11 Best Places to Visit in the Philippines [And How To Get There]

Planning to visit the Philippines? Check out this list of the 11 best places to visit in the Philippines!

Comprising of 81 provinces under 17 regions and more than 7,600 islands with distinct attractions and natural wonders, the Philippines is one of Asia’s favorite travel and vacation destinations. It offers diversified activities for all types of travelers, from thrill-seekers to casual tourists who just want to enjoy the sights or immerse in the unique local cultures.

11 Best Places to Visit in the Philippines [And How To Get There]
Sunset in Boracay, one of the world’s best islands

THE 11 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN THE PHILIPPINES

Palawan

Palawan is consistently on top of the tourists’ choice of the best places to visit in the Philippines. Home to the Puerto Princesa’s Subterranean River listed as one of the New7Wonders of Nature and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It boasts of incredible rock islands, rainforests, virgin beaches, seascapes, primitive caves, cliffs, and natural parks. Hailed as a divers’ paradise, the must-visit places in Palawan are Coron, El Nido, Tubbataha Reefs, and Honda Bay. For a luxury retreat, head on to Amanpulo and other exclusive resorts in Palawan. Check out our Palawan Travel Guide to learn more about this gorgeous holiday destination.

Kayangan Lake
Kayangan Lake | Deposit Photos

Top things to do in Palawan

  • Explore the Kayangan Lake in Coron
  • Go on an island hopping tour in El Nido
  • Visit the Calauit Safari Park
  • Climb the Taraw Cliff in El Nido
  • Chill at the Twin Beach of Calitang and Nacpan
  • Experience the Puerto Princesa Underground River
  • Explore the Honda Bay Islands
Malcapuya Beach | Bigstock Photo

How to get to Palawan?

From Manila, you can fly direct to El Nido, Busuanga (Coron) or Puerto Princesa in the province of Palawan. The flights to El Nido are limited so most people fly to Puerto Princesa and take a van or bus to El Nido. Once in El Nido, you can take a boat to Coron if you want to explore the best of Palawan.

Cebu

The Queen City of the South has the Magellan’s Cross, symbolizing the beginning of Catholicism in the Philippines. Nearby is the oldest church of Cebu, the Basilica Del Santo Nino. Cebu has a lot of cultural and historical attractions, along with white-sand beaches in Bantayan and Malapascua and diving spots in Moalboal and Sumilon Island. If you want to experience snorkeling with whale sharks, don’t miss visiting the town of Oslob. Local and foreign tourists love to attend the Sinulog Festival every mid-January to experience exciting events and explore Cebu’s amazing sightseeing spots.

Sumilon Island | Bigstock Photos

Top things to do in Cebu

  • Go on a sunrise hike to Osmena Peak
  • Experience Kawasan Falls Canyoneering
  • Swim with the sardines in Moalboal
  • Dive in Sumilon Island
  • Swim with the whale sharks in Oslob
  • Enjoy the white sand beaches of Malapascua and Bantayan
  • Eat lechon in Carcar
Kawasan Falls

How to get to Cebu?

Cebu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines with direct flights from Thailand, Mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, and Singapore. From Manila, Cebu is just an hour away by plane. Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Philippine Airlines have multiple daily flights from Manila and Clark to Cebu Mactan International Airport.

Boracay

For the ultimate beach experience, Boracay is the best place to be. This awesome island in Aklan boasts of world-class resorts, white-sand beaches, dazzling blue waters, and magnificent sunsets. It is one of the Philippines top destinations, with numerous recognition from local and international publications.

Boracay Island

The top destination is White Beach, a prime area with lots of private resorts and restaurants. For snorkeling and picnic, go to Puka Shell Beach or Diniwid Beach, while Bulabog Beach will satisfy kitesurfers and windsurfers. Thrill-seekers enjoy Ariel’s Point with its 15-meter high “diving boards”, which is also perfect for snorkeling and kayaking activities.

Boracay Island just before sunset

Top things to do in Boracay

  • Cliff dive at Ariel’s Point
  • Go on an island hopping adventure
  • Do parasailing
  • Ride an ATV
  • Chill at the white beach
Boracay Sunset

How to get to Boracay?

There are basically two main gateways to Boracay: Caticlan and Kalibo. The former is more convenient as it is closer to Boracay Island. The latter, on the other hand, is a favorite option for travelers with a limited budget as the fare is lower from Manila. From Caticlan or Kalibo, take a van to the jetty port and from there, get on a boat to Boracay Island. Take note that you may be asked for a proof of booking accommodation before you can take a boat. Check out the list of DOT-Accredited Hotels in Boracay where you can book and stay while on the island.

