Where to go in an archipelagic country of over 7,600 islands? Here are my top picks for travelers who want to discover beautiful destinations in the Philippines.

Let’s start off with the top destinations that are both exceptionally beautiful and easy to reach, perfect for first-time visitors. Next, I’m going to share some spots that truly stand out from the other destinations in the country.

For those who want to see more of the Philippines, I’ve also included a long list of popular destinations and interesting places, so you can enjoy a virtual tour of what my home country has to offer.

Top Spots For First-Timers

1. Siargao

Location: Surigao del Norte province, Caraga Region, Northeast Mindanao. Save on Google Maps.

Siargao made its first claim to fame as the Philippines’ surfing capital, and recently as the “Best Island in the World” (awarded by Condé Nast readers for 2018).

This paradise has been on my favorites list ever since my first trip to the island a decade ago. What impressed me the most were the enchanting lagoons of Sohoton Cove, a natural wonder that’s well worth the 2-hour detour from the Cloud 9 surfing beach. The main island is filled with pristine natural spots as well, including white sand beaches, stunning islets, vast coconut forests, cool tidal pools & more.

If you want to enjoy a laidback island lifestyle, Siargao is one of the best places that tourists can go to. You’ll find a mix of “foreign” and “local” here. It is remote yet accessible, and not too crowded despite the coming of new developments in recent years.

How to go: Located along the eastern coast of the Philippines (facing the Pacific Ocean), Siargao is best reached by air. Fly direct to Sayak Airport (IAO) in Siargao Island from Manila, Cebu, or Clark. Flight duration is 2 hours from Manila or 1 hour from Cebu. From the airport, the land trip to Cloud 9 beach, the main tourist area, takes around 45 minutes. You can also reach Siargao by taking a flight to Surigao Airport (SUG), found in mainland Mindanao. Then, hop on a 1.5-hour fastcraft ferry to Dapa Port in Siargao Island.

Siargao Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

Philippines Travel Essentials:

Where to stay in Philippines (click below to see rates and book online)
Cheapest Rates | Best Reviews | Home Rentals/Airbnb

Philippines Tours & Discounts

See also: Beautiful Philippine Beaches | Philippines’ most beautiful waterfalls | Top Countries to Travel in Asia.

To help with your trip planning, I’ve added links to the locations on Google Maps. Feel free to click/tap on the links posted. Then, use the “save” feature on the Google Maps app for easy reference. I’ve also shared photos from my Instagram feed. Use Instagram’s save feature for quick access to your travel/feed goals.

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2. El Nido

Location: Northern Palawan province, MIMAROPA Region (West Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

You came to the country to see spectacular beaches and island views. El Nido in Palawan province will not disappoint. In terms of spectacular “over-the-water” sea views, El Nido is my favorite in the Philippines. Imagine hidden lagoons, uninhabited white sand beaches, and massive forest-covered limestone mountains rising out of pristine tropical waters. The “SEAnery” here rivals popular destinations in Asia like Phi Phi/Krabi Islands (Thailand) and Ha Long Bay (Vietnam).

The experience of spending a whole day out on the islands is nothing short of incredible. The area of Bacuit Bay is spread over a large area, so spend at least two full days for the island hopping tours (Tour A & Tour C are the best).

How to go: Most travelers arrive in El Nido on a 1.5-hour flight from Manila to Puerto Princesa Airport (PPS), followed by a 5 to 6-hour shuttle ride to El Nido town proper. If you want to skip the long land journey, fly directly to El Nido from Manila (1 hour), Cebu or Boracay-Caticlan. This is the fastest but more expensive way.

El Nido Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

3. Coron

Location: Northern Palawan province, MIMAROPA Region (West Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

In contrast to El Nido’s amazing “over water” views, go to Coron for spectacular underwater views. Here, you can see colorful coral gardens, pristine waters, lots of marine life, and even sunken WWII Japanese shipwrecks. Don’t get me wrong, Coron can hold its own when it comes to scenic views over the water as well. This paradise is home to hidden emerald/blue lagoons surrounded by limestone cliffs. There’s no shortage of incredibly beautiful fine white sand beaches in Coron either.

