Craving that cinematic island escape? Enter El Nido and it’s surrounding islands and lagoons for your daydreaming needs. The island of Palawan is where you’ll find El Nido, your base for this venture through turquoise blue waters, hidden lagoons and limestone cliffs towering out of the sea. Head out on a traditional boat to picnic in the sun, snorkel amongst fish and discover untouched beaches.
Adventure-junkies listen up! Check out the must-try extreme adventures in the Philippines. Is the Philippines good for adventure travel? What kind of outdoor activities can be done around the country? Are there any water activities you can try aside from the usual inland activities? Read this article to find out more about it.
For a true adventure junkie, the Philippines is a good destination. From caving to snorkeling and scuba diving, the Philippines has it all. The country’s diverse natural wonders make it a sought-after destination among adrenaline junkies.
So whether you like outdoor adventures in the air, land, or water, you’ll find that there’s a lot of things to do in the Philippines.
15. Freediving with Sardines in Cebu
One of the most exciting, unique, and spectacular things to do in the Philippines is seeing the sardine run in Moalboal. It doesn’t have the billions of sardines, in southern Africa, the best-known sardine run in the world, but it does happen year-round. Just rent a snorkel set from the many tour operators along Panagsama Beach, jump into the water, and you’ll find them there.
14. Multi-Day Caving Adventure in Samar
When it comes to multi-day caving tours, nothing beats caving in Samar. Called the Cave Capital of the Philippines, with the largest cave system to be found there (Langun-Gobingob Caves in Calbiga), Samar has hundreds of caves that have been explored, a small portion of the total known caves.
Caving tours in Samar range from 1-day “discovery” tours, to multi-day caving tours where you get to spend a night or two inside the caves.
13. Hiking Mt. Pulag
The Philippines is not only famous for its beach tours but also for its hiking tours. Mt. Pulag in the Northern Philippines, the third highest peak in the country, is a popular trek for local mountaineers due to its famous sea of clouds.
The Mt. Pulag National Park has one of the richest biodiversity in the country, having vast forests full of pines, moss, and grass. It is a mountain worth climbing, both for its challenging trails and its natural beauty.
Hiking Mt. Pulag can last between 1-4 days, depending on the trail. Beginning climbers take the Ambangeg trail which is possible on a day trip, while the Akiki trail is a challenging, multi-day hike requiring physical fitness and training prior to the climb.
12. Wakeboarding in Camarines Sur
Wakeboarding tours are also popular as it involves riding a wakeboard on the water surface. The wakeboard is normally towed by a motorboat or by closed-course cable systems like in CamSur Wakeboarding Complex, a world-class water sports complex that is the first in the Philippines and in Asia. Aside from wakeboarding, visitors can also try water skiing, kneeboarding, and wake skiing.
11. Surfing in Siargao
Surfing tours are exciting, and the Philippines doesn’t lack for surfing destinations all over the country. There’s San Juan in La Union and Baler in Aurora, best to visit from October to April and from December to February, respectively.
The most popular, however, is Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte because of several surfing spots that can be found on the island. Its Cloud 9 reef break has even been called one of the best waves in the world. The best time to catch swells there would be from July to December.
While Siargao is the surfing capital of the country, it does not only offer good surfing breaks, but also some of the best tourist spots in the Philippines, from lagoons, caves, and the best beaches in the country.
10. Whitewater rafting in Kalinga and Cagayan de Oro
River tours are popular for both local and international travelers as it often includes whitewater rafting, a recreational outdoor activity that uses an inflatable raft to navigate a river or other body of water. This is often done on different degrees of rapids. Dealing with risk and the need for teamwork is often a part of the whitewater rafting experience.
In the Philippines, there are several places where you can go whitewater rafting. Near Manila, you can do it in Magdalena, Laguna, where you will navigate over 20 rapids in a couple of hours. The two most popular whitewater rafting destinations, however, are up north in Kalinga and down south in Cagayan de Oro.
In Kalinga, you’ll have the best time navigating the 175-kilometer-long stretch of the Chico River. You can even bundle it up with other activities in Kalinga, like getting a tattoo in Apo Whang-Od’s village of Buscalan.
Cagayan de Oro, on the other hand, is known as the Adventure Capital of the Philippines and the Cagayan River is best known for whitewater rafting. It offers rapids with varying grades that suit everyone, from beginners to whitewater rafting junkies. There are direct flights to Cagayan de Oro daily, while you can get to Kalinga by flying to Tuguegarao and then taking a 2-hour land trip.
9. Ultralight Flying in Pampanga
Ultralights are small 1- or 2-seat fixed-wing aircraft. For people who love flying and want to experience flying and being in a small aircraft, ultralight or microlight flying is a good recreational activity. You will also experience flying with the wind on your face as the ultralight has an open-air cockpit.
The Philippines is a good place to try the ultralight as the country has a good flying condition, especially during the summer season. It’s not dirt cheap, but there is no cheaper way to fly than with ultralight planes. It’s one of the top outdoor activities in the Philippines.
8. Canyoneering in Cebu
Canyoneering tours are popular because it involves hiking, bouldering, climbing, rappelling, jumping, and swimming while exploring canyons. It’s a more fun activity than just ordinary hiking. One of the best places to do so is in Cebu, where you will start in Alegria and end up in Badian.
A canyoneering day tour takes 4-5 hours and the fee covers all the gears (life vest and helmet) and a bottle of water. It will challenge you to conquer your fear of heights, and even non-swimmers can join, too. For those who want adrenaline-pumping activity while exploring canyons and falls, canyoneering in Kawasan Falls is a must.
7. Swimming with Whale Sharks
You can swim with whale sharks in some parts of the Philippines. These whale sharks grow at 32-40 feet on average, but despite their size, they are known to be docile, earning them the “gentle giant” nickname.
There are two locations in the Philippines where you can swim with whale sharks: Donsol and Oslob. Whale shark season in Donsol is from December to May, with the best time from February to April. While whale shark sighting is not assured, since these are wild creatures, you will likely see at least 5 during peak season and as many as over 40.
There have been controversies with the whale shark tours in Oslob, with the primary argument being the lack of sustainability practices in place. The Oslob local government unit, however, has taken steps to limit the number of tourists to the area to reduce the stress tourism brings to these gentle creatures.
6. Sandboarding in Ilocos Norte
Sandboarding is a recreational extreme sport similar to snowboarding but instead of snow, you ride a sandboard down or across the sand dune. It can also be done while standing up or lying on your belly. It is a popular sport in desert or coastal areas with sand dunes.
Sandboarding in the Philippines is quite a new sport and you can only do this at the sand dunes in Ilocos Norte. This sand dune is getting more and more popular not only for sandboarding but also for ATV and 4×4 riding.
5. Paragliding in Sarangani
If you want to experience flying but find skydiving too extreme, paragliding is your next best choice. It uses a lightweight and free-flying glider aircraft and requires a licensed pilot to operate it.
There are few paragliding sites across the Philippines but Sarangani in the Soccsksargen Region in Mindanao offers the best view with its rolling hills and the Sarangani Bay in the background. You can also find paragliding tours in Carmona, Cavite and Narvacan, Ilocos Sur. A paragliding trip takes only around 20 minutes, but it’s more than enough to satiate your thirst form adventure. You can try other Sarangani tours after your paragliding trip.
4. Tandem Skydiving in Cebu
Skydiving is one of the most extreme adventure sports in the world. It was developed for military use but is now one of the most popular recreational activities for adrenaline junkies. It is also one of the most expensive, given the gears and the expertise involved in doing sports.
If you can get over your fear of heights, and want a very unique perspective of seeing the Philippines from above, head to Cebu to go skydiving. While it is indeed pricey to undertake this activity, the view of the numerous beautiful beaches in Cebu surrounding the province is priceless indeed.
3. Canyon Swing in Bohol
Bungee jumping is not in the Philippines yet. However, a very good alternative to the different outdoor adventures is the canyon swing called The Plunge in Danao Adventure Park in Bohol. Unlike bungee jumping where you jump off a platform, you’ll hang by your feet in Danao and be dropped over 200 meters above the river. You’ll get around 4 seconds of free fall before swinging around 100 meters wide around the canyon.
An alternative to hanging by your feet is being dropped in a sitting down position, where you can see the ground rushing forward to meet you as you drop. Just state your preference!
If you want to tick off “bungee jumping” from your bucket list but find the 200-meter The Plunge too much, head to the Tree Top Adventure in Subic. There is a range of fun activities there, including zipline rides, but one activity similar to The Plunge is the Tree Drop. You climb up to a 60-foot high platform and experience free fall for around a second, which means that before you can scream, the free fall is over.
2. Spelunking in Sagada
Sagada, a small town in the northern part of the Philippines, is best known for its hanging coffins. However, it’s also known for adventure travel in the Philippines due to its beautiful limestone caves.
The province of Sagada has more than 60 stunning caves with spectacular rock formations, the biggest of which is Sumaguing Cave. It is an expansive cave network known for its gorgeous stalagmites, stalactites, giant rock formations, and steep descents. It is also considered as the deepest cave in the country and has a big role in the culture of the people in Sagada.
A DIY tour of the Sagada caves is not possible; a guide from the Sagada tourism office is required. While you can decide to explore Sumaguing alone, it is best to check for Sagada tours that bundle up Sumaguing with another large cave, Lumiang.
1. Coron Diving Experience
As one of the biggest archipelagos in the world, it’s not surprising that the Philippines is one of the top diving destinations worldwide. It is part of the Coral Triangle, an area in the western Pacific Ocean that’s incredibly rich in marine life. It comprises six countries — Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, and Solomon Islands, and of course, the Philippines.
You’ll find in the Coral Triangle hundreds of species of reef-building corals, six out of the world’s seven marine turtle species, and thousands of reef fish species.
Lounge in the best beaches of the Philippines! If you’re looking for the most pristine beaches with unspoiled stretches of white sand, crystal clear waters, and postcard-worthy views, the Philippines has a ton of them! With so many beaches to choose from, where do you start? Find out the top beaches in the Philippines below.
It’s not surprising that choosing the best beach tours in the Philippines is one of the hardest things to do when planning your vacation to this Southeast Asian country.
After all, the Philippines is an archipelago with over 7000 islands and has the 5th largest coastline in the world. This means there are literally hundreds of tropical beaches to choose from!
We’ve come up with this list to help you find the best beaches in the Philippines. In general, the best time to plan your trip to these beaches is during the dry and summer months in the Philippines, from late November to May.
