The Philippines is a beautiful and exciting country to explore and there are some places that you just cannot miss. There are hundreds of beaches to sunbathe in, mountains to climb, caves to explore, rivers to cross and waves to surf. We have 7,000 islands and you can take your pick.
You can find many exciting and enjoyable places to visit in the Philippines including Manila, Cebu and Davao, the capital cities of the three main islands. These cities are excellent springboards for discovering the many exciting destinations outside of the metros.
In the article below, you’ll discover some of the most interesting attractions and activities for some of the most popular places to visit. Let’s begin with Manila, the largest and most visited city in the Philippines.
Manila – Bright Lights, Big City
The county’s capital is a cornucopia of cultural and historical experiences. First, explore Intramuros, the walled city that dates back to the Spanish colonial era, and soak up some history. Then go to Mercato Centrale for a taste of the best street food and fare from up and coming food businesses. And then visit the churches located all over the metro. These are historical landmarks provide a welcome respite from the sight of skyscrapers. It does not hurt that Manila has some excellent shopping, too! You can bargain shop to your heart’s content in Divisoria or get some high-end shopping done at Shangri-La Plaza.
Manila is the perfect jump-off point to any point in Luzon including Baguio, Tagaytay, Batangas, La Union and Albay. Being the nation’s capital, buses pass through Manila on the way to Ilocos, the Cordilleras, and Central Luzon, among other provinces.
Cebu: Modern Old City
Cebu is the most progressive city in the Visayas, thus the fitting name Queen City of the South. The city is located in the heart of the Visayas archipelago — the group of islands between Luzon and Mindanao. Ferdinand Magellan staked the first Christian cross in nearby Limasawa in 1521. A month later, he already converted most natives to Christianity and same cross now stands in a Shrine in downtown Cebu City. Magellan’s Cross stands just outside of the Basilica de Santo Nino de Cebu compound.
Cebu is an interesting mix of history and modernity, with historic landmarks standing amongst high-rise buildings, malls and entertainment centers. Cebu is home to the oldest street in the Philippines, Calle Colon and to the original image of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague brought by the Spaniards in the 14th century. Sinulog, the Sto. Nino’s feast, is one of the biggest festivals in the country, making Cebu one of the best places to visit in the Philippines.
Davao: Life is Here!
Davao City is more than just President Duterte’s hometown, it is also the biggest city in the world in terms of land area. The city offers its visitors unforgettable “islands to highlands” adventures with Samal providing the islands and Mt. Apo the highlands part. As a result, sun worshippers and outdoor adventure seeks both gravitate to Davao City for exciting trips.
Davao is a modern city that is also home to its indigenous tribes who have their cultures intact. Dabawenyos are some of the most disciplined people you will ever meet and the taxi drivers in these parts are honest, too! Davao City provides the perfect start off point for a road trip to Bukidnon, or Mati and even Surigao.
Other Interesting Places
There are plenty of other places to visit in the Philippines — Boracay and Palawan two of the most popular. Boracay has been named one of the best islands in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine. Palawan is #1 on the list and it is also known as the Philippines’ last frontier. It is home to Coron’s pristine waters, Puerto Princesa’s Underground River and El Nido’s breathtaking sunsets.
You can find the best diving spots near Apo Island in Negros and Palawan. If you’re up for a food adventure, Pampanga, Ilocos and Iloilo are the best places to be. Some of the most popular surf spots in the world can be found in Siargao, a sleepy town where you can find surfers from the world over living the island life.
These islands have captured the hearts of many travelers and it should not be a surprise that it will capture yours. You will never run out of adventures because there are thousands of places to visit in the Philippines so . Start with the places above and jump off to anywhere. We’re sure it will be an amazing experience wherever you go.