The Philippines – the Pearl of the Orient – is a land apart from Asia. This tropical paradise is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean comprising more than 7,000 islands, renowned for its natural beauty, incredible food, and fascinating history. So, whether you’re a beach bum, a culture enthusiast, or an adventurer, there’s something for everyone in the best places to visit in the Philippines.

You’ll find sprawling megacities, smoldering volcanoes, alabaster beaches, and verdant rice terraces that carpet the mountainsides.  If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, here are the five must-visit destinations that you can’t miss.

Best Places to Visit, boracay

1. Boracay

Looking for paradise on earth? It is the place to go. This idyllic island is celebrated for its stunning beaches, azure waters, and glorious sunshine. It’s the perfect destination for those seeking to unwind, soak up some rays, and relax on soft sand.

While Boracay Island is small, it’s packed with incredible experiences. The beaches are breathtaking, with White Beach being the most famous. Take it all in as you swim, sunbathe, and marvel at the views. Puka Beach, on the island’s north side, is another option, with fewer crowds and plenty of photo opportunities.

You can also take a boat tour to nearby locations, such as the picturesque Crystal Cove Island, Crocodile Island, and Magic Island. In addition, adventure-seekers can go parasailing, kiteboarding, and windsurfing. 

This Island is full of life at night, with beach bars, nightclubs, and restaurants offering a lively atmosphere and fantastic food.

Best Places to Visit, Cebu

2. Cebu City

Cebu is in the Central Visayas region, known for its incredible diving spots, gorgeous beaches, and rich history. It is the oldest city in the Philippines and is regarded as the “Queen City of the South.” 

One of the most famous spots in Cebu is the small town of Oslob, where you can swim with whale sharks in their natural habitat. These gentle giants of the sea are among the most sought-after creatures by divers and snorkelers. You can also visit Mactan Island, well-known for its beautiful beaches and water sports.

Fortunately, several excellent hotels in Cebu City offer easy access to Mactan Island. The city is a large metropolis and a significant cultural center. It has a vibrant feel and an excellent place to experience the local culture. The Basilica Minore del Santo Nino is one of the city’s major attractions, and it contains Magellan’s Cross, a significant symbol of the Christianization of the Philippines. 

Best Places to Visit, Puerto Princesa

3. Palawan

Palawan has several popular tourist destinations, including the Underground River, El Nido, and Coron.  Located on Palawan Island, Puerto Princesa is a must-visit destination in the Philippines. It contains breathtaking rock islands, caves, and natural parks, making it a perfect location for nature lovers.

One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a stunning underground river that stretches for 8.2 km, and you can take boat tours to see the breathtaking rock formations and the unique flora and fauna that live in the area.

The Crocodile Farm is another popular spot in Puerto Princesa. The farmhouses thousands of crocodiles and is a great place to learn about these terrifying reptiles. You can also visit nearby Honda Bay, where you can go island-hopping, swimming, and snorkeling. 

Like Raja Ampat in Indonesia,  it offers unique snorkeling experiences that are sure to impress any snorkeling enthusiast.

4. Banaue

Banaue is one of the most picturesque destinations in the Philippines, in northern Luzon Island. The town is home to the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces, hand-carved into the mountainsides over 2,000 years ago by the Ifugao indigenous people. 

These remarkable emerald-green terraces, spanning thousands of acres, are UNESCO-protected World Heritage sites, The Batad Rice Terraces and the Bangaan Rice Terraces are among the best places to visit in the world.

When visiting Banaue, a stroll through the indigenous Banaue Ethnic Village and the Hiwang Village is a must. The beauty of the village, the magnificent view of the mountains, and the fresh air will leave visitors feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. Also, don’t miss the chance to witness the sunset behind the mountains, which is a truly magical experience.

Best Places to Visit, Manila

5. Manila

Manila is the capital of the Philippines and is located on the island of Luzon. It is a bustling metropolis and the most densely populated city in the world. It is often mistakenly referred to as the Pearl of the Orient instead of the Philippines itself due to its strategic location at the heart of the country and its historical significance as a center of trade and commerce.

A must-visit is the Intramuros, the oldest district in the city, also known as the walled city, a remnant of the Spanish colonial era. The Intramuros is also home to the famous San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the Philippines.

If you’re seeking a more adventurous culinary experience, there are several bizarre foods in Manila.  For example, balut, sold by street vendors is a fertilized duck egg boiled and eaten in the shell. Sisig is another popular Filipino dish that may be considered bizarre to some visitors. It is made from a pig’s head and various other parts. However, these have become a beloved dish in Manila and are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or an adrenaline junkie, the Philippines has it all. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and prepare for an unforgettable journey to these five best places to visit in the Philippines.