Bohol

Famous for the Chocolate Hills and tarsiers, Bohol is a tropical paradise for snorkelers and divers. Its exquisite coastline is skimmed by white sand beaches and coves that promise ultimate delight. Explore the beauty of the underwater world in Panglao Island and enjoy the scenic view of the marine sanctuary in Balicasag, the sponges and gorgonians in Doljo Beach, and the school of small fish, Anemone, and nudibranchs in Alona Beach. Whale watching and dolphin watching tours are also popular activities in Bohol.

Alona Beach
Alona Beach, Panglao Island | Bigstock Photos

Top things to do in Bohol

  • Visit the Bohol Chocolate Hills
  • See the tarsier up close
  • Enjoy the beaches in Panglao Island
  • Dine at the floating restaurant in Loboc
  • Explore the heritage churches in the province
Bohol Chocolate Hills

How to get to Bohol?

The fastest and easiest way to get to Bohol is by taking a flight from Manila and Clark Airport to Panglao International Airport. If you are coming from South Korea, Philippine Airlines has a direct flight from Seoul (Incheon) to Bohol. Alternatively, you can also fly to Cebu and take a ferry to Tagbilaran.

Siargao

Dubbed as the country’s Surfing Capital, Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. The excellent waves and wind condition, especially from August to November during the “Habagat” (Southwest Monsoon) attract international and local wave riders. The most famous surfing destination in Siargao is Cloud 9, the location of the annual Siargao Cup competition. For non-surfers, island-hopping to Guyam Island, Dako Island, and Naked Islam is perfect. Other popular spots are the Magpupungko Rock Pools and the Sugba Lagoon.

naked island, siargao
Siargao’s Naked Island | Bigstock Photos

Top things to do in Siargao

  • Surf at Cloud 9
  • Visit the Magpupungko Tidal Pool
  • Explore the Tayangban Cave Pool
  • Go on an island hopping adventure and visit Daku Island, Naked Island, and Guyam Island
Surfing in Siargao

How to get to Siargao?

Siargao Airport only caters domestic flights. You will need to fly to Manila, Clark, Cebu, or Davao in order to get a flight to this amazing island. It’s an hour flight from Cebu and almost 2 hours flight from Manila and Clark.

Davao

Another renowned travel destination in the Philippines is Davao, where Mt. Apo, the highest mountain in the country is located. This region in Mindanao has a lot of picturesque landscapes and natural attractions that guarantee exciting adventures. Davao is home to the rare monkey-eating eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) or simply the Philippine Eagle. This huge bird along with serpent eagles, sea eagles, hawks, and other predators can be found in Philippine Eagle Center. You should also visit the Davao Crocodile Park to watch the crocodiles, wild boars, tigers, apes, pythons, and birds or the Montfort Bat Sanctuary in Samal Island to see thousands of fruit bats. Other sites to explore are the People’s Park, Eden Eco Park, and the world-class Pearl Farm Beach Resort.

Top Beach Resorts In Samal
Pearl Farm Beach Resort in Samal Island

Top things to do in Davao

  • Conquer the highest peak in the Philippines – Mt. Apo
  • Visit the Chocolate Museum at Malagos Garden Resort
  • Go on an adventure at Eden Nature Park
  • Enjoy the gorgeous beaches in Samal Island
  • Try skimboarding at Dahican Beach in Mati
  • See the mighty Aliwagwag Falls in Cateel, Davao Oriental
  • Visit the Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, the first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mindanao
  • Check out the Philippine Eagle Center
Dahican Beach in Mati City

How to get to Davao?

From Manila, Davao is about 1.5 hours by plane. Direct flights from Manila, Clark, and Cebu are available daily. Limited international flights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, and mainland China are also available.

Siquijor

Locals call their land as “Isla del Fuego” (Island of Fire) due to fireflies that create a magical ambiance during the evening. This idyllic destination which is also renowned for pristine beaches, stunning corals, mystical caves, amazing diving spots, and beautiful waterfalls is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. The most famous waterfall is the Cambugahay Falls, a 3-tiered waterfall that features 3 big lagoons where you can swing like Tarzan. While touring the place, check out the gigantic 400 Century-Old Balete Tree which has a spring below that serves as a fish spa.

Siquijor Island
Siquijor Island

Top things to do in Siquijor

  • Enjoy the refreshing water at Cambugahay Falls
  • Experience the white sand beaches of the island
  • Dive and explore the underwater world of Siquijor
  • Visit the 400-year old balete tree
  • Watch an amazing sunset
Cambugahay Falls
Cambugahay Falls

How to get to Siquijor?

