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Top 100 Places to Visit in the Philippines

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2Manila Ocean Park

Manila Ocean Park

As part of our special 100th issue of Expatch, we present to you this top 100 countdown!

The Philippine archipelago is comprised of 7,107 islands, 81 provinces, 144 cities geographically combined into 3 major island groups. With those figures, you will surely never run out of great places to visit and explore. Some tourist spots here are even included as Eight Wonders of the World, New Seven Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

As part of our “Top 100 Series” for the 100th Issue of Expatch Newsletter, I culled the best places to visit in the Philippines from various websites, and gathered lists of attractions which received plenty of awards and recognitions locally and internationally. I haven’t gotten to all of the 100 destinations in this list (just quite a few), so I also screened each by reading comments and blogs of some critiques and tourists who had their first-hand experience.

 

You might be overwhelmed if I give you a long dreary blood-curdling list of 1 to 100, so I decided to divide it by 10 depending on area or region. Here it is:

 

I. METRO MANILA

 

1. Intramuros: The Ancient Walled City

Intramuros, Manila is a walled-city fortress built by Spaniards during their regime in 1600s. It is the home to some famous tourist spots in Manila like the World Heritage Site San Agustin Church, country’s premier half-century-old Neo-Romanesque Manila Cathedral, and the citadel Fort Santiago. (I am lucky that the university which I graduated from is situated here. It’s like being in a famous tourist spot, everyday).

2. Rizal Park: The Country’s National Park

Also known as Luneta Park, this is where our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was executed. This iconic park is over 60 hectares with Rizal monument and a pantheon of other Filipino heroes, ornamental gardens, paved walks, playgrounds and restaurants. This is located at Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

3. Makati Central Business District: Great Place to Shop, Eat and Drink

This district is known as one of Asia’s important financial, economic and commercial centres. It is where Philippine Stock Exchange Building, PBCom Tower (tallest building in the Philippines), Greenbelt, Glorietta, along with other premier hotels and restaurants are located.

4. Manila Bay/Baywalk: The Perfect Spot to Catch the Sunset

Known as a leisure area for most city-dwellers, not only your eyes will feast by catching the sunset scenery, your ears and tummy will both be pleased also with great music played by local bands and entertainers, and some restaurants nearby. Manila bay is along the stretch of Roxas Boulevard.

5. SM Mall of Asia: World’s 4th Largest Shopping Mall

Located at Central Business Park, Bay Boulevard, Pasay City, this world-class mall is right beside MOA Arena which is a popular venue for sports events and concerts.

6. Manila Ocean Park: Country’s First World-Class Marine Theme Park

Sharks & rays encounter, mermaid swim experience, fish spa and jellies exhibit (wherein jellyfish are like swimming in tune with relaxing background music) are some of the activities/attractions at Manila Ocean Park. My favourites so far is the Sea Lion Show. It also has a aqua-themed hotel inside. MOP is located just behind Quirino Grandstand.

7. Bonifacio Global City (BGC): The High-End City

This highly-urbanised district with gourmet restos, posh malls and bars is located at Fort Bonifacio which is situated between Makati and Taguig City. At this present time, these two cities are having territorial dispute over Fort Bonifacio.

8. Eastwood: The 24/7 City

Considered as one of the fastest growing residential-and-commercial area in the metro, this locus in Quezon City is perfect whether you’re a diurnal (who is craving for a 5AM-breakfast) or a nocturnal (who just wants to party all night long).

9. Binondo: Philippines’ Chinatown

Binondo district, apart from being Philippines’ Chinatown, is also known as the oldest Chinatown in the world. Apart from the rich history and heritage, the best part when in Chinatown is the food trip experience! Binondo has a wide array of restaurants (from decade-old authentic restos to pastries/delicacies shops) that will surely hook any discerning taste.

10. Divisoria: The Shopping Mecca

Divisoria is a part of Binondo wherein you can get cheap finds of almost everything, from clothes/shoes/accessories to souvenirs, gowns, school supplies and appliances. You can read on our Expatch article to know more about the different malls there.

 

35Intramuros

INTRAMUROS: Travel back in time and witness the remnants of Spanish Regime

1Makati Skyline

MAKATI Skyline

 

Panoramic Shot of SM Mall of Asia

 

II. CORDILLERA ADMINISTRATIVE REGION (CAR)

 

1. Banaue: Home of the “Eighth Wonder of the World” Rice Terraces

Located in Ifugao Province, this 20-decade old tourist attraction was hand carved by the indigenous Ifugao tribesmen with over 2900 meters of elevation.

2. Mt. Pulag: Playground of the gods

Known as the highest mountain in Luzon, climbing Mt. Pulag is definitely in many mountain climbers’ bucket list. Reaching Mt. Pulag’s peak is an ultimate experience above the clouds that never fails to keep any novice or seasoned mountaineer in awe. It is located within Benguet, Ifugao and Nueva Viscaya.

