Did you ever wonder what are the best things to see and do in the Philippines? With 7,107 islands, though, it is easy to get confused on what would be the best places to go in the Philippines. From my local’s perspective, here are the ten best places – my personal favorites – where you can experience how wonderful life could be and enjoy some authentic and cultural Filipino experiences.
The City of Baguio
Baguio is known as the “Summer capital of the Philippines” – located some 1,500 meters above sea level. The city is known for its mild climate, and since this is a tropical country and unbearably humid during summer, people visit this place for a cool down, just to get away from the city life and enjoy some simple recreation.
If you like nature and the smell of pine trees, you surely will enjoy staying in Baguio. Although the city is located on a mountain, it that doesn’t mean that you are deprived from nightlife. People here know what party means and they have wide array of bars and clubs for you to choose from. Session Road and Harrison Road are just two note worthy example of places in the heart of the city where you will keep plenty busy when you’re not relaxing. As well, there are several parks in the city which are perfect for a romantic stroll: Burnham Park, Wright Park and the famous Mines View Park where people spend their times with loved ones, are my recommendations.
Hundred Islands National Park
Why not visit one of the best places in the Philippines which has its own legend? They say that each of the hundred islands has come from the noble soldiers who fought for the country. Although there are several different islands, only three of them have been developed and are enjoyable from a tourist’s perspective: Governor Island, Quezon Island, and Children’s Island. It’s easy to get around, though – just take a bus ride to Anda Alaminos and rent a ferry bound to the island you want to stay. Children’s Island is named such because it is really perfect for youngsters – it is surrounded by shallow water, which is suitable and safe for children to play.
Cebu City – Queen City of the South
Cebu City is a very progressive city. It almost has everything, from beautiful resorts to first class hotels and big shopping malls, catering to all budgets and tastes. It also has one of the busiest airport hubs in the country and is now the pathway to other closer cities like Dumaguete and Bohol. One of the city’s most visited places is the Mango Avenue where the teenager set hang out and enjoy good music. Aside from that, there’s also the island hopping services by island local tour operators where you’ll get to visit places like Close Island and enjoy some sunbathing. A great time of year to visit is during the Sinulog Festival, a celebration in honour of Senior Sto. Nino. He’s the patron saint of the city, so during Sinulog every January people gather around, dance and walk in honor of him while shouting Viva Senior Sto. Nino.
Bohol is ranked as the number one tourist destination in the Philippines, and for good reason. This island city will give you hundreds of reasons to come, and hundreds more to stay. Firstly, this is the home of the tarsier, the smallest living mammal in the world, a true curiosity of Mother Nature. Right beside the city is the Luboc river River, where you’ll get to dine inside a slow moving boat and enjoy all the hidden beauty of the city from this new perspective. There is also the Panglao Island, whose fine white sand beaches will help you work on your tan and forget about the office. Bohol is known for its chocolate hills – limestone formations in the area – these are one one of the most visited place in Bohol and absolutely one of the best places to go in the Philippines. Try and get to taste the local delicacy Kalamay or their new baked polvoron, both will make your mouth water and will surely ask for more and have you throwing out clothes to make room in your luggage to buy more.
The City of Motorcycles, Dumaguete is a small city located near the island city of Bohol and Cebu. It is called the city of Motorcycles because the primary source of transportation around the area is through renting or riding on motorcycles, which they called pedicabs. The city has long been famous for their long boulevard and their sweet, and heavenly tasting Sylvanias, tasty desert. It is also called the University City because of the several universities in the area despite of its geographical site and small land size. Be sure to witness catch the spectacular sunset and sunrise along Rizal Boulevard.
Know for its batchoy, a delicious noodle soup that originated from there, and its sweet smiling people, Iloilo has been a place of progress since during the past 6 years. There are countless numbers of establishments that continue to open: new restaurants and fun, funky bars. Iloilo is proud of their delicacies that will make your mouth water. Some of them my favourites are the barquillos and the biscocho, famous biscuits that may look like unusual but tastes so great. Don’t forget to try the local cultured oysters, they sell it by buckets for cheap prices!
Roxas City has been called the Venice city of Visayas beause of the bridge that connects the northern part of the city to the south. It is also known as the Seafood capital of the Philippines, because of the vast choice of seafood to choose from, but don’t forget to try their local foods and delicacies too. Some of the popular choices are crabs, prawns, shrimps and oysters. Like in Iloilo, people here are warm and kind. You’ll get to see people smiling at each other most of the time. Try to check the beach at night time; you’ll get to see food vendors set their table on the sand and cook foods for you under the moonlight.
Often called Fire Island, and known for its numerous number amount of volcanoes, Camiguin has been one of the most frequently visited place in the country. It serves as a melting spot of different people, as it is a popular place for foreigners to live. It is a small island but has several wonders to be proud of. They have the white island – a place where you’ll get to relax in a tiny strip of white, sandy bliss during the day, and then watch as the tides take the island away at nighttime. Camiguin is also famous for their sweet lanzones, a fruit similar in size, texture and taste to a lychee. During the annual Lanzone festival, the locals line their streets with lanzones and this is the perfect time to get to a taste the of fruit for free.
Davao City is a places of high and lows. Bordered by the magnificent Mt. Apo on one side, which is the highest peak in the Philippines, and surrounded by clear and deep waters of the Pacific on the other. This explains why Davao is one of the most livable cities in the world and one of the best places to go in the Philippines. Davao has a reputation for being somewhat unsafe, but in reality it is no less safe than other countries in Asia. Here in the city you cannot stray far from the pungent and yet succulent sweet tasting durian and juicy pomelos – if you haven’t noticed, it is hard to go hungry in the Philippines. Exploring Davao doesn’t only gives you joy of travelling, both local culture and the beauty of Mother Nature.
Boracay is known as the beach that never sleeps. The Philippines is blessed with so many beautiful beaches and one of the best is the island of Boracay. With pristine water, Boracay suits you with the the kind of traditional activities you’d like to have and that tourists are looking for, especially water sports and of course the popular banana boat. Despite its popularity, Boracay is frequently visited by people both locals and foreigners, making it one of the best places to go in the Philippines. It also offers those night long of parties long since fashionable in other beach countries. Since Boracay has been developed and investors are starting starts to put up and launch their new businesses, Boracay is now considered as highly urbanized island, which has been the reason why people tend to stay and live there for good. Aside from the sunsets and the parties, the beach is always a few minutes away. What’s not to like?