The Philippines has garnered a lot of interest from tourists and travelers alike. It is now the hottest destination a lot of people have sitting on top of their bucket list! I can’t blame them, the Philippines is an amazing country with the friendliest locals you’ll meet.
I know this well because I have lived in the Philippines for sixteen years and boy, you have no idea how I long to visit again. That said, I asked fellow travel bloggers who have visited the Philippines to share some of their memorable experience here at Pretty Wild World and have only some of the coolest things to share!
I’ve personally only been to few destinations in the Philippines since every time I go back home, I tend to stay in certain places to see friends and family. There are still so many places to visit so I am in awe how much stories my fellow travelers have to say and I can’t wait for my next visit!
Travel Bloggers Share Their Travel Experience in The Philippines
Mount Mayon and Legazpi City – Jeannette Cheney of Traveling Honeybird
I would never have picked out the Philippines, and certainly not the province of Albay, to be my number one pick for adventure time in the Philippines. Albay is a complete destination for travelers who are after leisure, adventure, and new experiences.
I was lucky enough to spend a short and sweet week exploring Albay and Legazpi City. Based at the magical Misibis Bay my time was spent between being a mermaid in training, relaxing with cocktails by the beach and having little action adventures. Like that one time when we went on an ATV adventure, just like Zach Effron. Or that other time when I spent the morning stand up paddle boarding.
Love to trek? Just can’t keep out of the jungle but really want to try your hand at being a mermaid and swimming with the fishes? Then take a hike up to discover the fairy queen at Busay Falls in the morning, lunch in Legazpi and be back to the beach for an afternoon nap.
All the while being watched by the majestic Mount Mayon.
Bantayan Island – Diana Millos of Diana Miaus
Bantayan stole my heart. It was my first stop in my 21 days trip in the Philippines and to be honest, I could have spent my three weeks there. Even the rest of my life.
The beaches in Santa Fe, the southern part of this quiet island, were so empty that I was having the feeling of being discovering a hidden gem. The only people you could spot at Sugar Beach were some fishermen, their little kids, and some sleeping dogs. Not even a noise, no waves in the water: only the cock crows would wake you up from this dream. Meanwhile, Kota beach is blessed with one of the most photogenic sandbars in the whole country. So much beauty to handle.
I also visited a private beach that looks exactly as its name suggests: Paradise Beach was all for myself for only 1€! I was in hysterics, happier than ever. The jellyfishes didn’t bother me as long as I could spot them in those pristine waters.
One of the most memorable experiences I had was a religious ceremony the villagers had during an epic pink sunset. They were chanting, carrying the image of a Saint. I was amazed, smiling and looking at them with my eyes open wide, the same way the little kids were staring at me. It was just beautiful.
It was not easy to get there. But it was harder to leave.
Exploring Vigan City – Scott Herder and Megan Indoe of Bobo and Chichi
When most people think of the Philippines they think of idyllic beaches, turquoise waters, and exotic islands. Even though those are all amazing, the Philippines has so much more.
During our time in the Philippines, we were lucky enough to team up with some generous locals who showed us around Ilocos Sur and to the UNESCO city of Vigan.
It’s no wonder Vigan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the entire place feels like it’s perfectly preserved from another time. From the cobblestone streets, horse carriages, and old architecture this city is incredibly photogenic and unique all on its own. You won’t find a city like this in all of Asia as the city’s structures have Philippine, Chinese, Spanish, and Mexican influences.
Also, don’t leave Vigan without trying the local empanadas, they are a local delight!
What we loved about Vigan was that 16th-century charm and rustic vibe. The city itself is small but full of character.
Sailing from El Nido to Coron in Palawan – Hendric Tay of The Travel Intern
“Explorers Wanted“. It was my first time to the Philippines and those were the words that drew me to the expedition. While most people visit the Philippines for their beautiful beaches, cheap beer and resorts, I decided to rough it out on a boat instead. I remember reading a description that said “THIS TRIP IS NOT FOR EVERYONE”, and knew instantly that this was what I needed.