3. Sumaguing Cave: North’s Best Spelunking Site

This cave is located at Sagada, Mountain Province. Sumaguing Cave has a large chamber connected to all 60 known caves in Sagada. It also has underground streams, natural pools and magnificent formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

4. BenCab Museum: A Refreshingly Different Must-See in (Baguio)

Named after Philippine National Artist Benedicto Cabrera, BenCab Museum is said to be a fusion of art and nature. Exhibited in the place are Cabrera’s art pieces, but there’s also a garden-view cafe with duck pond, fowl aviary, organic farm and mini forest with eco-trail.

5. Bell Church: Tranquil and Chromatic Chinese Church

Clean, peaceful and colourful are three words that would best describe Bell Church. Established in downtown Baguio, this religious architecture has intricately designed arches adorned with dragons and other Chinese designs, landscape garden and pagoda.

6. Burnham Park: The Heart of Baguio City

Baguio is known as the Summer Capital of the Philippines and this park is one of its must-visits. Burnham Park is a tranquil, serene retreat with a nice romantic view overlooking the Burnham Lagoon. You can even hire a bike and enjoy the breezy atmosphere.

7. Chico River: White Water Rafting “River of Life”

Located in the landlocked province of Kalinga, this river system is one of the premier rafting destinations in the Philippines. It is called the “River of Life” as it emanates water at the whole span of Central Kalinga.

8. Philippine Military Academy (PMA): Home of Clean Roads, Nice Environment and Disciplined People

Surprisingly, this military ground entrenched at Fort del Pilar is considered as one of the best attractions in Baguio. I’ve read a lot of reviews that PMA is really a must-see. It’s not the usual tourist spot where kids can play and run around or tourists can just flock anywhere, but this impregnable zone is an epitome of magnanimity and beauty, and is also a reflection of how disciplined the military is.

9. Sagada Hanging Coffins: Coffins by the Cliff

Hanging Coffins is an equally mysterious, bizarre and intriguing spot for tourists which is located in Mountain Province. Coffins are suspended from limestone cliffs tied in ropes and strong wires. A total of 200 coffins have survived 500 years of natural and man-made disaster.

10. Tam-Awan Village: A Bucolic Hotel and Art Locus

This is an unusual hotel in Benguet where you can experience an indigenous lifestyle. Rather than checking-in at a usual hotel room with bed, fridge and aircon, tourist here can spend a night at Ifugao-style huts and Kalinga-inspired houses that will give you an ultimate immersion experience. There is also an art gallery which showcases the talent of Kalinga artists.

3Banaue Rice Terraces

Breathtaking Man-made Banaue Rice Terraces

4Sumaguing Cave

Mountain Province’s Sumaguing Cave

4Bell Church

Baguio City’s Bell Church

 

III. ILOCOS & CAGAYAN REGION

 

1. Pagudpud: Ilocos’ White Sand Beach

Considered as Ilocos Norte’s pride, Pagudpud beach is known for its breadth of white sand lined with coconut trees and pristine blue waters making it a sanctuary for tourists.

2. Kapurpurawan Rock Formation: The Creamy White Streamlines Limestone Formation

Also found in Ilocos Norte, this limestone formation is considered as a nature’s work of art that is truly one-of-a-kind in the country. The forces of the sea, whips of the wind, pull of gravity and sedimentation over a long period of time are the “artists” of this natural masterpiece.

3. Hundred Islands: Alaminos’ Pride

Governor’s Island, Children’s Island, Quezon Island (named after former President Quezon, Bat Island and some other peculiar, mushroom-shaped islands is what Hundred Islands is comprised of. My favourite is the Coral Island, but I call it the “Butterfly Island”. Most islands in the Hundred Islands can be easily reached by boat. However, to reach the Coral island, you need to swim from the “boat zone” going the island itself. Boats (or any of its kind) are not allowed at a certain point near that island as it might damage some corals especially at the shallow part. Don’t worry, the long swim is worth it. I felt like it’s my own private place where I can snorkel/swim all day, then relax at shoreline stretch with few butterflies flying freely.

4. Paoay: Sand Dunes Hideaway

Ilocos Norte’s Paoay Sand Dunes is exceptionally gaining popularity because of the thrilling sandboarding adventure in-store to its visitors.

5. Bangui Windmills: The First Power-Generating Windmill Farm in Southeast Asia

Another pride not just of Ilocos Norte but the whole country is the Bangui Windmills stationed in an arc manner in Bangui shoreline facing the West Philippine Sea. These windmills generate 40% of the whole province’s power supply.

6. Vigan: Philippines’ Well Preserved European Town (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Kalesas (horse-drawn carriages) mansions of yesteryears and cobblestone pavements/walkways are some of the components which makes this city of Ilocos Sur an exceptionally intact European colonial preserve.

7. Ma-Cho Temple:  La Union’s Piece of Chinese Architect and Culture

Witness the vestige of 960 AD Sung Dynasty in this edifice situated at San Fernando City, La Union.

8. San Juan Beach: The Surfing Hideaway

Known for having the 5th longest coastline on the planet with dozens of surfing areas, this beach in La Union is not only great for surfing but also for other water sports activities.

