Tropical Treasures: Philippines' Beaches & Island Hopping

The Philippines, a captivating archipelago in Southeast Asia, offers a plethora of breathtaking experiences for travelers seeking adventure and cultural immersion. From pristine beaches to vibrant cities, here are the 15 best things to do in this tropical paradise.

Explore Palawan:

Palawan, dubbed the "Last Frontier" of the Philippines, is a haven for nature lovers and adventurers alike. El Nido and Coron, two of its most famous destinations, boast stunning limestone cliffs, hidden lagoons, and pristine beaches. In El Nido, hop on a boat tour to explore the Bacuit Archipelago, where you can snorkel in crystal-clear waters, kayak through mangrove forests, and lounge on secluded beaches. Coron, on the other hand, is renowned for its captivating underwater landscapes, including World War II shipwrecks teeming with marine life. Don't miss the chance to hike to the top of Mount Tapyas in Coron for panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the iconic Coron Bay.

Visit Boracay:

Boracay, often hailed as one of the best islands in the world, offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Spend your days lounging on the powdery white sands of White Beach, where you can soak up the sun, swim in turquoise waters, and indulge in beachfront dining. For thrill-seekers, Boracay offers a wide range of water sports activities, including kiteboarding, windsurfing, and parasailing. As the sun sets, head to Willy's Rock or Diniwid Beach for breathtaking views and vibrant beach parties that last well into the night.

Hike to the Chocolate Hills:

The Chocolate Hills, located in the province of Bohol, are one of the most iconic natural wonders in the Philippines. Consisting of over 1,200 uniformly shaped hills covered in lush greenery, these geological formations turn chocolate brown during the dry season, hence their name. To get the best views of the Chocolate Hills, embark on a hike to one of the designated viewing points, such as the Chocolate Hills Complex in Carmen or Sagbayan Peak in Sagbayan. Along the way, you'll encounter charming villages, verdant rice paddies, and the enchanting Bilar Man-made Forest, a dense canopy of mahogany trees that stretches for kilometers.

Dive in Tubbataha Reef:

Tubbataha Reef, located in the Sulu Sea, is a marine sanctuary and UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its pristine coral reefs and rich biodiversity. Spanning over 97,000 hectares, this protected area is home to over 600 species of fish, 360 species of corals, and numerous endangered marine species, including sea turtles, sharks, and manta rays. Dive enthusiasts from around the world flock to Tubbataha Reef to explore its vibrant underwater landscapes, which include steep walls, coral gardens, and thriving reef ecosystems. Due to its remote location and protected status, access to Tubbataha Reef is limited to liveaboard dive trips from March to June, making it a bucket-list destination for serious divers.

Explore Manila's Intramuros:

Intramuros, also known as the "Walled City," is a historic district in Manila that offers a glimpse into the Philippines' colonial past. Built during the Spanish colonial period, this fortified city served as the seat of government and military headquarters for over 300 years. Today, visitors can explore its well-preserved landmarks, including Fort Santiago, a 16th-century citadel; San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; and Casa Manila, a museum showcasing colonial-era architecture and lifestyle. Take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone streets, admire the centuries-old architecture, and immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of the Philippines.

Swim with Whale Sharks in Oslob:

Oslob, a coastal town in the province of Cebu, is famous for its whale shark encounters, where visitors can swim alongside these gentle giants in their natural habitat. The whale sharks, locally known as "butanding," are attracted to Oslob's waters by fishermen who feed them small amounts of plankton. While controversial, this activity provides a unique opportunity for travelers to observe these majestic creatures up close and contribute to local conservation efforts. After your swim, explore the nearby Tumalog Falls or relax on the picturesque beaches of Sumilon Island for a complete Oslob experience.

Trek to Mount Pulag:

Mount Pulag, the third-highest peak in the Philippines, is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and breathtaking views. Located in the Cordillera mountain range on the island of Luzon, Mount Pulag is renowned for its sea of clouds, vibrant mossy forests, and unique biodiversity. The most popular trail to the summit is the Ambangeg Trail, which offers a relatively easy ascent and stunning vistas of surrounding mountains and valleys. At the summit, hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of the sunrise, where the sky is painted in hues of orange, pink, and purple, creating a surreal and unforgettable experience.

Discover Banaue Rice Terraces:

The Banaue Rice Terraces, often referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World," are a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the Ifugao people. Carved into the mountainsides of Ifugao province over 2,000 years ago, these ancient terraces are a marvel of engineering and agriculture. Stretching across the Cordillera mountain range, the Banaue Rice Terraces are best explored on foot or by jeepney, allowing visitors to appreciate their scale and intricacy up close. Don't miss the chance to interact with the local Ifugao communities, who continue to practice traditional farming methods passed down through generations.

