This post is about what we consider being the top destinations in the Philippines, excluding our experiences while volunteering in Cantilan or taking the Vipassana meditation course.
Rice terraces, Ifugao, Northen Luzon
A Unesco world heritage site. They were built more than 2.000 years ago. All of them are hand-made! Each terrace produces more or less 2 kg of high quality rice (4 times more expensive than the commercial one). It’s a quiet and peaceful place in the North of the Philippines where people maintain their roots and own culture. Their artcrafts and physical appearence are similar to the mayas’.
To reach Banaue (a village in the mountains sourrounded by rice terraces from where you can start walking on your own to see the «viewpoints» of these amazing rice terraces), you’ve to take a 9 hours night bus (freezing bus) from Manila.
To reach Batad, you’ve to trek for about 2-3 hours from a street junction near Banaue, there’s no way to reach the village with public or private transport. Only using your feet 🙂 but it’s worth it: it’s the only village we’ve seen where people live in the middle of the rice terraces, so the «streets» are the rocks of the terraces :). Furthermore, the nature around the village is lovely.
Chocolate Hills, Bohol Island, The Visayas
Very known in the Philippines, the Chocolate hills are a group of very small and rounded mountains that looks like… Well, like teats boops 😉 although the locals say they look like chocolate when their color turns to brown (by the time we visited them they were green, not brown) ). Thus, for us they’ll always be… Our «boops hills» 🙂
Tarsiers, Bohol Island, The Visayas
In danger of extinction, these small primates are 10 to 12 cm high, live in restringed areas in the Philippines and Indonesia. Their eyes are much bigger than ours in relation to our respective faces. Although one entire tarsier fits in your hand, they have a very long tail, longer than the entire body.
Boracay Island, The Visayas
One of the most touristic beaches in the Philippines and probably the most known worldwide. We didn’t like it that much due to the amount of tourists, restaurants, and shops «only for tourists» that coexist with, yes, its beautiful and large white sand beach with turquoise water. If it weren’t for all the countless touristic services, it would have been another paradise. Anyway, probably the best place for night life in the entire Philippines.
Alona Beach – Panglao Island, Bohol, The Visayas
Another place to go if you are looking for white sand beaches with turquoise water, good diving or good and cheap massages. Less touristic than Boracay, but still with a large offer of restaurants and souvenir shops.
Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao Island
We’ve gone to Cantilan to volunteer at the Hotchkiss foundation for 15 days. Mindanao, placed in the south of the Philippines, is internationally known for its ethnic problems and internal wars. Because of that, it’s a less touristic place and it’s hard to find any tourist information about this island on the internet. It’s a pity as the tensions are confined to a small part of this island which is actually full of hidden gems:
Kaliboo, Panay Island, The Visayas
This polluted town full of trycicles is known for its Ati-Ati Festival. Check our previous post to know more about it.
Coron and El Nido, Palawan
We’ve already talked about Palawan in a previous post. One of the most beautiful places in the entire Philippines in terms of paradisiac islands and beaches. The barely untouched and dream islands you can find there are unique: beautiful lagoons, precious white sand beaches with waters that gives you various shades of blue, an amazing and diverse marine biology… It’s worth to go there, specially to El Nido, if you are visting the Philippines.