9. Dasol: Colibra and Crocodile Island Sanctuary

Dasol is a quiet, bucolic municipality in Pangasinan famous for islands like Colibra and Crocodile island. You can read on our Expatch articles to know more about these two islands.

10. Bolinao Waterfalls: Cascading Hidden Waterfalls (Pangasinan)

Also situated in Pangasinan, this spot has a soothing cool water but is quite far. However, a hidden paradise is sometime worth the travel especially when you want to be one with nature.

 

5Hundred Islands

Aerial Shot of Hundred Islands

 

6Calle Crisologo

Calesa (horse-driven carriage) on well-preserved Calle Crisologo in Vigan

7Bangui Windmills

The Bangui Windmills of Ilocos Sur

 

8Kapurpurawan Rocks

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation: a delicately made natural art of Ilocos Norte

IV. CENTRAL LUZON

1. Potipot: Island in the Rain

This island is also considered as Little Boracay of the North famous for its pristine and clear blue waters and (almost) fine white sand. Potipot Island is located in Zambales.

2. Anawagin Cove: The Crescent Cove Embraced by Lush Pine Forest

This is another white sand paradise in San Antonio, Zambales which is perfect for a splendid isolation experience. The place is clean and the water is clear and warm.

3. Nagsasa Cove: The Prominent Camping Site

Another tourist spot in Zambales makes it in this list. This cove is surrounded by mountains with lots of trees which makes it a sweet escape/isolation place for your camping-and-bonfire experience.

4. Subic: Iron Man Flyboard Hideaway

Flyboard is a new watersport in Subic created by a French Jet Ski champion, you can read our Expatch article to know more about this. Apart from that, you can also try other adventure/activities in Subic like yachting/sailing, Jungle Environment Survival Training (JEST), treetop adventure, canopy walk, canoeing and surfing.

5. Corregidor: A Dark Tourism Site

Located in Southwest part of Luzon, Corregidor island served as fortress of defense during the World War II. Filipino, Japanese and American troops all fought there during the Japanese Occupation in 1942. Ruins and other remnants of war is one of the primary attractions, but there’s more to Corregidor than just the past.

6. Baler: Home to One of the Longest Siege in the World

Baler, famous for “Siege of Baler” with its story that has become a bible of survival, this municipality found in the province of Aurora is also one of the last frontiers in Central Luzon. The most famous destination is the Sabang Beach which is considered as Central Luzon’s surfer’s paradise.

7. Monasterio de Tarlac: The Cradle of “Sacred Relic of The True Cross”

This place is where the Relic of the the Holy Cross is enshrined which is atop a mountain in San Jose, Tarlac. There’s also a 30-feet high statue of the Risen Christ on top of the mountain that looks truly majestic in photos.

8. Barasoain Church: The Famous Church in 10-Peso Bill

Also known as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, it earned the title of “Cradle of Democracy in the East”. Many major historic events during the Spanish era took place there, like the convening of the 1st Philippine Congress and inauguration of the 1st Philippine Republic. This historical attraction ranked number 1 in Tripadvisor’s places to visit in Bulacan.

9. Ditumabo Falls: A.K.A “The Mother Falls”

The Mother Falls meaning the falls of all falls, is situated in a small village of San Luis in Aurora Province. You need to cross a couple to streams and big boulder of rocks but it will all be paid off with the breathtaking scenery and icy cold water.

10. Lakeshore Estates: The Radio Controlled Sailing Zone

Lakeshore Estate is located in Mexico, Pampanga (just near Mexico Exit of North Luzon Expressway/NLEX). It has a 5-hectare man-made lake suitable for both dinghy and radio controlled sailing.

9Potipot Island

Potipot Island’s Seashore

10ditumbo_fallsb

Ditumabo Falls of Aurora Province

11monasterio de Tarlac

Monasterio de Tarlac: Gigantic statue of Christ on top of the mountain

V. CALABARZON REGION (CAvite, LAguna, BAtangas, Rizal, QueZON)

1. Anilao: The Picturesque Diving Spot

One of the many world class diving spots in the Philippines – Anilao, Batangas have picturesque, iridescent diving spots perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving. Anilao Beach Club is one of the famous beaches there. Apart from the superb place, I’ve read from a lot of reviews that they also serve great food and staff are very accommodating.

2. Taal Volcano: A Lake within a Lake

Tagged as the smallest active volcano in the world, Taal Volcano is also notable for its unexplained shape and location (an island within a lake within an island). Comprised of more than 40 overlapping craters and cones, Taal Volcano is truly a geologic wonder to thousands of tourists.

3. Pico de Loro: The Monolith

Known for the challenging Parrot’s Beak (or the Monolith), this mountain located in Ternate, Cavite is perfect for adventure seekers. Read on our Expatch article about our contributor’s experience in climbing this splendid Rock Column.

4. Lake Caliraya: Windsurfing Paradise

This man-made reservoir in Laguna is really suitable for novice windsurfers as they offer surfing, lessons and they close the season with an annual Philippine Windsurfing Series Racing.

