The Philippines is a beautiful country, with plenty of places worth visiting. Travelling around the Philippines, unfortunately, takes a lot of time as the country is made up of islands and the infrastructure is sometimes lacking. So you may need to make some hard decisions about which places you’ll go and which ones you pass on. Here are my 5 favourite places in the Philippines, which should all definitely be on your list:
I was about to skip Coron when another traveller convinced me I could not leave the country without seeing this paradise on earth. And she was right! I am so glad I changed my schedule and took the ferry to Coron because it turned out to be one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Coron town itself is not the most interesting, but it is the jump-off point for boat trips to stunning white beaches in turquoise water, green lagoons and coral reefs.
I knew I had to visit Moalboal when I found out how great the snorkelling is there. And I was not disappointed. Just a few meters from the beach you can swim with huge schools of sardines and even sea turtles! It is truly a magical sight. And the little town itself is charming, an adorable and chilled-out beach front with shops, restaurants (even vegetarian!), and bars. It reminded me of Mykonos in Greece. And the canyoneering you can do at Kawasan falls was one the highlights of my trip. I jumped off a 13-meter cliff!
If you want to get away from the mass tourism in the Philippines and unwind for a few days, Siquijor is a great escape. Enjoy the laid-back island vibes, chill on the beaches and take a motorcycle tour around the island.
4. Cordillera Mountains
There is more to the Philippines than amazing beaches. The northern part of Luzon is home to the impressive Cordillera Mountains. I recommend trekking the rice field and enjoying small town rural life in Batad as well as hiking the pine trails in Sagada.
5. Port Barton
On Palawan Island, skip Puerto Princesa and El Nido and visit Port Barton instead. It has become more touristy, so there are plenty of hotels and restaurants, but it has maintained its secluded charm. There is no wifi and undependable electricity, but the boat trips are incredible and the beach bars super chill. It’s half the price and double the fun of El Nido.
Places to skip
You will likely have to skip a few places you originally wanted to visit, due to bad connections, time restrictions or weather. These are the first to give up in my opinion:
The Philippino capitol has a bad reputation, but that is not completely deserved. The old part of the city, Intramuros is beautiful and well worth a visit and Manilla nightlife is pretty legendary. However, do be on guard as parts of the city are unsafe. And prepare to spend most of your day stuck in traffic.
This gorgeous little paradise island has some of the best beaches in the world. Or, I should say, had. Because a dramatic increase in tourism turned this paradise into a parking lot. It has actually been closed to the public for 6 months to let nature resettle after all the pollution from partying tourists. I hope it works…
3. El Nido
Named the most beautiful beach in the world, this little town is now at the top of everyone’s travel bucket list. As a result, it has quickly expanded into long roads filled with expensive hotels and restaurants. Although El Nido is certainly beautiful, in my opinion, it is overpriced and overrated. There are a lot of better places you can visit on Palawan.
4. Cebu City
Cebu city is a more comfortable arrival place than Manilla, but by no means more beautiful. Just like the capitol, Cebu is grimy, chaotic and best quickly abandoned for the rest of the island.
Once you’ve decided where to go, here’s what you should eat!