Sick of the same old places and want to visit somewhere new? Desperate to spread your travel wings and branch out a little bit further? Yes? Well that’s where the Philippines come in! Still relatively unspoiled, the Philippines is a mix of adventure and pure relaxation. With hills covered in “chocolate”, restaurants in waterfalls and beaches like nowhere else on the planet, you need to see it to believe it and definitely before everybody else does.
So to help tick off the Philippines from your wanderlust bucket-list, here are 9 reasons why you need to visit this gorgeous country NOW!
1. Boracay Island
Don’t tell me you’ve seen water that blue before. You have? Well you must have been to Boracay. This picturesque island south of Manila has been voted the second-best island in the Philippines after Palawan. White Beach is one of the most idyllic beaches on the island and if you’re looking for somewhere to stay on a backpacker budget, head to Frendz Resort. It’s a chilled out hostel with relaxing vibes, live music and free Wi-Fi, what more do you really need? Seriously, everyone needs to experience water that blue at some point in their life, especially you.
2. Big Lagoon, El Nido, Palawan
Are places like this even real? Apparently so. It looks like it’s out of the movie “The Beach”. Big Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan (number one Island in the Philippines) is one to rival Maya Bay in Thailand. With its turquoise blue waters and abundance of marine life El Nido is an excellent spot to begin an island hopping excursion or snorkelling adventure. The coastline around the island hides many secluded white sandy beaches, lagoons and secret coves – it’s the closest thing to paradise. Forget the Thai islands, it’s all about the El Nido this year.
3. The Chocolate Hills
If only those hills were literally made of chocolate! The Chocolate Hills are located on the island of Bohol and their exact number is unknown but people have estimated there are around 1,268 hills. That’s a hell of a lot of chocolate. But where do they get their name from? I hear you ask. Well the hills are covered in a green grass that turns brown during the dry season and hence look like a box of chocolates. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
4. Cliff Diving
Whatever you do, don’t look down! Cliff jumping is one of the most heart-racing, adrenaline-fuelled activities you will ever do and some of the best cliff diving spots in the world can be found in the Philippines. So if you’re a bit of a thrill-seeker head to Ariel’s Point in Buruanga, Aklan – an infamous spot for cliff diving. Aklan is about 35 minutes away from Boracay Island and is well-equipped with diving boards from as high as 15 metres. Plus, if you’re less death defying inclined there’s loads of other stuff to do on the island, we recommend going for a kayak or snorkel!
5. Snorkelling with turtles
Just look at that beauty! It’s time to grab your flippers, snorkel mask and bikini (should go without saying) because you’re about to swim with the friendliest creature that lives in the sea. Apo Reef is considered to be one of the best diving spots in the Philippines for swimming with turtles; it’s rich with coral life so makes for an ideal turtle feeding ground. Apo Reef is located in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro which is a short flight and bus ride from San Jose. But it’s not just turtles, you’ll be able to spot sharks, manta rays and some pretty old shipwrecks – let’s hope it’s the latter!
6. Mud Karting
Right it’s time to get downright dirty and we’re talking FILTHY. Mud Karting in the Philippines is probably the most exhilarating and messiest thing you’ll do during your stay. Spend the day driving a dune buggy through a specially designed track with obstacles, steep slopes and a serious amount of mud. The best place to try your hand at Mud Karting is at ‘X-treme Sports Philippines’ which is situated in Santo Nino, on the way to White Beach – one for those who like riding dirty!
Makati is the most cosmopolitan city in the Philippines. It’s situated in the country’s major financial and commercial hub, the Makati Central Business District and a world away from the tranquil calm shores of White Beach. Here you’ll find some of the most extravagant shopping malls, designer brands, high-end restaurants and luxury hotels. So if you fancy treating yourself for a night, Makati is the place to go!
Halo-Halo. So good they named it twice. Halo-Halo is a classic Filipino dessert and seriously yum; it’s a crazy mix of ingredients including red beans, cocoa, fresh fruit and a generous scoop of shaved ice. Halo-Halo is topped with evaporated milk, crème caramel, ube (purple yam) ice cream, caramelised plantains, flakes of macapuno (coconut) and traditionally served in layers in a cup or a bowl. Just like its name you’ll be eating it more than once!
9. Labassin Waterfall Restaurant
Looks ridiculous doesn’t it? This is certainly one of those “only in the Philippines” moments. Labassin Waterfall is a restaurant like no other! Dine on tasty authentic, local cuisine while having your feet refreshed by a natural waterfall. In the Philippines’ hot humid climate the running waterfall acts as a natural air conditioner. What’s more you can enjoy live entertainment whilst dining including traditional dance and music shows – it doesn’t get much better or wetter! Sorry that was terrible.