20 Best Things to Do in the Philippines



With over 7,000 islands to explore, the Philippines offers a plethora of exciting activities and breathtaking tourist spots waiting to be discovered. Discover the top must-try experiences in the Philippines in this article and craft your dream vacation itinerary.

As a holiday destination, the Philippines offers unique experiences and thrilling adventures at every turn. Over the years, it has gained a reputation as one of the most sought-after tropical getaways worldwide, attracting beach enthusiasts, adventure-seekers, foodies, thrill-seekers, and wanderlust-driven travelers alike. The abundance of romantic destinations in the country also explains why numerous couples opt to spend their honeymoon in the Philippines.

The Philippines is split into three main island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Whether you're an adventurous explorer or seeking relaxation, there's something for every type of traveler from north to south. The country offers a diverse range of activities, from thrilling adventures to laid-back experiences that ignite wanderlust. From the famous islands and beaches of Palawan and Boracay to the historical richness of Cebu, and the enchanting island vibe and surfing paradise of Siargao, the Philippines promises endless surprises. With such a variety of destinations, choosing where to go can be a delightful challenge.

20. Join Sightseeing Tours

You don't have to engage in extreme activities to enjoy the best of the Philippines. The country offers numerous beautiful tourist spots that are accessible to everyone, regardless of age or physical condition. Sightseeing tours provide an easy and relaxed way to experience the highlights of the Philippines and understand why it's a favorite destination for many travelers.

You can maximize your trip by joining some of the country's top sightseeing tours. Take a van tour through the countryside of Bohol to marvel at the Chocolate Hills and cruise along the Loboc River.

Explore the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, on foot or by bike, and discover its rich colonial heritage. Visit the historic mansions of Bacolod and delve into their intriguing past. For a nature-focused experience, try strawberry picking in La Trinidad, Benguet, a popular excursion from Baguio, or explore the stunning rolling hills of Batanes, a landscape unlike any other in the country.

19. Visit Museums

The Philippines boasts a rich heritage, and exploring museums offers insights into how its culture evolved and flourished over time. It provides a window into the lives of Filipinos across different historical periods.

If you're in Manila, you're in luck as there are several worthwhile museum tours nearby. These include the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, The National Art Gallery at the National Museum of the Philippines, Calvo Museum, and the Casa Manila Museum in Intramuros.

Outside of the metro, there are other must-visit museums worth exploring. These include the Balay Negrense Museum in Silay, Negros Occidental, the Palawan Special Battalion WW2 Memorial Museum, the Museum Sugbo in Cebu, and the Davao Museum of History and Ethnography in Mindanao. Each offers a unique perspective on the country's rich cultural tapestry.

18. Go on a Pilgrimage Tour

The Philippines stands out as one of the predominantly Christian nations in Asia. With a history of Spanish colonization spanning over 300 years, religion has significantly influenced Filipino culture. This influence is evident in various traditions, festivals, and architectural marvels. Christianity has played a crucial role in shaping the unique identity of Filipino culture, setting it apart from neighboring countries. Therefore, it's no surprise that the Philippines is a top choice for religious or faith-based travel.

Throughout the country, you'll find a wealth of churches, basilicas, and shrines, each with its own fascinating story. Participating in religious pilgrimages across the Philippines offers the opportunity to explore these sacred sites and delve into their rich history and cultural significance.

Some renowned pilgrimage destinations include St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Quiapo, the Simala Shrine in Cebu, the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in Manaoag, the San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church in Obando, Bulacan, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, and the Pink Sister's Convent in Tagaytay. These places serve as pillars of spiritual reflection and pilgrimage for believers and visitors alike.

17. Discover Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding has become increasingly popular in the Philippines in recent years, with more tours available for beginners to try out the sport. Unlike some water sports, there are no age restrictions for learning wakeboarding, as long as you're comfortable in the water.

Camarines Sur has gained recognition as the wakeboarding capital of the Philippines, especially after hosting the successful 2009 WWA Ultimate Wakeboard Championships at the CamSur Water Sports Complex.

For those looking for a quick getaway near Manila, Lago de Oro in Batangas is an ideal option, just a two-hour drive away. Similarly, Republ1c Wakepark in Nuvali offers a great weekend escape for wakeboarding enthusiasts.

