The Philippines is a fascinating island nation in Southeast Asia. Sprinkled throughout the western Pacific Ocean are 7,000-plus islands, every providing their very own distinctive attract – from volcano trekking adventures to genuine Filipino homestays and diving extravaganzas.
The islands of the Philippines are the good place to indulge in a get-away-from-it-all castaway expertise. Spend your days lazing on picture-perfect seashores, sipping on coconuts, and snorkeling and diving in crystal-clear water round extraordinary coral reefs. Whatever kind of vacation you’re in search of, lively or laidback, you’ll discover it in the Philippines.
17. Apo Island
Forming a part of the protected Coral Triangle, Apo Island is a volcanic island situated off the southern coast of Negros. The island’s principal declare to fame is that it gives a few of the finest scuba diving and snorkeling alternatives in the Philippines – and that’s saying one thing.
The cause the diving right here is so good is because of the protected marine reserve and fish sanctuary that was shaped round the island again in 1985. As no fishing has been allowed right here for over three a long time, right this moment, tons of of species of coral and marine life thrive in the waters that lap the island – from colourful clownfish and massive sea followers to hawksbill turtles.
Back on land, the seashores are attractive too, made out of the grinding up of white coral that’s snug for sunbathing. If you’re feeling lively, the island boasts some nice strolling trails with a backdrop of Negros and Mount Talinis.
16. Batanes Islands
The Batanes Islands are a bunch of islands between Taiwan and the Philippines. Due to their distant northern location, they’re the most remoted a part of the nation, and maybe one in every of the most genuine locations to absorb the native tradition; the language, the climate, and the traditions are totally different from the remainder of the nation. Visiting the Batanes is like taking a step again in time.
Just three of the Batanes archipelago are completely inhabited: Batan, the principal island, conventional Sabtang, and secluded Itbayat. Each island is slightly totally different to the final, that includes a mixture of jungle-clad volcanoes, undulating hills, wealthy yam and cattle farmland, and slender stretches of silvery seashore.
While the Batanes appear to be pure paradise in the footage – and certainly they’re – they’re additionally crushed by frequent typhoons. You’ll discover that the buildings are all crafted to face up to these pure disasters, constructed on slight stilts with thick limestone partitions and grass roofs.
Shaped like a teardrop, Siargao, with its lush coconut groves, tranquil lagoons, and white-sand seashores is the very definition of paradise. It was voted the finest island in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, and it’s not laborious to see why.
This comparatively undeveloped island is as untouristy because it will get. In truth, it’s dwelling to only a couple hundred thousand residents. Without its personal airport, it’s tough to get to, which solely helps to filter out the vacationers and makes it that rather more rewarding once you lastly sink your toes into its distant sands.
Siargao is famed as the browsing capital of the Philippines, with 15 recognized browsing spots, together with the celebrated Cloud Nine. Surf colleges and rental outlets abound, and there are additionally alternatives for stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, and rather more.
Discover the highlights again on land, from mangrove swamps and meandering rivers to dramatic rock formations, cascading waterfalls, and fascinating wildlife. Don’t miss a go to to the principal port city of Dapa.
14. Malapascua Island
Malapascua is an island in the Visayan Sea that’s recognized for its wonderful snorkeling and scuba diving alternatives – notably for seeing thresher sharks, pygmy seahorses, blue-ringed octopus, manta rays, and submerged shipwrecks.
Located simply off the coast of Cebu, Malapascua is slowly getting increasingly developed, and also you’ll usually discover a native fiesta or occasion taking place on the island. An idyllic seashore vacation vacation spot, the island gives a terrific selection of vacation resorts and palm-fringed seashores.
World-class dive websites embody the Mona Shoal, recognized for its sightings of pelagic thresher sharks, and the Dona Marilyn ferry that sank throughout a hurricane in 1984, now a human-made reef that’s dwelling to scorpionfish, marble rays, and white-tip reef sharks.
Camiguin is a tiny island province in the Bohol Sea, recognized for its ivory seashores, glistening lagoons, and rugged volcanic panorama that gives a real sense of journey.
What’s fascinating about Camiguin is that, regardless of its measurement, it’s dwelling to extra volcanoes per sq. mile than another island in the world. While you possibly can actually take pleasure in the stereotypical Philippines water-based actions, equivalent to scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming, the actual attraction right here is the alternative to trek to jungle waterfalls and climb the volcanic peaks, equivalent to Mount Hibok-Hibok.
Located on the different facet of the bay from the mainland, Camiguin is pretty undeveloped, and also you gained’t discover the vacationers hordes right here. Instead, it gives a quiet, extra genuine seashore escape interspersed with journey, must you search it.
Siquijor is a tiny island province in the Central Visayas area. Nicknamed the ‘Island of Fire’ due to the abundance of fireflies, this magical island can be recognized for its historic practices of witchcraft, the place mountain-dwelling mangkukulam (healers) create pure ointments and coverings utilizing substances sourced from nature.