From popular beaches to secluded unspoiled ones, here are 25 of the best beaches in the Philippines that you should add to your travel itinerary.
25. Bakhaw Beach, Camotes Islands, Cebu
One of the most underrated places in Camotes Islands, located in Cebu province, is Bakhaw Beach. Even though it’s a public beach, it rarely gets crowded. This unspoiled beach has a picturesque stretch of white sand and crystal clear waters, making it the perfect place to go swimming and sunbathing.
It’s emerging as a must-visit tourist spot in the province and is also one of the top beaches in Cebu. Don’t forget to take photos of the sunset as it’s a breathtaking sight to see. Since you’ll be riding a boat to get here, avoid planning trips around the rainy/typhoon season usually from June to October.
24. Antonia Beach, Gigantes Islands, Iloilo
No wonder why Islas de Gigantes or Gigantes Island tours in Iloilo, Visayas have been gaining popularity — the crystal clear waters and powdery white sand of Antonia Beach is a sight to behold! It’s one of those remote beaches where you can laze around and swim all day without the big crowd.
Just off the shoreline on the northern part of the beach you’ll find colorful fish, corals, seagrass, and other types of marine life that can be clearly seen even without snorkeling gear, although if you want a closer look you can always rent one out for a small fee.
It’s usually rainy in Iloilo from June to August so best avoid those months since you need to ride a boat during your island hopping trip to Antonia Beach.
23. Lambug Beach, Badian, Cebu
Badian, Cebu got its reputation for being a popular canyoneering experience destination, but did you know there’s a hidden gem within the area called Lambug Beach? This public beach is a great place to spend a lazy day relaxing and enjoying the sun.
It’s a peaceful beach destination perfect for relaxing and just listening to the waves crashing into the shore. This attraction is relatively uncrowded but if you want to stay overnight, there are some rooms or cottages surrounding the beach area that you can stay in.
22. Morong Beach, Batanes
Aside from its rolling hills, lighthouses, and stone houses, the small archipelagic province of Batanes in the northernmost part of the Philippines is also home to Morong Beach. Also called Nakabuang Beach, its most prominent feature is the massive rocky arch called Nakabuang Arch, making it one of the most photographed spots in Batanes.
Siargao is often dubbed as the surfing capital of the Philippines. But did you know there are more things to do in Siargao aside from surfing? Make sure to visit the unspoiled Alegria Beach, a 5-kilometer long white sand beach that’s famous for its breathtaking views.
There are no commercial hotels and establishments within the area, only a few picnic huts and cottages. It’s ideal for swimming, snorkeling, or simply sunbathing. Make sure to add this destination to the Siargao experiences you’ll be trying out while on the island.
20. Anguib Beach, Santa Ana, Cagayan Valley
Anguib Beach is one of the best beaches in Santa, Ana Cagayan Valley. Located at the northeastern tip of Luzon and the Philippines, this beach with powdery fine sand and crystal blue waters is one of the main highlights of Cagayan Valley adventures such as the popular island-hopping day trip in Cagayan where you visit other major attractions in nearby Palaui Island such as Cape Engaño Lighthouse.
A day trip to Palaui Island is a highly recommended side trip as you get to visit Anguib Beach, a majestic lighthouse, scenic terrains, and other white sandy beaches. Palaui Island attractions are best explored by boats so avoid the months of June to November since the currents can be rough because of the rain or typhoons.
19. Subic Beach, Sorsogon
Another Philippine beach with pinkish-white sand, Subic Beach in Matnog, Sorsogon of Bicol region is a must-add to your beach itinerary in the country. Its crystal blue waters and the unspoiled white sand beach offers a peaceful getaway for travelers.
The beach is divided into two, Subic Laki (Big Beach) where most accommodations are located, and Subic Liit (Small Beach) which is uninhibited but is perfect for taking a dip or a quiet stroll under the rows of trees.
It’s a great destination to unwind and relax if you want to escape from the city and follow the sun. You will need to board a boat to go here so it’s best to avoid the rainy/typhoon months of July to December.
18. Pink Beach, Zamboanga
If you’re looking for a unique beach to visit, travel to the Pink Beach in Zamboanga’s Sta. Cruz Island. The beach has a sandy pink color because of the white sand mixed with the pulverized red organ pipe corals. It might not be visible at first, until you take a closer look at the sand, or view it from a drone video or photo.
Joining a Zamboanga Pink Beach escapade is worth it, not only because it was dubbed as one of the best beaches by National Geographic, you can also visit the mangrove forest on the island where you can ride a colorful vinta and encounter non-stinging jellyfish. You will need to board a boat going here from Zamboanga City so it’s best to avoid the rainy/typhoon months of May to October.
17. Gumasa Beach, Sarangani
Situated on the stunning shoreline of Sarangani in Mindanao and is often compared to Boracay’s White Beach, Gumasa Beach deserves its gaining popularity. It’s been called the “Boracay of the South” and “Small Boracay of Mindanao”. It offers 6-kilometers of white sand beach, sparkling aquamarine waters, and a scenic view worthy of a photoshoot.
What sets this beach apart is it’s less crowded, but offers the same experience like other more popular beaches in the country. You can go swimming, kayaking, jet-skiing, snorkeling, and many more. You can join a Sarangani beach tour that includes Gumasa Beach during your trip to this part of the Philippines.
16. Bitaog Beach, Dinagat Islands
Bitaog Beach is one of the best places to visit in Dinagat Islands, a group of islands in the northern tip of Mindanao. It’s a sight to behold with its white sandy shores, crystal clear waters, and rows of coconut trees. With its pristine beauty, it’s no wonder why Bitaog Beach is emerging as a top destination in Mindanao.
Bitaog Beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. There is also an abundant number of rock formations and calcareous peaks that serve as the backdrop of its white sandy shores and are reminiscent of other paradise-like destinations in Palawan.
You’ll have to ride a boat to get to the beach, so it’s better to refrain from visiting during its rainy months, which is from November to June.
15. Malamawi Beach, Basilan
Malamawi Beach is an unspoiled white sand beach in Isabela City of Basilan, Mindanao. This off-the-beaten-path tourist spot is worth checking out because of its turquoise waters, stunning white sand, and uninhibited beauty.
Go for a walk, swim, snorkel, have a picnic, watch the sunset and more. There are beachfront cottages and small stalls selling food and other kinds of souvenirs. You can even rent kayaks if you want to try that water sport activity while in the area.
14. Puka Beach, Boracay
Another gorgeous beach found on the island of Boracay is Puka Beach. It is one of those quieter beach spots in Boracay compared to White Beach, which makes it ideal for those who are looking for a more peaceful tropical getaway.
It got its name from the abundance of crushed “puka” shells mixed with the fine white sand. The beach is roughly 800 meters long and doesn’t have hotels, resorts, and clubs like White Beach. Puka Beach is usually included in a sightseeing trip in Boracay.
13. Bonbon Beach, Romblon
Bonbon Beach is an idyllic beach paradise located in the archipelagic province of Romblon, found in between Luzon and Visayas. It is well-known for its long stretch of white sandbar extending up to 2 kilometers and connects to another island, Bang-og. The sandbar is visible during low tide and you can walk to Bang-og Island too!
If you want to have a great time at this beach and enjoy its crystal clear waters and stretch of white sand to its full extent, make sure to visit either early in the morning or in the late afternoon. It’s best to avoid going there from June to October because of the rain/typhoon season.
12. Banol Beach, Coron, Palawan
Banol Beach, also called Banul Beach, is a sight to behold with its powdery white sand, aquamarine waters, and a towering wall of karst cliffs. Aside from swimming, you can also ride a kayak or chill by the nipa huts that line the beach.
Don’t forget to bring your camera as it’s one of the most photogenic tourist spots in Coron! You will need to board a boat for the island hopping tour so avoid the rainy/typhoon season, usually in July to September.
11. Paliton Beach, Siquijor
Paliton Beach is the most popular beach on the western side of Siquijor, a small island province in Central Visayas. Dubbed as the province’s “Mini Boracay”, this beach is famous for its immaculate turquoise waters, white sand, and vast coconut trees. Visiting this beach is worth it, even during peak season.
Join a Siquijor island adventure to visit Paliton Beach aside from top attractions in the province. The stunning sunset is a must-see in Paliton Beach! The most convenient way to go to Paliton Beach is by riding a scooter or a tricycle. Although the beach rarely gets crowded, it’s best to avoid the wet season, from January to May.
10. Saud Beach, Pagudpud
Pagudpud, a coastal town in Ilocos region and a popular holiday destination in North Luzon, is famous for its windmills and lighthouses. But it’s also a popular destination for travelers because of Saud Beach.
Known for its calm waters and stunning sunset views, this idyllic beach has 2-kilometers of powdery white sand. Take photos as you wade around its waters with the scenic view of Pagudpud as the backdrop!
Make sure to visit this beautiful beach during your sightseeing trip in Pagudpud. Avoid the rainy/typhoon season usually around late May to October since waves are quite rough.
9. Long Beach, San Vicente, Palawan
True to its name, Long Beach is the longest beach in the Philippines with 14.7 kilometers of powdery white sand. Located in San Vicente, Palawan, it is composed of four towns namely San Isidro, New Agutaya, Alimanguan, and Poblacion. It’s one of the top tourist spots in San Vicente.
This beach is ideal for those who seek peace and tranquility as it’s unspoiled and uncrowded. Enjoy swimming and sunbathing in this piece of tropical paradise. If you’re still craving for more adventure in San Vicente, make sure to join Port Barton tours as well which is just a boat ride away.
8. Dahican Beach, Mati, Davao Oriental
Dahican Beach in Mati, Davao Oriental is not like your typical white sand beach, it’s also a skimboarding and surfing spot. It has a 7-kilometer stretch of white sand perfect for lounging for non-surfers and non-skimboarders. The stretch of white sand beach is also a sanctuary for sea turtles.
This underrated beach in Mati is one of the best in Davao Oriental and worth the 4-hour land trip from Davao City. Make sure to stop by at this piece of paradise aside from top Davao trips and experiences.
7. Mahabang Buhangin Beach, Calaguas
If you ever wanted to visit an unspoiled beach with gorgeous views and turquoise waters, Mahabang Buhangin Beach in Tinaga Island of Calaguas Group of Islands, Camarines Norte is a must-visit. It’s a famous destination for campers and beach lovers due to its remarkable 2.5 kilometer stretch of white sand.