DECA Wakeboard Park, situated only a 30-minute drive from Davao City International Airport, is notable as the largest wakeboarding park in Southeast Asia. It promises an exhilarating experience for wakeboarding enthusiasts looking to explore the vibrant wakeboarding scene in the region.

16. Explore Nature at National Parks

The Philippines offers an abundance of outdoor experiences, making it a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. With numerous national parks to explore, there's no shortage of adventures to embark on.

Topping the list is a tour of Hundred Islands National Park in Pangasinan, an ideal destination for family outings and nature trips. Here, you can marvel at the stunning beauty of over a hundred mushroom-shaped islands spread out before you.

Another beloved spot is Caramoan Peninsula National Park. While it may be a bit more challenging to reach, the tranquil vistas of white sandy beaches, sparkling rivers, and majestic limestone formations make the journey well worth it.

For those who relish wildlife sightings, a visit to Calauit Safari Park in Busuanga, Palawan is a must. Home to Somali giraffes from a controversial translocation project in the 1970s, the park also boasts a rich array of indigenous flora and fauna, providing a captivating experience for nature enthusiasts to observe and appreciate.

15. Experience River Tubing

Experience the thrill of getting wet and wild with river tubing! This adventure will get your heart racing as you navigate through river rapids using large tires, commonly known as tubes.

Similar to water rafting, the objective is to stay on the tube and conquer all the rapids until you reach your destination.

Popular destinations for river tubing include Pangi River in New La Union and Maitum in Sarangani Province. Be sure to check out river trip packages for a complete and exhilarating experience!

14. Join Boat Tours or River Cruises

Puerto Princesa's Underground River, also known as Subterranean River National Park, has earned the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage award for its stunning limestone formations and remarkable underground river. By joining boat tours, visitors can explore up close the longest navigable underground river in the world.

Similarly, Ihawig River in Puerto Princesa offers a captivating firefly river cruise experience at night. Picture yourself gazing at the night sky and feeling the cool breeze as you glide along the river. As if that isn't enchanting enough, you'll also witness a magical display of fireflies resembling dancing stars.

Another popular river cruise destination is the Loboc River cruise in Bohol. Here, guests can savor delicious local cuisine while being serenaded by a world-class children's choir, creating a truly memorable dining experience amidst the serene beauty of the river.

13. Caving and Spelunking

Describing the experience at some of the Philippines' must-visit caving tour sites can only be summed up as enchanting, captivating, and thrilling.

Samar holds the title of the Caving Capital of the Philippines, boasting the remarkable Sohoton Caves and Natural Bridge Park. Here, visitors are treated to picturesque caves, subterranean rivers, and stunning limestone formations.

Meanwhile, a journey through Callao Cave, nestled in Cagayan province, unveils a network of 300 cave systems, showcasing the breathtaking grandeur of colossal limestones and intricate rock formations.

Exploring Hinagdanan Cave in Bohol offers another enchanting experience, with its unspoiled beauty featuring remarkable stalagmites and the cave's striking allure greeting visitors as they step inside.

12. Relax in Natural Hot Springs

If you're looking to switch up your holiday trip and skip the beach, why not explore some of the country's best natural hot springs on a tour?

Ardent Hot Spring, situated in Camiguin, stands out as one of the main attractions in the area. Nestled at the base of Mt. Hibok-Hibok, an active volcano and popular hiking spot, it offers a relaxing and scenic experience.

Another top choice is Maquinit Hot Springs in Coron. Embark on the Maquinit Hot Springs tour to discover one of the world's few saltwater hot springs. Saltwater hot springs are believed to offer more benefits than freshwater ones due to the higher mineral content in the water.

The Puning Hot Springs tour in Pampanga is a favorite among locals. Featuring eight pools with water temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above, it provides a soothing retreat after an exhilarating 4x4 ride through the stunning landscape of Mt. Pinatubo.

Natural springs are renowned for their therapeutic properties. If you're seeking a trip that combines adventure with rejuvenation, these options are perfect, especially during the rainy season in the Philippines.

11. Try 4x4 ATV Rides

For adventure junkies seeking an adrenaline rush, ATV tours are the perfect choice. Unlike typical theme park rides, ATV tours take you off the beaten path for an exhilarating experience.