Having spent a couple of days prior in Manila, this sailing expedition seems like a welcome respite.
The Tao Philippines Expedition is a multi-day sailing expedition that stretches roughly from El Nido to Coron. There are no fixed itineraries or routes, just a rough plan guided by mother nature and our adventurous spirit. Mobile reception is bad, there is no hot water (or proper showers for that matter), and definitely no wifi. But in return, you are rewarded with an awesome time with the crew and your fellow expedition mates, a chance to shower at a well, amazing local food, and sleep in beautiful Tuka Huts around a campfire.
Every day we sailed and camped at base camps on different islands, interacting with local villagers who are just as curious about us as we are of them. What really sets Tao Expedition apart though, are the community and social projects the team does with the local villages. Compared to other “sustainable” tourism companies, the people go beyond simple touch and go projects and build proper long term relationship with the islanders.
Coming from a city like Singapore, the Tao Expedition was a great experience away from the hustle and bustle of life. Instead of being shown paradise, it was as if we were searching for our own meaning of paradise.
The Visaya’s Region – Gábor and Rachele of Surfing the Planet
There’s no doubt that The Philippines is one of our favorite countries in the world. We spent there 3 weeks in total but would have loved to stay much more and we hope to return in the near future. It is a huge country with more than 7000 islands, so when we visited the Philippines, we focused our trip on the Bisayas Islands.
We landed on Cebu Island and spent a few wonderful days in Malapascua, one of our favorite islands in the world. Malapascua is a famous destination for divers, but most of the island is very local and the beautiful beaches (apart from the main one) are never crowded. From Malapascua, we took a day-trip to Kalanggaman Island, which is probably the closest thing we saw to real paradise. An uninhabited island with the whitest sand beach you can imagine.
We spent a few days in the Camotes Islands, which have less spectacular beaches, but are perfect if you want to see from close how rural life is in this country. There are almost no tourists there, and the landscape is really varied and beautiful.
Our next stop was Siquijor Island, which also stole our heart, and we spent there much more days than we originally had planned. The island is one of the calmest places with friendly locals and beautiful waterfalls. Our last stop was the small Apo Island, where we enjoyed a fantastic snorkeling experience with huge marine turtles.
The Philippines is a very special country, and not only for the beautiful things you can see there but because of the friendliest people on the planet.
Relaxing in Palawan and Busuanga – Arimo Koo of Arimo Travels
I stayed in the Philippines for four weeks last January. By the time I reached the country, I had been on my trip around the world for nearly 8 months. I had traveled through Mainland Southeast Asia at a quick pace, and I needed a break. Thus, my plan was simple: find a nice beach and relax.
However, once I got into the country, I realized I wouldn’t just want to stay still. The islands of Palawan and Busuanga offer tons of interesting things to do. Besides exploring the local towns and sights, I went island hopping and snorkeling. There were lots of backpackers around, so it was also easy to find like-minded people to chill out with. Palawan and Busuanga are very popular with travelers – places like El Nido might even feel too touristy for many backpackers. Many of the hotels and restaurants have popped up during the last ten years, and the tourism industry is quickly expanding in the islands.
As I was coming from Southeast Asia, a few things about the Philippines surprised me. For example, the prices for accommodation are relatively high. Besides that, most of the guesthouses may be fully booked well in advance – a situation I haven’t encountered anywhere else outside big festivals. Fortunately, the scarcity of accommodation options worked to my advantage. Because the towns were crammed, I had to choose guesthouses in more remote areas. These relaxing spots were the absolute highlight of my stay in the Philippines.