Relax in Siargao:

Siargao, known as the "Surfing Capital of the Philippines," is a paradise for beach lovers, water sports enthusiasts, and nature seekers. Home to the famous Cloud 9 surf break, Siargao attracts surfers from around the world who come to ride its legendary waves. Beyond surfing, Siargao offers a plethora of activities, including island hopping, snorkeling, and paddleboarding in the pristine waters of Sugba Lagoon and Magpupungko Beach. For a taste of island life, rent a motorbike and explore the lush landscapes, hidden beaches, and charming villages that dot the island.

Experience Filipino Festivals:

The Philippines is renowned for its vibrant festivals, which celebrate everything from religion and culture to food and music. Among the most famous are the Sinulog Festival in Cebu, the Ati-Atihan Festival in Aklan, and the MassKara Festival in Bacolod. Each festival features colorful parades, traditional dances, lively music, and elaborate costumes, providing a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Filipino culture and hospitality. Whether you're marveling at the grand floats of the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio or dancing to the beat of the drum during the Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo, these celebrations are sure to leave a lasting impression and create unforgettable memories.

Visit the Underground River in Puerto Princesa:

The Puerto Princesa Underground River, located in Palawan, is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This subterranean river stretches for over 8 kilometers through a limestone cave system, making it one of the longest underground rivers in the world. Visitors can explore the river on a guided boat tour, marveling at its impressive rock formations, towering stalactites, and unique ecosystem inhabited by bats, swiftlets, and other wildlife. As you glide through the darkened passages, your guide will point out fascinating features such as the Cathedral Cave, the Serpent's Hall, and the eerie formations that resemble mythical creatures and ancient landmarks.

Snorkel in Apo Island:

Apo Island, located off the coast of Negros Oriental, is a marine sanctuary and one of the best snorkeling destinations in the Philippines. Its pristine coral reefs are teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, and other marine life, making it a paradise for underwater enthusiasts. Snorkelers can explore vibrant coral gardens, swim alongside gentle sea turtles, and encounter fascinating creatures such as clownfish, parrotfish, and moray eels. The island's clear waters and rich biodiversity provide an unforgettable snorkeling experience for beginners and experienced snorkelers alike.

Explore the Cordillera Region:

The Cordillera region in northern Luzon is a treasure trove of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and outdoor adventures. Home to numerous indigenous tribes, including the Ifugao, Kalinga, and Bontoc, the region is rich in traditions, rituals, and craftsmanship. Visitors can explore picturesque mountain towns such as Sagada, Banaue, and Bontoc, where they can discover ancient burial caves, hanging coffins, and centuries-old rice terraces. The region also offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as trekking, spelunking, and river rafting, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning landscapes and cultural tapestry of the Cordilleras.

Indulge in Filipino Cuisine:

Filipino cuisine is a delectable fusion of flavors influenced by centuries of trade, colonization, and cultural exchange. From savory adobo and sinigang to crispy lechon and refreshing halo-halo, Filipino dishes reflect the country's diverse culinary heritage. Each region boasts its own specialties, ingredients, and cooking techniques, offering a tantalizing array of flavors and textures to explore. Whether you're sampling street food in Manila, indulging in seafood on the shores of Palawan, or dining in a traditional karenderia, Filipino cuisine is sure to delight your taste buds and leave you craving for more.

Relax on Malapascua Island:

Malapascua Island, located off the northern coast of Cebu, is a hidden gem known for its pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and laid-back atmosphere. Despite its small size, Malapascua offers a wealth of activities for travelers seeking relaxation and adventure. Dive enthusiasts can explore world-class dive sites such as Monad Shoal, where they can encounter thresher sharks and other pelagic species, as well as colorful coral gardens teeming with marine biodiversity. For those seeking a more leisurely pace, Malapascua's white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and stunning sunsets provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and rejuvenation.

Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, the Philippines offers a diverse array of experiences that will leave you enchanted and inspired. Plan your next unforgettable journey to this tropical paradise and discover the wonders that await in the Pearl of the Orient Seas.

Explore the wonders of the Philippines through Lets Journey, your ultimate guide to the country's top attractions, breathtaking beaches, and enriching cultural experiences. Whether you seek sun-soaked shores or vibrant cultural encounters, Lets Journey provides comprehensive insights for unforgettable island hopping adventures and immersive cultural explorations. Delve into the diverse beauty of the Philippines with Lets Journey, your gateway to a remarkable travel experience.