10 Best Tourist Spots In The Philippines
Vivid green rice terraces, crystalline seas hiding coral wonderlands and mountains tempered with charming villages, the Philippines provides an answer for those in search of a slice of authentic Asia. Trek through the jungles, scale the volcanic landscapes, dive into warm waters and meet the unaffected people of the Philippines for an exotic and enlightening experience. Discover spectacular mountains and picturesque rice terraces in the Philippines. Gaze in awe at spectacular untouched landscapes, be caught-up by the infectious warmth of friendly locals and discover an intriguingly diverse mix of cultures, traditions, and sights. From trekking Mt Pinatubo to exploring the stunning Banaue rice terraces – this country will really grab a hold of your senses. A tropical archipelago made up of more than 7,000 islands packed to the brim with natural wonders, the Philippines is an enticing country just waiting to be explored. So pack your bags, take a dive into the unknown and get ready to fall in love with South-East Asia’s wild child.
It is easy to fall in love with the Philippines because it is full of character. Therefore exploring tourist spots in the Philippines can be really confusing when in the country. The place is young, dynamic, and volatile and hence, here is a list of top 10 tourist spots in the Philippines.
Banaue is the place that offers the taste of the Philippines away from the hustle bustle of a metropolis. The isolated and quaint town of Banaue features markets and a local museum, but the main drawcard of the area is the rice terraces. Referred to by some as an ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, the stunning Banaue rice terraces were constructed over nearly two thousand years ago by the native Ifugao people. Wander around traditional Ifugao houses that have been converted into mini-museums and discover the traditional culture of the local people, including a multitude of wooden carved rice gods and decorative skulls or enjoy the quietude of the place overlooking the rice terraces of Banaue town and the Cordillera Mountains. Still in use today, the remarkable rice terraces stretch like stepping stones towards the sky, some reaching an altitude of almost 1,500 meters above sea level. The best way to view the terraces is from the nearby viewpoint, where the lush green steps unfold below and sunlight reflects off the surface of the pools. This definitely makes up as one of the first tourist spots in the Philippines to explore.
Mabuhay! Welcome to Manila. An intriguing, bustling and overwhelmingly chaotic city, Manila is the worthy capital of the Philippines. With contradictions and surprises around every corner, Manila is packed full of things to see, do, taste and experience and most definitely dominate the chart of tourist spots in the Philippines. A unique mixture of the modern and historic, Manila has both sights like the walled city of Intramuros, built by the Spaniards in the 16th Century, and the Mall of Asia, a shopping center that spreads for nearly a kilometer in length. Visit the Makati City, the country’s central business district, check out the pre-colonial gold collection at the Ayala Museum, and then wander through the Ayala Triangle Park, a great urban space right in the middle of the business district. You can also visit the National Art Gallery and Museum of the Filipino People, or even discover the famous landmark of Rizal Park – all great places to spend an afternoon. From waking up in unique surroundings, soaking up the views across the lake, to reacquainting yourself with the hustle and bustle of city life after all that time spent out in isolated communities, the place has a lot to offer.
The trekking adventure in Cambulo is not a thing to exclude from the itinerary while looking out for the tourist spots in the Philippines. The place offers a hike through the spectacular rice fields, waterfalls, forests and villages, stopping at native communities along the way while staying overnight in local Ifugao villages where people farm rice the way their ancestors did two thousand years ago. Ifugao is the name of the region and the people famous for the spectacular rice terraces and the grandeur of the Ifugao province extends far to Cambulo. This entire experience offers to interact with fascinating Ifugaos that makes the travelers get a deeper appreciation of their culture by making a different village a home each night. Initially, the Cambulo trek starts on a mixture of up and down, but mostly flat terrain. The rice terraces here are characterized by their pyramid-like appearance, cut almost 360 degrees around the mountains. And the overnight stay in an isolated village of Cambulo, which can only be reached by foot, is an added bonus. This surely is the next best things to experience among the many other tourist spots in the Philippines.
With the sound of animals as your alarm clock, wake up to a fuelling breakfast, and then begin the incredible hike in the regions of Batad. A hike in the Batad village involves some serious walking and can be especially challenging for those with limited experience in hiking although altogether providing a unique experience for the travelers. Therefore most of the time the first place to come to mind if you ask for the tourist spots in the Philippines. The trail through the Batad valley is a combination of up and downhill, and there are sections where you will have to walk on the edge of steep rice terraces, balancing on narrow edges of concrete or natural stone. The incredible views are more than worth it though, and you can also use the time to learn about the customs and culture of the local Ifugao people by interacting with them. The afternoon time will be a free time for you to unwind and relax from the long hike. Read a book, or enjoy a massage from one of the locals. Soak up the views of Batad’s famous rice terraces, which line the entire valley like an amphitheater, and can come in and out of the clouds like a mirage. Batad valley is an absolute must-see when visiting the Philippines and tops the list of tourist spots in the Philippines for many tourists.
