Activities & Adventure

17 Things You MUST Do When in the Philippines

There are so many things to do in the Philippines. The following are the top 17 things we recommend you MUST do when visiting the Philippines
Written by Patrick
Travel Insurance

There are so many things to do in the Philippines.  The following are the top 17 things we recommend you MUST do when visiting the Philippines:

1 | Relax on a Beach

With all the stunning beaches in the Philippines, relaxing on a beach is no doubt the top activity while in the country.  From the world famous White Beach in Boracay Island to the unspoilt ones in some remote islands, you will surely find the one that will charm you into staying for days.  If you prefer to stay in popular beaches, you’ll be in for more fun as you are more likely to find businesses offering different and exciting water activities like snorkeling, diving, kayaking, cliff diving, parasailing, and many others.  However, if you prefer less crowd, peace, and listen only to the sounds of waves crashing on the shore, consider the less popular but equally beautiful ones like Port Barton in Palawan, Paliton Beach in Siquijor, or Tikling Beach in Sorsogon.

READ MORE:  100+ Beaches in the Philippines

2 | Go Island Hopping

Home to more than 7,000 islands, it’s not surprising that island hopping makes it to one of the top activities when exploring the archipelago.  You can rent a boat and customize your itinerary based on your schedule and preferences or you can join the group tours and explore the islands along with other tourists.  Either way, you’d be able to enjoy the activity as the islands are all worth it.

READ MORE:  Islands of the Philippines

3 | Cool Off in a Waterfall 

While the number of waterfalls is nowhere the same as the number of beaches or islands, exploring the waterfalls is an equally interesting activity to do while in the Philippines.  Head over to Iligan City nicknamed The City of Majestic Waterfalls due to more than 20 majestic waterfalls found in the city.  It houses Maria Cristina Falls, the most popular in the country, the enchanting Tinago Falls, and Limunsudan Falls, the second highest waterfall in the country, among others.

READ MORE:  Waterfalls in the Philippines

4 | Explore Islands & Provinces by Motorbike

Motorbike is one of the most popular modes of transportation in the Philippines.  In small towns and islands particularly, motorbike is part of everyday life of commuting locals.  If you’re on for another adventure, try exploring the area by motorbike.  Motorbike rentals are easy to find and cheaper compared to car rentals and guided tours.  They’re more exciting too!

READ MORE:  35+ Largest Islands of the Philippines

READ MORE:  Provinces of the Philippines

5 | Watch a  Colorful Sunrise & Sunset

Sunrise and sunset in the Philippines are known to be breathtakingly beautiful.  Feast your eyes on the explosion of yellow, orange, red, pink, and purple colors.  The best sunrise spots are usually seen from the mountains including Mt. Pulag, Kiltepan Peak, Mt. Apo, and even in Antipolo.  Sunsets are best viewed from the beach particularly in El Nido, Palawan and Boracay’s White Beach.  It’s best enjoyed with ice cold beer, too!

6 | Swim with the Marine Life in the Ocean

The Philippines is blessed with hundreds of species of marine life and several of those are endemic or are only found in the Philippine waters.  While some are critically endangered and less likely to appear in your presence, there are those that you can meet up close and even swim with.  Sea turtles, sea snakes, dugong (sea cow), manta rays, hammerhead sharks, blacktip reef sharks, scorpion fish, and other species of fishes reside in the waters of Palawan.  To swim with whale sharks, the best places to go are Leyte, Tubbataha, Donsol, and Oslob while Malapascua for thresher sharks.

READ MORE:   Marine Life in the Philippines

7 | Hike a Volcano

Being located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is home to around 200 volcanoes, 25 of which are active.  Taal, the smallest yet second most active volcano in the country, is the most popular spot for hiking a volcano due to its picturesque view and close proximity to the country’s capital. Mount Mayon and Mount Pinatubo are two other volcanoes popular for hiking.

READ MORE:  Volcanoes in the Philippines

8 | Immerse Yourself in the Food & Culture

Know the country better by immersing yourself in food and culture.  Try local foods and delicacies such as lechon, adobo, and balut and experience various festivals and events showcasing the rich history and culture of the country.

READ MORE:   Favorite Filipino Foods

9 | Eat a Variety of the Local Seafood

Since it’s an archipelago country teeming with marine life, seafood is undoubtedly abundant in the Philippines.  From a small shack in the island to fancy restaurants in the city, you will find fresh seafood that will surely satisfy your cravings.

READ MORE: Popular Seafood in the Philippines

10 | Sample the over 40 Varieties of Tropical Fruits

Aside from local dishes and delicacies, you can fill your tummy with a selection of fresh tropical fruits found in the Philippines.  There are over 40 varieties of those in the country and you sure can sample several of those that are available year round including banana, papaya, pomelo, and coconut.  Sweet mangoes and various types of melon, they’re in season during the dry season which is from March to May.

READ MORE:  Popular Tropical Fruits in the Philippines

11 | Eat Street Food

Like several other countries in Asia, street foods are popular in the Philippines.  Apart from being fun and delightful to eat, they are available in great selection but the popular ones include isaw (grilled pig or chicken intestines), taho (tofu with brown sugar syrup), sorbetes (traditional ice cream), fish and squid balls, balut (fertilized duck egg), and banana cue (barbecued banana).

READ MORE: Popular Street Food in the Philippines

12 | Try Karaoke and have fun singing with the locals

Karaoke is a favorite pastime among many Filipinos so it isn’t surprising to hear someone belting a song be it during celebrations or even on regular days.  There are various karaoke setup in the Philippines.  There are family KTVs which are setup in private rooms with food and drinks, and cater to all ages.  There are regular karaoke bars where you have other customers as your audience and nightclubs with exotic dancing.

READ MORE: Karaoke: A Popular Pastime

13 | Paddle Around in a Kayak or on a Paddle Board

Cruising the river or exploring the waterfalls in a kayak or on a paddle boat is surely a unique and exciting experience.  The best places to try the activity are Loboc River in Bohol, Coron and El Nido in Palawan, and Siargao Island.

14 | Go Scuba Diving or Learn to Scuba Dive

With the rich life thriving in Philippine waters, diving is no doubt one of the most popular activities for local and foreign tourists alike.  Be it for leisure or certification, finding tour operators and dive centers is never a problem as there are several of them all over the country especially in popular beaches and islands.

READ MORE: Scuba Diving in the Philippines

15 | Visit one of the largest Shopping Malls in all of Asia

Three of the ten largest shopping malls in Asia are located in the Philippines – SM City North EDSA, SM Megamall, and SM Seaside City Cebu.  These malls, along with several other malls in the country, provide a perfect venue for people not only to shop but also to pay bills and conduct other transactions, dine, and sought entertainment.

READ MORE:  Malls in the Philippines

16 | Hang out in a Hammock

The gentle rocking motion of a hammock under the shady trees is a great solution to one’s tired body and soul.  More so while you are looking at the sea with pristine waters or where the mountains meet the sky.  Several resorts have hammocks put up all over their vicinity but you can also bring your own so you have something to use wherever you are.

17 | Go Deep Sea Fishing 

This type of fishing is not widely practiced in the Philippines but you can find operators offering such activity in Siargao or in Dipudo Island in Luzon.

READ MORE: Fishing in the Philippines

In a culturally diverse country with rich biodiversity such as the Philippines, there’s so much one can do for a fun, exciting, and memorable trip.  You don’t even have to spend much to find something worthy of your time.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Philippines Bucket List

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.

Leave a Comment