You can spend a weekend here or join a Calaguas Island escapade. One of the best ways to enjoy this beach is to rent a cottage or pitch a tent and rediscover the meaning of tropical paradise by wading around its turquoise waters.
Going to Calaguas will require you to board a boat so it’s highly advisable to avoid planning a trip here during the rainy/typhoon season usually from June to October.
6. Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan
Hidden Beach in El Nido, Palawan is best known for its white sand, azure waters, and towering karst formations that conceals its, thus the name. From your boat, you can swim or ride a kayak to get to the beach. It’s one of the major highlights in El Nido island hopping tour C package.
Although it’s far from the other popular islands and beaches, most travelers prefer to unwind at Hidden Beach since it’s not crowded. This means you have more opportunities to take great photos (or selfies!) with the scenic view as the backdrop.
Hidden Beach is one of the best attractions in the list of El Nido island-hopping experiences that you have to visit during your trip to the Philippines. Since you’ll be boarding a boat for the tour, avoid planning trips here during the rainy/typhoon season in El Nido, Palawan, usually around July to September.
5. Malcapuya Beach, Coron, Palawan
Coron, Palawan is a popular Philippine destination because of its beautiful islands and beaches. One of the must-visit tourist spots in Coron island hopping tours is Malcapuya Beach, that you can go to by joining an excursion at Culion Island. It has 1.5-kilometer stretch of pristine white sand that could rival Boracay’s White Beach.
Aside from being a great swimming spot, it’s one of the best places to snorkel and dive. It’s teeming with marine life and colorful corals. Drink straight from a coconut as you stroll around the beach lined with palm trees.
Make sure to take photos as well as it’s one of those picturesque beaches that deserve a spot on your photo album. Island hopping tours will require you to board a boat so avoid going here during the rainy/typhoon season, usually in July to September.
4. Kota Beach, Bantayan Island, Cebu
Kota Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in Bantayan Island, Cebu and features crystal clear waters, powdery white sand, and a sandbar that appears during low tide. Bantayan Island is located on the Northwest Coast of Cebu and boasts fine white sand beaches without the big resorts and commercial establishments like Boracay’s White Beach.
Bantayan Island is a perfect destination among travelers who want a laid back atmosphere and are looking for new experiences in Cebu. Avoid the months of June to September, the wettest months in Bantayan Island, since you need to board a ferry to get here from the main island of Cebu.
3. Alona Beach, Bohol
Along with its world-class diving sites, Panglao Island tours in Bohol are also famous for white-sand beaches. Alona Beach, which is named after a famous actress during the ‘70’s, is a 1.5 kilometer stretch of white sand is one of the most well-known tourist spots in Bohol aside from the Chocolate Hills.
Aside from lounging on the beach, you can try fun Alona Beach activities like the banana boat ride, UFO ride, parasailing activity, and join island-hopping tours to nearby islets and islands. Like Boracay’s White Beach, Alona Beach can get crowded during the summer season since it’s a popular destination. Go here during the lean months of January to March and June to July to avoid the crowd.
2. Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Palawan
Nacpan Beach is a 4-kilometer stretch of white sand in El Nido, Palawan, about 45 minutes’ drive from the town center. It’s also part of the Twin Beaches along with Calitang Beach, adjacent to Nacpan Beach. Nacpan Beach is considered by many as the real hidden gem of El Nido due to being uncrowded and untouched by mass tourism.
There are also plenty of other beaches in El Nido worth exploring if you have more time. Going here during the rainy season in El Nido, usually June to November, can be tricky because of the muddy roads that you have to pass through to get to Nacpan Beach.
1. White Beach, Boracay
White Beach offers a 4-kilometer long stretch of powdery white sand and is the most popular beach and the main attraction in the famous island of Boracay. White Beach and other beaches in Boracay are not only considered as one of the best in the Philippines but are also hailed as the best in the world by several international travel publications.
The best way to experience the beach to the fullest is by trying out White Beach activities like the banana boat ride, parasailing tour, paraw sailing tour, paddleboarding tour, helmet diving tour, jet ski experience, wakeboarding activity, and speedboat riding. You can also just lounge by the white sand and watch the famous Boracay sunset or join a sunset yacht cruise tour.
You can join Boracay island-hopping tours to explore the islets and snorkeling spots around the island. If you want to avoid the crowds, go here during the lean season from January to March and June to July. Typhoons usually fall on August to October.
Experience the colorful culture of the Philippines by joining the vibrant festivals around the country. What and where are the top festivals that are worth traveling to? When should you schedule your trip to experience these festivals? What are the highlights of these festivals? Read on to find out about these fun festivals in the Philippines.
Filipinos are known around the world not only for its attractions included in top tours but for their love to get together and celebrate. A proof of this is the long list of festivals in the country.
There are a number of holidays, long weekends and top festivals in the Philippines happening throughout the year. These vibrant festivals are characterized by the history, artistry, creativity, and passion of the people. While some of them take place for just a day, a lot of them are celebrating for a week and even for an entire month.
Travelers are attracted by these celebrations, along with the energetic, colorful, and fun environment they create. In fact, some of the celebrations are some of Asia’s most popular festivals.
Here is a list of the best and must-see festivals in the Philippines:
11. Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
When: Every Second Week of February
Where: Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles City, Pampanga
Unlike most of the traditional festivals in the country, the Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta is an extraordinary one and is often hailed as one of the top tourist spots in Pampanga.
This 4-day festivity surprises and delights the attendees with things and activities that include flying, skydiving, formation flying, paragliding, aerobatic displays, and hot air balloons. People all over the country and across the world gather during February to experience Asia’s longest-running sports event and to celebrate the heart’s day with their loved ones.
10. Giant Lantern Festival
When: Every Weekend Before Christmas Eve
Where: San Fernando City, Pampanga
Anyone will feel the holiday vibes during the Giant Lantern Festival in Pampanga. San Fernando City or the Christmas Capital of the Philippines organizes the competition of giant lanterns during the weekend before Christmas Eve.
Participants create gigantic and bright lanterns made from locally sourced materials and parade them to each barrio in Pampanga before the midnight mass of Christmas. Add some Pampanga activities to make your Christmas excursion more special.
9. MassKara Festival
When: Every 19th of October
Where: Bacolod City
The MassKara Festival in Bacolod is a giant masquerade party hailing from the country’s City of Smiles. Thousands of young people wear colorful masks decorated with flowers, feathers, beads, and paints.
Aside from joining Bacolod trips, make sure to participate in the MassKara festival to get a full picture of Bacolod. It’s filled with people wearing festive costumes and masks while dancing with the beat of the loud music and spreading the friendly, welcoming, and happy atmosphere.
8. Pintados Festival
When: Every 29th of June
Where: Tacloban City
A religious festival celebrated in the name of Santo Nino, the locals of Tacloban City parade around the city with their bodies and faces painted with vibrant colors of green and blue, which symbolizes Leyte’s ancestral people.
Locals fill the street and perform traditional dances in honor of Santo Nino. Some dancers also use designs that look like arbors to depict warriors who lived in Leyte decades ago. Join a Tacloban day tour to fully experience the province to the fullest.
7. Aliwan Festival
When: Every Last Weekend of April
Where: Pasay City
Although relatively new, the Aliwan Festival in Manila, particularly in Pasay, is by far one of the most popular festivals in the Philippines. Due to its popularity for Filipinos and foreigners, it is called the “Mother of all Festivals.”
This festivity, which started in early 2003, is known as more of a competition than a festival. It aims to promote the diversity in the country, with thousands of participants showcasing their cultures, and the winner bringing home a million pesos as the cash prize.
6. Kadayawan Festival
When: Every Third Week of August
Where: Davao City
Davao City brings its locals and residents in the biggest celebration of Kadayawan.
Kadayawan Festival takes place during the third week of August. You can try Davao tours or watch the flourish with street dancing, beauty pageants, floral floats, and fireworks displays. Locals also showcase flowers, fruits, and other products from the city.
5. Dinagyang Festival
When: Every Fourth Weekend of January
Where: Iloilo City
The people of Iloilo takes street dancing into a whole new level during the Dinagyang Festival.
The whole city of Iloilo transforms into a huge street party complete with bands in every corner and street performers. Mouthwatering and overflowing local delicacies and drinks are served while watching the performances. To cap everything off, barangays and schools compete against each other on a street dancing contest.
4. Pahiyas Festival
When: Every 15th of May
Where: Lucban, Quezon
During the month of May, Lucban showcases a unique harvest festival also known as the Pahiyas Festival.
Locals decorate their homes in lively and vibrant colors. Farm produce like handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, and kiping (rice wafers) are hanging around the houses as decorations. People also bring in their own baskets and pick the fresh produce – free of charge!
3. Moriones Festival
When: Every Holy Week
Where: Province of Marinduque
During the Holy Week in the country, people flock to Marinduque to experience the weeklong celebration of St. Longinus: the Moriones Festival.
Combining the Catholic pageantry with folk mysticism, people wear helmets and don in centurion costumes to reenact the beautiful and theatrical play where one of the locals play the role of St. Longinus and hide among the houses while the others search for him. It’s a great way to spend meaningful time in the province aside from joining Marinduque excursions.
2. Panagbenga Festival
When: Every February
Where: Baguio City
Panagbenga or the Season of Blooming is one of the longest Philippine festivals, observed during the entire month of February in Baguio.
This festival highlights the bountiful blooming of the flowers and to pay tribute to the rising up of the city from the 1990 Luzon earthquake.
During the festival, expect beautiful parades of floats made from different flowers, parading throughout the city, followed by children and adults adorned as flora and fauna.
1. Ati-Atihan Festival
When: Every Third Week of January
Where: Kalibo, Aklan
The Ati-Atihan Festival is known as the granddaddy of the festivals in the Philippines, the celebration that started many festivals in the country. This festival in Aklan is also one of the oldest and is known as the best and the biggest Mardi Gras in the Philippines.
This grand festival lasts for the whole week, often starting its peak during the third Sunday of the month of January. With activities set from sunrise to sunset, people are parading on the streets with colorful paints on their faces and wearing indigenous costumes.
The highlights of Ati-Atihan Festival are the tribal dances, the booming drum beats, the loud chants, and the Catholic rituals, which will surely make any visitor dance their heart out.
