10 Best Places to Spend Your Vacation in the Philippines
The Philippines is truly one country blessed with so many vacation hotspots. It is an archipelago endowed with biodiversity unlike any other and with many stretches of beaches that you can't find elsewhere. If you are ever visiting the country or even living there, taking the time to go on vacation to any of the places mentioned below will definitely give you lasting memories and put you in awe. These places will guarantee you one of the best vacations you will ever have.
Boracay Island will remain a favorite vacation spot for many tourists and locales for many years to come. It has become a major vacation destination all year round offering visitors powdery white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. There are also lots of activities one can look forward to here like fire dancing during nighttime, parasailing, banana boat rides, diving, snorkeling, beach volleyball, island hopping, eco tours, and many more! In Boracay, not only will you get to enjoy the wonderful beach it has to offer but also the warm and hospitable nature of the locals. There are also lots of beach parties happening during the summer time. However, be warned that the beaches are really packed with tourists during the summer.
Palawan is an increasingly popular vacation destination in the Philippines. Probably because The Amazing Race season 3 shot a leg in El Nido, Palawan, people have come to realize what picturesque scenery the place has to offer. Palawan is famous for the gigantic and mesmerizing rock formations you can find there.
There are basically three popular destinations in Palawan: Coron, El Nido, and Puerto Princessa.
Coron is famous for its dive sites. It popularly known as the wreck-diving capital of the country. It offers a wide variety of dive sites ranging from shallow coral reefs to even underwater caves. One very popular attraction here is the seven mountain lakes that offer visitors a view of majestic limestone cliffs formed during the Jurassic era. Other popular destinations here include Kayangan Lake, which is said to be the cleanest lake in the country, Barracuda Lake (or people who want to explore the Barracuda Cave, and the Twin Lagoons, which are linked by a small passage where fresh water meets salty ocean water.
El Nido, on the other hand, is famous for its limestone rock formations. The limestone cliffs it offers date way back 250 million years ago and are still standing tall. It is also famous for its biodiversity with more than a thousand species living there, including corals, schools of fish, birds, and other marine animals. There are also three major archeological excavation sites you can visit for some history and fun learning about the tribes that once inhabited the area.
Puerto Princessa is probably the most famous destination in Palawan, as it has been selected as one of the eight new wonders of the world. There are so many attractions visitors can enjoy here. One is the Subterranean River which is the one included in the new 8 wonders of the world list. It is said to be the longest navigable underground river in the entire world and offers a breathtaking karst limestone topography with many stalactite and stalagmite formations along the way. The famous Tubbataha Reef can also be found here. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it houses thousands of marine species like corals and other animals, many of which are already considered endangered. Other attractions include Honda Bay, Sabang Beach, and Ugong Rock.
Batanes is probably the most challenging vacation destination in the Philippines. It is a very small island located at the far north of the archipelago and is constantly endowed with rain. The island is hardly visited mainly because getting there can be quite expensive. But as many people who have experienced the island have found, it is definitely worth it. The rolling hills are unlike other places you will see in the country. There are also old Spanish style structures you can find there. However, tourists are warned that the weather in the island is mostly wet throughout the entire year. It is constantly hit by typhoons and thunderstorms. Hence, it is best to experience Batanes from March to early May when it is still dry season.
Bantayan Island, Cebu
Bantayan Island is slowly gaining recognition. It may not be a very popular destination today but it will soon be. Bantayan Island is considered as a virgin island because there are hardly any resorts established there yet and there are very few tourists who come visit the island. This is actually what's mesmerizing about the island. It is secluded and offers perfect tranquility to visitors - it is the perfect vacation for people who want peace of mind and serenity.
Bicol Region has placed the Philippines on the global scene. Just like Palawan, an island in the Bicol Region has also been featured in a Hollywood reality show. Caramoan Island was recently the location of Survivor Fans vs. Favorites. If you have watched the show, then you may already be familiar with the scenery and the way the island looks. It is very isolated from the entire region and very little is actually known about the island. But today, it has become one of the best vacation destinations in the country. accommodating thousands of tourists each year. Various activities that are now offered there include snorkeling, diving, kayaking, trekking, rock climbing on the limestone formations, and cave exploration.
Aside from Caramoan, the Calaguas Islands are also becoming a popular destination in the Bicol Region. They offer very white and powdery sand beaches and seclusion from technology. There are no resorts here so camping is your only option. There is also no electricity so bringing flashlight can be helpful. The waters are very clean and so is the island.
