Travel Bucket

A Mesmerising Guide to the Beautiful Islands of the Philippines

Are you looking for a destination that would keep you mesmerized all through your trip, well then the beautiful islands of the Philippines are just what you’re searching for.

The Philippines is a charming island nation in Southeast Asia. Scattered across the western Pacific Ocean are 7,000-plus islands, each providing their own distinctive charm – from volcano hiking adventures to genuine Filipino homestays and diving extravaganzas.

Spend your days relaxing on immaculate beaches, sipping on coconuts, and snorkelling and diving in crystal-clear water around amazing coral reefs. Whatever kind of holiday you’re searching for, adventurous or relaxed, you’ll find it when you travel to the Philippines.

Holidays in Manila

The hectic metropolis of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is a thrilling and lively city. It’s also one of the most heavily inhabited cities in the world, home to nearly 13 million people. The roads are packed night and day. Manila is an undervalued centre for art and culture, with a distinctive heritage of Chinese, Spanish, and American impacts in architecture, food, and traditions.

Manila’s label, the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, couldn’t be more suitable – its unattractive shell divulges its jewel only to those determined enough to inquire. Other than for exceptional sightseeing, travellers who put in the effort will find its innovative soul – from edgy galleries to an energetic indie music scene. Incorporate this with a liking for speakeasy bars, artisan markets and single-origin coffees, and it’s clear to see that Manila is not just one of Asia’s most undervalued metropolises, but one of its coolest.

Suggested Read: 5 Places Under £40 in the Philippines

Things to do in Manila

Travel Back in Time at Intramuros

Intramuros, or the ‘Walled City’, is one of the oldest regions of Manila, constructed on the south embankment of the Pasig River in 1571. It was made by the Spaniards – more precisely by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi – and is restrained on all sides by ditches and thick, tall walls, with some around 6 metres high. Inside the massive walled compound of Intramuros lie 51 blocks, covering an entire section of around 66 hectares. There are 7 secured entryways around the walls, allowing access in or out of the city. The moat was added to the chief structure during 1603, 32 years after the city was constructed.

Visit Rizal Park

The Rizal Monument is a famous memorial that you will find in Rizal Park it was built to commemorate the executed Filipino nationalist, José Rizal. The monument consists of a standing bronze sculpture of Rizal.

Rizal Park is a 60-hectare sanctuary of greenery and blooms located in Manila’s hectic financial and commercial region. This urban park has gardens, a 3D map of the Philippines, picnic grounds, a grand arena, an open-air concert hall, and plenty more. You could take your own food and drinks, pull out a mat and relish a nice picnic. At noon, when the sun is at its highest, there are wooded spaces and sheltered gardens you can get away to, like the Chinese and Japanese Gardens.  

Explore the National Museum Complex

This Museum has numerous divisions incorporated in National Museum trips: Art, Anthropology, Natural History, and Planetarium. All are in the same building compound and is made up of long-lasting collections representing the many aspects of art, culture, and history of the country. Joining a National Museum tour would take you around the best of the museums in the region.

Have a Food Trip at Binondo

Binondo is an active and ancient Manila site. It was established during 1594 and is believed to be the world’s first Chinatown. Like the other Chinatowns, modern Binondo trips are enjoyable as the town is made with tight and colourful alleys.

Enjoy The Manila Ocean Park

This is one of the most exceptional adventures in the metropolis and one of the top things to do for families touring the city. Get interactive with aquatic life with the Sharks and Rays Encounter, Trails to Antarctica, or the fish spa where fish cleanse your feet in a tiny pool of water. The park effortlessly fills numerous hours based on how many experiences you try. Other than the ultramodern aquatic facility, you will see displays of birds and other animals too.

It takes about 14h 53m to travel from Manila to Boracay (Island), including transfers.

Holidays to Boracay

One of the most famous tourist destinations in the Visayas, 350 kilometres south of Manila, is the paradise island of Boracay. This island is a charming retreat for honeymooners, a bucket list destination for kite surfers, and a dream come true for everyone in-between. There are 13 beaches on Boracay, each one more gorgeous than the next. The two leading beaches- White Beach and Bulabog Beach- are divided by a 1-kilometre path with shopping, restaurants, and hotels. You’ll never run out of thrilling things to do in Boracay, from swimming, island-hopping, diving, snorkelling, parasailing, kayaking, dining and parties.

Things to do in Boracay

Try Kitesurfing in Boracay

If you’re new to kiteboarding and want to try it out, numerous schools in the region help beginners and also more qualified kiteboarding tourists as well.

Relaxing Spa

The island is also famous for its range of spas and massage parlours, so you’ll have lots of choices for calming your body and mind in a deep massage session as well. There are places suitable for every pocket here, from inexpensive ones like the massage stations around White Beach to exclusive spas like Mandala Spa.

Explore White Beach

In the middle of Boracay’s international prominence is White Beach, an extensive 4-kilometre beachfront bordered with resorts, hotels, and restaurants. White Beach is Boracay’s leading tourist appeal and naturally the most crowded region since the most famous activity on the island is the Boracay sightseeing beach trip. Apart from the obvious charm of the stunning white sand and twinkling blue waters, everything you require is a short distance away from White Beach.