As part of its relentless efforts to position the Philippines in the world gastronomic scene, the Department of Tourism (DOT) has tapped three of the most celebrated US-based Filipino-American chefs to discover their food roots in the country for a three week-long culinary smorgasbord experience.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says it’s all systems go for the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” that will commence on Saturday, November 9, 2019. The said project aims to heat up the country’s profile as a culinary destination in the world by tapping into the Philippines’ stable source of gastronomic geniuses starting off with the fast-rising Filipino chefs in the US.
Invited US-based Fil-Am chefs include 2019 James Beard Awards’ Best Chef for the Mid-Atlantic, Tom Cunanan of the famed Washington, DC’s Bad Saint; Charles Olalia, owner and manager of Ma’am Sir, one of GQ’s Magazine’s Best New Restaurants in America for 2019; and chef Grant “Lanai” Tabura, host of food show Cooking Hawaiian Style and winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race.
A self-confessed foodie herself, Secretary Puyat points out that “This is the perfect occasion for us to institutionalize Filipino cuisine and flavors that can proudly stand side by side with other cherished cuisines of the world. Going back to their roots will certainly inspire these leading Fil-Am chefs to lend their voices and talent to raise the world’s perception and taste towards Filipino dishes”.
Organized by the DOT in collaboration with three of the country’s leading chefs Margarita Forés, Claude Tayag and Tatung Sarthou, the “Chefs’ Food Trip Project” spotlights some of the country’s renowned culinary destinations in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and will feature respected Filipino food advocates along with their town’s most iconic dishes and heritage cuisine and local produce like Atching Lilian Borromeo, a beacon of Kapampangan cuisine; Bacolod’s eponymous Mang Enting and Ramon Uy, Jr. of Fresh Start Organic Farm; Olive and Rex Puentespina of Malagos Farmhouse; and Davao-based restaurateur Carmina del Rosario of Mindanao Butchers and Company.
The project also includes interactive symposia to be undertaken in partnership with World Food Expo (WOFEX) University, the teaching arm of the World Food Expo (WOFEX), an institution in food exhibitions in the Philippines, that will engage the visiting chefs with culinary tourism stakeholders, students, and food and gastronomy aficionados alike. Dubbed “DOT x WOFEX University Fun Food Talks”, the symposia will be held in Pampanga on November 13, 2019, Bacolod on November 16, 2019, Davao on November 19, 2019 and Manila on November 21, 2019. For tickets and more details, you may call +632 8929-7993, +63 999-888-5000, email at email@example.com or visit www.peptarsus.com.
Being the capital of the Philippines, Manila’s food scene is emerging as the hub for food lovers from around the world with over 22,000 restaurants. With this many options, it’s hard to decide where to eat in Manila. In this food guide, we’ve broken down some of the best restaurants in Manila!
One thing I love about being a travelling foodie is learning about a destination’s culture through its food. Besides being a city with rich heritage, Manila has a unique food culture that awes the foodies.
When you visit the Philippines, you’ll quickly realize that Filipinos love to eat! It’s just part of the culture, which is why Manila has a plethora of restaurants that offer diverse world cuisines…
The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the selection of the City of Vigan as among the CNN’s 13 of Asia’s Most Picturesque Towns.
“The City of Vigan’s heritage, the Hispanic architecture, and the food make it a picture-perfect site and deserving of the spot in the CNN’s list,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage City.
Vigan City, described by CNN as “one of the best places to experience Spanish colonial-era architecture in Asia,” is the capital of Ilocos Sur Province, an ideal destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE).
CNN’s Kate Springer also noted the plethora of must-see Instagrammable landmarks at Vigan City including Plaza Salcedo, the restored church of St Paul’s Cathedral, and the trade center at cobble-stoned street Calle Crisologo.
Vigan’s traditional Hispanic checkerboard street plan, grid street pattern and historic urban lay out reflects its rich history, recognized as the best-preserved model of a Spanish colonial town in all of Asia.
“The CNN citation of the City of Vigan means that sustainable tourism is not just about environmental protection but also the preservation of the country’s history and culture,” Sec. Puyat points out.
The DOT chief says Vigan City showcases the local government’s efforts in preservation of its ancestral houses by mandating thorough research and documentation of the building original design before permitting any restoration work.
A touch of Spanish colonial style is also a requirement for the design of new structures in the area to complement the City’s preservation and tourism program.
Family ancestral houses are transformed into museums, souvenir and antique shops, and restaurants while maintaining its original Spanish style influence.
Selected as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities in 2014, Vigan’s attractions include the pottery workshop, food adventures with its established culinary scene that features unique native dishes, such as the Bagnet, a deep fried crispy pork belly dish, Poqui-poqui, a mixed vegetables dish, and theEmpanada, a stuffed fried pastry.
The other localities completing the “13 of Asia’s Most Picturesque Towns” are Thailand’s Phuket Town, Hong Kong’s Sai Kung, China’s Zhouzhuang, and Japan’s Yufuin.
A celebration in honor of the Infant Jesus, the town’s patron. Ati-Atihan, observed in honor of the Child Jesus. Ati-atihan means ‘making like Atis,’ that is, pretending to be like the aboriginal natives that once inhabited Aklan. This involves smearing oneself with soot to darken the skin and dressing up in tribal finery. The start of the procession is signaled by drums and whistles, and later punctuated by shouts of “Hala Bira!”
The Dinagyang Festival
Dinagyang is a Hiligaynon word extrapolated from dagyang meaning “merrymaking” It celebrates the feast of the Infant Jesus and the pact between the Datus and the locals.
Third SundayStrait between Iloilo City and Guimaras Island
This festivity features racing events between local outriggers in the strait between Iloilo City and Guimaras Island.
Taytay Hamaka Festival
February 10 to 16Taytay, Rizal
This is a seven-day event showcasing the artistry, craftsmanship and various talents of the people of Taytay.
The Tinagba Festival
February 11Iriga City, Camarines Sur
This is a harvest-offering affair for Our Lady of Lourdes. Farmers parade in carabao-drawn carts filled with the best of local produce while Agtas come down from the mountain to dance.
International Bamboo Organ Festival
This is a ten-day series of cultural events with a focus on the unique bamboo-made organ, made by Fray Diego de la Cera, and found only in Las Piñas.
Month-long celebration of flowers in the country’s summer capital. Similar to the Rose Bowl Parade of the U.S., this festival is highlighted by a parade of floats made entirely of fresh blossoms from local horticulturists. The highlight is in the 4th week of February.
February 14Tabuk, Kalinga
The festival celebrates the Kalinga culture through its sports, crafts, and indigenous food.
February 19Bago City, Negros Occidental
This highlights the culture of the first settlers of Bago City before the Spanish colonizers arrived. As defined by Negros historians, the babaylan is a doctor, herbalist, artist, adviser, herbalist, seer, diviner and agriculturist.
February 20 to 27General Santos City, South Cotabato
This features cultural shows, a civic/military, agro-industrial fair, sports competition, and a beauty pageant.
2nd week of February up to March 10Malaybalay, Bukidnon
A three-day gathering of Bukidnon’s various ethnolinguistic groups in Pines View Park. It includes a performance of traditional rituals.
March 10-12Puerto Galera
Malasimbo Festival has four pillars: music, arts, indigenous people, and environment. The festival is well known for bringing some of the most versatile musicians. In the event, the Malasimbo grounds is decorated with world-class artwork by various talented Filipino and visual artists, also showcasing indigenous peoples’ work.
UNESCO-ITI World Theater Week
March 21 – 27
World Theatre Week is an occasion for theatre artists of varied disciplines in performance and media arts to celebrate the power of Theatre to bring people together and an opportunity to share with audiences the wealth of each country’s heritage, history, habitat, theatrical traditions and expertise modeling cultural caregiving for marginalized sectors and disadvantaged youth exemplified in the Philippine program of the Earthsavers Dreams Ensemble honored as UNESCO Artists for Peace;
Island Garden City of Samal Festival
A week-long celebration of Samal’s founding anniversary held every first week of March.
Anibina Bulawanun Festival
March 8Compostela Valley Province
An eight-day multi-themed annual festival that culminates on the province’s foundation day, March 8. It is a colorful and joyful celebration of the province’s rich agricultural harvests, abundant mineral resources, governance’s feats, trade and tourism fair, and a showcasing of the people’s culture and traditions. The Al-law Ng Kalomonan (Tribal Day) falls on the 7th day of Anibina.
A week-long event honoring Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross; The Palm Sunday is held on the fifth Sunday of Lent where churchgoers bring palm and leaves to re-enact the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem; Holy Thursday is held with a Visitaa Iglesia where Catholics visit at least 7 churches. A “Pasyon” or narration of Christ’s life through singing is held; On Good Friday, believers re-enact the sufferings and death of Christ on the Cross. Easter Sunday is highlighted by “Salubong” or dawn processions held in various parts of the country.
A week-long celebration participated in by male penitents in costumes who parade around town. On Good Friday, they reenact the story of Longinus, a centurion, blind in one eye, who speared Jesus’ side. Christ’s blood fell on his blind eye, miraculously restoring it, leading to his conversion.
Holy WeekGeneral Luna, Quezon
This is believed to be the origin of Marinduque’s Moriones Festival and is as colorful.
Good FridayJordan, Guimaras
This is a procession of flagellants and devotees in biblical attire that ends in the Balaan Bukid Shrine.
Good FridayNueva Valencia
This is a ritual where believers crawl through the Catilaran cave chanting prayers in the hope of gaining supernatural powers to ward off evil spirits.
Siquijor is popularly known throughout the country for “witchcraft”. A “Witches Festival” is held at Crocodile Hill overlooking the Bay of Lazi and the Mindanao Sea. When the moon is full, the sorcerers, called magbabarang gather herbs, roots and live insects, throw these into a giant cauldron filled with boiling water, then sit in a circle around it while mumbling incantations. This is followed by dancing and ends in an exclusive ritual in a secluded cave at dawn.
A seven-day feast in honor of our lady of sorrows highlighted by a procession and a dance (to the beat of a turumba song).
April 14 to 16Basilan
Began in 1983 by former mayor Wilfrido Furigay, the festival showcases the rich Yakan traditions. This is highlighted by a parade and a horse race.
Kadaugan sa Mactan
This is mainly the re-enactment of the Battle of Mactan along the islands’ beach.
Flores de Mayo
Whole MonthCatholic-wide event
Literally translated, it means “Flowers of May” and highlights a procession honoring Virgin Mary. Coinciding with it is the Santacruzan, re-enacting the search of Queen Elena for the cross upon which Jesus Christ was crucified. The town or city’s loveliest ladies grace the occasion.