A journey to Mt. Balabag in Rizal province promises instant action and excitement. With its wide and almost flat trail, you can navigate your 4x4 truck all the way to the summit, even submerging it in water as you cross rivers.

Another must-do adventure is an off-road 4x4 ride to Puning Hot Springs in Angeles, Pampanga. Picture yourself traversing unique rock formations sculpted by lahar mudflows and splashing through water puddles amidst stunning scenery. It's an experience that ignites multiple senses and leaves you craving more adventure.

10. Try Canyoneering

For thrill-seekers seeking a different kind of adventure, canyoneering, or canyoning, is sure to get your heart racing. If you're craving outdoor fun and excitement while immersing yourself in natural beauty and pushing your limits, then a canyoneering tour is a must-try.

A tour to Kawasan Falls in Cebu tops the list for travelers seeking the thrill of canyoneering. With its crystal-clear waters and picturesque canyons, it offers an unforgettable experience. A short trek leads you to multiple levels of the waterfall, where you can cliff dive from ledges as high as 6 meters.

Other highly recommended places for canyoneering include Mt. Isarog National Park in Camarines Sur, Bangon Falls in Samar, and Sampao River in Biliran. Each of these destinations offers its own unique blend of adrenaline-pumping excitement and natural beauty, perfect for adventurous souls seeking new challenges.

9. Go Surfing

Surfing spots in the Philippines have gained immense popularity in recent years, with Siargao Island emerging as the country's top surf destination, drawing international surfers from around the world.

Siargao offers a diverse range of surf breaks suitable for surfers of all skill levels, catering to beginners eager to catch their first wave and professionals looking to push their limits. Beyond the waves, the island's enchanting allure has captivated tourists from far and wide. Cloud 9 tours provide an opportunity to explore Siargao year-round, though the best surfing conditions are typically experienced between September and November.

La Union and Baler, both located in Luzon and just a few hours' drive from Metro Manila, are also renowned surfing destinations. These spots have secured a special place in the hearts of surfers thanks to their relaxed island ambiance, welcoming locals, and impressive waves that promise an unforgettable experience, leaving surfers buzzing with excitement for days.

8. Immerse in Historical and Heritage Tours

What better way for tourists to truly appreciate the rich culture of the Philippines than by immersing themselves in its captivating history? From its indigenous roots to over 300 years of colonial influence, the Philippines has cultivated one of the most unique cultures in Asia. To experience this rich tapestry of heritage, travelers can embark on enlightening heritage excursions.

A must-do activity in Manila is a trip to Corregidor. Here, visitors are transported to the site of the pivotal Battle of Corregidor, a significant event during the Philippines' Japanese conquest in World War II.

Exploring iconic landmarks such as the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras in Ifugao, the historic town of Vigan, San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, and Miag-ao Church in Iloilo offers a journey through time, awakening curiosity and fascination for the events that have shaped the country's remarkable history.

7. Go Hiking in the Best Mountains

The Philippines offers more than just islands and beaches. For nature enthusiasts seeking a different kind of adventure, hiking or trekking tours provide the opportunity to explore the country's diverse terrains and impressive mountain ranges.

Grab your backpack, lace up your hiking boots, and escape the hustle and bustle of the city by embarking on a hiking adventure in the Philippines. Renowned for its stunning hiking trails, the Philippines caters to hikers of all skill levels and experience.

Mt. Batulao is a popular choice among beginner hikers, located just a few hours from Metro Manila. With its breathtaking scenery and easy accessibility, it's the perfect destination for those looking to unwind amidst nature.

For a more challenging experience, consider hiking Tarak Ridge in Mariveles. While it may be more demanding, the reward of spectacular views of Bataan, Manila Bay, and the surrounding islands makes it a journey worth undertaking.

6. Plunge into Majestic Waterfalls

Beyond the sun, sand, and sea, the Philippines is home to many hidden treasures in the form of breathtaking waterfalls nestled in some of the country's most renowned tourist destinations. While some may require a bit of hiking to reach, their unique charm and natural beauty make the journey well worth your while.

Among these natural wonders are Kawasan Falls in Cebu, Ditumabo Falls (also known as Mother Falls) in Baler, Cambugahay Falls in Siquijor, and Aliwagwag Falls in Davao Oriental. These stunning waterfalls top the list of must-visit attractions included in waterfall tours across the country.

