top things to do in the philippines
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Top Things to Do in the Philippines | Best of Travel 2024

Tucked away in the tropical paradise, the Philippines is celebrated for its stunning beaches, yet its charm reaches well beyond its sandy shores. Within the vibrant pulse of its cities, a treasure trove of experiences awaits, ranging from storied historical sites to irresistible culinary adventures. In this edition, we’re excited to present a handpicked collection of the Philippines’ most captivating attractions, promising to guide you on a journey that encapsulates the essence of this enchanting country in all its splendour!

Top Things to Do in the Philippines

1. Discover the beauty of El Nido through island hopping

el nido island hopping things to do in the philippines
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Exploring El Nido’s island-hopping tours is one of the best things you can do in the Philippines, and here’s why. Imagine sailing through stunning landscapes filled with hidden lagoons, towering cliffs, and gorgeous beaches. These tours let you snorkel in clear waters among colourful fish and vibrant coral reefs. You get to discover secret beaches and quiet coves that feel like your own private paradise. Plus, the local guides are friendly and welcoming, making sure you have an unforgettable experience. It’s like stepping into a picture-perfect tropical dream, and it’s definitely a must-do activity for anyone visiting the Philippines!

2. Read the waves at the majestic beaches of Siargao

siargao surfing things to do in the philippines
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Surfing in Siargao should definitely be on your must-do list when you visit the Philippines, and here’s why: Siargao is famous for its fantastic waves, earning it the title of the “Surfing Capital of the Philippines.” Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you’ll find waves to suit your skill level. From the famous Cloud 9 break to the quieter shores of Pacifico Beach, Siargao has spots for everyone. And it’s not just about surfing – the island’s friendly locals, beautiful landscapes, and rich culture add to the whole experience, making it an unforgettable adventure for anyone looking for a fantastic surfing getaway in the Philippines.

3. Savour Boracay’s sunset and sink into its powdery white sands

boracay sunset things to do in the philippines
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Boracay holds a super famous status and undoubtedly deserves a top spot on your Philippines travel itinerary. And there’s a good reason for its popularity! Experiencing the sunset at Boracay is an absolute must for anyone seeking moments of sheer awe and tranquility. Picture this: as the sun gracefully descends on the horizon, it paints the sky with a mesmerising golden hue, while Boracay’s powdery white sands serve as the perfect canvas for nature’s masterpiece. The stunning scenery, coupled with the gentle lull of the waves, creates an atmosphere of unparalleled serenity, offering a much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Thinking about visiting these top three islands soon? Take a look at our Philippines Family Travel guide for a sample itinerary and suggestions on where to stay!

Read our full article >Β 

4. Go on a scenic hike to the UNESCO-listed Banaue Rice Terraces

banaue rice terraces trekking things to do in the philippines
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Nestled in the stunning Ifugao mountains on Luzon, you’ll discover the awe-inspiring Banaue rice terraces. They’re often dubbed the eighth wonder of the world, and it’s easy to see why – they’ve been standing for over 2000 years and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, all built by hand by the Ifugaos without modern equipment!

If you’re seeking an even more unforgettable experience, make your way to Batad, a charming village near Banaue. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking natural amphitheater, perfect for capturing some truly remarkable photos. While you could simply take in the views and indulge in some local rice wine, don’t pass up the opportunity to stroll through the rice fields. Spending a couple of days immersing yourself in this captivating landscape will undoubtedly leave you with memories to treasure from your journey through the Philippines.

5. Discover the wonder of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

puerto princesa underground river things to do in the philippines
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The Underground River in Puerto Princesa is one of the coolest places you can visit in the Philippines. This river flows through caves full of amazing rock formations. You’ll see stalactites hanging from the ceiling and stalagmites rising from the floor, creating a magical atmosphere. Plus, exploring the Underground River isn’t just funβ€”it also helps us understand why it’s so important to protect nature. So, if you’re looking for top things to do in the Philippines, don’t miss out on visiting the Underground River!