How to go: Coron Airport is located on the north side of Busuanga Island. Travel time by plane is around 1 hour from Manila. For adventurous travelers who want to maximize their trip in Palawan, you can travel by ferry between Coron and El Nido (mainland Palawan). Travel time is around 4 hours by fastcraft (high-speed ferry).

Coron Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

4. Cebu

Location: Central Visayas (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Cebu is the country’s #1 most visited tourist destination, and for good reason. It is unrivaled in offering the widest range of things to do and attractions. Cebu is like the “Jack of all trades” among tourist spots in the Philippines.

You can enjoy scenic natural sites (waterfalls, beaches, mountain views etc.), have exciting wildlife encounters, join a colonial heritage tour, shop at some of the World’s largest malls, or indulge yourself in local food including the prized Cebu Lechon! You can do all of these easily while staying at a luxury resort in Mactan Island, centrally located hotel/airbnb in the city, or a peaceful beachfront resort in the countryside. Your choice!

If that’s not enough, you can easily hop to nearby islands like Bohol, Negros (Dumaguete) or other major cities. Take full advantage of Cebu’s strategic location in Central Philippines and well-connected flight/ferry network.

How to go: Cebu-Mactan International Airport in Mactan Island serves direct flights from all major cities in the Philippines as well as international flights from Asia and North America. Flight duration is 1h30m from Manila, 3h 40m from Singapore and 2h50m from Hong Kong. From the airport, the ride to Cebu City center usually takes 30 minutes to 1 hour (or more, depending on traffic conditions).

Cebu Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

5. Boracay Island & Aklan

Location: Aklan province, Western Visayas region (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Boracay is a vacationer’s paradise. Taking center stage is 4-kilometer White Beach, prized for its incredibly inviting blue waters, fine white sand, and perfect sunsets. This island is the place to go if you want to take it easy and you’re looking forward to enjoying a tropical resort experience. As you can expect, Boracay caters to a more upscale crowd, but don’t fret, there are many budget-friendly options available.

Boracay is small but packs a lot of attractions. Here you can find excellent dining, a wide variety of places to stay, souvenir shopping, and lots of fun water activities, and some nightlife all in one sandy stretch.

Boracay’s White Beach is a class of its own when it comes to how fine and white the sand is. From my extensive travels in the country, there’s only one lengthy beach that has sand whiter and finer than White Beach. You can find it in the group of islands featured next on this list.

How to go: Touchdown at either Boracay-Caticlan Airport (MPH) or Kalibo International Airport (KLO). From Caticlan, the ferry to Boracay only takes less than 20 minutes. Most travelers transit via Kalibo because the airport serves more airlines/flights/destinations and airfares are usually lower. The land trip from Kalibo to Caticlan tales around 1 hour.

Boracay Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

The Standouts

These places take more time to visit but are well worth the journey if you’re up for an adventure.

6. Balabac Islands

Location: Southern Palawan province, MIMAROPA Region (West Central Philippines)

If you’re looking for the best beaches & most vibrant waters in the Philippines, look nowhere else. Balabac is worth a spot at the VERY TOP of your bucketlist.

Balabac is the southernmost group of islands in Palawan. It is so far south that Sabah, in East Malaysia is nearer to Balabac than Puerto Princesa, the provincial capital of Palawan.

The main draw here are 31 gorgeous islands still vastly undiscovered by tourist crowds. These islands are surrounded by pristine, crystal clear waters and white sand beaches. Yes, the sandy shores of many beaches here are a blinding white to off-white, many even have a blushed pink hue! The best spots you shouldn’t miss in Balabac are (1) Onuk Island & its crystal blue waters sprawling as far as the eye can see; (2) Bugsuk Island, home to the most powdery, whitest sand beach in the Philippines; and (3) the pink sand beach at Camiaran Island.

