Creating your post-quarantine bucketlist? Check out this list of 13 signature tourist spots across the country!
Mt. Mayon, Albay
Renowned for its perfect conical structure that some liken to that of Mt. Fiji’s, Mt. Mayon remains as Albay’s most popular attraction. It’s also the Philippines’ most active volcano. Its imposing summit can be seen across Albay and even as far as Camarines Sur. The surrounding landscape, lush with endemic flora and geological wonders, have been declared a natural park. Tourists can delight in an array of activities, from ATV rides across its rugged foothills to a zipline ride, to a hike to the summit (with prior permit, of course).
Sagada, Mountain Province
Popular with backpackers, Sagada wows with its balmy climate, enchanting mountains, low-key accommodations, and plethora of foodscapes. Thrill seekers can partake in activities like cave explorations and hikes across rice terraces and mountains, while culture enthusiasts can marvel at hanging coffins.
Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao
Often referred to as the Eight Wonder of the World, the Banaue Rice Terraces were built more than 2,000 years ago mostly by hand by ancestors. When laid out, all of the terraces are said to span halfway across the globe. Key tourism activities include exploring the terraces and visiting indigenous healing doctors, or “mumbaki”.
A mere two-hour drive from Manila, Tagaytay is a much sought-after escape during the summer and on weekends with its soothing, wind breeze that offers a respite from the tropical heat. Various hotel and restaurants afford a fantastic view of Taal Lake and Volcano.
Tagaytay also sits just a few minutes away from the beaches of Batangas. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee in Antonio’s, Sonya’s, or Bag of Beans; or savor best-selling bulalo at Leslie’s.
At the eastern end of the Emilio Aguinaldo road, you’ll find People’s Park in the Sky, where you can enjoy a lovely 360-degree vista of the surrounding lake.
For the kids, Sky Ranch features the Philippines tallest ferris wheel, plus other fun rides like Super Viking, a coaster, carousel, water ball, and ponies. There’s a small zoo and zipline facility at the Residence Inn too. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, there are tours you can take to the crater of the Taal Volcano via a horse and a boat.
The Philippines’ Summer Capital, Baguio is a pine-filled, mountainous city in the north that boasts cool, balmy climate all year-round. It is home to vibrant flowers, fresh strawberries and eclectic local artistry.
Visit the Tam-Awan Village and have your family portrait drawn by a local artist for $2.50, or visit the museum and eco-trail park of National Artist Ben Cabrera. Kids will also enjoy boat rides at Burnham Park, which is just a stone’s throw from the city centre’s hotels and restaurants.
For a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and cliffs, go to Mines View Park, then drop by Wright Park, and the Good Shepherd convent for the best jams this side of the Philippines.
If your family’s craving for surf-worthy waves, know that Baguio is just two hours away from La Union, one of the most famous northern surfing destinations.
This fortified city in Manila features charming Spanish casas, expansive walled gardens and genuine cannons and artillery that all date back to the Spanish Colonial Period. Also inside the Walled City is Fort Santiago, a massive defensive fortress; and two of the oldest Catholic churches in the country, Manila Cathedral, and San Agustin Church.
In walking distance are the Butterfly Haven, Rizal Park, the National Museum, and The Planetarium – all must-sees for your little ones!
The best part? You can take a walk around for free! For extra fun, you and the family can tour Intramuros on a horse-drawn carriage or via an electric chariot.
Touted as one of the best beaches in the world, Boracay offers fine-grained, white sand and spotless, kid-friendly waters. Sprawling with restaurants, hotels, piazzas, henna stalls, and souvenir shops, Boracay exudes a hip island vibe through and through.
The entire stretch can get hectic especially on holidays and weekends, so if you want a more relaxed atmosphere, head on to Puka Beach at the northern tip of the island. Puka Beach can be accessed via a 15-minute tricycle ride or via an outrigger boat. Other fit-for-family activities include kiteboarding, paragliding, snorkelling, paraw sailing, horseback riding, and cliff diving at Ariel’s Point.
Panglao Island and Chocolate Hills, Bohol
This small island in the Visayas region is home to the world’s smallest primate, the tarsier, and the famous Chocolate Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also note-worthy are the Blood Compact Site in Tagbilaran, Baclayon Church, the Loboc River (where daily river cruises commence, complete with buffet food and serenading locals), and the Hinagdanan Cave in white-sanded Panglao Island.
From resorts in Panglao, tours can be made to the beautiful marine sanctuary in Balicasag Island, as well as dolphin watching in Pamilacan Island.
One of the top destinations in Mindanao, Davao offers a laid-back, back-to-basics feel that’s perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle of the city. Head on to Samal Island in Davao del Norte for a relaxing swim in pristine, uncrowded beaches.
Take the kids on a wildlife tour in Davao City’s Philippine Eagle Nature Center and the Crocodile Farm. Also within the vicinity is Zip City, where a zipline overlooking the scenic Mt. Apo and Davao Gulf awaits.
Coron and El Nido, Palawan
Palawan’s claim to fame was its Underground River’s inclusion in the 7 New Natural Wonders of the World. A boat ride into this famous cave river reveals astonishing stalactite and stalagmite formations that resemble various patterns and real-life figures.
But more than that, Palawan holds an unparalleled natural beauty, unspoilt and spellbinding, such as that of El Nido’s beaches and lagoons, Coron’s towering limestone cliffs and abundant marine life, and San Vicente’s virgin shores.
Mt. Pinatubo, Zambales
Though Mt. Pinatubo brought about one of the most destructive eruptions in recent history, the resulting landscape became one of the most iconic in the country too. Sulfuric streams, lahar-covered paths, craggy rock formations, and volcanic boulders await hikers. The two-hour hike from Sta. Juliana in Tarlac culminates in a stunning crater lake, which turns a beautiful turquoise during certain times of the year.
Only three hours from Manila, Subic is one of the top family go-to destinations in the north because of its beaches and family-friendly facilities.
Take the kids for a zipline ride amid the lush Zambales forest in Treetop Adventure, or go kayaking in a mangrove forest. Go on a close encounter with the big cats with Zoobic’s tiger safari ride. Adjacent to Zoobic is Ocean Adventure
where regular dolphin and sea lion shows are featured.
Siargao, Surigao Del Norte
Siargao is a 437 -square kilometer, tear-drop shaped island off the coast in Mindanao. It is well known internationally for surfing, as well as its beautiful beaches, tidal pools, coves, and limestone formations.