6. Explore the depths of Apo Reef

apo reef diving things to do in the philippines
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If you’re planning a trip to the Philippines, we’ve got a must-do recommendation: diving in Apo Reef. It’s an incredible underwater experience! Imagine diving into the waters of the world’s second-largest coral reef system and being surrounded by colourful fish, sea turtles, and majestic manta rays. It’s like entering a whole new world down there! Whether you’re a seasoned diver or new to diving, Apo Reef offers an amazing adventure that showcases the beauty of the Philippines.

7. Join a cultural immersion in the enchanting landscapes of Batanes

batanes things to do in the philippines
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Cultural immersion in Batanes is a fantastic experience that ranks high among things to do in the Philippines. This beautiful island offers untouched natural landscapes and a fascinating Ivatan culture. From stunning hills to pristine beaches, Batanes’ scenery is breathtaking. But what makes it truly special is the chance to connect with the Ivatan people and their traditions. You can learn about their unique houses, try their delicious food, and take part in their age-old rituals. By immersing yourself in this culture, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Batanes and make meaningful connections with its welcoming locals. It’s a memorable experience that showcases the beauty and richness of Philippine culture.

8. Swim with whale sharks in Donsol

donsol whale sharks
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Whale Shark Watching in Donsol, known as the “Whale Shark Capital of the Philippines,” is an absolute must for anyone seeking adventure and a deeper connection with nature. Imagine swimming alongside these magnificent creatures in the crystal-clear waters of Donsol, feeling the sheer awe of being in the presence of the world’s largest fish. It’s not just a thrilling experience; it’s also a chance to make a difference. By supporting responsible tourism in Donsol, we contribute to the protection of marine life and the livelihoods of local communities. So, if you’re ready for an unforgettable and meaningful adventure in the Philippines, diving into the waters of Donsol for Whale Shark Watching should be at the top of your list!

9. Hike to the top of Mount Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon

mount pulag hike
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Climbing Mount Pulag, the highest peak in Luzon, is definitely one of the coolest things you can do in the Philippines, and here’s why. First off, when you reach the top, you’ll be treated to an amazing view of the land below, with clouds rolling beneath you, especially at sunrise. It’s like something out of a dream! Plus, as you hike, you’ll get to see all kinds of plants and animals that you won’t find anywhere else. And don’t worry if you’re not a super experienced hiker – there are trails for everyone, whether you’re a pro or just starting out. On top of all that, Mount Pulag is really important to local indigenous groups, which adds another layer of meaning to the experience. So, if you’re up for an awesome adventure that’s as beautiful as it is meaningful, climbing Mount Pulag is a must-do when you’re in the Philippines!

10. Explore Manila on a food tour

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Manila is actually more than just a city. Exploring the city, especially Binondo Chinatown for a food trip, is like diving into a treasure trove of deliciousness! It’s the oldest Chinatown globally, so you can imagine the incredible mix of Chinese and Filipino flavours waiting for you. From hearty noodles to mouthwatering dim sum and tasty street snacks, every bite tells a story of tradition and culture. And don’t miss out on Mercato Centrale and Salcedo Saturday Market – they’re like foodie wonderlands where you can try all sorts of Filipino street food and international dishes in a fun and lively atmosphere. It’s an absolute must for anyone who wants to taste the best of Filipino cuisine!

11. Transport yourself back in time with a visit to Intramuros

intramuros manila cathedral
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Embarking on a historical tour in Intramuros is like stepping into a time machine that takes you back to the Spanish colonial era of the Philippines. You’ll visit famous places like Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church, and Casa Manila, each telling stories of the past. Fort Santiago shows you how the military used to protect the city, while San Agustin Church impresses with its beautiful old architecture and religious importance. Casa Manila gives you a peek into how wealthy Spanish families lived back then. And don’t forget the fun part – riding a kalesa, a traditional horse-drawn carriage, adds a special touch to your journey through history. It’s like a must-do activity when you’re in the Philippines, offering a fascinating look into the country’s rich heritage.

