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10 things you didn't know about the Philippines (and why you should go)

Published April 6th, 2015

Home to over 7,000 islands, the Philippines is an adventure waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re into lazing on a tropical beach, hiking volcanoes, getting barrelled, or discovering some truly amazing natural wonders, get packing for an epic trip because the Philippines truly offers something for all. Ready to vacay? Check out our cheap flights to Philippines!

 

The Philippines is a renowned yet untapped dive destination.

1. It's one of the world's top diving destinations

The clear warm waters, vast coral reefs and diverse marine life make the Philippines a top diving destination. Get up close to dugongs, tuna and sharks, and discover spooky wreck dives from World War II. Top dive spots to check out are Yapak at Boracay, The Canyons at Puerto Galera, and the USS New York at Subic Bay.

 

Between the beach and the volcano on Camiguin Island.

2. It's an adventure capital

If you’re up for some exciting back-to-nature adventures, head to the tiny island of Camiguin. Here you can hike steep volcanoes, dive and snorkel in the clear ocean, trek through jungles to towering waterfalls, or take a dip in one of the island’s natural hot or cold springs.

 

Boracay is one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

3. It's home to one of the best islands in the world

Although only small, beautiful Boracay packs a punch with its turquoise lagoons, beguiling beaches, and volcanic caves. If you’re looking for some serious tropical island bliss, you’ll find it here. Boracay is also home to the powdery sands of White Beach, voted as one of the top beaches in Asia.

 

You'll jump for joy on a beach like this too!

4. The locals love jump shots

An endearing quirk you’ll soon discover about the friendly locals of the Philippines is they love a good old, mid-action jumping photo shot! Where the Japanese make the peace sign, and the Brits say "Cheese!", Filipinos jump. Always happy to oblige for a pic, a jumping shot with your new friends should definitely sit high on your Philippines must-do list!

 

Don't miss the amazing contours of the Banaue rice terraces.

5. They reckon they've got the Eighth Wonder of the World

Nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World by Filipinos, the endless towering valleys of the 2,000-year-old mud-walled Banaue rice terraces have got to be seen to be believed. Take a peek into the historic and fascinating Ifugao culture at this World Heritage-listed treasure, which still operates as farmland today.

 

Sadly not actually made of chocolate, but still awesome.

6. And then there's the Chocolate Hills...

Discover a true quirk of nature on the Filipino island of Bohol. One of the country’s top tourist attractions is the Chocolate Hills, a sea of over 1,200 individual, moss-covered mounds rising out of the ground as far as the eye can see. Think Jurassic Park meets Tolkien; it’s a truly magical and unique sight.

 

Vibrant and practical - the Filipino jeepney.

7. You can get around in a jeepney

The uber-kitsch and inherently Filipino jeepneys are the most popular form of public transportation in the Philippines, and a cheap way to get around the place. Left over from from WWII, the refurbished former US military jeeps are brightly painted and decorated, crowded and lots of fun if you’re up for a bouncy, no-frills ride!

 

What lurks beneath...and above. The whale shark and the volcano in Donsol.

8. And swim with whale sharks

Thousands of visitors flock to the Philippines each year to experience the unique and unforgettable adventure of swimming with whale sharks. Donsol Bay is the place to head, and you can get up close and personal with the magnificent giants of the deep between February and April. Whale sharks are protected in Donsol, so make sure you snorkel or do your whale watching with an accredited eco tour.

 

9. Did we mention there's an underground river?

The Philippines is full of epic experiences, and this one is right up there. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park on the island of Palawan is so incredible, it has been voted one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature. Entrance is though a small opening at the base of a huge limestone mountain, and you’ll cruise past enormous stalactites and stalagmites, and into giant underground caves. Very Indiana Jones!

 

10. Plus, surf's up!

Did you know there’s surf in the Philippines? Grab your board and hit the waves at one of the country’s many surf spots, which can seriously go off in the region’s typhoon swell surges. The standout is the legendary barrels of Cloud Nine, located at the Philippines' surf capital of Siargao Island. Head to the Philippines on a surfventure between October and April to catch the best conditions.

 

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.