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The Philippines has become one of the top tropical tourist destinations for good reasons. It is filled with lush scenery, delicious food and very warm and friendly people.
If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines anytime soon, make sure you read our list of the top 5 things to do in the Philippines, so you can get the most out of your trip.
Foodies, adventurers, beach bums, and even historians are sure to have a wonderful time in the Philippines.
Top 5 Things To Do In The Philippines:
1. Go on a Food Trip
When thinking about things to do in the Philippines, one of the first things that pops into our heads is to go on a food trip.
One thing that defines Filipinos is their love for food. There is no shortage of delicious and interesting foods to try when you are in the country.
It doesn’t matter which city you’re in, there are always going to be enough restaurants, carinderias, or kiosks to go on an epic food adventure.
Be prepared to stuff your bellies with everything from hearty meals to ice cold desserts.
A simple way to find the best food hotspots is to follow the crowd. Every Filipino will know at least a couple of good spots in the area.
Let’s take a look at some of the best places to go on a food trip.
People from Pampanga, also called Kapampangan, have a very high regard for food. Their cooking is one of the highest quality cooking in the entire country.
They’re known to be excellent at cooking popular local dishes that include sisig, aligue, tocino, moron and a lot more.
And it isn’t only the local dishes that they’re known to cook well. They also have their own exotic dishes that might seem a bit strange at first, but are just as delicious.
These include adobong kamaru (mole cricket), balo-balo (rice with fermented mudfish), and betute tugak (stuffed frog) to name a few.
The Queen City of the South is home to almost a million people. And if there’s one thing you should know about Cebuanos, it’s that they love to eat.
One of the most well-known food bazaars in Cebu City is called Sugbo Mercado, which is located in the busy business park, IT Park.
Sugbo Mercado has a very wide variety of food to choose from. From heavy meals to popular local desserts such as halo-halo (a cold dessert with mixed beans and fruits).
You cannot leave Cebu without trying the famous Cebu Lechon. Lechon is a roasted pork dish that is never absent in Filipino celebrations. Cebu is known to make the best lechon in the country.
Bacolod is one of the most health-conscious places in the Philippines. Many of the organic farms in the country are located here.
A lot of the restaurants and food carts use ingredients directly from these organic farms. People who are conscious about what goes into their food will really appreciate the farm-to-table practice that is common in the area.
Bacolod is also well-known for their chicken inasal (roasted chicken). Restaurants such as Aida’s, Manokan Country, and Aboy’s Restaurant, serve the best inasal in the city.
If you have a thing for seafood and fruits, then you’re going to love Davao.
Davao is the largest city in Mindanao and they take pride in their wide variety of exotic fruits and seafood.
The most popular fruit in Davao is the durian. It’s either you love durian or you hate it. There is no in between. Durian has a very peculiar and unique taste that Davaoeños love.
2. Visit the Beaches
One of the reasons people from around the world always come back to the Philippines is because of her long stretches of stunning white sand beaches.
Visiting these breathtaking shores should definitely be on top of your list of things to do in the Philippines.
Take a dip in the warm blue seawater or bask in the sun along the coastline. Beach parties and water games are also some of the common activities that take place in Philippine beaches.
Here’s a list of some of the best beaches around the Philippines.
White Beach in Boracay is a gorgeous 2.5 mile shoreline where beach dreams come true. It is the most popular beach in the Philippines, welcoming over 15,000 tourists each day during peak seasons.
White Beach is best known for its fine white sand, turquoise waters, and lush tropical scenery. It is also known for beach parties and water activities such as parasailing, kayaking and paddleboarding.
Palawan island has some of the most fascinating beaches in the Philippines. Palawan is relatively more difficult to travel to, but this only adds value to it.
The beaches here are the most unadulterated beaches in the country. You’re not going to find bars and restaurants along these beaches, but you won’t be short on mystery and adventure.
If surfing is your thing, you should definitely visit Siargao island. Siargao is recognized as the surfing capital of the Philippines by local and international surfers.
The big waves never go quiet in Siargao, so you can spend an entire day catching them and never get bored.
3. Go Island Hopping
The Philippines is made up of over 7,000 islands. Not many people will get the opportunity to visit each of those islands, but you can visit quite a few in just one day.
Island hopping has become a popular activity among tourists in the Philippines.
Island hoppers embark on a motorized bamboo boat that can usually carry around 15 people. They can visit anywhere from 3 to over 10 islands in a single day.
On each stop, tourists can go fish watching, purchase food and souvenirs, snap photos, or just take a walk and soak in the beautiful scenery from each island.
