There’s no other place in the world like the Philippines. The archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands, some left as untouched pieces of paradise, while others turned into bustling megacities. The Philippines, home to jaw-dropping views, mouthwatering food, and the happiest people on earth, is a feast for the eyes, stomach, and soul.
Feel on top of the world as you climb to the summits on the longest mountain ranges in the country. Backpack across the Cordillera Mountain Range, or go for a bumpy ride in an old 4×4 Jeep to the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo. Hike through forests thick with pine trees on Mt. Tapulao in Zambales, or cross rivers on the way to the peak of Mt. Irid in Rizal. When it comes to hiking in the Philippines, the sky’s the limit.
After touching the clouds, dive to the ocean floor. Just a couple of hours away from the busy streets of Metro Manila are excellent diving spots like Anilao, Batangas and Puerto Galera, Mindoro. Philippine seas are full of vibrant coral reefs and shipwrecks that you can swim through and explore.
The country’s waters are teeming with life, whether you spot sea turtles in Palawan’s Turtle Bay, or swim next to the gentle giants of the sea, whale sharks, in Donsol, Sorsogon. You can also watch playful dolphins jumping through waves in the Bohol sea and find unique starfish in the beaches of Davao. Just be sure to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures, for the Philippines is home to some of the rarest and most endangered animals in the world.
The Philippines is known for its beaches. Dig your feet in the coarse sands and swim in the small waves of Laiya, Batangas. Escape your worries in the hideaway paradise of Amanpulo Island, Palawan. Parasail over the sea or dance the night away on the country’s most famous beach, Boracay.
Just when you think you’ve seen it all after visiting the white sands of Bohol or the black beaches in Albay, the Philippines will surprise you with bright pink sands on Santa Cruz island, Zamboanga.
Wherever you go, Filipinos will make you feel at home. The Philippines is a nation of happy and smiling people, known around the world for their undiscriminating hospitality. The most common way Filipinos welcome guests is with a “Have you eaten?” Whatever your answer is, be prepared to get stuffed with hearty dishes accompanied by bowls of white rice.
Filipino food is starting to make its mark in the world of cuisine. Filipino flavors are finding their way to restaurants around the world, and are often fused with South American or European dishes. But real Filipino dishes are best enjoyed out of banana leaves and eaten with your hands, and pair perfectly with an ice cold San Miguel beer.
The Philippines is predominantly Roman Catholic but remains to be a huge melting pot of local cultures and traditions. Festivals color the streets of provinces and cities throughout the year, and tourists are more than welcome to join the celebration. Party with locals at the Sinulog Festival in Cebu, which is held in honor of the city’s patron saint, the Sto. Niño (Holy Child Jesus). You can also parade around Angono, Rizal with papier-mâché giants during the Higantes Festival.
The country’s National Capital Region (NCR), home of Metropolitan Manila, is where you’ll find supersized malls, luxury hotels, and inspiring art galleries and museums. The region still makes a great tourist destination with its different sights to see, places to go, and food to try. Drink in speakeasy bars hidden in the nooks and crannies of Makati City, or go boating around the Taal Volcano in Tagaytay.
Wherever you go, and whatever you do, the Philippines will leave a smile on your face.