How to go: The most convenient jump-off point to the Balabac Islands is Buliluyan Port, located at the southernmost tip of mainland Palawan. From Puerto Princesa Airport (the nearest commercial airport), the land trip to Buliluyan Port takes around 5-6 hours. For a hassle-free trip, arrange your Balabac tour well ahead (before your trip) with a local tour operator. See the list and detailed travel tips at the Balabac Travel Guide.

Balabac is remote and not easy to reach, which is why I don’t readily recommend the place to first-timers. You must really want to visit this place. It takes time to visit and you’ll have to let go of touristic conveniences.

7. Batanes Islands

Location: Cagayan Valley region (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Previously, many readers have asked me why I did not include Batanes as one of the best places to go in the Philippines. The answer is simple: I haven’t been there yet. It’s still on my bucketlist! But due to popular demand, I am including Batanes now. So, comment below if you have a place in mind that you think should be included! I might have to add it to my bucketlist too.

Batanes is the northernmost province of the Philippines. These remote islands are shaped by volcanic forces and strong typhoons. The natural landscape of Batanes is distinct from other parts of the Philippines. Here, you’ll find vibrant green rolling hills, grazing cows, steep seaside cliffs, sparkling clear blue waters, traditional stone houses, and iconic lighthouses.

Travelers often describe its Batanes’ beauty as wild, overwhelming, and incredibly scenic. Looking at pictures and vlogs, I can see why it’s a popular choice among adventure seekers.

How to go: Touchdown at Basco Airport, located on Batan, the main island of Batanes. Travel time by plane is 2 hours from Manila or 1h40m from Clark. Airlines that fly to Batanes include Philippine Airlines and Skyjet. Flights to Batanes are a lot more expensive compared to other destinations in the Philippines. Expect regular roundtrip fares to cost upwards of P10,000.

Batanes Travel Essentials

Where to stay

8. Sagada

Location: Sagada, Mountain Province, Cordillera region, Luzon (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

The Philippines isn’t just all about postcard-perfect beaches. It has cool highland destinations too! If you want to be close to nature and the Philippines’ mountain culture, venture north of Manila and visit Sagada. You can find this small town high in the mist-covered Cordillera (mountain range) of Northern Luzon.

Surrounded by spectacular mountain views, Sagada is most-known for the bizarre hanging coffins, a burial tradition that has survived for over 2,000 years. When in town, don’t miss the cave connection tour (Sumaging-Lumiang Cave), sunrise view from above a sea of clouds at Kiltepan Peak, the local coffee (best in PH) & hike to the many waterfalls in the area including Bomod-ok Falls and Pongas Falls.

How to go: The bus trip to Sagada from Manila takes around 12 hours. Buses usually depart at 9pm (onwards) from Cubao, Quezon City. You can also catch a bus to Sagada from Baguio. Travel time from Baguio to Sagada is 5-6 hours by bus.

Sagada Travel Essentials

Where to stay

9. Banaue, Ifugao

Location: Ifugao province, Cordillera Region. Save on Google Maps.

Banaue is home to the famous Banaue Rice Terraces, another must-see attraction in the Cordillera region. Hand-carved by the Ifugao people some 2,000 years ago, these extraordinary rice paddies are terraced like staircases for giants and follows the contours of entire mountainsides. Banaue is also the gateway to the Ifugao Rice Terraces, included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

Have a memorable local experience by spending the night at a homestay in one of the small villages like Batad or Banga-an. Get immersed in the culture of the Ifugao people, wake-up to a view of the rice terraces with a hot cup of local coffee, and go on the breathtaking hike to Tappiya Waterfalls.

How to go: The bus journey to Banaue from Manila takes around 8-9 hours. Bus departures from Manila are in the late evening hours (8pm to 10pm). So, expect to arrive early morning. You can also reach Banaue easily from other destinations in the Cordillera region. The land journey to Banaue takes around 3 hours from Sagada and 6 hours from Baguio

Banaue Travel Essentials

Where to stay

10. Vigan

Location: Ilocos Norte province, Ilocos region, Luzon (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Vigan is the best-preserved Spanish-colonial town in Asia. If you’re a lover of old cities, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit.