May 1La Carlota, Negros Occidental
A labor and thanksgiving festival marked by street dancing and a parade of farm products.
May 1Albay Province
A showcase of Albay’s culture and arts marked by exhibits, parades, shows, and sports.
Pista y Dayat Festival
A seaside festival and a thanksgiving day by local fishermen for a bountiful year.
May 2Nabua, Camarines Sur
A re-enactment of the 13th-century rite of offering chains of coconut embryos called boa to deities. They believe that doing so would mean a prosperous year.
Carabao-Carozza Race Festival
May 3Pavia, Iloilo
An event where carabaos (water buffaloes) pull decorated bamboo carts in a 400-meter course race.
May 1-3Balabag, Digos, Davao del Sur
A ritual performed by the Bagobos involving the making of medicinal oil (lana) after their pilgrimage to Mount Apo.
This commemorates the coming of the early migrants from Borneo and Celebes. It is said that they came to Agusan in balanghai or wooden boats.
A month-long celebration honoring the Holy Cross.
Barangay Boat Festival
May 11Aparri, Cagayan
A fluvial festival held annually in honor of Saint Peter Thelmo, the town’s patron saint.
May 15Pulilan, Bulacan
An event honoring. San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. Carabaos are paraded and blessed by the town priest.
Lucban and Sariaya, Quezon
A thanksgiving festival to San Isidro Labrador for the past year’s bountiful harvest. The event is popular for the elaborate edible decorations that cover entire houses like fruits and vegetables, most prominent of which are the brightly colored rice wafers known as; The image of the patron saint is also paraded around town assuring the farmers of a bountiful harvest in the years to come.
May 17 to 19Obando, Bulacan
This festival involves the different dance rituals held for three consecutive days honoring three patron saints: May 17 for St. Paschal (for couples who want a male child), May 18 for St. Claire (for couples who want a female child) and May 19 for the Our Lady of Salambaw (patroness of fishermen).
May 19 to 25Calbiga, Samar
Every May, the quaint little town of Calbiga abounds with giant pahoy-pahoy (scarecrows) made of indigenous materials dancing about its streets. Musical instruments made up of bamboos, cans and stones create the sounds that scare the local maya birds.
2nd weekAgusan del Sur
This is a province-wide festivity which coincides with Agusan del Sur’s Foundation Anniversary in June 17. Incepted in 1993 during the incumbency of the late Gov. Democrito O. Plaza, the festival is a recognition of the Manobo people’s loyalty to their tribal leader, Datu Lipus Makapandong.Literally meaning “the chosen one” the weeklong celebration showcases the indigenous people’s culture through music and dance, native products, ethnic games, and a host of sporting tournaments and special events.The festival depicts the Agusanon culture and heritage. Natives from far-flung places of the province usually come down and display skills through tribal dances and rituals. A trade fair displaying the province’s cottage industries also takes place in Naliyagan Cultural Center Grounds at the Gov. D. O. Plaza Government Center, Prosperidad.
June 11 -12Tacloban, Leyte, Masbate
A two-day affair, which serves as a thanksgiving feast in honor of the Lord.
Araw ng Cotabato
June 12 – 20Cotabato
The city of Cotabato in Mindanao celebrates its founding with special events as the layang-layang or giant kite festival, fluvial parades, banca race and sports competition.
Parada ng mga Lechon (Parade of Roast Pigs)
June 24Balayan, Batangas
Crisp, golden-brown roast pigs are paraded through the streets. As soon as the best decorated roasted pig is announced, the eating commences.
June 24Camiguin Island
The event is held in honor of St. John the Baptist and is marked with fluvial processions, parades and water sports.
Daet Pineapple Festival
3rd WeekDaet, Camarines Norte
A festival showcasing the famous and sweetest of all pineapples- the Formosa variety- abundantly growing in Daet. The week-long celebration features sports events, talent and skills competition, an investment forum, cultural shows and concerts, a food fair, an agro-industrial and trade fair, search for Bicolandia Queen, and street dancing contests.
Last WeekTacloban, Leyte
The festival consists of three major activities: (1) Subiran Regatta – a sailboat race held at the eastern entrance of San Juanico Strait, (2) Balyuan – a pageant reenacting the historic exchange of images between Basey, Samar and Tacloban City, and (3) Pintados Festival where participants paint their bodies and dance to the rhythm of bamboo sticks.
Piat Sambali Festival
Last WeekPiat, Cagayan
In Piat, Cagayan, the colorful celebration is highlighted by street dancing, cultural shows and a beauty pageant. This festival commemorates the Christianization of the Ytawes region of Cagayan.
Sagayan Festival Tubod
1st weekLanao del Norte
A festival with a Maranao war dance as a main event. The dance is performed during the Araw ng Lanao del Norte and is participated by all the municipalities in the province. The war dance is complemented by a fan dance performed by Maranao maidens wearing colorful dresses.
July 4 – 7Bocaue, Bulacan
In Bocaue, Bulacan, a feast is held in honor of the Holy Cross of Wawa found in the Bocaue River. The main attraction of the affair is the fluvial parade of the pagoda or decorated barge and colorful small boats.
Sublian sa Batangas
July 23Batangas City
This coincides with the Foundation Day of Batangas City. It revives the tradition of dancing the subli, which is indigenous to the province.
Sinulog and Kinabayo Festival
July 24 – 25Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte
The event honors Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte’s patron saint St. James.
Sinulog de Tanjay Festival
Last weekTanjay, Negros Oriental
The celebration of the residents of Tanjay, Negros Oriental of this 10-day fiesta features the origin of the old sinulog culture. A parade is held showcasing the clothes locals wear, while the horsefighting presentation re-enacts the battle between the Spaniards and the Muslims.
Kahimoan Abayan Festival
Last weekButuan City, Agusan del Norte
In Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, the feast is held in honor of Santa Ana (St. Anne), known to protect the residents along the Agusan River from man-eating crocodiles. The celebration includes the holding of a prayer on boats for safe passage and prosperity.
Celebrated in Bohol, this festival commemorates the blood compact between Spaniard Legaspi and Filipino Sikatuna. It includes an agro-industrial exhibit, a trade fair, a beauty contest, street dancing and a re-enactment of the blood compact.
August 1 – 7Samal Island, Davao
A thanksgiving festival for a bountiful harvest highlighting the culture of the Sama, the indigenous people of Samal, as shown in the indigenous sports, and other culture-based competitions.
Pangasinan Bamboo Festival
August 14Calasiao and Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan
Pangasinan Bamboo Festival August 12 This is a festival showcasing bamboo products and includes bamboo planting and film exhibitions. Venue: Calasiao and Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan
August 6-11Mercedes, Camarines Norte
A thanksgiving festival by local fisherfolk for blessings received during seafaring, and fish-farming.
August 5Basco, Batanes
Locals celebrate the bountiful harvest of the fruit Marang.
August 4-5Basco, Batanes
This is highlighted by a cultural presentation showing the life and times of the Ivatans.
August 14Tanuan, Leyte
“Pasaka,” the native word for Assumption, is a street spectacle in honor of Our Lady of Assumption.
August 15Calubian, Leyte
A dance festival extolling the many uses of the coconut in homage to Our Lady of Fatima and St. Roque.
August 17 – 18Kidapawan, Cotabato
A gathering of Mindanao ethnolinguistic groups like the Bagobos and Manobos. This is highlighted by a horse fight and a Manobo wedding.
Kadayawan sa Dabaw Festival
3rd weekDavao City
Dabaweños celebrate the annual Kadayawan – a colorful occassion that lasts for five days – as a thanksgiving festival and a tribute to its indigenous peoples. Kadayawan is a native expression in Dabawnon tongue, which means “anything excellent that brings great fortune” from “dayaw” (good), describing a thing that is valuable and superior.
August 19Lucban, Quezon
On August 19, in the town of Lucban, Quezon, townsfolk trot out their beloved gigantes or giants. Measuring about 14 feet tall, the giants come in pairs, the mag-asawa or couple, a giant man dressed in the peasant’s camisa chino or undershirt, and his wife clad in the native patadyong and kimona, a loose skirt topped with a flimsy blouse. Made from papier mache, the giants are borne on shoulders by those who have made a panata (oath) made in return for a favor received. This festivity is shared by Lucban with the town of Angono, Rizal, which holds it in November.
August 19Abuyog, Leyte
Buyogan focuses on the bee locally known as “buyog” from which the town’s name originated.
August 20Lavezares, Northern Samar
An annual boat racing contest celebrating the feast of Nuestra Señora de Salvacion, the town’s Patroness.
August 26-28Cagayan de Oro City
This festival is highlighted by streetdancing participated in by contingents from schools and civic organizations.
Last Sunday of August to 1st week of SeptemberTanjay, Negros Oriental
The festival features evening novenas participated in by more than 40 clans, which culminate in a nocturnal fluvial procession at the Tanjay River.
September 1-29Irosin, Sorsogon
This features a cultural show, trade fair, and a street dance depicting the archangels’ victory over the “Black” Angels.
Bicol Food Festival
September 1-30Naga City
A festival of Bicol cuisine: pinangat and laing, bicol Express, inolokan or tilmak, pecadillo and cocido.
September 1-8Calbayog City
The festival features street dancers dressed as cocks swaying to the beat of ancient Samareño instruments.
T’boli Tribal Festival
3rd weekSouth Cotabato
A gathering of the major ethnolinguistic groups in the province together with representatives from Davao.
Peñafrancia Fiesta Festival
3rd SundayNaga City, Camarines Sur
A religious festival honoring Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, the patroness of the Bicol Region River.
September 25Tangub City
This showcases local rituals, dances, and way of life.
Linapit Food Sharing Festival
September 30Gueday, Besno
A festival with a delightful pre-planting feast at its core where natives share their food with everyone.
September 28-29Nassiping, Gattaran, Cagayan
This commemorates centuries-old religious and cultural tradition based on the life of St. Michael.
September 29Basey, Samar
This celebrates the banig and the kawayan crafts industry flourishing in Basey.
1st weekRoxas City
This festival highlights the performance of the history and culture of Capiz during pre-Hispanic times.
Universal Children’s Festival
1st weekDapitan City
The festival involves children of locals, dressed in costumes of UN member countries, parading around the city.
A grand Bacole celebration marked by carnivals, fairs and masked street dancers.