5. Enchanted Kingdom: Philippines’ Disney Land

Enchanted Kingdom, simply known as EK, is the grandest and largest theme park in the Philippines with land area of 17 hectares. They have rides ranging from whimsical to risky-thrilling ones perfect for kids and kids at heart. You can check out our resident expat contributor’s article as he shares his fun-filled experience in this theme park.

6. Nurture Spa Village: The Relaxation Hideaway

Awarded by a travel website as the number 1 must-visit place in Tagaytay, Nurture Spa Village offers a wide-range of services and facilities that guarantee a relaxing and recharging experience.

7. Pagsanjan Falls: Laguna’s Most Famous Natural Attraction

The ruggedly enthralling 91-metre falls is not only famous in Laguna, but in the whole country as well. It is accessed by one hour canoeing then on your ride back, you’ll pass 2 rivers: Bumbungan and Balanac which will give you a thrilling ride passing a total of 14 rapids.

8. Puzzle Mansion: Guinness World’s Largest Jigsaw Puzzle Collection

Also in Tagaytay City, Cavite, this mansion is the official record holder of largest puzzle collection with 1,028 intricate pieces ranging from flat jigsaw to wooden, spherical and 3D puzzles.

9. Kwebang Lampas: The Uncrowded Preserved Beach

This secluded beach is located in Pagbilao, Quezon Province. I’ve read from several reviews that beach is not that accessible, despite that, it’s still famous to many tourists with its white sand and clear azure water. This is truly one hidden paradise.

10. Aguinaldo Shrine: The National Shrine

Found in the historical town of Kawit, Cavite, Aguinaldo Shrine is where Philippine Independence was Proclaimed and with the immortalised scenario where the Philippine flag was first waved by the 1st President Emilio Aguinaldo. This formidable shrine has been reconstructed decades ago. It was originally an ancestral mansion where Aguinaldo was born.

12Anilao

Anilao: One of the World’s best scuba diving and snorkelling point

13 - Wind Surfing at Caliraya

Windsurfers at Lake Caliraya

14Enchanted Kingdom

Enchanted Kingdom’s entrance

15Taal Volcano

Bird’s eye view of Taal

VI. MIMAROPA (MIndoro, MArinduque, ROmblon, PAlawan)

1. Tubbataha Reef: UNESCO World Heritage Site and One of the Best Wreck Diving Sites in the World

Tubbataha Reef (near Palawan) is truly an astonishing pride of the Philippines. It is a protected area in the middle of Sulu Sea and is part of the Coral Triangle. It means that it is the centre of the marine biodiversity which contains 75% of world’s corals and 40% fish species.

2. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park: World’s Longest River and One of the New 7 Wonders of the World (Palawan)

Also located in Palawan, PPSRNP is one of the Philippine’s most important biodiversity conservation areas with an astounding limestone and karst landscape and an 8.2 kilometre long underground river.

3. Apo Reef National Park: The Largest Atoll-like Reef in the Philippines

This reef park is also featured in SHEDD Aquarium permanent Philippine reef display in Chicago, Illinois, USA. ARNP is the 2nd largest contiguous coral reef in the world and is in the tentative list of  UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is located at Occidental Mindoro.

4. El Nido: Philippines’ Last Frontier

Also one of Palawan’s pride, this place consists of white sand beaches, ancient caves with dripstones formation and limestone cliffs with thick layer of coraline deposits similar to those of Halong Bay in Vietnam.

5. Coron: The Wedge-shaped Limestone Island

Still found in Palawan, Coron Island is composed of 50 minor islets covered with Mangrove forest. It has seven lakes and famous of which is the nationally-acclaimed cleanest lake in the Philippines, the Kayangan Lake.

6. Bellarocca Island Resort: Asia’s Santorini

Bellarocca is an integrated resort, spa and lifestyle island destination inspired from Santorini, Greece. This exclusive resort is just minutes aways from Marinduque mainland.

7. Bacuit Archipelago: Kayaking and Canoeing Locus

Entrenched in Palawan, this enchanting archipelago has idyllic lagoons, karst and limestone cliffs similar to that of El Nido. The tranquil water makes it perfect for kayaking/canoeing.

8. Honda Bay: The Perfect Destination for White Sand Fringes Island Hopping

It is said that your visit to Puerto Princesa will not be complete of you weren’t able to visit Honda Bay. This bay which framed the coastline of Puerto Princesa is a popular destination for snorkeling and island hopping. Famous spots include Pambato Reef and Pandan Island.

9. Calauit Island: The Wildlife Safari Surrounded by the Sea

This safari consists of animals from Kenya like deer, giraffe and zebra which can roam freely around the island. You can also find wild boars, crocodiles, porcupines, civet cats, sea eagles, pythons and turtles. Also, this safari is surrounded by the sea.

10. Puerto Galera: The Poor Man’s Boracay

Apart from being known as “Poor Man’s Boracay”, Puerto Galera which literally means “Port of Galleons” is also well-known for its numerous diving spots. It is also a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO.