The mystical island of Siquijor has no commercial airport so you will have to take a ferry from Dumaguete or Bohol. From Manila, you can fly to Dumaguete, Cebu or Bohol and take a ferry from there. The closest airport is the one in Dumaguete City. Here’s the schedule of ferry trips from Dumaguete to Siquijor.

Sagada and Banaue

These two places are 3-hour trip away from each other, letting tourists enjoy their natural wonders one after the other. Banaue is famous for the spectacular centuries-old man-made landscape of the rice terraces. The best time to get an impressive view is at sunrise, when the fog is slowly lifting off, revealing its breathtaking beauty. Then, take a stroll in the nearby Hiwang Village. To meet the indigenous people who plant rice and vegetables on the terraces visit the Banaue Ethnic Village.

View of rice terraces fields in Banaue, Philippines | Bigstock Photos

Sagada is often called the outdoor paradise of adventurers who love the thrill of high elevation and steep mountains. Hiking to Mount Ampaco or through Echo Valley is a top activity. Meanwhile, for those who just want to enjoy the unique culture and sights of this place, you may try the Hanging Coffins on the cliffs.

Echo Valley in Sagada | Bigstock Photos

Top things to do in Sagada and Banaue

  • Experience the Batad and Banaue Rice Terraces
  • Visit the Lumiang Burial Cave
  • Go Spelunking at Sumaging Cave
  • Trek to the Echo Valley
Inside Sumaguing Cave

How to get to Sagada and Banaue?

There is no commercial airport near Sagada and Banaue so the most convenient way is to fly to Manila and take an overnight bus to Bontoc for Banaue and a direct overnight bus to Sagada. Here’s the schedule of bus trips from Manila. Make sure you book in advance especially when you travel during the holiday season.

Batangas

Its proximity to Metro Manila makes Batangas a favorite getaway destination to escape the busy urban life. The Taal Volcano in Taal Lake remains the most popular tourist destinations. Moreover, Batangas is famous for centuries-old churches, balisong (butterfly knife), tasty coffee, and mouth-watering delicacies. The long coastline has numerous types of beaches where you can go diving, jet-skiing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, and swimming. For those who enjoy visiting basilicas and old Spanish houses, you can find them in Mabini, Taal, and cities of Lipa and Batangas.

Manila to Batangas Bus Schedule and Fare
Sepoc Island in Batangas

Top things to do in Batangas

  • Go diving in Anilao
  • Visit the Statue of the Virgin Mary at Monte Maria Shrine
  • Go on an adventure at Taal Lake and Taal Volcano
  • Enjoy the white sand beaches in Laiya, Masasa, Verde Island, and Calatagan
Statue of Virgin Mary at Monte Maria Shrine
Monte Maria Shrine

How to get to Batangas?

Batangas is relatively close to Manila. It’s only about 2-3 hour drive or bus ride so it’s a popular option for locals to unwind during weekends and holidays. The best place to catch a bus to Batangas is in Buendia. You can check out the bus schedule here.

Bicol

When one speaks of Bicol Region, the first thing that comes into mind is Mayon Volcano in Albay. This world-famous active volcano is the main attraction of Bicol, along with spicy foods, chili ice cream, and “pinangat”. Another crowd-drawer is the Butanding or whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon. This is where tourists can dive, and swim with these friendly sea creatures.

Mount Mayon
Mount Mayon

Top things to do in Bicol

  • See the majestic Mayon Volcano
  • Visit the Lignon Hill Nature Park
  • Trek to Kawa Kawa Hill
  • Visit the Cagsawa Ruins and Daraga Church

How to get to Bicol?

From Manila, take an hour flight to Legazpi City or Naga City. Alternatively, you can take a bus to both cities but it will take you over 10 hours to reach Bicol. You can check the schedule of bus trips here.

Baguio

The City of Pines is a year-round destination in the Philippines, especially during summer and Penagbenga Festival. It is known for colder than cool climate, rich pine forests, beautiful flora and fauna, and of course- lots of strawberries! Places to visit include the Burnham, Wright Park, and Mines View Parks, Baguio Botanical Gardens, The Mansion, and Camp John Hay.

Baguio City

Top things to do in Baguio

  • Harvest and eat fresh strawberries
  • Visit the BenCab Museum
  • Explore Baguio City’s tourist attractions like Mines View Park, Burnham Park, Baguio Botanical Gardens, and more!
  • Check out our Baguio itinerary for a list of more things to do.

How to get to Baguio?

Baguio currently has no commercial airport, the most convenient way to go there by public transport is by taking a bus from Manila. the journey takes between 4-6 hours depending on the type of bus you take.

These are just a few of the best places to visit in the Philippines. But, these 11 destinations will certainly give you more reasons to explore and discover this amazing country.

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