Aaah, where do I begin? The number of things to do in the Philippines is probably as plenty as its 7,107 islands. I don’t have the luxury of eternity to list everything. But here are top 7 things you can do when you visit the Philippines:
What to do in the Philippines if you need some vitamin sea?
1. Swim, skim, dive, surf, beach bum
Did I mention that this country has over seven thousand islands? As such, the Philippines boasts of countless stunning beach destinations, and many are world-renowned by travel agencies. Head over to El Nido in Palawan if you like swimming or simply beach bumming in crystal clear water and with stunning limestones as your backdrop. Come to Boracay if you fancy skimboarding in powder-white sand in the morning, cliffdiving in the afternoon and partying at sundown. Check out Anilao in Batangas, Moalboal in Cebu, and of course, the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tubbataha Reef in Palawan, for exceptional diving. Visit Siargao Island, San Juan in La Union, Baler in Aurora and Mati in Davao if you’re looking for great surfing spots. Vitamin sea overload, for sure!
What to do in the Philippines if water is not your element?
2. Climb majestic mountains and then some
If earth is more your turf, trek the stairway to heaven known as Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, and is also called the “8th Wonder of the World.” Why not hike Mt. Pulag in Benguet, the country’s 3rd highest mountain, and bathe in white cotton candy that is fluffy clouds? If you’re an experienced mountaineer, then Mt. Apo in Davao, the country’s highest peak, is more for you. A few hours from Manila, the country’s capital, there’s also Mt. Pinatubo in Zambales, which is famous for its enchanting crater lake; Mt. Taal in Batangas, a small but terrible volcano island; and Mt. Pico de Loro in Cavite, known for the Parrot’s beak.
What to do in the Philippines if you’re a history buff?
3. Enjoy #ThrowbackThursday all day every day
If you love rustic, old-world charm, do a historical tour of Vigan City, a UNESCO World Heritage site and recognized as one of the NEW7Wonders Cities. Here you can find well-preserved heritage houses guaranteed to take you centuries back to a time when the country was still colonized by the Spaniards. The same feeling occurs when you visit Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, with its ancient mansions and cobblestone streets. In Manila, you can explore the Walled City of Intramuros—for interesting trivia plus entertainment, join Carlos Celdran’s walking tour. While you’re in the area, be sure to visit the nearby National Museum and Rizal Park to further satisfy the historian in you.
What to do in the Philippines if you’re a partyphile?
4. Bar and club hop all night long
Party animals and pub crawlers can paint the town red night after night, as the Philippines has some of the best party scenes in Southeast Asia. Clubbing in various posh clubs and pubs in Makati and the Fort (BGC), such as Prive Luxury Bar and Club Haze, is your best bet when you’re in Manila. Wanna party island style? Fly to Boracay to witness hedonistic beach parties—complete with talented fire dancers to entertain you. Now, if karaoke is more your penchant, lucky you, because virtually every corner in the Philippines has a karaoke / videoke machine. Just follow the loud voice trail belting out, “And I… I… will always love you” and you’ll surely be singing to your heart’s content in no time. And a little caveat; if you wanna stay alive, avoid singing the cursed “My Way” on karaoke.
What to do in the Philippines if retail therapy is your kind of cure?
5. Shop ‘til you drop
Get ready with your cash, credit card and haggling skills! The Philippines takes pride in having some of the biggest and most luxurious shopping centers in the globe. In the world’s top 10 largest malls are SM Megamall, SM City North Edsa (also the largest solar-powered shopping mall in the world) and SM Mall of Asia. If you love bazaars and bargains, then you should go straight to Divisoria (168 Mall and 999 Mall) and or Greenhills Shopping Center, where you can score inexpensive signature clothes, jewelry, gadgets and everything in between.
What to do in the Philippines if you’re a foodie?
6. Devour local cuisines
The Philippines is more than just a balut (developing duck embryo) and adobo (meat cooked usually in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and peppercorns) country. You also have to try sisig (bits and pieces of pork face and ear cooked in vinegar, chilies, onions, chicken liver etc.) as a rice meal or beer match. Speaking of beer, be sure to down a bottle or more of San Miguel Beer, the unofficial national beer. Although, some prefer the more potent Red Horse Beer for a stronger kick. I say you try both. Sinigang, kare-kare, caldereta, menudo, pancit, dinuguan (aka chocolate stew) and pinakbet are all must-eat Filipino dishes! And don’t dare leave the country without wolfing down some lechon (roasted pig), hailed as “the Best Pig ever” according to Anthony Bourdain. Most of these sumptuous Pinoy eats are available in food markets (also called “Banchetto”) in Manila and other key cities—and of course, in most Filipino restaurants and food establishments.
What to do in the Philippines if you’re a wannabe zombie assassin?
7. Learn Filipino martial arts
Getting prepped for the impending Doomsday that is the zombie apocalypse? You’ve come to the right place. Because the Philippines is a blade culture, you can learn here how to properly use a machete or bolo and slay those brain-eating monsters. Our martial art of Arnis, Kali, Eskrima is weapons-based (edged, impact, flexible and improvised). But make no conclusion. Filipino martial arts is also known for its straightforward, no BS hand-to-hand combat. In fact, many elite special force groups like the Russian Spetsnaz integrate FMA into their martial training due to its efficiency. This also applies if you wanna fight like Jason Bourne or simply wanna learn practical self-defense techniques.
Seven not enough? Here are fifteen more:
With these amazing things to do in the Philippines, we truly live by our slogan: It’s more fun in the Philippines! This underrated travel destination in Southeast Asia will certainly be the next “it” country within a few years. So be sure to pack your bags and have a holiday in the Philippines very soon before everyone else does!
I originally wrote this as an unpaid test article for a client who never replied after my submission. I thought I post it here (with some additions/modifications).
If you have anything to add, please leave me a comment below. Cheers! 😀