16Tubbataha  Reef

400-year old corals at Tubbataha Reef

34Calauit Island

Giraffe (on focus) and zebras can roam freely at Calauit Island Wildlife Safari

17 Bellaroca

Bellaroca’s Santorini-inspired architecture is truly considered as Marinduque’s Pride

18Bacuit Archipelago

Bacuit Archipelago’s serene water makes it perfect for kayaking.

VII. BICOL REGION

1. Caramoan Island: Bicol’s Pride (featured in reality show Survivor USA)

Resorts have been constructed due to the popularity of this place as a tourist destination. This island boasts of having white sand beaches, tranquil lakes, limestone cliffs, deep caves and coves, rich marine life and many more. It is located in the lower Eastern part of Camarines Sur.

2. Mt. Mayon: The Perfect Cone

This active stratovolcano is famous for its perfect inverted cone shape. It is located about 15 kilometres from Legazpi City, Albay.

3. Donsol: The Gentle Giant Sanctuary

Donsol, Sorsogon is famous for its Whale Shark viewing, firefly night tour and shrimp catching night tour. Whale Sharks can be seen between November and June, with presence peaking between February and May. Donsol is als known as the “Whale Shark Capital of the World”.

4. CamSur Watersports Complex: Pili’s Watersports Park (for wakeboarding, wakeskating and waterskiing)

This watersports park is a world-class 6-hectare watersports park located in Pili, Camarines Sur. The place is designed for wakeboarding, wakeskating and waterskiing. There are also many restaurants, sand bars, spas, and grandstand to hold guests. This watersports complex can also be enjoyed at night because it’s always filled with spotlights.

5. Ticao Pass: Manta Ray Diving Spot

Ticao Island in Masbate has the thickest concentration of planktons in the Philippines. Ticao Pass has underwater beauty which is comparable to the richness of other famous dive sites in the Philippines. There are also deep caves that have been discovered recently beneath the Ticao Pass. Manta Bowl is a depression in the shallow part of Ticao Pass where manta rays gather to feed.

6. Calaguas: The Island of Bliss

This island boasts of powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and unspoiled natural resources. The long stretch of the beach is called “Halabang Baybay/Mahabang Buhangin” (Long Beach). It is a cove located in the Tinaga Island, a paradise with fine white sand, dotted with volcanic rocks on both ends. This place is the most frequented camping and swimming site of tourists.

7. Bagasbas Beach: Paradise for Surfing Beginners and Aficionados

One of the top surfing spots in the Philippines, with grey powdery sand is said to be a safe place for both neophyte and experienced surfers. The beach itself is not white-sand pretty but the place is at least quiet and clean so you can definitely enjoy the whole day.

8. Lake Bulusan: The Switzerland of the Orient

Lake Bulusan is a scenic crater lake surrounded with tropical rainforest. The lake is formed by tectonic damming and perhaps another crater of a volcano. The water is greenish and its waterbed is rocky and sandy and some parts are muddy.

9. Buntod: The Sandbar and Marine Reef Sanctuary

This marine sanctuary in Masbate is home to the unique underwater life forms and beautiful coral gardens which makes it an ideal diving spot. The sanctuary has a 250 hectare white sandbar with crystal clean water. Tourist activities includes snorkeling, scuba diving and bird watching.

10. Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave: The Cave with a Disco Floor

Hoyop means “blowing of air/wind” in Bicolano. Travelers can enjoy an amazing view of the Mayon Volcano through one of the cave’s openings. You can find wonderful formations of stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave. An incandescent bulb lights the pathway to allow tourists to fully enjoy and appreciate the rock formations inside.

19Ticao Pass Island

A diver keeping a distance from a humongous Manta Ray at Ticao Pass Island.

20Bagasbas Beach

Kitesurfing at Bagasbas Beach

21Caramoan Island

Survivor USA really paved the way for making Caramoan as one of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines.

 

VIII. WESTERN VISAYAS

 

1. Ariel’s Point: The Cliff-diving Spot

Ariel’s Point is a day-trip destination near Boracay offering cliff diving, snorkeling and kayaking in a fun atmosphere. This place is the most popular cliff ding spot in the Philippines. With 5 cliff diving sites overlooking turquoise swimming holes, tropical marine life, lush mangrove forests and volcanic rock formations, Ariel’s Point lets Boracay visitors enjoy the natural splendor of the Philippines by experiencing it as well as seeing it.

2. Yapak/Puka Beach: The Dream Island, TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice 2014 Winner

This beach is a quiet place with lots of beautiful and rare Puka shells along the shore. Another thing to love about this beach is the unique sea rock formation like a green turf.

3. White Beach de Boracay: Home to some of the Top Hotels and Resorts in Boracay

If you’re in a tight budget and still wants to explore the world-famous Boracay, White Beach is the perfect place to be. Consider it cheap but really a smart choice as hotels there have good accommodation, clean beachfront and very friendly locals.

 4. Willy’s Rock: The Beach Grotto

One of Boracay’s most famous landmark is this place. It is an oddly shaped volcanic formation that is synonymous with the island, topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary.The rock is said to be the only natural formation along a two-mile stretch of coastline and can be easily reached at low-tide.

