Travel & Transportation

10 Underrated Destinations in the Philippines

Written by Patrick
Travel Insurance

Several spots in the Philippines captured the world’s spotlight for their natural beauty and charm.  As such, these spots, such as Boracay Island and El Nido, attract thousands of tourists every year.

But with 7,107 islands in the country, there are still a lot to explore.  Many are still unspoilt, less commercialized, and remain as beautiful as they were many years ago.

If you are looking for lesser-known yet equally beautiful places for your itinerary, here are the ten underrated destinations in the Philippines.

1 | Siquijor

Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor Island

Caption:  Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor Island

Many Filipinos are apprehensive about stepping foot in Siquijor due to its reputation for witchcraft.  However, the reputation is also what attracts those with a strong adventurous spirit to explore the island province of Siquijor.

Siquijor is more than just mystic traditions, faith healers, potions, and medicines made of herbs, insects, and tree barks.  It has numerous dive spots, caves, waterfalls, and of course white sand beaches with refreshingly clear water.  In addition to its natural attractions, its laid back vibe makes Siquijor truly enchanting and charms tourists for staying longer.

Spanish colonizers nicknamed Siquijor Isla del Fuego (Island of Fire) due to the eerie glow from the shores caused by a great swarm of fireflies during the Spanish era.

READ MORE: Siquijor Island Visitors Guide | Siquijor Province

2 | Dumaguete City

Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City

Caption:  Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City

Dumaguete is a small yet bustling city in Negros Oriental.  It has everything a tourist needs – hotels, restaurants of various cuisines, banks, and shopping malls.  While the city has only few natural attractions, tourists flock Dumaguete City because it is a great access point to several amazing destinations in the area such as the Manjuyod Sandbar, Balinsasayaw Twin Lakes, Apo Island, Siquijor, Bohol, Dapitan City, and Cebu.

Dumaguete City is a favorite retirement home for many foreign nationals and is also referred to as a university city due to several universities and colleges in the area.

READ MORE: Dumaguete City Visitors Guide

3 | Romblon

Bon-Bon Beach in Romblon

Caption:  Bon-Bon Beach in Romblon

Romblon province consists of three major islands – Romblon Island, Sibuyan Island, and Tablas Island, the largest.  All three islands and the entire Romblon province are blessed with natural attractions and resources including beaches, waterfalls, rock formations, and marine life.

Being the biggest producer of marble in the country, Romblon is dubbed the Marble Capital of the Philippines.  Don’t miss out the opportunity to explore the marble quarry and attend marble workshops to see how the marbles are processed, carved, and shaped into statues and other items.

READ MORE: Romblon Island Visitors Guide | Romblon Province

4 | Catanduanes

Island in Catanduanes

Caption:  Island in Catanduanes

One of the underrated destinations in the Philippines, Catanduanes is an island province situated off the eastern coast of Luzon Island.  It is nicknamed the Land of the Howling Wind as it is frequently exposed to tropical cyclones given that it is bounded by the Philippine Sea on its northern and eastern sides.

But even if it is often battered by strong typhoons, it didn’t put off the most adventurous tourists from exploring Catanduanes.  The island is blessed with natural attractions including several white sand beaches, surf spots, mountains, rolling hills, and waterfalls.  It also has interesting wildlife biodiversity making Catanduanes all the more attractive to tourists.

READ MORE: Catanduanes Island Visitors Guide | Catanduanes Province

5 | Masbate

Rock Piles in Tinalisayan Island in Masbate

Caption:  Rock Piles in Tinalisayan Island in Masbate

Masbate is located near the middle of the country, sandwiched between the island groups of Visayas and Luzon.  The province consists of three major islands: Ticao, Burias, and its namesake Masbate.  The presence of ranches in Masbate is so abundant thus earning the nickname as the “Rodeo Capital of the Philippines”.  Aside from the vast pastureland and hills where cattles graze freely, the province has white sand beaches, rivers surrounded with lush vegetation, centuries-old structures, and many others.

READ MORE: Masbate Island Visitors Guide | Masbate Province

6 | Antique

Rice Terraces in San Remegio, Antique

Caption:  Rice Terraces in San Remegio, Antique

On the western side of Panay Island lies the province of Antique nicknamed as The Land Where The Mountains Meet The Sea.  It is home to Mount Madia-as and Mount Nangtud, the two highest peaks in Panay.  The town of Tibiao is one of the pioneers in the kawa hot bath experience.  Tourists are loving Nogas Island and Mararison Island, both have not only clear water and white sand beaches but also with rugged, tranquil, and dreamy feel.

READ MORE: Antique Province

7 | Guimaras

Guimaras Island

Caption:  Guimaras Island

Guimaras used to be a sub-province of Iloilo until it acquired its provincial status in 1992.  Approximately 15 minutes boat ride from the coast of Iloilo City, Guimaras is the fifth smallest province in the Philippines in terms of land area.

It is most known for its sweet mangoes and various mango products hence the nickname the Mango Capital of the Philippines.  People flock to Guimaras to enjoy its white sand beaches while runners and cyclists love the challenge of its varying levels of topography.

READ MORE: Guimaras Island Visitors Guide

8 | Leyte

Country View on Leyte Island

Caption:  Country View on Leyte Island

Leyte played an important role in Philippine history being the first site where American military leader Gen. Douglas MacArthur first landed and where the first documented Catholic mass in the Philippines was held.

These days, Leyte is a popular tourist destination blessed with stunning natural wonders such as the Kalanggaman Island, its top tourist attraction.  Leyte also has marine parks and sanctuaries, natural parks, waterfalls, and caves.

READ MORE: Leyte Island Visitors Guide

9 | Iligan City

Tinago Waterfalls in Iligan

Caption:  Tinago Waterfalls in Iligan | Image Source

Did you know that Iligan is nicknamed the City of Majestic Waterfalls?  With about 23 waterfalls, it definitely deserves the title.  Iligan City is home to Maria Cristina Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in the country and the primary source of electricity of the city.  There’s also the stunning Tinago Falls with its multiple cascade and the two-tiered Limunsudan Falls.

Some are apprehensive about going to the city considering that Mindanao is known for clashes between rebels and government forces but Iligan is generally a safe place to visit so long as you remain within the city and obey the city ordinances and rules.

Have the courage to explore Iligan City and you’ll realize that it is truly one of the underrated destinations in the Philippines.

READ MORE: Iligan City Visitors Guide

10 | Tawi-Tawi

A view from Bud Bongao, Tawi-Tawi

Caption:  A view from Bud Bongao, Tawi-Tawi | Image Source

The southernmost province in the Philippines, Tawi-Tawi province is composed of Tawi-Tawi Island itself and many other islands and islets around it.  It is closer to the island of Borneo than to mainland Mindanao.  Considering its distance and past security concerns that have something to do with rebels, very few tourists venture to Tawi-Tawi thus many of its natural attractions remain unspoiled.  Hopefully, it will remain that way now that peace and order are in control.

READ MORE: Tawi-Tawi Island Visitors Guide | Tawi-Tawi Province

Have you been to any of these places?  If you are interested in exploring other underrated destinations in the Philippines, visit Sorsogon, Marinduque, Bukidnon, South Cotabato, and Surigao del Sur.

READ MORE: Travel Guides | The Philippines Top 25 Destinations

Any Underrated Philippines Destination YOU think we missed?

About the Author


Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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