountainside. The terraces are still used to this day by local people to grow rice and vegetables.
A fascinating culture surrounds the practise of rice cultivation in the area, including the use of traditional farming methods, and engaging in harvest rituals and thanksgiving feasts. The terraces are free of genetically modified foods, and are irrigated naturally by the surrounding rainforest.
The best time to visit is between February and March, when planting takes place, and between June and July, when the crops are harvested.
These are just five of the countless beautiful places to visit in the Philippines. Whether your interest lies in picturesque beaches, tropical islands, underwater sights, or stunning landscapes, there’s something for everyone in this incredible country!