2nd weekLegaspi City
This festival is based on Ibalong, a Bicol epic showcasing legendary superheroes Handiong and Baltog.
Zamboanga Hermosa Festival
October 10-12Zamboanga City
The festival features a regatta, colorful vintas, banconan flower show, and fireworks honoring the Nuestra Señora del Pilar Zaragosa.
The festival is itself the foundation anniversary of Sorsogon. The festival’s name means “prosperity and happiness.”
Feast of La Naval Manila
October 11Quezon City
The image of the Virgin is paraded around town in a colorfully-decorated carriage, which resembles a ship. The image is believed to be miraculous and ensures safe voyage to anyone who prays to it.
October 15Oroquieta, Misamis Occidental
This is held in honor of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary
Calbayog Grand Karakol
October 16Calbayog City
A religious celebration of thanksgiving and joyous pageantry of dancing devotees of San Rafael.
October 16-17Tubod, Lanao del Norte
The feast is in honor of San Isidro Labrador with street dancers dressed up in various banana-like costumes.
3rd weekTigbao, Zamboanga del Sur
A colorful harvest festival participated in by the Subanean indigenous group.
4th weekMambajao, Camiguin Island
The festival is held to celebrate the abundance of lanzones fruit in the island with a streetdancing competition involving the youth all dressed up in lanzones leaves or fruits. The lanzones is one of the island’s most important crops.
October 24Virac, Catanduanes
This festival commemorates the province’s independence from Albay.
November 3-5San Carlos City
This festival is marked by a streetdancing involving the pintados or dancers with tattoos or flowers on their body.
November 13Cebu City
This restages the Filipino tradition of visiting relatives to lovingly remember departed loved ones.
November 15Calapan, Oriental Mindoro
This festival reenacts the first contact between the natives of Mindoro and traders from China.
Feast of San Clemente/ Gigantes
November 22-23Angono, Rizal
This celebration is marked by giant Papier-mâché effigies, natives in wooden shoes and costumes joining the procession of the statue of San Clemente around town.
3rd weekMaragusan, Davao Province
This involves performances by indigenous groups of the area, and harvest-related thanksgiving rituals.
3rd weekCapitol Complex, Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur
This celebrates the versatility of the Bamboo plant and its importance in the area.
Santa Ipon Festival
November 25 – December 25Santa, Ilocos Sur
A thanksgiving celebration highlighted by the catching of the ipon, a small but mysterious fish.
Day-ang Di Onga Festival
November 30Baguio City
This is one of the region’s major events featuring young Cordillerans in a day-long event to “celebrate life.”
Last weekOlongapo, Zambales
This festival re-enacts the war between the Aetas and the Christians through dance.
Paskuhan sa Barangay
Parian, Cebu City
This is highlighted by nightly cultural presentations from the different universities in Cebu City.
San Fernando Giant Lantern Festival
Philippine Christmas Village, San Fernando, Pampanga
This is a month-long lantern showcase where lanterns measuring 14 to 18 feet in diameter delight spectators with their kaleidoscope patterns
This month-long festival features “Kiti-Kiti,” “Pastoras,” Bikol Song Festival, and other cultural events.
Subayan Keg Subanon
December 1- 8Ozamiz City
This involves a trade fair, a street theater performance, and songs and dances depicting the rich Subanon cultural heritage.
Pasko sa Tanjay Festival
December 1 to 9Tanjay, Negros Oriental
A month-long Christmas festivity featuring cultural presentations and contests.
Fiesta de Agoo
December 5-8Agoo Civic Center, Agoo Basilica
This features a Lantern festival, the coronation of Miss Agoo, the awarding of Bannuar ti and Dakilang Datu Awards.
December 5-8Roxas City
This features a fireworks display, a grand parade, a food festival, and the Capiz dance festival.
Hanging of the Green
2nd weekZamboanga City
Children join in the “hanging of the green” signifying the start of the Christmas season.
Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion
December 8Puerto Princesa City
A grand celebration in honor of the city’s patroness and is highlighted by a parade of several images of Virgin Mary.
The Tagbanuas’ feast of thanksgiving for a bountiful rice harvest along with food offerings to deities and departed kin. The rite involves men and partaking of rice wine with the spirits. After the harvest, the Tagbanuas gather in the house of the babaylan or the priestess whom the spirits speak to.
Dad-Iw Day-eng Chants
December 8Bakod, Benguet
This features the Ibaloi, Kankana-ey tribal songs and dance presentations.
Karisyohan Han Pasko Ha Palo
December 10 to January 6Palo, Leyte
This features a Misa de gallo, a cultura show and a Christmas eve choral concert at Palo Cathedral.
Philippine International Lantern Parade
December 14Asia World Complex Roxas Blvd., and Quirino Grandstand
A grand colorful parade featuring lanterns from different countries along with local bands, indigenous groups, vintage cars, and calesas.
Christmas Among the Tribes
December 16Cabarroquis, Quirino
This involves house visitations for Christmas gifts undertaken by the indigenous groups in Quirino.
3rd weekNabunturan, Davao Province
A week-long festival highlighted by Mansaka dances, neo-ethnic shows, street dancing and a grand parade.
December 15-19Cotabato City
A celebration to commemorate the arrival of Shariff Kabunsuan and Islam to Mindanao.
December 18Legaspi City
This involves boys and girls in costumes playing the roles of shepherds who rejoice at the birth of Jesus.
December 24Kawit, Cavite
A town-wide re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for a room on the eve of Christ’s birth.
December 29Plaridel, Bulacan
This is procession of dancing women, horses and calesas to fetch the Santiago Maria Moros from Barangay Sipet.
This list of festivals shared by the Tourism Promotions Board will be updated continuously as many of the dates and details can change every year.
Connect with our travel experts to plan your upcoming festival attendance!
After getting engaged, many brides get lost in a flurry of tasks: choosing colors, finding the dress, picking out decorations, and what seems like a thousand other things. One of the most stressful parts of planning a wedding is finding the right place for your nuptials. With the average ceremony and reception cost in the United States reaching $15,163, it is no wonder that the venue takes a toll on a couple trying to find the perfect setting at a reasonable cost.
Although the money-savvy couple can find venues in the U.S. for a modest amount, they are often lacking extras – like seating, food, and decorations – which the couple must furnish themselves or pay extra for the venue to provide. This can leave many couples dreaming of a destination wedding instead. If this echoes your struggle and you’re wondering where in the world to get married, let us recommend some of our favorite places for Filipino nuptials. From the beachy keen couple to those who imagine heart-stopping heights, we have locations for every type of bride!
The Philippines is full of eco-conscious and eco-friendly spaces. Whether you want the whole experience in one of the many eco-friendly resorts or if you want a simple elopement on a breathtaking protected beach, you are sure to find a place that meets both your vision and environmental ethics. Here’s just a quick sample of the exquisite locations you can find.
El Nido owns a group of sustainable resorts that focus on a variety of experiences. Their Pangulasian Island Resort offers the most services, including a coordinator on site who can assist you in planning the wedding of your dreams. In addition to promoting responsible tourism, their entire staff continually undergoes training on conservation, environmental ethics, and waste management.
Maybe the beach or exclusive resort isn’t your style. For those who prefer to get married in a more harmonious setting, with a dramatic volcano rising above you, Fundacion Pacita is waiting for you. Their staff will strive to make sure you cherish your day, from the farm-fresh food to the awe-inspiring views.
If you prefer to get married with the sand between your toes and a rose gold sunset creating a magnificent backdrop for your vows, we have plentiful beaches for you. Let’s face it: nothing says romantic wedding like a sandy paradise.
Kandaya has a pristine white, sandy beach nestled beside a lush landscape. With luxury accommodations and exquisite sunsets, it is easy to see why so many couples choose Kandaya to exchange their vows.
Have you imagined getting married in a Grecian paradise, but want a non-traditional spin? Look no further than Bellarocca, situated on a tiny island off the coast of Buenavista. Book a breathtaking cliffside villa, with infinity pools that seemingly stretch into the space between sea and sky, and you have a perfect escape for both your ceremony and honeymoon.
If you want relaxed nuptials on the beach followed by a toast in the sea, the Crimson Hotel in Cebu is for you. This resort will help take care of everything, plus their stunning location will make the perfect backdrop for memories you will treasure for years to come.
Maybe you want to find a scenic setting off the beaten path. These locales are not for the faint of heart or large groups. If your dream destination wedding involves a beautiful landscape that is out of this world, the next three places are calling you by name.
Mount Pulag, the Philippines second highest peak, creates an unreal atmosphere above the clouds. You will have to work for the view as it requires a six-hour hike to the top. However, once you get there, the panorama of the Milky Way and the blanket of clouds below creates a backdrop of galactic proportions.
This area was recently made famous by the incredible photos taken while Mount Mayon erupted in the background. With an array of venues for the ceremony, you are sure to find the perfect spot. Then you can capture the active volcano in your couple shots, showcasing how explosive your love is for each other. You will need to keep in mind that flexibility is key in this location; since the volcano is active, you may have to delay your wedding if evacuations are in place.
Sila Island boasts one of the only pink sand beaches in the Philippines. As such, rose gold fanatics can find the perfect spot here, especially if they can catch the golden rays of the sunset hitting the dusty pink beaches. Traveling to Sila Island is not easy, however, as it takes almost every mode of transportation to arrive on its blushing shores. The long travel is worth it as the lack of accessibility means that it is one of the least crowded and tranquil islands the Philippines offers.
The Philippines is full of fantastic and cheap local cuisine. For very little money, you can feed your entire reception with a scrumptious feast. Below are some of our favorite regional treats and where you can find them!
Lechón is a whole pig slowly roasted and basted above a fire pit over the course of several hours. The result is beautifully tender meat with a crispy, flavorful skin that will delight your taste buds. Cebu is known for having the best lechón, but don’t just take our word for it! Even celebrities like Anthony Bourdain had said Cebu lechón is the “best pig ever.” Filipinos typically serve the dish on special occasions, so it is a perfect meal to accompany your reception. Check out favorites, like Rico’s and House of Lechón, or ask your venue to contact their favorite lechón maker.
Many consider adobo the national dish of the Philippines, so you cannot miss it as you plan your nuptials! The best adobo is found in Manila, which is perfect for the bride who still wants the glamor of the city. Adobo refers to the vinegar based marinade and slow cooking method and can be made with pork, chicken, or vegetables. That means no matter what your guests’ tastes are, they can find a way to enjoy this traditional cuisine. Order some lumpias with the adobo and you have a perfect dinner for the occasion.