You’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time (to 16th-century Philippines) as you explore Vigan. This heritage city is filled with cobblestone paths, horse-drawn carriages, centuries-old churches, and buildings. Get the ultimate Vigan experience by booking your room at one of the old Spanish-colonial homes.

How to go: The nearest airport to Vigan is Laoag Airport, which serves direct flights from Manila. This journey takes around 2 hours (1-hour flight duration PLUS 2-hour land trip). You can also reach Vigan by bus. The land trip takes around 8-9 hours from Manila.

Vigan Travel Essentials

Where to stay

11. Iligan

Location: Lanao del Norte province, Northern Mindanao region (Southern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Iligan the “City of Majestic Waterfalls” deserves a spot on your bucketlist if you’re a lover of waterfalls (like me). This city in Northern Mindanao is home to many of the Philippines’ most beautiful waterfalls. My favorites in Iligan include (1) Tinago Falls with its incredibly enchanting blue-green pool surrounded by the rainforest, (2) Maria Cristina Falls (massive twin waterfall), and the remote (3) Limunsudan Falls (the highest two-tiered waterfall in the Philippines).

How to go: Touchdown at Cagayan de Oro-Laguindingan Airport (CGY), which serves direct flights from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Clark, and Dumaguete. Flight duration is 1h and 40m from Manila or 1h from Cebu. From Laguindingan Airport, the land trip to Iligan City takes around 1.5 hours.

Iligan Travel Essentials

Where to stay

Sharing these major flight gateways and popular tourist destinations. All of these places have their own special set of bucketlist-worthy attractions. This just goes to show that you can find beautiful spots all over the Philippines and how incredibly difficult it is to select just a few, to make this list of best places to visit. The destinations mentioned below are not listed by rank.

12. Manila

Location: Metro Manila capital region, Luzon (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Manila offers many attractions for travelers. Historic Intramuros is a good place to start. This walled city is filled with Spanish-era architecture including the Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago, and San Agustin Church (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Meanwhile, Makati and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) are the best places to go to experience the nightlife, hip food scene, and the modern side of the city. Beat the tropical heat & shop at Manila’s massive malls. Metro Manila is home to many of the World’s largest malls including the ever-expanding Mall of Asia. Looking for a place to go near the airport? Visit the entertainment districts such as Newport City, City of Dreams, Solaire Resort, and Okada Manila.

How to go: Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main international gateway and domestic flight hub of the Philippines. The Manila-NAIA Airport is located in the cities of Pasay and Paranaque (among the 16 cities that comprise the Metro Manila area). Manila does not have a very good public transport system. For safe and easy rides around the metro, use a ride-hailing app like Grab.

Manila Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

13. Bohol

Location: Central Visayas (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Bohol is home to two of the Philippines’ most iconic attractions, often shown on tourism ads: The Chocolate Hills, and the bug-eyed Tarsier, one of the World’s smallest primates. This island in Central Philippines (near Cebu) offers so much more.

In Panglao, you can stay at a nice hotel at one of the island’s many white-sand beach areas, go island hopping, enjoy diving, join an island hopping tour, and possibly have a dolphin encounter. If that’s not enough, you can enjoy a relaxing cruise along the pristine Loboc River, see the old Spanish-colonial heritage churches, Can-umantad waterfalls, Cadapdapan Rice Terraces, and remote Anda White Beach.

If you plan to visit Cebu, then Bohol should be on your bucketlist too as you can easily see most of Bohol’s major tourist spots on a one-day tour from Cebu City.

How to go: Touchdown at Bohol-Panglao International Airport (TAG), which serves direct flights from Manila, Clark, Davao and Cagayan de Oro. Travel time from Manila to Bohol is 1 hour by plane. You can also go by ferry from Cebu. Travel time from Cebu to Bohol is around 2 hours by fastcraft ferry.