12. Delve into the vibrant nightlife of the city

makati poblacion
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The nightlife in Makati’s Poblacion and BGC is something you shouldn’t miss if you’re in Manila. Poblacion is buzzing with all kinds of bars and restaurants, from cosy spots to lively clubs, attracting people from all over. On the other hand, BGC offers a more upscale scene with fancy lounges and trendy clubs. Both areas have an exciting vibe, with live music, delicious drinks, and a mix of locals and visitors creating a memorable atmosphere. Whether you want to dance all night or just relax with a cocktail, the nightlife in Makati’s Poblacion and BGC is sure to give you a fantastic time in Manila.

13. Give scuba diving a try in Moalboal

scuba diving moalboal
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Scuba diving in Moalboal, Philippines, is a must-do activity when you visit the country. It’s like stepping into an underwater wonderland! The waters here are incredibly clear and filled with colourful coral reefs and all kinds of sea creatures. One of the coolest things to see is the sardine run, where millions of sardines swim together in huge, shimmering schools. Whether you’re new to diving or an experienced pro, there are dive sites for everyone to enjoy. You can explore caves, spot sea turtles, and if you’re lucky, even encounter gentle giants like whale sharks. Moalboal’s underwater world is so stunning that it’s sure to leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

14. Shop in the bustling streets and malls of Divisoria and Greenhills

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Shopping in Divisoria and Greenhills is like going on a fun challenge to sharpen your bargaining skills. These places in the Philippines aren’t just about buying stuff; they’re lively markets where you can immerse yourself in a bustling atmosphere full of excitement. When you haggle with the sellers, it’s like playing a game where you try to get the best price while they try to sell their goods. Each negotiation is a chance to practice your persuasive abilities and strike a fair deal that leaves everyone happy. Besides getting great deals, shopping in these places lets you experience the vibrant spirit of Filipino trade, where people are resourceful, friendly, and always up for a good laugh. It’s not just about what you buy; it’s about the adventure and the memories you make along the way.

15. Go on a food tour in Pampanga, famous for its delicious cuisine

pampanga sisig
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A street food tour in Pampanga, known as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, is a fantastic idea since you get to taste some of the best Filipino food around. Pampanga is famous for its delicious and diverse street food that reflects the region’s lively culture. From tasty sisig to mouthwatering BBQ skewers, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Exploring the lively streets and markets of Pampanga also gives you a chance to experience authentic Filipino street food at its finest!

16. Meet the last Mambabatok artist in Buscalan and get a traditional tattoo

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Meeting Whang-Od, the last mambabatok artist in Buscalan, is a special chance to experience history and tradition firsthand. She’s the only one left practicing the ancient art of hand-tap tattooing in her village. Whang-Od’s skills show us how indigenous cultures have kept their traditions alive over time. When you meet her, you’re not just getting a tattoo; you’re learning about the rich culture of the Cordilleran people, their stories, and beliefs. It’s a unique opportunity to honor tradition, share experiences, and keep important cultural heritage alive for generations to come.

17. Ride a jeepney or a tricycle

tricycle philippines
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Trying to catch a ride on a jeepney or tricycle in the Philippines is quite an adventure! When you’re ready to hop on, you’ll see these colorful jeepneys cruising around, each one uniquely decorated. You wave one down and start haggling with the driver over the fare. It might be a bit bumpy, and there could be unexpected twists and turns, but it’s all part of the fun. Riding these traditional modes of transport is like diving into Filipino city life headfirst, and it’s an experience you won’t forget anytime soon!


To sum it up, the Philippines is packed with amazing experiences just waiting for travelers like you to explore. Whether you love beautiful beaches, cultural exploration, or exciting adventures, you’ll find something to love in this diverse country. We hope this list helps you plan an amazing trip to the Philippines. If you found it helpful, please share it with others, and get ready to experience the magic of this incredible destination for yourself!

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