Since you are planning a destination wedding, you can forgo the traditional wedding cake if you want. You might try out the heavenly local sweets and create a dessert table for your guests to enjoy. Add succulent seasonal fruit to the table and you will have a dazzling array of confections to satisfy everyone. Our favorites are halo-halo, palitaw, puto, leche flan, silvana, sans rival, turon, and maja blanca. If you are unsure of what you might want, spend a day checking out the neighborhood bakeries and pastry shops to find what you love. If you still want a traditional cake, don’t worry! There are plenty of amazing bakers who can create the stunning (and scrumptious) cake you desire.
Weddings…It’s More Fun in the Philippines
Now that you have a handful of places to choose from, we hope you have found the perfect location for your destination wedding. You will find that your wedding is more fun than you could have imagined if you choose to have it in the Philippines.
Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Sunday are celebrated by Christians around the world, but in the Philippines, it’s different. More than 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholic. Their traditions have influenced the culture and whole communities celebrate together.
For travelers interested in observing these holy days, it’s an ideal time to visit the Philippines. Plan a spiritual experience with your family or with close friends. It’s important to start planning this trip early–booking both travel and accommodations–as many guests visit for the Easter holiday and Filipinos travel to be with family and friends.
Must See Churches
Enhance your journey through the Philippines during the Easter holidays by visiting some of the oldest and most beautiful churches on the islands.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the Ming-ao Church has an extensive history. It’s thick walls and mismatched bell towers helped protect the area from invaders during the 18th and 19th centuries. The belfries were commissioned by two different parish priests and the west tower is both older and taller. While visiting this church, don’t forget to go inside and see the solid gold retablo also known as a sanctuary.
Built entirely of red bricks in 1783, the church, commonly known as the Tumauini Church, has been under consideration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006. It was built in the style of Late Baroque or Early Rococo and its bell tower stands four stories tall.
While this parish dates back to the 1690s, the church building, which is commonly known as Boljoon Church, was first built in 1783. It was listed as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2001 and continues to be a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is well-known for its special ceilings which are made of “tag-ut” which means “coming from trees” and are beautifully painted. They date back to at least 1883.
Completed in 1788, the church commonly known as the Argao Church is a two-level structure built of coral stone. The beautifully painted ceiling tiles are made of wood. The paintings themselves were completed by two artists, one being the renowned Cebuano painter Raymundo Francia. Sadly, the other half was completed by an unknown Boholano artist. As the name suggests, the church was dedicated to the archangel Saint Michael.
Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, the church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, began construction in 1694. It is known as a prime example of the Spanish Colonial Baroque Architecture-style which was adapted for the Philippines due to the frequency of earthquakes. You’ll see larger than normal buttresses and stair-style buttresses. The facade is made up of two materials, brick on the lower part and coral on the upper.
Commonly known as the Santa Ana Church, it was established by the Franciscan Order in 1577. The first cornerstone for the larger stone church and convent was laid on September 12, 1720. The image of the patron saint, Nstra. Sra. De los Desamparados – or Our Lady of the Abandoned – was carved in Spain and brought to Santa Ana by Fr. Vicente Ingles, OFM, who was the parish priest at the time.
Within the Archdiocese of Lipa you’ll find this church, commonly known as Taal Basilica. It is considered the single largest church in the Philippines, as well as in all of Asia. First established in 1575, the church was severely damaged by the largest recorded eruption of the local volcano in 1754. The church was then moved to its current location on top.
Tips for What to Expect
If you’ve never been in the Philippines for Holy Week and Easter, you will need to keep a few things in mind.
Heavy traffic and crowded streets cause problems getting anywhere quickly. Processions involving people, carts, floats, and crowds around the churches are common. Plan to become part of the celebrations and immerse yourself in the experience.
Many businesses are closed during Holy Week or have shortened working hours. Once you know where you’ll be staying, learn what will be open and be prepared for stores and services to be shut down, including grocery stores and restaurants.
Some television and radio stations feature reruns or pre-recorded shows during parts of Holy Week, while others play seasonal content to join in the spirit of the holiday.
Plan Your Trip to the Philippines
Spending the holiday living like a Filipino local creates one-of-a-kind, spiritual memories.
The time to plan your trip to the Philippines is now if you want to be a part of this immersive religious experience before it’s gone. If you’re ready, our partnersare ready to help you discover the Philippines.
Your bags aren’t packed yet, but your boss already approved your vacation time, right? Even if Hurricane Irma didn’t care about your vacation destination, your much-needed vacation shouldn’t have to be postponed.
Hurricanes and tropical storms are devastating bringing destruction and grief to many island destinations. We are optimistic that the Caribbean Islands will rebuild better than ever. In the meantime, the Philippines can offer you all the amenities and similar exciting attractions for a vacation you’ll never forget.
Beautiful Diving Destinations
With new resorts and diving tours popping up across the islands, the Philippines is a perfect destination for both beginners and experienced divers. Filipinos have a history of helping divers experience the underwater beauty of the Philippines through Scuba Diving since 1966. Pick your favorite spot and get to diving today!
Shipwreck exploration in Coron
Below the surface, there are several sunken Japanese warships leftover from World War II when the U.S. Navy attacked on September 24, 1944. The ships serve as a host to marine life and are a unique memorial from the war. You can visit the ocean floor to see the damage done to the ships by the 96 American planes, preserved by their home at the bottom of the sea and only available to SCUBA divers.
Hole in the Wall at Puerto Galera
At slack tide, this is a a perfect diving spot for inexperienced divers. Sitting at a depth of only 40 feet, thousands of divers have visited this big rock with a hole only large enough for one person to fit through. You’ll have a good chance of seeing snappers, scorpion fish, and turtles. Also, you’ll be hypnotized by the different soft corals, gorgonian fans, and sponges.
Apo Island Diving
There are dives sites circling Apo Island which offer beautiful seascapes and tons of marine life. The Apo Island Marine Sanctuary and Protected Seascape has been under rehabilitation and is currently prohibited from diving, however, you’ll still be blown away by diving at Coconut Point, Chapel’s Point, Rock Point, and Mamsa Point. Reef sharks, jacks, barracudas, Vlaming Unicornfish, tuna, snappers, eels and many more types of fish can be seen.
Sweet Surfing Spots
Peak surfing season happens in the Philippines September through March. However, in some areas, it is said to be possible to surf all year long.
Cloud 9 on Siargao Island Often the first place Filipinos mention when asked where to go surfing, Cloud 9 landed in the No. 9 spot on the CNN Travel blog, “World’s 50 Best Surf Spots.” This is one spot surfers can catch a great wave all year long and is dubbed the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines”. Each year, surfers from around the globe meet in Siargao for the annual Siargao Cup, a surfing competition sponsored by the Surigao del Norte provincial government.
Charlie’s Point near Baler, Aurora
The movie Apocalypse Now changed life forever for the once-small fishing village of Baler. During filming in 1979, local Filipinos watched as the beach became scenes from the Vietnam war. They also watched the actors surfing, and when the actors left their boards, the locals taught themselves to surf. Each year, tourism grows at Charlie’s Point and the locals will gladly show you where the movie was filmed, teach you to surf, or join you in the waves.
Bagasbas Beach in Daet, Camarines Norte
Bagasbas Beach is known for being both long and wide with fine sand. The Pacific Ocean provides big waves that are known to become barrel waves between July and November. Waves break both to the right and left, providing a good learning spot for inexperienced surfers. The sandy bottom below the waves also helps beginners keep from scraping themselves up as they learn to surf.
Wildlife Swimming Companions
Have you ever wanted to swim with dolphins? Have you dreamed about a dive with sea lions and sea turtles? You can do it all in the Philippines!
Swim with the Sharks in Oslob
The largest fish in the world, the whale shark, can be seen in the water at Oslob, Cebu. Tourists gather along the beach and catch boats out into the water to get a closer view. Those who have paid to swim with the sharks must remove all sunscreen and agree to stay at least four feet from the sharks. There are fines for anyone who touches the beautifully-massive creatures. From 6 a.m. until noon, groups of people called “feeders” drop krill, small fish, and sea plants to keep the whale sharks in the area. You can set up tours and even combine the experience with a trip to the turquoise pools at Tumalog Falls.
Experience an Animal Encounter at Ocean Adventure In just one place, you can swim with sea lions and dolphins or dive with sea turtles, blacktip reef sharks, and giant jackfish. At Ocean Adventure, you can even get a fish spa pedicure where live fish tickle your feet as they nibble away all the dead skin. You can tailor each part of your day to fulfill your every expectation. Spend the day as an animal trainer, see the shows, and even dine by the bay.
Unique Catches for Fisherman
With more than 2,000 species of fish living in or around the islands of the Philippines, there is no shortage of places to fish. You can hire guided tours and boats, which also have rental fishing equipment. Take your chance at fishing for a record in the Philippines.
Go sport fishing in Cagayan
Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in Cagayan. While you can productive fishing all year, the best times to catch fish are from March to June. During that time you can find fishing tournaments, or arrange for your trip to avoid the tournaments if you don’t want to fish with a crowd.
Fish for Largemouth Bass
Both Lake Lumot and Caliraya Lake on the island of Luzon are known for their bass fishing. Even though the American Largemouth Bass is not native to these waters, they thrive there. You might even be able to find bass larger than 10 pounds!
See How It’s Made
Spend more time getting to know the people of the Philippines and how they live through tours of local farms. Experience a day in the life on a Filipino farm and you’ll find something delicious to take home with you.
La Huerta de Rosario – Baao, Camarines Sur
La Huerta de Rosario is a privately-owned farm and tourist stop where visitors can experience harvesting fresh, local produce. In addition, guests are then served food–freshly harvested and cooked in the local style. La Huerta de Rosario is also a haven for local artists and their work is displayed throughout the buildings on the farm.
The Coffee Farmhouse, Cavite
From coffee to bean, serious coffee connoisseurs can enjoy a stay at the Coffee Farmhouse. About two hours away from Manila on the outskirts of Tagatay, you can escape the bustle of the city and learn about how coffee is raised, processed, and served on a family farm in the Philippines. In addition to the tour, you can play games, enjoy a bonfire, or schedule a relaxing massage.
