The Philippines may be a small country but it has one of the best beaches and interesting flora and fauna. We listed here the 25 top destinations in the Philippines in alphabetical order.
Located at the Southeastern tip of Negros Island, Apo Island is a volcanic island that is home to community-organized marine sanctuaries since 1982. It is known for having one of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the country with more than 600 species of fish and more than 400 species of corals, including sea turtles, gorgonian sea fans, and brain corals. It also boasts of white sand beaches and a friendly community that is fully aware of the importance of marine sanctuary.
READ MORE: Apo Island Visitors Guide
Known as the “Summer Capital of the Philippines” due to its cool climate, Baguio is a mountainous area located more than 4,000 feet above sea level. Its other name, the City of Pines, is attributed from pine trees which are abundant in the area, along with mossy plants and orchids. The city has a rich history as well with several structures from the American colonial period including Camp John Hay, The Mansion, and Burnham Park still existing up to the present time.
EXCURSIONS: Banaue | Pagudpud | Sagada | Subic Bay
READ MORE: Baguio City Visitors Guide
Built largely by hand thousands of years ago, the Banaue Rice Terraces stands strong and proud in the mountainous province of Ifugao. While it is still being used for planting rice and vegetables, it has become a thriving tourism destination with activities that include sightseeing of the terraces and visit to the indigenous people including the traditional Ifugao doctor who can do spiritual healing rituals.
EXCURSIONS: Baguio | Pagudpud | Sagada | Subic Bay
Probably on every Filipino travellers’ bucket list, Batanes is a peaceful and scenic refuge located in the northernmost tip of the Philippines. It’s got everything one wants for a unique travel experience – the luscious green mountains, the sea with raging waves, the rolling hills with breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains, the small cafes and homestays, the stone houses, and the simple life of the locals. It’s definitely a great destination for one who wants to take a breather away from the busy city life.
The Bicol Region comprises six provinces, each has something for travellers to experience and everyone’s eyes to feast on. It’s home to Mayon Volcano with its perfect cone and CamSur Watersports Complex for wakeboarding, wakeskating, and wakeskiing. It has colonial houses, pilgrimage sites, whale shark spotting destinations, whitesand beaches, and many other natural attractions.
EXCURSIONS: Catanduanes Island
READ MORE: Bicol Region Visitors Guide
When talking about Bohol, what often comes to mind is the famous Chocolate Hills. However there’s more to Bohol than these thousands of hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometers. It has white sand beaches, snorkeling and diving sites, tarsier sanctuary, colonial churches, river cruise, and numerous ecotourism spots. The island has its own airport hence a perfect destination for quick escape from the busy city life.
READ MORE: Bohol Island Visitors Guide
White Sand Beach in Boracay Island
One of the most famous island destinations in the world, Boracay is a tropical island dream come true. It has everything you are looking for in an unforgettable vacation – stunning beach with clear water and soft white sand, water sports and adventures, numerous hotels and resorts, restaurants of various cuisines, and exciting nightlife. Although the most crowded among the top 25 destinations in the Philippines, Boracay is one of the destinations in the country tourists keep coming back to.
READ MORE: Boracay Island Visitors Guide
Calaguas Islands is a group of islands in Camarines Norte province. In recent years, the islands, particularly Tinaga Island, has seen an influx of tourists due to the beaches boasting its powdery white sand and crystal clear water. Mahabang Buhangin (literally means Long Beach), its most popular beach, is typically packed during weekends and holidays as it is a favorite choice for camping and swimming.
READ MORE: Calaguas Islands Visitors Guide
Camiguin may be the second smallest island in the Philippines but it has lots to offer when it comes to tourism. In addition to its white sand beaches and clear water perfect for diving and snorkeling, Camiguin is home to numerous waterfalls, cold and hot natural springs, and a total of seven volcanoes which are responsible for continuously shaping the landscape of this island province.
READ MORE: Camiguin Island Visitors Guide
The island of Cebu has got the best of both worlds – thriving city life and interesting natural attractions. Its capital Cebu City is a hub for commerce, trade, education, and industry while Mactan, Bantayan, Badian, Malapascua, Camotes, and Moalboal are popular destinations for nature exploration and experiences. In Cebu, travellers can get to meet and greet the dolphins and whale shark, enjoy whitesand beaches, explore the waterfalls, savor high end resorts and hotels, feast on Cebu’s best dishes, reminisce history, and get their adrenal glands pumping on man-made adventures.
