Things to do in the Philippines
The Philippines is perfect for the thrill-seeker, the nature-lover, the beach-bum and the shopaholic. Start in the capital and explore the islands from there. Just south of Manila is the charming coastal town of Puerto Galera, which has great diving and snorkelling spots with plenty of different marine species, coral reefs and old shipwrecks to explore. Nearby Muelle Bay is littered with rows of shops, restaurants and bars.
On the northern coast of the island of Palawa, Puerto Princesa is a nature lover’s paradise. Puerto Princesa lays claim to one of the world’s most unique natural phenomena - the world’s longest navigable underground river. Take a guided paddleboat tour along the cavernous river and check out the fascinating rock formations.
If you’re in Donsol to see the whale sharks, you’d be wise to also take a boat cruise along the Donsol River and watch the night light up with millions of sparkling fireflies. The cruise usually includes a traditional prawn-catching expedition with bamboos and nets, so you’re assured of a fresh, tasty seafood dinner too.
No country in the world does festivals quite like the Philippines! Whether there’s a cultural, political or religious day to celebrate, the streets come alive with colourful street parades, drum beats, trumpets, eye-catching sequinned costumes and plenty of dancing and chanting. Although most of the country’s festivals have deep religious roots in Catholicism, these are still lively fiestas and anyone can join in. From Sinulog in Cebu, to Ati-Atihan in Kalibo and the Dinagyang Festival in Ilo-Ilo City, there are over 100 festivals taking place across the archipelago each year, so your trip is bound to coincide with a celebration of some kind.
For more must-dos in the Philippines, check out our recommendations below.
Nicknamed 'Stairways to Heaven', the spectacular Banaue Rice Terraces are etched into the hills of the Ifuago province and consist of giant steps ascending into the sky.
Sadly not a confectionery, but the so-called Chocolate Hills are interesting mounds that sweeten your trek in the Bohol province with their undulating beauty.
The Philippines' number one tourist destination doesn't disappoint with postcard-perfect beaches offering sun, sand, watersports and 24-hour party times.
Like a Filipino Babushka doll of an attraction, Tagaytay province offers a volcano within a lake within a volcano for a must-see site within sights of Manila.
The oldest church in the Philippines is a major attraction in Manila that's withstood disasters both manmade and natural for over 4 centuries.
For Spanish colonial architecture in the nation's capital, Manila's Intramuros neighbourhood has elements dating back to the 16th century that have survived the bombing of World War II.