Bohol Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

14. Puerto Princesa

Location: Central Palawan province, MIMAROPA Region (West Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Puerto Princesa is the capital and major flight gateway in Palawan. If you’re visiting El Nido, then Puerto Princesa, “The City in the Forest,” is worth a stopover. Start with a trip to Puerto Princesa Underground River, the 2nd longest navigable underground river in the world, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and New7Wonders of Nature. Then, spend a day beach bumming and snorkeling on an island hopping tour around Honda Bay. Don’t leave without going on the city tour and feasting on fresh seafood.

How to go: Puerto Princesa is 1.5 hours southwest of Manila by plane. Princesa International Airport serves direct flights from Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Clark, and Davao. You can also go by ferry from Manila or Iloilo (on the RORO ferry-bus).

Puerto Princesa Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

15. Iloilo & Guimaras

Location: Western Visayas region (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

This is my home, Iloilo! Located at the country’s geographical center, Iloilo is also known as the “Heart of the Philippines.” It is famous for its well-preserved heritage sites, distinct native cuisine, cheap seafood, and pristine natural sites.

Bustling yet relaxed Iloilo City is one of the most livable cities in the country. A highly urbanized city that’s keen on preserving its cultural and natural heritage. Within an hour’s travel from the city center, you can find yourself along a peaceful beach in Guimaras Island, home to the World’s sweetest mangoes. Head to the islands of Gigantes, Sicogon, and Concepcion to see the stunning seascapes of Northern Iloilo. A drive to the south takes you to centuries-old Spanish-colonial churches including the Miagao Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Iloilo, you can also go on a land trip to other provinces in Panay Island — Antique, Capiz (Roxas City), and Aklan (Boracay).

How to go: Touchdown at Iloilo Airport, which serves direct flights from/to major airports in the Philippines, as well as Hong Kong and Singapore. Travel time to Iloilo by plane is 1h15m from Manila and 50m from Cebu. The airport also serves direct flights from/to Davao, Clark, Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos.

Iloilo Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

16. Clark & Pampanga

Location: Clark Freeport, Pampanga region, Luzon (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Located within a 2-3 hour drive north of Manila, Clark Airport is a major flight hub and alternative international gateway to the Philippines. Clark is a rapidly developing tourist destination and economic zone. It’s home to Aqua Planet Waterpark, PH’s largest waterpark, and other themed attractions such as Dinosaur Island. From Clark, you can enjoy a heritage tour of nearby Angeles City and sample the famous food of Pampanga, the Culinary Capital of the Philippines.

Clark is also a popular jump-off point to explore the Central Luzon provinces of Zambales, Tarlac, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Aurora. The best things to do in this region include the (1) offroad adventure to Puning Hot Springs, (2) Mount Pinatubo summit crater trek, (3) Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar heritage resort, (4) Zambales’ scenic beaches, (5) Subic Bay, and the (6) surfing town of Baler.

How to go: Clark Airport serves both domestic and international flights. Because of its location near Manila, it often serves as an alternative to congested Manila-NAIA Airport. Travel time from Manila to Clark is around 2-3 hours. Clark Airport is located within Clark Freeport Zone, which occupies part of Angeles City, Pampanga. The drive between Clark Airport & Angeles City center takes around 20 minutes.

Clark Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

17. Davao

Location: Davao region, Mindanao (Southern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Considering a trip to Southern Philippines? Start with Davao City, the largest urban center in Mindanao. Located at the foot of Mount Apo, the PH’s tallest mountain, this sprawling metropolis is where you can meet the great Philippine Eagle, get a taste of the infamous Durian fruit, and enjoy day trips to refreshing natural sites like Eden Nature Park and Samal Island. Of course, it is also the gateway to beautiful spots in Davao region and Mindanao.

Samal Island is easily reached by ferry from Davao City. Enjoy a luxury stay at Pearl Farm Beach Resort, famous for its waterfront stilt cottages, or wander to the peaceful beaches of Talikud Island.

How to go: Davao Airport is the busiest airport in Mindanao. Travel time by plane from Manila to Davao is 2 hours. From Davao Airport, it typically takes 30 minutes to get to Davao City center.