5. Scotty’s Action Sports Network: The Professional Dive Centre

Ideal place for both beginner and experienced scuba divers. This is the exclusive scuba diving service provider for five-star resorts in Mactan Cebu and Boracay Island. The price starts at Php2940 (with up to 70% discount).

6. Bulabog Beach: Kiteboarding and Windsurfing Destination

This place is considered as the kiteboarding and windsurfing heart of Boracay. The beach is protected by an offshore reef. The Boracay hotels here are usually more placid than those on White Beach. Bulabog Beach has earned the title “Number One Kiteboarding Beach in Asia”.

7. Guimaras Island: Home of the World’s Sweetest Mangoes

This island is famous for producing the sweetest mangoes in the world, also known as the “Mango Country”. It is said that there are over 50,000 mango trees planted in this island and its mangoes are reportedly served at the White House and Buckingham Palace.

8. The Ruins in Talisay: The Mansion with Untold Stories

The Ruins was a mansion of Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson, a sugar baron married to Maria Braga. Just like the story of Taj Mahal, the house was built sometime in 1920 by Mariano in loving memory of his deceased wife Maria. Many interesting tales and facts lie within the walls and posts that remained in the Ruins of Bacolod City. There is an entrance fee of only Php60.

9. Bakhawan Eco-Park: One of the Most Successful Reforestation Projects in the Whole of Asia and the Pacific

Anchored in Kalibo, Aklan, the centerpiece of this park is an 800-metre long bamboo boardwalk that takes visitors deep into the mangrove forest. It provides visitors the chance to explore the depths of the forest while enjoying a slow leisurely walk amidst the shade of mangrove trees gently swaying to the breeze.

10. Sta. Monica Parish in Panay: Home of the Biggest Catholic Church Bell in Asia

This church has been considered an excellent example of “Filipino colonial Baroque style” of architechture as well as a blend of Neo-Classical influences in design.

 

22Ariel's Point

Experience ultimate cliff diving experience at Ariel’s point.

 

23The Ruins

Talisay Ruins at Night

24Puka Beach

The Philippine famous fine white sand meets the pristine blue waters. Puka Beach is indeed a dream island.

IX. CENTRAL VISAYAS

 

1. Balicasag: Colourful Underwater Destination

The Balicasag Island is located in the Southern Bohol sea, near the island of Panglao, Bohol. It is considered as one of the best dive sites in the Philippines. Recently declared a marine sanctuary, this small island is covered with white sand bougainvillea flowers and palm trees. If you want a tranquil nature retreat with diving and snorkeling adventure, this is the best place for you to go.

2. Malapascua Island: A Shark Diver’s Haven

It is a Philippines Island situated in the Visayan Sea, which is located across a shallow strait from the northernmost tip of Cebu Island. This island was known for its wide white sand beach called the Bounty Beach. It has also become known for its beautiful coral gardens and excellent local dive spots as well as further-out sites. This is the home of the Thresher Shark divers.

3. Pamilacan Islands: Dolphin and Whale Watching Harbour

This small Island is nestled in the heart of the Bohol sea. This island is famous for dolphin and whale watching around its waters throughout the year and is a popular diving site for virtuoso divers. Its name is derived from the word “Pilak”, which is a large hooked implement made and used by the islanders to capture manta rays, whale sharks and Bryde’s whales. Pamilacan is a coral island through which fossilised sea shells can be seen on the island’s rocky hill.

4. Bantayan Island: The Shining Tropical Paradise in Asia

It is essentially a fishing island group located in the Visayan Sea, in Cebu Island across the Tañon Strait. Bantayan has five islet barangays with many other smaller islets. These emerald green patches of land are sporadically spread out in the blue green waters that embrace the town. To savour the fun of an island-hopping adventure, one can travel from one islet to another via motorised boats. Tourists as far as Europe fall in love with its fine white sand and crystal clear blue waters.

5. Moalboal: The Diving Paradise of Cebu

Prominent for both local and foreign tourists, Moalboal has laudable coastlines, beautiful and real white sandy beaches. Known for having a magnificent underwater paradise, Moalboal has this “Kagasangan Festival” or “Corals Feast” in which locals perform tribal dances and music. It is called the “Diving Paradise of Cebu” and famed for different underwater creatures most especially around Pescador Island.

6. Cambugahay Falls: A Cascading Multi-tiered Waterfalls

It is located 2 kilometres North of Lazi town in Siquijor. Clean and fresh warm water gush forth through each waterfall/vertical drop, coming from natural springs, watersheds and small rainforests of higher mountains nearby. These waters then snake about 3 kilometres downstream, creating many beautiful swimming lagoons and little rapids along the way before it empties into Lazi Bay. The crystal clear blue water can be enjoyed with friends and family 24 hours every day of the week.

7. Oslob: Whale Shark Haven

Whale sharks can be seen in a small barangay (village) Tan-awan, which is 10 kilometre away from the centre town of Oslob in Cebu. Oslob is a three-hour travel spot away from the airport, despite that, many tourists began arriving in Oslob, not just to see the whale sharks being fed but also to snorkel or dive with them.

