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In 2015, the Philippines travel and tourism sector made 10.6% of the contribution to the country's GDP. In addition, by Travel + Leisure Magazine, Boracay Island was recognized as the world's best Island in 2012, famous for its serene and beautiful beaches.
The Philippines, located in the western Pacific Ocean, is an archipelago country consisting of 7,640 islands. The country has around 109 million people and is the 12th most populous country globally. It's naturally diverse, with eight major forests allocated throughout the country. The Philippines' climate is tropical and usually remains hot and humid, and welcomes three seasons like summer, rainy and cold season with a yearly average temperature of 26.6 °C (80 °F).
About the Philippines
The king of Spain, Philip II, named the country in the 16th century during the Spanish colonization of many islands. For 333 years, it remained under Spanish rule and the U.S.'s tutelage for more than 48 years, so Western cultures heavily influenced the Philippines' culture. The Philippines gained complete independence in 1946, shortly after the second world war. Despite being influenced by other Asian and Western cultures, Filipinos have retained their own Asian culture and identity, as observed in their beliefs, traditions, customs, and way of living, admired worldwide.
English is an official language, so those from English-speaking backgrounds can navigate the country smoothly. However, there are also 175 other languages spoken in the country, which lies under the classification of the Malayo-Polynesian languages. And among these languages, there are approximately 13 indigenous languages spoken among 1 million people.
Why do so many people enjoy going to the Philippines every year?
• Friendly and warm-welcoming people
• Awe-inspiring landscapes
• Never-seen-before natural wonders
• Astounding diving and snorkeling spots
• Fantastic culture
• Vibrant festivals
• Hot summer weather
• Budget-friendly tourist destination
• Astonishing islands
• Amazing outdoor adventures
• Wonderful historical places
• Entertaining nightlife
10 Best things to do in the Philippines
1. Visit Boracay Island, A great place to relax
Boracay Island is considered one of the finest places in the Philippines that every traveler must visit. Due to its exotic white beaches, it has become globally recognized. The Island is only 7 kilometers (4.35 miles) long and about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) wide. The Island is a hotspot for parties along with living music and fire shows, attracting many tourists to the many beautiful beaches. To get the most out of your time while you're here, take a private boat tour that stops at the best snorkel and swim spots!
2. Explore The City of Vigan
Once you enter the City of Vigan, you will see its Spanish heritage and architecture, first established in the 16th century and a designated UNESCO heritage site. A great authentic way to explore this city is to hire a traditional Kalesa horse-drawn carriage and take a slow ride throughout the city's streets. Be sure to see such historical places as Calle Crisologo or Mestizo District and the magic fountain. Furthermore, you will want to try the mouth-watering cuisine here, including some of the city's specialties, such as Bagnet, Vigan empanadas, and Vigan longganisa. If you want to fit everything into a nicely packaged day tour, you can be picked up in Manila and brought to all of the must-see destinations while accompanied by a local guide. Find more information by clicking the link below.
3. Catch the Beautiful Sight of the Banaue Rice Terraces
Banaue rice terraces are considered the "Eighth Wonder of the World." The terraces are almost 2,000 years old which were sculpted into the Ifugao mountains by using just a handful of tools. So you can imagine the difficulty of building them without modern machinery. Still today, many locals use these terraces for growing their rice and vegetables, and the surrounding rainforests play a significant role in their natural irrigation. Many of the tours out to the terraces get quite pricey, in the $1000-$2000 range, but we found a tour picking you up from Manila starting at about $245.
4. Catch a Glimpse of Coron, Palawan Island
Here you will capture beautiful sights of Puerto Princesa, the Island's capital, including the underground river. After this, you can take some time out and visit the beautiful beaches. On this Island you will have two choices, one is El Nido which is quite famous among tourists and can be conveniently reachable. The second one is Coron, which is similar to El Nido but is less crowded.
If you are keen to visit Coron, we suggest you go to Kayangan Lake, a natural treasure hidden on the Island. Twin Lagoon, which has both salted and freshwater, can also be explored with its underwater beauty through snorkeling. And lastly, Mount Tapyas, standing at 210 meters (688 feet) tall, where you can see amazing views of Coron and neighboring Islands. This is an affordable activity you won't regret!
5. Take a tour of The Active Mayon Volcano
You will find this volcano on the island of Luzon, also named 'Mount Mayon.' As it looks like a symmetrical cone in shape, many people refer to it as a 'perfect cone.' However, many eruptions have occurred, causing mud and ash to rain down on the people living below it, forcing them and their neighboring towns to evacuate. In 1814, the most severe eruption was recorded, which took the lives of 1200 people. You can visit its surrounding areas under the national park, and it's worth visiting if you go on a vacation to the Philippines.
6. Go Surfing at Siargao Island
Undoubtedly, the Philippines is the hub of numerous beaches and is best for surfing activities. Siargao is considered the surfing capital and considered one of the best surfing spots in Asia. The Island welcomes excellent waves throughout the year, but you can witness many enormous waves from November to February and during the rainy season. You can get beginner lessons and have the time of your life, no prior experience required!
7. Visit The Historical Fort Santiago
You can visit Fort Santiago in Manila, a citadel built as a defense fortress by the Spanish. Although the fort is famous among tourists worldwide, it was used for executing prisoners in the early years of its establishment. Even you can witness the footprints implanted in bronze into the ground as a marking of the final steps of prisoners before their execution. A popular method of exploring the city with a stop at Fort Santiago is taking an ecotour on a bamboo bicycle.
8. See The Beauty of the Chocolate Hills
This beauty lies in the Philippines Bohol province and is worth visiting. A total of 1260 hills covers about 32 kilometers (20 miles) of an area, among which small hills are covered in green, and as soon as the dry season arrives, you will see green grass turn to brown and starts looking like chocolate. The hills vary from 30 to 50 meters (100 to 165 feet) tall and are a must-see Philippines landmark.
9. Explore Manila
Manila, a city of exciting vibrancy, is the capital of the Philippines. It is diverse and is well-known for properly showcasing the Philippines' culture. So if you are looking for museums, cultural heritage, auditoriums, and theatres and want to visit great bars and nightclubs, then Manila is the place to spend some days. The top-rated tour in Manila is this aforementioned ecotour on the bamboo bicycle. The tour hits all of the historic spots and the local guide gives you the context to take you back in time.
10. Lose Yourself in the Beauty of Malapascua Island
One should not miss taking a tour to Malapascua Island, known as one of the best islands to visit in the Philippines for vacations. It's a small beach paradise that will offer you solitude and a way to forget everything and relax. Here you can stay in a small beach bungalow for some days, and during your stay, you can have a good time with the locals and the whole community living on the Island.
We have now shared 10 of the best things to do in the Philippines. We hope this list has given you some new ideas for your trip, and we wish you all the best on your journey! Seeing how so many tours start in Manila and there is so much to do in the capital city, we recommend staying there at least for part of your trip to the Philippines. For more information about hotels in Manila you can click on the link below.
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