We spent 14 days in the Philippines and were overwhelmed by all the stunning places we visited. Each place seemed to be unbeatable until we visited the next one. We were constantly surprised and marvelled by each island.
We went from end of February to beginning of March and had fantastic weather every day. It was only on our last day that the weather was a bit cloudy but it was still really warm (28-32°C). The rainy season runs from May to October so I guess those are the months you’ll want to avoid.
In addition to all of its outstanding wonders, it’s the people that make a big difference. Filipinos are so kind and welcoming, always with a smile on their faces and this made our trip even more memorable. That being said, they’re not the fastest people on earth so do be very patient with things…
I’ve put together a list our favourite activities, so here are the 10 top things to do in the Philippines:
1. Go Snorkelling/Suba Diving
The Philippines offers some of the best spots in the world to go diving so this is something that you cannot miss out on (if you’re not a diver you can also go snorkelling like we did). You will get to see some of the most beautiful coral reefs with hundreds of different fishes, starfish, turtles and many more... My favourite spots were Moalboal in Cebu and Matinloc Shrine in el Nido.
2. Eat lots of fresh fruit
When you travel to a destination like the Philippines all you can think about is eating exotic fruits. The mangoes, pineapples, coconuts and bananas are all so delicious in the Philippines that you'll be having these every day either in a juice, smoothie or simply freshly cut. There are many fruit stands along the roads where you can buy fresh fruit and have it cut for you to eat on the spot.
3. Go on a day tour to Kalanggaman
This was one of my personal favourites! There is no accommodation on this island to stay overnight for the time being so the only way of going there is on a day tour. We went on a group tour form Malapascua island. This wonderful island is one of its kind, I can’t explain in words how stunning this island is... However it’s starting to be developed and will soon have its first hotel and may even be privatised someday so it’s definitely a place to visit soon.
4. Swim in enchanted waterfalls
The Philippines has some of the most extraordinary waterfalls in the world which will take your breath away and make you feel as though you’re in a fairy tale. I particularly recommend Tumalog Falls and Kawasan Falls in Cebu but do make sure to get their early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
5. Relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world
You can imagine that with around 7,000 islands there are some pretty amazing beaches to discover in the Philippines and some which are untouched. The islands boast beaches made of fine white sand like flour, extremely crystal clear blue seas and lush green palm trees that make it even more amazing. My personal favourites were the beaches on Kalanggaman Island and on the nearby islands of Coron.
6. Spot the Tarsiers in Bohol
These cute little furry animals with huge eyes can only be found in Southeast Asia and are unfortunately very vulnerable to extinction. Thankfully, there are conservation areas, such as the Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary in Bohol that protect the animals. There are hundreds of Tarsiers in the reserve but your visit will consist of walk around a path where you'll see around 8-10 of them in total. They’re territorial animals so they all stay in their own spots and rarely move much. You might expect this visit to be more wild but I personally think it’s a good way to protect the animals as the staff can assure that no one gets too close to these little creatures or interfere with their habitat.
7. Reach the top of the Chocolate Hills
This is an iconic place in Bohol which you won't want to miss when visiting this island. These geological formations are incredible and are truly one of a kind. The hills, which are actually made of limestone, are covered in green grass which turns a chocolatey brown during the dry season (now you know where its name comes from). There is a main viewpoint which can easily be accessed and which offers a spectacular 360° view over the Chocolate Hills.
8. Go kayaking in El Nido
El Nido is known for its wonderful limestone cliffs and bright green emerald water. There are many hidden spots in El Nido to visit, such as secret lagoons and beaches, which can only be accessed by water. There are several organised boat tours to choose from and another option is to rent a kayak to wander around and explore the wonders of this magical area in the Philippines.
9. Enjoy the most amazing sunsets
Wherever you are in the world, there’s always something fascinating about watching a sunset, probably because no two sunsets are alike. One of the most breathtaking sunsets we saw in the Philippines was at Las Cabanas beach in El Nido. There’s even a lively little beach bar where you can get a drink and snacks whilst enjoying this magical moment.
10. Find your inner peace in secret lagoons
El Nido and Coron Island both have some spectacular lagoons and lakes to visit. Kayangan Lake was my favourite, the water is emerald green and is mostly fresh water making it really enjoyable to swim in. If you can make it there when there’s nobody around it's so quiet and peaceful...
Have you done any of these things in the Philippines?
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English and French wanderer. Based in Paris. Tasting the world through one escape to another...