Davao Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

18. Cagayan de Oro & beyond

Location: Northern Mindanao region (Southern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Cagayan de Oro, the largest city in Northern Mindanao, is dubbed as the “Adventure Capital of the Philippines”. This city is famous for its white water river rafting, river tubing, paragliding, nature parks. Cagayan de Oro is also a convenient hub for tourists visiting the majestic waterfalls of Iligan, scenic sites of Camiguin Island, and cool attractions of Bukidnon province.

How to go: Touchdown at Cagayan de Oro-Laguindingan Airport (CGY), which serves direct flights from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Clark, and Dumaguete. Flight duration is 1h and 40m from Manila or 1h from Cebu. From Laguindingan Airport, the land trip to Cagayan de Oro City takes around 1 hour.

Cagayan de Oro Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

19. Dumaguete & Negros Oriental

Location: Negros Oriental province, Central Visayas region (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Extremely chill Dumaguete is the jump-off point to Apo Island. If swimming with sea turtles is on your bucketlist, one of the best places to go is Apo Island, a protected marine sanctuary with sprawling coral gardens. From Dumaguete, you can also visit Siquijor Island and the many waterfalls, lakes & mountain resorts of Negros Oriental province.

How to go: Dumaguete Airport is about an hour south of Manila by plane. You can also fly directly from Cebu. The flight only takes 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can get to Dumaguete by bus+ferry from Cebu. The bus+ferry journey takes around 6 hours.

Dumaguete Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

20. Legazpi, Bicol & Mayon Volcano

Location: Albay province, Bicol region, Luzon Island (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Legazpi is perhaps the most photogenic city in the Philippines. Here, the skyline view is dominated by Mayon Volcano, recognized as the World’s “perfect” cone-shaped volcano.

Legazpi serves as the gateway to Bicol, a region famous for the whale shark watching in Donsol, Sorsogon, gorgeous islands of Caramoan (Camarines Sur), and Calaguas (Camarines Norte), Misibis Bay Resort, and of course, delicious Bicolano dishes (Bicol Express!).

How to go: The fastest way to get to Legazpi is by air. Flight duration to Legazpi Airport is 1 hour from Manila or Cebu. Alternatively, you can also reach Legazpi by bus from Manila. The land trip takes around 9 to 12 hours.

Legazpi Travel Essentials

Where to stay

21. Tacloban, Leyte

Location: Leyte province, Eastern Visayas region (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Tacloban City, the regional capital of Eastern Visayas, is home to the San Juanico Bridge, the longest bridge in the Philippines and as the site of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur’s landing, a monumental event during WWII.

Eastern Visayas is a region blessed with many of the Philippines’ most awe-inspiring natural sights including Kalanggaman Island’s insanely beautiful sandbar, the incredible rock formations of Biri Island, majestic waterfalls of Samar and alluring Sambawan Island in Biliran province.

How to go: Touchdown at Tacloban-Daniel Z. Romualdez Airport, which serves direct flights from/to Manila, Cebu, and Clark. Travel time from Manila to Tacloban is 1.5 hours by flight. From Tacloban Airport, the ride to the downtown area takes 15 minutes only.

Tacloban Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

22. Baguio & Benguet

Location: Benguet province, Cordillera region, Luzon Island (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Visit the Philippines’ summer capital. Baguio City offers a cool climate, urban comforts, pine-filled parks and an exciting food scene. There are a lot of fun day trips beyond the city as well such as the La Trinidad strawberry fields and flower farms in Benguet.

How to go: Land travel to Baguio is approximately 5-6 hours from Manila, 6 hours from Banaue, and 5-6 hours from Sagada.

Baguio Travel Essentials

Where to stay

23. Subic Bay

Location: Zambales province, Central Luzon region (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Subic Bay is a popular destination for themed attractions and natural sites. Subic’s top tourist spots include the Pamulaklakin Nature Park, Boardwalk Park, Zoobic Safari, Ocean Adventure, Inflatable Island & duty-Free shopping malls.