Here are a few of the best locations to go island hopping in the Philippines:
Islas de Gigantes, Iloilo
A 5-hour bus ride in the direction northeast of Iloilo City will take you to Islas de Gigantes. Getting to the islands will require that you take this “extra mile”, but you will be rewarded for it when you arrive.
Islas de Gigantes is made up of around 10 islands, forming a small archipelago. The main islands to visit when you go island hopping here are the two largest ones: Gigantest Norte and Gigantes Sur.
If you go on a half-day island hopping adventure, the sites you should make sure to visit are Cubagao Gamay Island, Tangke Saltwater Lagoon, Pawikan Cave, Antonio Beach, and Bantigue Island.
You can visit even more sites if you spend the entire day island hopping. You won’t run out of things to explore at Islas de Gigantes.
Palawan has a few good locations to go island hopping. It has some of the most untouched islands as well, so there will be wonder and adventure at every stop.
You can begin island hopping in either Puerto Princesa, Coron, or El Nido. Each location will give you a new set of adventures.
The islands in Palawan have some of the cleanest beaches and the most fascinating sites.
Hundred Islands, Pangasinan
You can take its name literally. Hundred Islands is in fact composed of around 123 islands varying in size.
The place has been declared as a National Park and you won’t get to visit every island. But there are enough islands that you can visit to fill up your itinerary for the day.
The islands have been kept clean and the thriving marine life in the area is something you will be fascinated by.
If you prefer to explore local civilizations in the more developed parts of the Philippines, you might want to go island hopping in Cebu.
You will get to talk with the locals and purchase all kinds of food and souvenir items. There are also some really good spots to view marine life.
You can visit islands such as Nalusuan Island, Olango Island, and Pescador Island. If you head further down south, you can also visit Sumilon Island, which is known for its long, white sand bar.
4. Immerse Yourself in the Country’s Rich History
Number 4 on our list of things to do in the Philippines is for our friends with historian hearts.
The Philippines has been through a lot to get to where it is today. It was colonized by the Spanish in the mid 1500’s and later by the Americans before it was given independence.
It has been through wars and battles that has left artifacts and ruins in different parts of the country.
There are hundreds of sites around the Philippines that hold great stories, some dating to times long before the first World War. The historian in you will scream with excitement as you visit these fascinating sites.
Here are a few of the most well-known history sites around the Philippines.
Corregidor Island Ruins
Corregidor island is a small island located roughly 30 miles from Manila. It is a very significant place in the history of the Philippines.
From 1941 to 1942, during World War II, Corregidor was established as the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth Government, became the headquarters of Allied Forces fighting against the Japanese, and witnessed the well-known Battle of Corregidor.
Exploring the ruins at Corregidor might be errie to some, but for others, the experience will be marvelous.
San Agustin Church
Located in the capital of the Philippines is the San Agustin Catholic Church. It is the oldest building in the Philippines built between 1587 and 1606.
The church has been in operation for more than 400 years. It has witnessed world wars and countless local battles but is still standing today.
Visiting the church will leave you awestruck at its intricate design as well as its solid rock structure.
Tourists are allowed to enter the church, but are expected to be on their best behavior. You may take pictures inside the church, but it has to be done quietly and without any flash.
Museo Filipino, Intramuros
If you want to get a good foundation on Philippine history, the best place to visit is Museo Filipino located in Intramuros, Manila.
In just 30 minutes, you can walk through the country’s entire history depicted in manuscripts, images, and artifacts.
Their history tour is well designed and can be a lot of fun.
5. Get to Know the Locals
You will not find this in most lists of things to do in the Philippines, but it is something every tourist should do.
As you might have heard before, Filipinos are some of the friendliest and most hospitable people in the world. That statement is true, and you will experience it yourself the moment you start getting to know the locals.
Your stay in the Philippines will be much more enjoyable and fulfilling if you can make a few good friends along the way.
Keep in mind that not everyone will want to be your friend. You need to also be aware that, like in any place, there are people who take advantage of tourists to get their money.
If you’re good with people, you will easily be able to identify the ones you should stay away from and the ones you can keep as friends.
We hope this list of our top 5 things to do in the Philippines has given you a good idea about where to get your Philippine trip started.
Our short list doesn’t give the Philippines any justice, because there is so much more you can do. It doesn’t even cover close to half of the activities and sites to see.
There are countless tourist destinations and attractions around the Philippines waiting to be explored. So booking a ticket to the Philippines for your next vacation trip would be a great idea!