But the island has developed slowly over the years and now gives a terrific collection of inexpensive luxurious seashore resorts. With a deal with diving, many of those vacationer havens have licensed diving operators that can take you out to the finest local-known spots.
The finest dive websites may be discovered round coral-rich Sandugan Point and Tambisan Point. Paliton Beach can be recognized for its three underwater caves, the place you possibly can spot sleeping reef sharks. Other dive spots round the island supply sightings of manta rays and barracudas.
But you don’t should be a diving fanatic to take pleasure in the perks of Siquijor. Other actions embody snorkeling, biking, waterfall trekking, caving, and sunbathing.
Palaui is a bucolic island that kinds a part of the city of Santa Ana in the Cagayan province. With its waterfalls, mangrove forests, farmland, and volcanic surroundings, it’s no shock that it’s been declared a nationwide park and marine reserve. In truth, two-thirds of the island is made up of forest, offering a house for all kinds of wildlife and birds.
Made well-known when it served as a filming location for Survivor: Blood vs. Water, Palaui additionally stole the tenth place on CNN’s listing of the world’s 100 finest seashores. Hang out and revel in the swimming, diving, and snorkeling alternatives at Siwangag Cove.
With no lodges or eating places, the island gives a back-to-nature expertise. There aren’t any lodges or lodges, so if you happen to’d like to remain in a single day, you may have a selection of a neighborhood homestay or DIY tenting. Palaui is finest visited throughout the summer time months, from February to May, when the seas are calmer for getting there by boat.
Other actions embody fishing and jungle trekking. There are two principal climbing routes on the island, however the path that leads from Punta Verde (the island’s solely village) to Cape Engano Lighthouse (the most-visited attraction on the island) is extremely really helpful.
Just an hour’s boat journey from Coron Town in Palawan, Malcapuya island feels worlds away. It’s the final tropical island cliché, with crystal-clear water, bobbing Filipino boats, coconut palms, cashew timber, and white-sand seashores – in brief, its pure paradise!
Malcapuya is about as undeveloped because it will get. You gained’t discover any built-up lodges right here, and the closest factor to a grocery store is a store promoting coconuts, however that’s the complete attraction. If you’re keen on the sound of staying in conventional seashore huts or tenting on a castaway island, Malcapuya is made for you.
Spend your days sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling with marine life. Or ebook a day journey to the surrounding Banana Island and Bulog Dos Island.
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines, the place you’ll discover Manila (the nationwide capital) and the nation’s principal airport. The island is self-sufficient earlier than you even contemplate tourism, with a formidable agricultural trade for rising rice, bananas, coconuts, mangoes, sugarcane, and grains, in addition to mining iron, manganese, copper, and gold.
But it’s not simply its food-growing farmlands that make this lush island so engaging. There are loads of genuine villages, stunning seashores, dramatic volcanoes, extraordinary coral reefs, and improbable sunsets to look ahead to. Not to say its spectacular Spanish-colonial structure, monuments, and museums.
Due to its measurement, Luzon is break up into two – north Luzon and South Luzon. The north is constructed for explorers with its cascading rice terraces, wild jungles, and distant seashores. Adventure vacationers come right here to take pleasure in trekking, caving, and mountain biking.
The south is way wilder, recognized for its lively volcanoes and white-sand seashores. Spend your time trekking volcanic craters, snorkeling with whale sharks, and browsing nice waves whipped up by the island’s frequent typhoons.
Not to be confused with Coron Town, the largest city and fishing village on close by Busuanga Island, Coron Island is the third-largest of the Calamian Islands in northern Palawan. It’s reached by way of a 20-minute boat journey from Coron Town.
Coron’s panorama is dotted with dense, nearly impenetrable jungles, lakes, and lagoons. Run by the Tagbanua, an indigenous group of fishermen and hunter-gatherers, entry to the island has been restricted due to the worrying impression of tourism. Just two of the island’s many lakes may be visited right this moment.
Spend your time on the island snorkeling in Kayangan Lake, diving in Barracuda Lake, sunbathing on Banol Beach and swimming in the Twin Lagoon. The surrounding Coron Bay is legendary for its mysterious Japanese shipwrecks from World War II – a real diver’s paradise.
Life on Bohol, an island in a province of the identical title, is as relaxed or as adventurous as you make it. Located simply an hour’s flight away from Manila, stepping off in Bohol feels as if you’ve stepped again in time. Most of the island is undeveloped, however you’ll discover extra vacationers gathering in close by Panglao island – a well-liked diving vacation spot that’s related to Bohol by way of a bridge.
Characterized by rice paddies, quaint fishing villages, and deep mangrove forests, Bohol is well-known for its dome-shaped Chocolate Hills and an uncommon inhabitants of endangered tarsier – supposedly the world’s smallest primate.
But that’s not all there may be to do on Bohol. Visit the Blood Compact website, discover the journey middle in Danao, have lunch at a floating riverside restaurant, and uncover the island’s Spanish coral-built church buildings. Other actions embody snorkeling, diving, sea kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Psst! Visit in May and also you’ll have the ability to witness a feast of celebrations, festivals, and sweetness pageants.