Bohol and the Chocolate Hills – Kyle Gibbon of Our Overseas Adventures
We spent a week in the paradise that is Bohol Island, in the Philippines. For such a small place there is a lot to see and do, so hard as it is, it’s well worth dragging yourself away from the stunning beaches to explore the rest of the island.One of the highlights of our trip was a sunrise boat trip out to Balicasag Island where we went dolphin spotting, then
One of the highlights of our trip was a sunrise boat trip out to Balicasag Island where we went dolphin spotting, then snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles. Watching these graceful creatures swim by was something we’ll never forget. Once you’ve finished snorkeling you can visit Virgin Island, a sandbar in the middle of the ocean which makes for some amazing ‘walking on water’ selfies!Head inland and be sure to visit the amazing Chocolate Hills, a series of 1,200 limestone hills as far as the eye can see. This natural phenomenon is called chocolate because of the brown
Head inland and be sure to visit the amazing Chocolate Hills, a series of 1,200 limestone hills as far as the eye can see. This natural phenomenon is called chocolate because of the brown color the vegetation turns in the dry season.
On the way back stop in to see the endangered tarsiers at a conservation sanctuary. These gorgeous little critters are one of the world’s smallest primates and sadly also one of the most endangered. Did you know that E.T. from the movie was modeled off a tarsier?!
One of the top eating spots on Bohol has to be the Bohol Bee Farm. Not only is the food and setting right beside the ocean amazing, but it’s a working bee farm so you get to learn all about how important bees are to the world. You must try the delicious ice-cream they make on site, not to be missed!
6 weeks trotting the South of Philippines – Flipflop Globetrotters
As part of a 10-month trip with our toddler son in 2015, we spent six weeks in the Philippines. All three of us enjoyed ourselves tremendously! Since we were traveling with a child, we took things a bit more slowly than we usually would have. We visited Bohol, Cebu, Negros, Panay, and Palawan. In these six weeks, we made so many good memories. The Philippines are definitely a place for great experiences. Our highlights: diving at the Dauin coast on Negros Oriental, eating Chicken Inasal at a local joint in Dumaguete, visiting beautiful and nearly uninhabited Duli Beach near El Nido on Palawan, and driving our scooter to Kawasan Falls near Moalboal on Cebu. Some other memories that will always stay with us: a private island hopping tour at El Nido, the lovely staff at Sisters Inn – Moalboal, and driving round on Bohol trying to find the falls and then spending some time swimming in the ice cold waters with a group of Philippine youths. The Philippines definitely remain firmly on our bucket list, there are still so many more beautiful islands to discover!
In these six weeks, we made so many good memories. The Philippines are definitely a place for great experiences. Our highlights: diving at the Dauin coast on Negros Oriental, eating Chicken Inasal at a local joint in Dumaguete, visiting beautiful and nearly uninhabited Duli Beach near El Nido on Palawan, and driving our scooter to Kawasan Falls near Moalboal on Cebu. Some other memories that will always stay with us: a private island hopping tour at El Nido, the lovely staff at Sisters Inn – Moalboal, and driving round on Bohol trying to find the falls and then spending some time swimming in the ice cold waters with a group of Philippine youths. The Philippines definitely remain firmly on our bucket list, there are still so many more beautiful islands to discover!
Day trip to Taal Volcano – Paige Wunder of For the Love of Wanderlust
Two weeks in the Philippines isn’t enough, plain and simple. However, I definitely tried to make the most. I think we only had one day of downtime because we were constantly on the move. All but three days of it were spent on the island of Luzon. We had a home base in Manila, as my cousin lived there, and we visited multiple museums, shopping centers and made our way out of the city to Tagaytay, Taal Volcano, Banaue, Sagada and Baguio City.
My two favorite things on the island of Luzon were the Cave Connection in Sagada and taking the trip to Taal Volcano. It isn’t just simply an experience where you drive up to it, check it out and then leave. It’s an entire day because the volcano sits inside of a lake. So we drove to the edge of the lake, took a bright pink boat across the lake to the “island” which is actually the volcano. Then we rode a horse up to the top of the volcano to find another lake inside of it! It is, to this day, one of the most spectacular things I’ve ever seen. If you’re in the Manila area, even if just for a day, you have to make a trip to Taal Volcano.
Don’t forget to stop by the People’s Park in the Sky in Tagaytay and try loads of local snacks!
Sibuyan Island – Michelle and Nikki of Cheeky Passports
The Philippines was our first destination on our 15 month trip in Asia. During our 2 months of travel there we discovered, almost by accident, Sibuyan, one of the lesser known islands in the country.