As you chase after these hidden gems, you'll inevitably find yourself falling for their enchanting allure, leaving you with unforgettable memories of their beauty and tranquility.

5. Diving and Snorkeling

There's an undeniable magic in exploring the underwater world. Scuba diving opens up a whole new dimension of our planet, blending tranquility with excitement, and the Philippines stands out as one of the premier destinations for this activity.

Divers from across the globe rave about the Philippines' stunning beauty and diverse marine life. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Tubbataha Reef to the easily accessible dive spots in Anilao, Batangas, the country offers a plethora of choices for diving enthusiasts.

No matter your skill level or interests, there's a dive experience tailored for you. Beginners can find plenty of dive shops to obtain their certification, while experienced divers can opt for day trips or liveaboards, customizing their adventures to their liking.

Different destinations in the Philippines cater to various interests. Coron is renowned for wreck diving, Anilao is celebrated as the Nudibranch Capital of the Philippines, and Malapascua in Cebu provides opportunities to encounter thresher sharks. Other popular dive spots include Verde Island in Batangas and Balicasag Island in Bohol.

4. Join Food Tours to Try Philippine Cuisine

Is your trip truly complete without indulging in the best local cuisines the country has to offer? Filipino cuisine may not be as widely known as others, but for those who have tasted it, the verdict is unanimous - it's incredibly delicious!

There's no better way to immerse yourself in the Philippines' culinary scene than by dining like a local. Thankfully, there are numerous food tours available that not only allow you to sample the finest local dishes but also provide insights into the culinary and cultural history of the region.

Get ready to savor authentic, homemade delicacies from across the country while listening to fascinating tales about each hometown. Prepare for a delightful food coma (in the best possible way) as you embark on these culinary adventures.

3. Dance in Colorful Festivals

Filipinos are renowned for their joyful and optimistic nature, always finding reasons to celebrate through colorful festivals, or "fiestas," which have been ingrained in Filipino culture for generations.

A significant aspect of Filipino culture is its deep reverence for religion, evident in the vibrant celebrations dedicated to various patron saints across the country. Among these, the Sinulog Festival in Cebu stands out as one of the most popular Catholic festivals. Tourists from around the globe flock to witness its lively street parties, traditional dances, and vibrant costumes.

Other notable festivals include the MassKara Festival in Bacolod, the Moriones Festival in Marinduque, the Panagbenga Flower Festival, the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals in Leyte, Davao's Kadayawan Festival, and Kalibo's Ati-Atihan. These festivals showcase the rich cultural heritage and unwavering spirit of the Filipino people.

2. Lounge at the Best Beaches

The Philippines boasts the 5th largest coastline globally, stretching thousands of miles and adorned with countless stunning beaches, making it a paradise for sun and sand enthusiasts. Its beaches consistently rank among the best in the world in international publications.

For those seeking idyllic, unspoiled beaches with crystal-clear waters for a serene getaway, the Philippines is a top destination.

Some must-visit beaches include the famous White Beach of Boracay, Nacpan Beach in El Nido, Palawan, Alona Beach in Bohol, and Long Beach in San Vicente, Palawan, which holds the title of the longest beach in the Philippines. These pristine shores offer unparalleled beauty and relaxation for travelers seeking a slice of paradise.

1. Join Island Hopping Tours

The Philippines is renowned for its breathtaking islands, making it the ultimate dream destination for travelers. As a tropical archipelago, it lives up to its reputation with pristine, postcard-worthy islands that captivate visitors from around the globe. Palawan, in particular, consistently earns the top spot among the world's best islands.

Island hopping tours are an essential addition to any Philippine itinerary. These full-day excursions typically include visits to 2-3 islands, with some tours allowing exploration of up to 5-7 islands in a single day. It's a dream come true for island lovers.

Imagine walking on powdery white sand, feeling the salty breeze on your face, and immersing yourself in the crystal-clear blue waters surrounding you. Each island offers a unique beauty, resembling scenes from a movie set in paradise.

Top island hopping destinations in the Philippines include El Nido and Coron in Palawan, Cebu, Bohol, Siargao, and Boracay, among others. However, no matter where you are in the Philippines, as long as you're near the ocean, you're bound to discover islands waiting to be explored. Prepare to be mesmerized, as these islands will leave you speechless and inspire dreams of living the island life.

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