How to go: The land trip to Subic takes around 2-4 hours from Manila or 1.5 hours from Clark. Aside from buses/shuttle that go directly to Subic, you can also get on buses bound for Olongapo (Zamables). Subic Bay Freeport Zone is a short 10-minute ride away from the bus terminal in Olongapo.

Subic Bay Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

24. Tagaytay & Taal Volcano

Location: Cavite-Batangas provinces, Southern Luzon (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Tagaytay is a popular go-weekend vacation spot near Manila? Go on a 2-3 hour drive to Tagaytay, enjoy the cool mountain breeze, and see the iconic view of the highly active Taal Volcano.

Taal Volcano is famous for Vulcan Point, the world’s largest island within a lake (Crater Lake) that is situated on an island (Volcano Island/Taal Island) located in a lake (Lake Taal) within an island (Luzon) in the Pacific Ocean.

How to go: You can find Tagataytay-bound buses at Cubao, Buendia or Pasay in Metro Manila. Travel time is around 2 to 3 hours depending on the pace of traffic. Alternatively, you can hop on a shuttle van from EGI Mall near the LRT Gil Puyat Station.

Tagaytay Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

See More of the Philippines

25. Lake Sebu

Location: South Cotabato province,Soccsksargen region, Mindanao Island (Southern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

One of my favorite highland destinations in the Philippines is Lake Sebu, the homeland of the T’boli people. This peaceful town in Mindanao offers a cool mountain climate, beautiful waterfalls, and scenic lake views. When in Lake Sebu, do not miss the 7 Falls Zipline. It’s one of the tallest in Asia and offers a breathtaking view of Lake Sebu’s seven waterfalls. Enjoy an early morning canoe ride to see the fields of blooming lotus greet the sunrise.

How to go: General Santos Airport is around two hours by plane from Manila or around 1 hour from Cebu or Iloilo. Land travel from General Santos to Lake Sebu takes 2 to 3 hours. Alternatively, can book a flight to Davao Airport go on a 2 to 3-hour land trip to General Santos.

Lake Sebu Travel Essentials

Where to stay

26. Laoag & Ilocos Norte

Location: Ilocos Norte province, Luzon Island (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Ilocos Norte and its capital city, Laoag, is one of the Philippines’ top heritage destinations. See the Paoay Church, included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, and many other exquisite Spanish-colonial churches. Go farther north to find the iconic windmills, beautiful beaches, surfing, and coastal landscapes in Pagudpud and Burgos.

How to go: Traveling by air is the fastest and most convenient way to Ilocos Norte. Laoag Airport is an hour north of Manila by plane. You can also reach Laoag by land from different areas in Luzon. The land trip to Laoag is around 9 hours from Manila.

Laoag Travel Essentials

Where to stay

27. Siquijor

Location: Central Visayas region (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Hop on a ferry from Dumaguete & wander around the mystical island of Siquijor. This island province is famous for its stunning beach coves, waterfalls, and as a home of mountain-dwelling mangkukulam (healers/Filipino witches).

How to go: Touchdown at Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport, which serves direct flights from Manila and Cebu. From Dumaguete Pier, ride one of the frequent ferries to Siquijor. Travel time by fastcraft (high-speed ferry) is 50 minutes. You can also reach Siquijor on a direct ferry from Cebu or Bohol.

Siquijor Travel Essentials

Where to stayTours + discounts

28. Port Barton & San Vicente

Location: San Vicente, Northern Palawan province, Palawan province, MIMAROPA region (West Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Port Barton is a quiet beachside village in the town of San Vicente. It is popular among backpackers and travelers who want to experience a relaxed rural atmosphere. Here, you can go about and explore many pristine offshore islands and venture to Long Beach in San Vicente Town Proper, reputedly the longest white sand beach in the Philippines. San Vicente/Port Barton is located between Puerto Princesa and El Nido, in mainland Palawan.