Mindoro is a wild and largely undeveloped island in the Philippines archipelago. With heaps of protected pure magnificence – each on land and underwater – Mindoro guarantees stunning seashores, wonderful scuba diving alternatives, and fascinating wildlife.
Split into two provinces by the nearly impenetrable High Rolling Mountains, the island consists of the Mindoro Occidental and the Mindoro Oriental, which is extra developed. Mindoro, as an entire, gives a real island escape. Get a style of genuine Mangyan tradition in the island’s inside, dive the marine resorts round Puerta Galera, and snorkel the diving mecca Apo Reef on the west coast.
Nature lovers can be in their factor with the likelihood to identify some uncommon species of wildlife, equivalent to the Mindoro dwarf buffalo at the Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park.
5. Caramoan Islands
Characterized by rugged cliffs, an aquamarine ocean, and slivers of picture-perfect sand that disappear at excessive tide, the Caramoan islands are a castaway paradise that’s been used as a filming location for Survivor. In latest years, the area has change into a well-liked weekend escape for native Filipinos, so don’t anticipate to be the just one there.
Paniman is the principal resort the place many island-hopping boat journeys start. Spend your day visiting the tiny close by island of Lahos, or Matukad with its secret lagoon. Nature walks and fowl watching are in style actions right here as the nationwide park gives a house for the endemic inexperienced racket-tail.
Caramoan city on the Caramoan Peninsula acts as the gateway to the stunning seashores and dramatic limestone cliffs and caves of Caramoan National Park. While it may well now be reached by automobiles alongside a newly paved street, it’s a lot better appreciated once you strategy by boat.
Panglao, an island situated in the north Bohol Sea, is one in every of the few islands in the Philippines that you could drive to. As it’s related to the island of Bohol by a bridge, it’s one in every of the most simply accessible islands in the archipelago.
The waters round Panglao are a diver’s underwater playground with a plethora of colourful fish, nudibranchs, and anemones to find. Most well-known for its Alona Beach, a well-liked vacation resort on the southern coast, Panglao additionally gives some wonderful nightlife, notably on weekends and main holidays.
Panglao is completely positioned for exploring Bohol, one in every of the largest islands in the Philippines, but it gives a laidback spot to return dwelling to at the finish of the day. Popular actions embody snorkeling, sea kayaking, and, after all, scuba diving.
Bantayan is a secluded island in the Visayan Sea, situated west of Cebu island. It’s beloved for its fascinating and uncrowded white-powder seashores and laidback ambiance, however there isn’t very a lot happening right here at the better of instances. If you’re in search of a lazy seashore vacation off the principal vacationer observe, you’ve discovered the good place.
There are few automobiles on the island, so exploring by scooter is a dream. Base your self in Santa Fe, slightly village that has its personal seashore and quite a lot of bars. Other sights embody Bantayan Town, the island’s administrative capital, and the tropical islets situated simply offshore.
Bantayan is fairly quiet for many of the 12 months, however come Holy Week, it’s full of individuals. Spend your days swimming, cliff leaping, biking, island hopping, snorkeling, sea kayaking, and even sky diving.
Boracay is one in every of the hottest islands in the Philippines – a lot in order that it needed to be closed for six months to rehabilitate the island after its enormous inflow of holiday makers. Today, it has reopened to vacationers however has a restrict on the variety of guests it welcomes each day.
The principal attract on Boracay island is its idyllic White Beach. But there are hordes of different tiny seashores and coves the place you possibly can take pleasure in all the pieces from snorkeling and scuba diving to kitesurfing.
The loopy multi-day seashore events with their seashore bonfires and hearth dancing performances are actually a factor of the previous in Boracay with its stricter guidelines. Bonfires, smoking, and alcohol are banned on the seashore. Instead, you’re inspired to take pleasure in the gradual life: sipping cocktails at a seashore bar, exploring the island by tricycle, or taking a cruise on the conventional paraw crusing boats.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Boracay
Palawan, formally often called the Province of Palawan, is one in every of the prime two islands to go to in the world, in keeping with Travel & Leisure, beat solely by Sri Lanka.
The island, with its dramatic limestone karsts, stunning seashores, secret coral reef coves, and jungle-clad mountains, is a utopia, even by Filipino requirements.
Puerto Princesa is the capital of Palawan, appearing as the gateway to the remainder of the island and the mangrove islands of Honda Bay. Other locations value a go to embody the seashore resort of Port Barton and Taytay with its phenomenal outdated fortress, the gorgeous sands of Long Beach, and El Nido with its spectacular lagoons.
But many elements of Palawan are nonetheless untouristy and undeveloped and simply as worthy of a go to – if no more. These embody the fishing village of San Vicente and the sights of southern Palawan: the Neolithic stays in the Tabon Caves and the turtle and cockatoo sanctuaries at Narra.
While you’re in Palawan, make time to go to the Calamian island group, situated simply off the northern tip of Palawan. Here, you’ll discover a few of the finest scuba diving in Asia, notably at its World War II shipwrecks!
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Palawan