8. Tumalog: Majestic Waterfalls

Tumalog Falls is also called “Toslob Falls” or “Mag-ambak Falls”. It is just about 15-20 minutes ride from the whale-watching site in Oslob. It is recommended that you visit the falls after the whale shark watching for your body’s peace and relaxation. The falls itself provides a humbling impression as the down pouring of fresh water forms a cascading motion like a rainfall.

9. Mactan: Skywalk & Edge Coaster Capital

If you are visiting the beautiful city of Cebu, you must try this adventure at the top of Crown Regency Hotel and Towers. The Skywalk Extreme, is a walk on the glass based floor on the edge of the exterior of the 37th floor of the building. It’s like you’re walking on the sky but with a harness. You can see an amazing view of the whole city from up there. The Edge Coaster is a gliding coaster ride on a rail situated around the edge of the exterior of the 38th floor. It has the same spectacular view of Cebu City and Bohol Island like the Skywalk. This adventure is really a must-try for the brave hearts.

10. Chocolate Hills: Philippines’ 3rd National Geological Monument

The Chocolate Hills is a famous geological formation in Bohol. There are at least 1,260 hills but there may be as many as 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres. The hills are covered in green grass that turns chocolate brown during dry season.

 

26Balicasag

Balicasag: a Paragon of Chromatic Underwater World

27Pamilacan Island

Pamilacan Island nestled in the heart of Bohol is serving as playground for dolphins.

 

28Oslob

A diver swimming with “Gentle Giants” of Oslob.

29Mactan

World’s First Edge Coaster in Mactan, Cebu

X. MINDANAO

1. Siargao: Philippines’ Best Surfing Spot

The coastline of Siargao is marked by a succession of reefs, small points and white sandy beaches. “Cloud 9” (one of the few true surfers resort) is one of the best known surfing waves in Siargao with a worldwide reputation for thick, hollow tubes. Cloud 9 also has a reputation for being a relatively economical destination for surfers with many cheap accommodations, restaurants and bars to choose from.

2. Sohoton National Park: Islet of Underground Cave, Lagoon and Lush Green Forest

It is situated in Sitio Rawis, Brgy. Guirang part of the town of Basey. The park is bounded with caves, rockholes, freshwater rivers, underground rivers and pools, limestone boulders, and other rock formations. Sohoton Cave is one of the main attractions of Sohoton National Park.

3. Tinuy-an Falls: The Niagara Falls of the Philippines

Tinuy-an is a white water curtain that flows in 3 levels. It is said to be the widest waterfalls in the Philippines. Every morning, the area shimmers a rainbow between 9-11AM. Tinuy-an Falls is located in Burboanan, Bislig City, a city known as a Booming City by the Bay. Tourist activities includes bird-watching (should be pre-arranged 3 days before schedule), trekking, swimming and picnic.

4. White Island: Camiguin’s Must-See

It is an inhabited white sandbar located about 1.4 km off the northern shore of Mambajao in the volcanic island of Camiguin. The island is shaped like a horseshoe and it is composed solely of white sand because there are no trees or shelter of any kind.

5. Enchanted River: The Watercolor River

Located at Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, this river looks more like a lagoon famous for its clean but vividly colored blue green/aquamarine waters with docile fish freely swimming anywhere.

6. Pearl Farm: Pearl of the Orient’s Gem

Just a 45-minute boat ride away from the wharf, this resort nestled in Samal Island, Davao is formerly a cultivation farm of luxurious South Sea pearls. Now it is a premier resort perfect for that classy, lavish hideaway.

7. Cagayan de Oro River: White River Rafting Haven

The white water rafting allows people to explore the amazing scenery of the Cagayan River. White Water Rafting, Kayaking and River Trekking have been some of the activities being promoted to boost the river’s tourism rate.

8. Ardent Hot Spring: A Perfect Hot Spring with Amazing Landscapes

This hot spring in Camiguin has waters which sprout right out of the forest then run down the vents of the active Hibok-hibok volcano with a temperature of above 40 degrees celsius. The place is surrounded with beautiful landscapes and tall trees.

9. Dahilayan Adventure Park: Home of Asia’s Longest Dual Zipline

Truly an adventure zone for the brave hearts, you can enjoy the longest zipline in Asia, rope course, Superman fly, dropzone, flying lizard and ATV cars. Just try to avoid going there during the peak seasons.