READ MORE: Cebu Island Visitors Guide
As magical as its name, the Hinatuan Enchanted River is unique in the Philippines. It is short and probably the only river in the country with clear blue water, Hinatuan Enchanted River flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean with its mouth used as a safe haven against storms and typhoons. Locals believe the river is inhabited by natural beings and its waters are miraculous therefore making it more interesting to tourists.
Dubbed as the City of Majestic Waterfalls, Iligan is home to more than 20 waterfalls including the famous Maria Cristina Falls which powers a hydroelectric power plant, the enchanting Tinago Waterfalls, Limunsudan Falls, and Mimbalot Falls. The tourism in Iligan may be tainted with past conflicts between the government and rebel forces but peace has been restored for more than a decade and the city is safe to visit once more.
READ MORE: Iligan City Visitors Guide
An unspoilt paradise nestled in between Cebu and Leyte in the Visayas region, Kalanggaman Island is a great destination for a quick weekend getaway. It is known for its crystal clear water, powdery white sand, and long sandbars which make the island perfect for rejuvenation and communing with nature. Devoid of big resorts at the moment, this small island of no more than 800 meters in length is fast becoming one of the most popular attractions for locals and foreigners alike.
READ MORE: Kalanggaman Island
Also known as the Calbiga cave, Langun-Gobingob Cave System is a vast natural wonder that covers an area of around 2,968 hectares. With 12 caves measuring a total of 7 kilometers and is reputed to be the second largest in Asia, Calbiga cave houses columns of stalactites and stalagmites, refreshing natural springs, and unique rock formations. One day is not enough to fully explore this massive complex.
Known for its interesting marine life, Malapascua is a small island with a beautiful white sand beach. Its waters are home to beautiful coral gardens and walls, manta rays, and thresher sharks which are present all year round. Even for non-divers, Malapascua is a superb destination for someone who simply wants to bask in the sun while being grateful for all the wondrous natural creations in the country.
READ MORE: Malapascua Visitors Guide
Devoid of beaches with white sand and crystal clear water, Manila remains the most visited city in the Philippines as it is the country’s capital. It is the center of everything – economy, politics, and education among others. It may be crowded and chaotic almost all the time but it’s definitely worth a visit with all its historical structures, museums, restaurants, shopping malls, bars, and other attractions.
EXCURSIONS: Tagaytay | Subic Bay
READ MORE: Metro Manila Visitors Guide
The highest peak in Luzon and third highest in the country, Mt. Pulag is probably in every bucket list of Filipino mountain climbing enthusiasts. It has a rich biodiversity with more than 500 documented plant species, 33 bird species, and several threatened mammals including the Philippine deer and long-haired fruit bat. Standing at 2,926 meters above sea level, Mt. Pulag is also known for its sea of clouds and the view of the Milky Way Galaxy at dawn which make it more appealing to mountain climbers of different levels.
Given a chance to visit only one province in the Philippines, the archipelagic province of Palawan is a good choice for an unforgettable tropical island paradise experience. Apart from the world famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, Palawan is home to postcard-worthy beaches and lakes, numerous wildlife endemic to the Philippines, limestone cliffs, and lush greenery. It’s a province in the country that you’ll surely not mind visiting again and again.
READ MORE: Palawan Island Visitors Guide
Romblon is an archipelagic province in between two major islands – Luzon and Visayas. It is fast becoming a favorite destination of travellers for its heritage sites and numerous natural attractions including beaches, dive sites, mountains, and waterfalls. While the Bonbon Beach is the most famous attraction with its white sand and sandbar, other lesser known attractions such as marble quarry in Lio Bay, Dolphin Beach, Tinagong Dagat, and Cobrador Beach are worth visiting as well.
READ MORE: Romblon Island Visitors Guide
Officially known as the Island Garden City of Samal, Samal Island is the largest resort city in the Philippines. It’s a perfect quick weekend getaway destination for locals and foreign tourists alike as it is just less than an hour away from Davao International Airport. In addition to its white sand beaches and clear water teeming with marine life, Samal Island has several resorts for various types of travellers. One of which is the Pearl Farm Resort, a luxury resort formerly used as cultivation farm for the precious south sea pearls.