How to go: The fastest way is by flying directly to the new San Vicente Airport, which serves direct flights from Clark. From San Vicente Airport / Poblacion, you can charter a boat to get to Port Barton. Travel time by boat takes around 1 hour. You can also go by land from other spots in Palawan Island. Travel time to San Vincente takes around 5-6 hours from Puerto Princesa, 2.5-3 hours from El Nido or 1-1.5 hours from Roxas Bus Terminal.

San Vicente Travel Essentials

Where to stay

29. Caramoan

Location: Camarines Sur province, Bicol region, Luzon Island (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Caramoan rose to fame when the islands became the location of TV reality show “Survivor.” It was featured multiple times not only by Survivor US, but also various international editions of the franchise. After you’ve seen Caramoan, it’s not hard to see why. The islands are blessed with towering limestone cliffs that serve as the perfect backdrop of hidden lagoons and crowdless white sand beaches.

How to go: Sabang Port in San Jose, Camarines Sur province is the jump-off point to Caramoan. Travel time to Sabang Port by car is 1 hour from Naga City (Naga-Pili Airport) or 3 hours from Legazpi City (Legazpi-Bicol Airport). From Sabang Port, ride a local ferry to Guijalo Port in Caramoan. Travel time is around 1 hour and 45 minutes. From Guijalo, the land trip to Caramoan town proper takes around 30 minutes. From Caramoan town proper, the islands are accessible on whole day island hopping tours.

Caramoan Travel Essentials

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30. Calaguas

Location: Vinzons, Camarines Norte province, Bicol region, Luzon Island (Northern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Mahabang Buhangin Beach in Calaguas Island is perhaps the only beach in Northern Philippines that can rival the likes of Boracay and the best beaches in Palawan when it comes to powdery fine white sand. Despite its remote location in Camarines Norte, it has risen as one of the top places to visit among beach campers and adventure-seeking tourists. The beachfront is shy of one kilometer in length and has a sprawling view of unbelievably turquoise blue and crystal clear waters.

How to go: The main jump-off points to Calaguas Island is are the towns of Paracale and Vinzons in Camarines Norte province. From Manila, the land journey to Paracale/Vinzons takes around 8-9 hours. Paracale is the nearer gateway to Calaguas Island. Travel time by ferry from Paracale to Calaguas is around 2 hours. The nearest airport with commercial flights is Naga-Pili Airport (WNP), which is a 2-hour drive away from Paracale/Vinzons.

31. Biri Islands, Samar

Location: Northern Samar province, Eastern Visayas region (Central Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Biri is one of my all-time favorite “off the beaten path” adventures in the Philippines. Facing the Pacific Ocean, this remote island is home to awe-inspiring rock formations carved over time by nature. Scramble up to one of the peaks for an awe-inspiring view of raging sea waves crashing over the rugged landscape.

How to go: The nearest airport to Biri is Catarman Airport, which serves direct flights from Clark. From Catarman Airport, you’ll first need to go on a 1-hour land trip to Lavezares Port, the main jump-off point to Biri Islands. From Lavezares Port, hop on a ferry to Biri. The sea crossing takes around 45 minutes. Alternatively, it’s possible to reach Biri from Calbayog Airport or Tacloban Airport. Travel time by land from Tacloban to Lavezares is 6 hours.

32. Enchanted River & Surigao del Sur

Location: Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur province, Caraga region, Mindanao (Southern Philippines). Save on Google Maps.

Endless stretches of white-sand beaches, not your only image of a perfect island getaway? Surigao del Sur province has many extraordinary sights for the off-beat traveler. See the majestic Tinuy-an Falls and bizarre Hinatuan Enchanted River, a magically clear, deep blue river that seems to spring from nowhere.

How to go: The Enchanted River is located in the coastal town of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur province. The nearest airports are Butuan Airport and Davao Airport. Travel time by bus to Hinatuan is around 4 hours from Butuan and 5 hours from Davao. From Hinatuan town proper, the trip to the Enchanted River takes around 20 minutes.

What places have you added to your bucketlist? Have you been to beautiful places in The Philippines that should be on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Places to visit in The Philippines

Philippines tourist spots, things to do in The Philippines, where to go in The Philippines & more.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

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