We originally planned to stay in Sibuyan for 5 nights, but because all the transport options out of the island were fully booked, and also because we fell in love with the island, we ended up spending about 10 days on Sibuyan!
Traveling around the Philippines is sometimes complicated and we soon found out that Sibuyan is one of the most difficult destinations to get to. In fact, we got there after 30 hours of buses, ferries and a jeepney ride. Perhaps this is why the island was completely devoid of tourists during our time there.
Sibuyan is known for its mountain Guiting-Guiting, which stands tall in the midst of a large rainforest surrounded by the island’s only ring road.
There are no white sand beaches on Sibuyan, no fancy resorts or high-end restaurants. The undeveloped island is blessed instead with a rocky coast, several waterfalls, the country’s cleanest river and a wild forest. It is also home to some very friendly Filipinos, most of whom were incredibly curious about our stay on the island.
On the other hand, the cleanest, emptiest white sands can be found on Cresta de Gallo, a 2-hour boat rides away from Sibuyan. The journey to Cresta de Gallo does not come cheap but was most definitely one of our highlights during our visit to Sibuyan.
Sibuyan Island was our favorite destination in the Philippines probably because of its remote location and feeling of it having been almost forgotten by the rest of the world. If you are willing to travel to an intrepid destination and do away with western comforts for a while, Sibuyan is the perfect paradise island in the Philippines.
Siquijor Island – Craig O’Brien of Vagabond Disposition
I have done two trips to the Philippines and have wholly enjoyed every day spent there. With vastly abundant sunshine, incredible underwater views, seemingly endless heavenly waterfalls, and warm-hearted, easy-going people, the Philippines simply has a charm unlike anywhere else. On my most recent trip, I traveled for about one month through Malapascua Island, Boljoon, Siquijor Island, Bohol, and Camiguin Island, spending the longest amount of time in Siquijor!
Siquijor was by far my most memorable spot not only on this trip but in nearly all of my travels! Siquijor is home to miles and miles of incredibly green scenery, long stretches of crystal clear, shallow water, and the friendliest locals of anywhere I’ve been in the Philippines. Siquijor also has an authentic, small island feel and has somehow been spared the mass tourism that has overtaken other spots like Boracay and El Nido. The entire island comes together at a few different spots around the island each weekend to hang out and party, too! Siquijor also features what is in my opinion, the most beautiful waterfall in the entire country – Cambugahay Falls.
Cambugahay is a picturesque, three-level waterfall, complete with tree swings and easy cliff jumping spots. You could easily spend an entire afternoon gliding through its powder-blue waters or bask in the sun upon the shore. I myself visited the falls three different days! Get yourself to heaven-on-earth Siquijor Island and the rest of the Philippines, and see this awesome country for yourself!
Rediscovering Manila – Evan and Silver of Pretty Wild World
I always say to steer away from Manila when you can and always say that the city is only good for arrival and departure. But then again, I (Evan) was born there and raised in San Pedro, Laguna (it is in the South and about an hour away from Makati).
Ten years later I gave it another chance from my recent visit to the Philippines with my partner (Silver), we opted to explore some of Manila’s greatest hits: Intramuros, China Town, Makati, and of course, the nightlife.
Little did I know how much things can change in a decade and to give Manila another chance made me realize that opinions can change. I was astounded how little efforts I gave to know the city I was born and how little I truly know about it. Sure, my partner’s phone and almost hundred Euros was stolen from him but he made me see the greatest things a local can no longer see – the positive side of everything.
My partner who is a native of Estonia loved Manila and he is longing to be back and so do I! The highlight of our trip is certainly Intramuros and cycling around the area with a tour guide who reminded me the history and importance of the city back in the days. The last time I visited Intramuros was when I was in fourth grade, I think, and it was a class trip so I didn’t really care about history but rather to hang out with my friends. Ah, memories!
- Have you ever been to the Philippines?
- If yes, how was your experience?
- If not, do you have certain place in mind you want to visit?
*Photos courtesy of the awesome travel bloggers and bigstock photos.