10. Day-Asan: The Floating Village

This place is dubbed as “Little Venice of Surigao” as it showcases a narrow channels of water. Day-Asan floating village is a community of people living along the shorelines of Surigao whose livelihood depend on fishing and wood picking. To get to the actual “Floating Village”, one has to cross the wooden bridges that link the cluster of houses to the mainland or hire a small motorized boat.

siargao_b

Siargao is undoubtedly the Philippines’ Surfing Mecca

 

33CDO White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting at Cagayan de Oro River

 

32Arden Hot Spring

Ardent Hot Spring: a Perfect Bucolic Hideaway

 

Author: Rachel Santos 

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Researcher: Jazel Mae Cruz

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Related posts in Expatch:

Best Beaches in the Philippines
Best Diving Spots in the Philippines
The Top 5 Beach Destinations in the Philippines

 

 

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Photo Source:

Intramuros:

http://www.whereinmanila.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/walls-of-intramuros.jp

Makati Skyline:

http://www.philrealty-showroom.com/prsis/projectpictures/EPPTERG_2.jpg

SM Mall of Asia:

phttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM_Mall_of_Asia

Manila Ocean Park:

http://www.bubblews.com/assets/images/news/2101785311_1376795463.jpg

Banaue Rice Terraces:

http://janalona.weebly.com/uploads/1/3/6/5/13659187/7722165_orig.jpg

Sumaguing Cave:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_EqeK0qpE4uo/TPUAcDZtvXI/AAAAAAAAAK0/IxSnv_mzbiM/s1600/sumaguing_cave.jpg

Bell Church:

http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Attraction_Review-g298445-d1818823-Reviews-Bell_Church-Baguio_Benguet_Province_Cordillera_Region_Luzon.html

Hundred Islands:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-fnqSO1vByOY/T2lxAoUtEhI/AAAAAAAACuY/jMI7TEH4fQw/s640/HundredIslands.jpg

Calle Crisologo Vigan:

http://cdn2.vtourist.com/4/4296884-Kalesa_at_Calle_Crisologo_Vigan.jpg

Bangui Windmills:

http://www.go-travelers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/bangui.jpg

Kapurpurawan Rock Formation:

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/02/60/e0/9b/kapurpurawan-rocks-2.jpg

Potipot Island:

www.treklens.com

Ditumabo Falls:

by Rons Nebre – http://geejaytravellog.blogspot.com/2013/02/surfing-at-aurora-baler.html

Monasterio de Tarlac:

http://evangelcapones123.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/monasterio.jpg

Anilao:

http://myresortsbatangas.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/sombrero.jpg

Lake Caliraya:

http://www.mycam-asia.tv/interaction/events/81__big

Enchanted Kingdom:

http://travelcie.com/media/Enchanted-Kingdom-2016.jpg

Taal Volcano:

http://tropicalvacationspotsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/2.jpg

Tubbataha Reef and Apo Reef Natural Park:

http://img.ibtimes.com/www/data/images/full/2013/01/23/337864-tubbataha-reef-and-other-beautiful-coral-reefs-of-the-world-photos.jpg

Calauit Island:

http://cheaptravelcoron.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/calauit-island-safari.jpg

Bellaroca:

http://bestrepasoimages.s3.amazonaws.com/original/e6/7e/15/bella2-13-1365338369.jpg

Bacuit Archipelago:

http://www.cebusmile.com/contentFiles/image/2010/aug/philippines-600×330.jpg

Ticao Pass Island:

http://travelswithtam.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/091111133134_andrea_manta_466.jpg

Bagasbas Beach:

http://bagasbaskitesurfing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Bagasbas-Beach.jpg

Caramoan Island:

http://junpasaylo.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/island11_w.jpg

Ariel’s Point:

http://bestrepasoimages.s3.amazonaws.com/original/00/99/d4/ARIELS-point-29-1364111344.jpeg

The Ruins:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gMNld32gnVk/UbGjg8uN-DI/AAAAAAAACnA/StYH7GEmCHA/s640/Tours-4.jpg

Puka Beach:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Arvza3dVN-k/T4PDB8nAGhI/AAAAAAAAALI/2mtb0NQNHZU/s1600/Boracay2.jpg

Willy’s Rock:

http://nexttriptourism.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Willy%E2%80%99s-Rock-Island.jpg

https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5132/5469134792_d6998261b0_z.jpg

Balicasag:

http://boholislandtravel.com/images/balicasag%20underwater.jpg

Pamilacan Islands:

http://boholislandtravel.com/images/dolphils1.jpg

Oslob:

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–XwdoHuDg–/mdbr0jnoviwpt50ler9k.jpg

Mactan:

http://pinkaholic84.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/6a0110162f3bfb860b0137a4e579d3860c.jpg

Siargao:

http://www.skyscanner.com.ph/sites/com.ph/files/images/news/cloud_9.jpg

Tinuy-an Falls:

http://mylenesereno.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/dsc01628.jpg

Cagayan De Oro Rafting:

http://adventuremanila.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/carmine_whitewater.jpg

Arden Hot Spring:

http://www.mindanaotours.com/wp-content/uploads/camiguin-island-hot-spring.jpg

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References:

TOURIST SPOTS IN CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, PHILIPPINES

Top Ten Places to Visit in Cagayan de Oro City

http://www.philippinesboard.com/tourist-spots-in-cagayan-de-oro.php

 

 

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  1. jeffrey abatayo says:

    World’s First Edge Coaster in Mactan, Cebu.. is wrong info it’s in fuente osmeña cebu city!!!!

    • Marcy Villegas says:

      Thank you, Jeffrey, for mentioning that. We made changes in our text to correct it. Have a good day.