The Philippines is an archipelago with more than 7,000 islands, meaning it also has that many beautiful beaches and innumerable breathtaking natural wonders that never cease to amaze visitors from all over the world.
Like most tropical places, summer days can be very hot and dry. The people have this reason to frequent the beaches and cold springs that can be found in many islands. Visiting the country during the rainy season can be uncomfortable and dismal especially during the typhoon season around the middle of August to November.
If you are taking your first summer holiday in the Philippines, choosing where to go can be a dilemma because there are so many places to see and so many adventures waiting to be experienced. It is better to narrow down your list to the top 10 destinations you may want to take.
Palawan has the best diving sites in the country which is around the bay of Coron. Another popular diving site is the Tubbataha Reefs, a marine sanctuary consisting of over 1000 species of marine creatures and birds.
Boracay Island popularly known as “Bora”, this island paradise has one of the best beaches in the world. The most popular is the White Beach, located at the western side of the island. It has 3.5 kilometers of powdery white sand and crystal clear waters that sparkle with the rays of the sun.
Bora is the summer getaway of local and foreign celebrities who wish to get a respite from the sweltering heat of the metropolis. Luxury hotels and villas line the shoreline of the White Beach but affordable accommodations are available in the less expensive stations nearby. From Manila or Cebu, you can reach the island by air via Caticlan or Kalibo taking any of the four carriers servicing Boracay.
Baguio is a city in the Cordillera Region surrounded by the mountain ranges of Cordillera. The city’s geographical location gave its year-round cool temperature. Baguio is the country’s summer capital where the local and foreign tourists flock during the summer months. You can find friendly English-speaking natives in their national costumes mingling with the tourists at the Burnham Park.
Dubbed as the “City of Pines”, it is also home to the Philippine Military Academy, country’s elite military officers’ school. The city’s annual Panagbenga Festival in February signals the coming of spring when flowers bloom and fresh vegetables abound. Book your hotel months in advance.
Siargao Island is composed of 48 islands and islets facing the Pacific Ocean. The gigantic waves crushing to the shores of the island challenge surfers from all over the world. The annual International surfing competition is held during the month of September, the start of the typhoon season in the Philippines.
The island is made famous by the “Cloud 9” waves discovered by an American photographer way back in 1993. Surfers from different corners of the world flocked to this island after the photos were published. Several pristine white beaches are preserved in secluded parts of Siargao. Typhoons visit the island several times during the typhoon season from September to October but this natural element does not deter visitors from coming to this island paradise.
Bohol is synonymous with Chocolate Hills, the main tourist attraction of the island. There are no less than 1,268 uniformly-shaped mounds clustered together in a breathtaking vista. There are 72 smaller islands surrounding Bohol that offer the same awe-inspiring wonders of nature; fine white sands in pristine beaches, meet the Tarsier, the smallest nocturnal monkey in the world, see the world’s largest python in captivity in Loboc, listen to the world famous Loboc Children’s Choir in concert and explore the underwater wonders of Panglao Island. You can also enjoy dolphin and whale watching in packaged tours.
A visit to the Bohol Bee Farm is a must. Try the fresh garden salad of edible flowers grown in the farm, ice cream and sandwich spread made from locally produced honey and fragrant herbs. Bohol can be reached via Cebu, Cagayan de Oro City and Manila by air or by sea.
Subic Bay is widely known as the number one extreme adventure destination in the Philippines. Subic is formerly host to America’s largest military facility outside the USA, the Subic Bay Naval Base. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 hastened the evacuation of the Americans from the base. When they left, the local government turned the base into a thriving economic zone. Multinational companies and big local businesses moved to Subic Freeport and within the grounds of the military facility.
Now, Subic is a booming municipality that offers many delightful haunts and endless wild and exciting jaunts. Be brave and adventurous in Subic’s survival mountain treks and discover the limits of your endurance. The theme parks appeal to children and the oldies and the water sports may get the younger guests challenged.
Cagayan de Oro, dubbed as the “City of Golden Friendship”, is the gateway to Northern Mindanao. Whitewater Rafting is fast becoming a major tourist attraction with the rising number of local and foreign visitors who want to experience the exhilarating ride down the mountain on the white waters of the Cagayan River.
Enjoy the tasty barbeque and native cuisine offered at the Night Café in Divisoria or have fun at the “ukay-ukay” or rummage sale for pre-loved items. The night market happens every Friday and Saturday night at 5:00 pm until 2:00 am the next day.
Davao is the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area. It is home to the country’s highest peak, Mt. Apo and its diverse ecological wonders. Just off the coast of Davao City, about 45 minutes by ferry is the Island Garden City of Samal, where the beautiful Pearl Farm is located. Davao boasts of several nature theme parks that charm visitors into coming back for another treat. Climbers conquer the Mt. Apo in 4 days with friendly local guides.
Taste the world’s most expensive coffee, the Mt. Apo Civet Coffee or “Kopi Luwak”. The civet cat living in the jungle eats ripe coffee beans; the digested beans in the droppings are then processed to make the heavenly aromatic coffee. A trek up the peak is already an experience of a lifetime; with all the adventures you experience along the way, you are sure to come back for more.
Cebu City is the oldest Spanish settlement in the country and home to the Miraculous Santo Niño de Cebu. The annual “Sinulog” in honor of the shrine is a major tourist attraction in Cebu. There are many places in Cebu that cater to the varied interests of the tourist; the Taoist Temple for one. The temple is perched on a hill overlooking Metro Cebu. Take great pictures of the temple and pick snippets of wisdom from the teachings of the Chinese Philosopher Lao-Tse; if walking up the 81 steps to the temple is not too much for your knees.
Check out the symbol of Christianity at the Basilica Minor where the shrine of the Sto. Niño is ensconced. Magellan’s Cross stands firm across the street from the Basilica. Devotees used to chip off the old wooden cross for souvenir so the authorities encased the cross in glass. If you are not afraid of heights and would like to experience a gut-wrenching activity, try the Sky Walk at Cebu’s tallest building, the Crown Regency Towers. Shop at Colon St., the oldest street in the Philippines where you can find just about everything there is; it is a certified bargain agora.
Sequijor Island is said to be a mystical “Island of Fire”, rocky formations that make up most of the island’s geography bespeak of its legendary origin. White sandy beaches stretched for kilometers around the island, a perfect hideaway if you prefer a stress-free holiday away from the bustling city.
Explore the caves and the hidden springs and get bewitched at folk legends that abound in the countrysides; the caves and the centuries-old giant “Balite” trees provide a magical setting for the believers who come to be healed of their ailments. Herbalists practice their natural healing in the villages in the mountains.
There are so many interesting destinations in the Philippines waiting to be discovered by the wanderlust in you. In order to get the most out of your holiday, plan ahead and check out places before you board the plane. You cannot leave your passport or traveler’s checks behind and when you do get on the plane, look forward to having a good time.
Visited any of these destinations? Have a favorite destination in the Philippines that is not on the list? Tell us about it by commenting below