EXCURSIONS: Davao City | Talikud Island
READ MORE: Samal Island Visitors Guide
One cannot think about Siargao without remembering surfing. It is dubbed as the Surfing Capital of the Philippines and attracts surfers from all over the world. It boasts of several surf spots but the most famous is the Cloud 9, a surfing spot with thick, hollow tubes. Siargao isn’t just about surfing though! It has rock pools, cave pools, lagoons, waterfalls, forests, and beaches for everyone – surfers and non-surfers alike.
EXCURSIONS: Surigao | Grande Bucas Islands
Siquijor has a reputation for witchcraft which both attracts and repels Filipinos from exploring the island. Sure it is common to see potions and other herbal medicines being sold but there’s definitely more to Siquijor than dark magic and mystic traditions. It has numerous dive spots, caves, waterfalls, and of course beaches. The island is truly enchanting and makes you want to stay longer.
READ MORE: Siquijor Island Visitors Guide
With its close proximity to Manila, Tagaytay is a popular choice for quick getaway to escape the busy life and scorching heat of the metro. Its cooler climate, scenic greenery, and excellent choice of hotels and outdoor parks and restaurants attract people to visit again and again. It also is home to the famous Taal Volcano wherein its crater can be explored until its 2020 eruption.
READ MORE: Tagaytay City Visitors Guide
A haven for divers, Tubbataha Reef is a marine and bird sanctuary in the middle of Sulu Sea. This area covering more than 130,000 is home to over 600 species of fish, 360 species of corals, 11 species of shark, 13 dolphin and whale species, and 100 species of bird. It is ranked as one of the top dive sites in the world but due to its remote location it doesn’t get crowded like most popular attractions in the country.
READ MORE: Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
One need not have powdery white sand or crystal clear water to become a popular tourist attraction. Vigan, located in the province of Ilocos Sur, is a well-preserved Spanish colonial town – one of the few left in Asia. Its old structures with cultural elements from Spain, China, and the Philippines are one of a kind. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and New7Wonders Cities, Vigan truly is an icon which attracts tourists year-round.
READ MORE: Vigan City Visitors Guide
A Few Honorable Mentions …
The most popular natural attraction in Pangasinan, the Hundreds Islands in Alaminos is a group of more than 100 islands and islets spread over Lingayen Gulf. With only four islands inhabited, there is much left for numerous wildlife endemic to the Philippines including Philippine Duck, Philippine Hawk-Cuckoo, Philippine Coucal, and Philippine Bulbul as well as thresher sharks, angelfish, butterflyfish, and ghost crabs.
Less popular compared to other destinations in the country, Caramoan is a hidden beauty in the jurisdiction of Camarines Sur. One needs to go through a long and laborious journey to see its pristine beaches with powdery white sand, marine life, and scenic rock formations. To experience the unspoilt, off the beaten track makes the effort truly worth it.
READ MORE: Caramoan Visitors Guide
Beach and Islets in Guimaras
One of the smallest islands in the country, Guimaras is known for its mangoes – one of the sweetest in the world. It earned the nickname Mango Capital of the Philippines and even celebrates Manggahan Festival (Mango Festival) every year. The province is also a favorite weekend destination of tourists from nearby provinces and cities because of its numerous beaches and smaller islands. Island-hopping is a common activity and it can get really crowded during the Holy Week because of the presence of pilgrimage sites.
READ MORE: Guimaras Island Visitors Guide
In the northernmost part of Luzon lies Pagudpud, a quiet town in Ilocos Norte that attracts visitors to its turf for the beaches, the green hills, the waterfalls, the river adventures, and many other activities. It’s a long 12-hour bus ride from the country’s capital of Manila so this haven remains unspoilt and only the brave can truly enjoy the beauty it offers.
EXCURSIONS: Baguio | Banaue | Sagada | Subic Bay
Considering its popularity, Puerto Galera can often get crowded but it definitely deserves all the attention. It offers various entertainment and adventures – from beaches, eco parks, waterfalls, and diving sites to restaurants and go-go bars. Whether alone or in a group, a trip to Puerto Galera will definitely make an unforgettable experience.
READ MORE: Puerto Galera Visitors Guide