If you don't want to go to islands nearby and just want to stay on the mainland, there are plenty of places you can visit in the region. Camarines Sur has CWC or the CamSur Watersports Complex which is the most popular destination for wake boarders. Albay is also a popular destination because of the very active perfectly shaped cone of the Mayon Volcano. Further down, there is Donsol in Sorsogon which is popular as a whale shark hub.
If you don't want to go too far from Manila, Zambales has a few destinations you may want to visit as well.
Potipot Island in Candelaria, Zambales is increasingly becoming a popular destination for tourists. It is a very small island just a 5-minute boat ride away from the mainland. You can actually tour the entire island in just a few minutes! That is how small the island really is. There are no resorts or electricity on the island but there are resorts on the mainland where you can opt to stay. But if you insist on spending the night on the island, you can go camping there. Visitors are warned to be careful when swimming in the sea as there are sea snakes.
Anawangin Cove is also a popular destination in Zambales. It is one of many unusual beaches in the Philippines because there are pine trees growing on the shore. There are also islands nearby you can visit: Capones island and Camara island. They offer beautiful scenery, coves, and a tranquil and cool environment visitors can enjoy.
Cagbalete Island, Mauban, Quezon
Cagbalete Island is also becoming popular these days. This is yet another of the many unusual beaches of the country known for the sand ripples you can see during super-low tides. It is quite challenging to visit because of dthe ifferent modes you need to use before you can reach the island but getting there is definitely worth it. It is not a beach for people who want to swim because the waters are very low. But it is a beach for people who want a peaceful and secluded vacation. There are various resorts you can find there these days, but you can also opt to camp if you want to. You can go island \-hopping during the low tide by simply walking across the sea. There are also a few pine trees you can find along the shore that provide a cool environment by the beach.
Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur
Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur are located up north and make a great vacation destination. There are so many things you can see here and so many things to discover.
Vigan is one of the many destination you can visit. Here you will find a heritage site with old Spanish-style architecture. Cobblestones, Capiz shell windows, and brick walls: you can find them all here. If you want a tour around the heritage site, you can opt to ride the Calesa for a more old-world feel. Make sure to visit the Bell Tower located right outside the heritage site for a breathtaking architecture.
Paoay Church is a majestic structure that you need to visit. It is a church filled with so much history and the architecture will truly captivate your senses.
Paoay Sand Dunes is also a must-visit location. It is a desert place in a tropical country near the sea. There are now many activities offered here if you want a Dubai-like sand dunes experience.
The Kapurpuran rock formations offer visitors a breathtaking sight of limestone formations that one should never miss. The rock has a creamy white and chalky color against the deep blue color of the sea, making it a must-visit location in Ilocos Norte.
If bumming at the beach is what you like, Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte can offer you that. Swim in the clear West Philippine Sea and enjoy the tranquility of this beach.
Sagada, Mt. Province
If the beach is not your thing, the Philippines also has a few destinations where you can cool down. Sagada in Mountain Province is one you can opt to visit which offers a nice cool temperature even during the summer, as it is located high up a mountain. Sagada is rich in rock formations and history making it a a vacation destination that is truly worthwhile. The hanging coffins are a must-see. It is very seldom that you will get to see coffins hanging from a tall rock formation. There is a tale behind this structure but it is best to know it firsthand from tour guides there. There are also various caves with limestone formations you can visit (Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves). Echo Valley is also a must-visit, but if you trek to the Hanging Coffins, you will also be able to tour Echo Valley. Once you get there, scream and shout all you want and hear your voice echo all around you. There are also falls you can visit, like Bomod-Ok Falls and Pongas Falls.
Panglao Island, Bohol
When people hear the word Bohol, they immediately think of the Chocolate Hills and tarsiers. But Bohol offers more than that. The Chocolate Hills and the tarsiers can actually be found in Tagbilaran, Bohol. If you want a beach and relaxing scenery, Panglao Island may be a better destination for you. Alona Beach is probably the most popular destination here, offering white sand and clear waters to visitors. There are also lots of resorts already operating here for tourists to enjoy a relaxing vacation. However, if you want a peaceful and serene vacation here, it is best to visit before or after summer time. The island tends to get too crowded during the summer as the influx of visitors is tremendous.
The Philippines is indeed a country blessed with so much wonder. There are plenty more places you may want to visit here which are not included in the top 10 list so there are definitely more reasons to come back here - not just 10.