Malagos Chocolate Cacao Farm, Davao City Known for their excellent quality, the Malagos Farms’ chocolate bars start from cacao beans grown, harvested, and processed on their farm in Davao City. Chocolate lovers can take a half-day tour of the farm to get an idea of how the chocolates are made. For serious chocoholics, a three-day cacao farming seminar is also an option.
Sneak a Peek at Nature
The list of flora and fauna you can only see in the Philippines is extensive, both on land and underwater. Even if you aren’t a hiker or a diver, the people of the Philippines have found ways to share their unique landscape with you.
Bird Watching at Olango Wildlife Sanctuary
The first preserved wetland of international importance for waterfowl, the Olango Wildlife Sanctuary offers trekking tours with knowledgeable guides. Vulnerable and threatened species like the Chinese Egret and the Asian Dowitcher are protected here and can be seen while taking the tour. The amenities of the sanctuary are minimal, but guides will help you see the natural aviary on this important migratory route as well as arrange for your group to have fresh coconut juice.
Watch Whales and Dolphins at Pamilacan Island
The Pamilacan Island Dolphin and Whale Watching Tours began with one man’s dream to provide an eco-tourism adventure for the people living on Pamilacan Island, as an alternative to hunting whales and dolphins. Now, you can create a tour to satisfy your need for adventure, see dolphins and whales at play, swim and snorkel on white sandy beaches, tour the Bohol countryside, or visit the village on Pamilacan Island.
Create the Vacation of Your Dreams in the Philippines
When you come to the Philippines, people will make you feel at home. You can enjoy adventures of all sorts, lay on white sand beaches, or get treated like royalty at the spas and resorts. Don’t let mother nature steal your vacation plans, let us help you craft the most memorable vacation of your life today.
Have you been saving and searching for a dream vacation? Well, stop searching, because we’ve got a bucket list full of the best things to do in the Philippines that’ll have you booking your flight in no time.
For the Avid Hiker
The Philippines consists of 7,641 islands with a tropical maritime climate–which means it’s warm and humid the majority of the year. The extensive coastlines and rainforests on the islands provide a perfect habitat for plant and animal life to flourish. Hiking expeditions through this exotic wildlife offer unique experiences at sites that are inaccessible by car.
Explore the Banaue and Batad Rice Terraces
Carved into the mountainside more than 2,000 years ago, the rice terraces created–by the ancestors of indigenous Filipinos–are a sight to behold. The rainforests above the terraces provide water to the ancient irrigation system, which is still used today.
Catching a ride in a Jeepney–which provides local transportation across the Philippines–is the suggested way to start your hike. Guided hikes can be negotiated and purchased when you arrive in Banaue or before leaving for the Philippines.
Learn more about Lotte, a travel blogger from the Netherlands, and her hike through the rice terraces on her blog, Phenomenal Globe.
Backpack Mount Apo
Backpack to the top of Mount Apo, the tallest peak in the Philippines archipelago. The best known starting point originates in the national park located in Kidapawan City, the capital of Cotabato Province. The hike is expected to take three to four days and is considered a seven out of nine-difficulty rating, according to the local mountaineering guide.
Go Spelunking in Cantabon Cave
Described by some as an experience much like an obstacle course, you can try spelunking into one of the least corrupted caves in the Philippines when you visit Siquijor. The professionally guided caving experience at Cantabon Cave may leave you wet, dirty, and tired–but it’s unlike anything else you will see while visiting the islands.
The 800-meter hike into the cave is expected to take around two hours to complete. Watch this video of one group’s experience in the cave.
For the Divers and Swimmers
Under the clear blue water, the flora and fauna of the Philippines provide a spectacle any diver would enjoy. In fact, you can find more than 500 types of coral and 2,400 species of fish. Beyond the natural wonders of the area, you’ll find sunken ships to discover, special swimming classes, and friendly boat captains.
Attend the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy
Photo used courtesy of the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy[/caption]
Have you dreamed of swimming through the seas with one fin like a mermaid? The Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy will teach you how! Start your introduction to a mermaid’s life in Boracay, Cebu, or Manila. For more in-depth courses, you’ll have to visit Boracay.
Initial intro classes include tail measurements and fittings, safety and photo training, and free swim time in shallow water. Advanced classes further teach safety, methods for swimming in deeper water, and lessons on how to act more like a mermaid by doing handstands and blowing mermaid bubbles.
Discover the Coron Bay Reefs and Wrecks
With more than 1,000 types of marine life to discover among the reefs and a dozen wrecked World War II ships, the area around Coron Bay is a diver’s paradise. It has been named among Forbes Traveler Magazine’s Top 10 Dive sites. Rock formations in the area also provide a lively snorkeling experience for those who like to stay near the top of the water. One famous dive site is known as Gunter’s Cave, where you can visit a naturally lit, underwater cave. At certain times of the day a beam of light shines through the opening in the cave and illuminates the entire space.
Scuba at Tubbataha Natural Park
While visiting the sites at Tubbataha Natural Park, you must schedule a boat and stay on board during your trip. Its location in the middle of the Sulu Sea, with no human-inhabited land, makes visiting without a boat impossible.
Experienced divers, as well as newcomers to the hobby, will be impressed with no less than 360 coral species, 600 types of fish, 11 different shark species, and 13 whale and dolphin species that call the area home. Since December of 1993, the area has been considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is protected and loved by those who Scuba dive there.
For the Natural Wonder Enthusiasts
The climate and location of the Philippines creates natural wonders you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the natural wonders require boat rentals and some you might want a guided tour to enjoy. Either way, these are experiences you don’t want to miss.
Tour the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River and National Park
Copyright by Eric Beltran[/caption]
Under the island of Palawan, you’ll find an exciting experience. The Puerto Princesa subterranean river flows directly beneath the St. Paul Mountain Range, weaving through cave-like structures beneath the mountains for 8.2 km. Getting to the starting point of the underground trip at Sabang is only about a 40km trip from Puerto Princesa. Once you’re there, this “New 7 Wonders of Nature” site will amaze you with waterfalls flowing from cave walls, ancient fossils, and creatures that live nowhere else in the world.
Don’t forget to get a permit to travel there, or else you won’t be allowed in. If you book a guided tour, your permit, boat, guide, lunch, and transport are usually all included. If you are staying in Sabang, you can opt to buy everything separately and use your negotiation skills to save some pesos.
Soak in the Hinatuan Enchanted River
Copyright Dennis Onashi[/caption]
The Hinatuan River is a deep spring, saltwater river on the island of Mindanao, which flows directly into the Philippine Sea and onto the Pacific Ocean. Catching a ride on a habal-habal motorcycle is the preferred way to get to the river once you arrive in Hinatuan.
The enchanting color of the water has long left local people to believe the water holds secrets. Whether the water itself has healing powers or if spirits keep the place safe, no one knows for sure. However, novice adventurers or advanced swimmers alike can find an area of the river they enjoy.
For the History Buffs
The history of the Philippine Islands is diverse. Different regions have unique stories and not all the islands have the same background. Travel the islands and sample cultures from around the world without having to get additional stamps in your passport.
Step Back in Time on Corregidor Island
Corregidor is an island found at the mouth of Manila Bay, in the southwestern part of Luzon Island. It has long been fortified by the reigning military forces to protect the most important seaport located in Manila. During World War II, the area was of great importance to both the Japanese military and the Allied Forces.
Today, the ruins of the fortifications from that time serve as a memorial and reminder to visitors about the cost of war. Families from around the world visit the site to remember loved ones and learn more about the history of the Philippines during WWII.
Hanging Coffins of Sagada
The practice of burying the dead in hanging coffins predates the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Hoping to get the dead closer to the spirits of their ancestors, Filipinos hung or nailed the coffins to the sides of cliffs. However, the tradition is practiced today on a much smaller scale than in the past.
Today, the burial ceremonies are only held by the elders of Sagada, as the younger generation have adopted more modern burial traditions and enjoy being able to visit their ancestors on All Saints Day.
Walk the Cobblestone Streets of Vigan
Vigan is one of the oldest cities in the Philippines, but its structures have mostly been preserved and restored. The cobblestone streets and unique architecture–which marry the Philippines’ traditional Filipino structures with those of the Spanish-colonial era–make it a popular vacation destination.
One can visit preserved houses near the central park, known as Plaza Salcedo, which surrounds Plaza Burgos. You’ll also find a museum along Crisologo Street with unique antique collections of memorabilia and vehicles. When your feet tire of walking along the cobblestones, snag a ride in a kalesa and complete your journey back in time.
For the Nature Lovers
The unique land, as well as the special plants and animals that call the Philippines home, often require protection. Unfortunately, it would be easy for these unique plant and animal species to be endangered without formal conservation efforts. While you’re there, visit a few of the reservations dedicated to protecting the Philippines’ natural wonders.
Experience Everything El Nido Marine Reserve Park Has to Offer
Located on the northernmost tip of the Palawan mainland, El Nido Marine Reserve Park is a perfect example of the diversity you’ll see when traveling through the Philippines. You can fly into the airport at Puerto Princesa or travel by boat. When you arrive, you’ll see white sand beaches and limestone cliffs, high-end resorts, endemic and endangered species of birds, and lush forests.
With more than 30 dive sites, there’s more to see while diving than you’ll be able to fit in during most trips. The resorts on nearby islands offer snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and spa treatments in addition to the diving expeditions. You can even find a secret beach hidden among rocks if you’re brave enough to swim through a hole in the limestone.
Visit the Tarsier Sanctuary
The Tarsier, one of the world’s smallest primates, is indigenous to the Philippines. You can visit the Tarsier Sanctuary while you are in Bohol and, for a small price, you can pay for a guide to help you trek through the sanctuary and spot the Tarsiers in their natural habitat. Your guide will be glad to help with taking videos and photos along the way. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and culminates on a viewing deck over the sanctuary.
See the Ruins at Mount Mayon Active Volcano Natural Park
Mount Mayon is the most active volcano in the Philippines and is located on the island of Luzon. The most destructive eruption happened in 1814. Five towns were destroyed in that eruption, but each one was rebuilt, demonstrating the resilience of the locals.
The Cagsawa Ruins are the remnants of a Franciscan church destroyed in the 1814 eruption and are one of the most visited areas of the Natural Park. Near the ruins, you will find the Cagsawa National Museum, which helps the local government care for the park and ruins.
Live Like a Local
One of the greatest treasures you will find while traveling the Philippines are the people who live there. Learn about how they live while doing things the Filipino way. Get to know them, make friends, and let them show you the best ways to enjoy your time in the Philippines.