To explore all the popular tourist spots in the Philippines can be a little confusing when in the country. Leave the rice terraces behind and travel into scenic alpine mountains by jeepney. The best way to get around Sagada is by jeepney, colorfully and flamboyantly decorated vehicles originally made from jeeps left by American troops after the war. There will be plenty of time to stop off at the many viewpoints along the way and capture those priceless photos of the rice terraces below. This most definitely is in the next in line for the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines. There will be fresh mountain air and stunning views everywhere you look. Along the way, you can also pause at Bontoc, which is the capital of the Mountain Province. A visit to the Bontoc Museum is an absolute must. This wonderful museum, laid out in the style of a traditional Ifugao house, is packed with captivating memories from the past of each of the region’s main tribes. There are turn-of-the-century photographs of headhunters with their loot, hunting implements, baskets for carrying severed heads, traditional costumes, farming tools, musical instruments, jewelry, and more. Visit the Hanging Coffins in Echo Valley. Pass by the town cemetery, the American Anglican St. Mary’s Cathedral built by missionaries, trek down the side of some cliffs, maybe testing out the valley’s name, before reaching an unusual burial site. Dangling high up on the limestone cliffs, the coffins are both mystifying and eerie in their presence. The Igorot practice of attaching the coffins to the mountain comes from a belief that underground burials isolate a person from the natural world and the gods, one of the most unusual things to witness in the itinerary of the best tourist spots in the Philippines.
If you are thinking what other tourist spots in the Philippines to explore next, then Mount Pinatubo should be your choice. Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano in the Zambales Mountains, located on the tripoint boundary of the Philippines. It erupted as recently as in 1991. By the time the explosions had finished, the top of the mountain was gone, replaced by a large lake-filled crater. Trekking to Mount Pinatubo’s crater is one thing you cannot miss when in the country. Travel along a bumpy, dusty road for around an hour before disembarking and starting your trek. The hike is for about nearly three hours to reach the crater. On the way you may meet some of the indigenous people of the area, the Aetas, who have lived on the slopes of the volcano for several centuries, surviving as hunter-gatherers in the dense jungles. Nowadays, they live in more modern settlements and some of them work as guides on the volcano. Arrive at Lake Pinatubo, a stunning vista of pristine emerald green water in the heart of the volcano; relax and take photos of this magnificent sight.
This tropical municipality located on the island of Bohol is known for its popular lunch cruises that take crews of eager travelers along the Loboc river. A highlight of this afternoon excursion is a live performance by the famed Loboc Children’s Choir. This world-renowned group comprised of youthful voices has made a name for itself in competitions across the globe. Travelers who prefer land to water can explore the iconic Loboc Church, which was built in the early 1600s. Its stone facade and religious detailing is a clear example of Jesuit colonial influence on this tiny municipality. Visitors will find ornate stone carvings, colorful stucco paintings, and intriguing gargoyles, as well as other medieval creatures.
The city of Baguio was established by American troops in 1900 and has become a popular destination for both travelers and local tourists seeking a retreat from the heat of the lowlands. It is now a bustling urban center offering town comforts high in the Cordillera Mountains. The place also offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the Philippines. Travel through the Cordillera Central, the highest and largest mountain range in the Philippines, passing the peaks of incredible heights and drops, dotted all-over with small villages and terrace-upon-terrace of rice and other crops, a sight you cannot easily forget. Tourist spots in the Philippines like this offer a countryside as well as minutely urban experience as well. Take a leisurely afternoon walk to explore the city, visiting Burnham Park, which features a lovely lake, lawns, wooded areas, and also stop by a local market and the town’s most popular shopping mall.
Man-made Mahogany Forest
The skinny, uniform trunks of red and white mahogany seem to erupt from nowhere along the road between Loboc and Bilar towns, a route frequented by traffic heading from eastern tourist towns to the Chocolate Hills. Their quiet and leafy canopy tunnels over the road form a shady respite for visitors that extends for more than a mile. The trees were planted by volunteers in the middle of the last century in an effort to restore the destruction caused by kaingin, a form of slash and burn agriculture that decimated the original forest and was used by residents who sheltered in the region during World War II. Though beautiful, with tendril-like tree roots consuming above-ground boulders, the Manmade Mahogany Forest has drawn criticism for the decision to feature mahogany; the hardwood tree is native to South and Central America and foreign to many native species of plants and animals that remain absent from the scenic area. Fortunately, the mahogany stand is bookended by more naturally evolving forests containing native trees and ferns. This forest is often frequented by tour groups, making it one of the major tourist spots in the Philippines.
In the middle of the Philippines third-largest lake lies Taal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the country. Sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Taal has had 33 eruptions in its history. The ride across sulfuric Taal Lake will bring you to the shores of Volcano Island from where you can hike or ride a horse to the top of Taal Volcano. Horse rides are popular because of the heat, but if you will rather hike, there are many routes around the volcano, the most popular being the Spanish Trail, which goes to the very top. From here, enjoy views from the rim of Main Crater Lake to Vulcan Point, the world’s largest island that is in a lake on an island. If you rather prefer to take a more peaceful path, try the Kenney Trail; it is shaded by trees for much of the way, though the views are not quite as spectacular as those on the Spanish Trail. On the island, there is a small restaurant and plenty of vendors selling drinks. Thirty-one miles south of the capital city of Manila, Tagaytay is best reached via regular BSC buses from Giselle’s Park Place.