See Flying Foxes at Puka Beach

Titled after the puka shells that bordered its shores in the past, Puka Beach has somewhat coarse sand compared to White Beach. Looking above the beach is a green forest on a cliff; there are also significantly fewer establishments on the beachfront. Located on the northernmost point of Boracay Island, Puka Beach is a 20-minute tricycle trip away from White Beach. Puka Beach is also the place to be if you want to get a look at Boracay’s flying foxes. The migration of these impressive fruit bats is a sight to see.

See Marine Life

One of the extremely endorsed activities in Boracay is to go underwater and view its vibrant marine life. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner wanting to experience diving into the waters, or an expert diver wanting to get a deeper look at the abundant corals. You’ll certainly have a brilliant encounter with the numerous Boracay diving lessons and pursuits available frequently.

The total flight duration from Boracay to Cebu City, Philippines is 51 minutes.

Holidays to Cebu

When it comes to tourist locations in the Philippines, nothing is as varied as Cebu, the Queen City of the South, and the most ancient city in the country. Outside of Luzon, it’s one of the exceedingly urbanized cities in the country nearby the capital Manila. Cebu has some of the top beaches in the Philippines. It is also home to a range of historical, cultural, and religious spots that you could visit.

Cebu also nestles remarkable aquatic life ideal for diving. Divers travel to Cebu diving locations such as Malapascua to swim with thresher sharks. Thresher sharks could be seen frequently around the waters of Malapascua Island. In the waters of Moalboal, you will be able to swim with millions of sardines creating bait balls underwater. There are also numerous waterfalls in Cebu, the most famous one being Kawasan Falls in Badian.

Things to do in Cebu

Tour the Cebu Heritage Monument

With centuries filled with raids, battles, and rebellions, Cebu is a city with tales to tell. Visit Cebu Heritage Monument for a summary. Constructed with dark stone and bricks, the construction is a twisted sculpture of ships, churches, crosses, and main historical figures that are as mysterious as they are captivating. With years of history and stories, think about getting a guide before you go or taking ones offer when you arrive.

Explore Colon Street

A trip to Cebu isn’t complete without a stroll down Colon Street. While at the first look, this disintegrating expanse of sidewalk might seem dull but come a little closer and you’ll find that there is plenty to see, do and taste. Bordered with markets selling vibrant backpacks, jewellery, clothing, and shoes, this street makes for a brilliant place to purchase your mementoes. Don’t be afraid to take part in some pleasant bargaining with smiling vendors. You could try tasty street food, associate with the natives, and take some breathtaking pictures on Colon Street.

Travel back in time at 1730 Jesuit House

You wouldn’t expect such an unforgettable encounter to start in a hardware store, but it will. Walking inside the 1730 Jesuit House feels like travelling 100 years back through history. The 1730 Jesuit House is a local project that aims to conserve one of Cebu’s ancient sites. This historic house has endured typhoons, earthquakes, and foreign raids, yet still stands to tell the tale. Your tour guide would take you across an hour-long trip while showing you refurbishment labours, together with artefacts and antiques which include cameras, carvings, furniture and also a 100-year-old cedar chest that still offers a beautiful aroma.

Dive with Whale Sharks

The largest fish in the world are directly off the coast of the Philippines. Although they are known as “sharks”, these gentle beasts are far from what you might imagine. These specific Whale Sharks are thought to be wild, but instead of migrating to warmer waters for portions of the year, they stick around as the fishermen continue to feed them. That means this encounter is available no matter what time of the year you visit.

Visit the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary

Nature fans come hither! There is a butterfly preserve in Cebu where you could stroll through a small rainforest filled with tropical plants and flowers with stunning butterflies flying all around. Keep your camera out just in case one decides to land on your nose for a selfie. The Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary has a remarkable collection of butterfly specimen covered in glass that shows just how varied the butterfly family truly is. Take some cash as there is a tiny entrance fee, but it goes towards a delightful cause.

The average direct flight from Cebu City to Palawan is 1 hour and 27 minutes.

Holidays to Palawan

Nothing describes Palawan more than the water surrounding it. With landscapes, the equal of any in Southeast Asia, and terrestrial and marine wildlife, the Philippines’ most sparsely inhabited area is also the most enticing. Because of the outline of its chief island – a long sliver extending 650km to Borneo – there’s a certain redeeming reason to travel here.  

Despite becoming something of a travel-media darling in current years, Thailand–type tourist’s crowds have yet to arrive and the chief island’s Amazonian inland remains fairly untouched. That said, the northern towns of El Nido and Coron – base camps for adventures in the Bacuit Archipelago and Calamian Islands, individually – are beginning to entice huge crowds in the high season.

Not to fear: courageous travellers who travel outside those two hubs have numerous places to choose from in their search for that ideal paradise.

Things to do in Palawan

Island Hop in Honda Bay

45-minutes from the capital of Palawan, Honda bay provides an island hopping tour that would make all of your holiday dreams come true.

You’ll tour Pandan Island, Cowrie Island, Luli Island, Starfish Island, and Verde Island where the popular Dos Palmas resort is situated. All of these islands provide out-of-this-world white sand beaches with turquoise water so stunning that you may get a little emotional. You could spend the entire day island hopping in Honda Bay where you’ll have the chance to snorkel, explore the interior part of the islands, and splash about in the water.

Visit the Beaches of El Nido

Some of the most stunning beaches in the whole world could be found in the north of Palawan in the district of El Nido. Every beach is more gorgeous than the next with white powdery sand, turquoise water, and many encircled by exceptional towering limestone cliffs.

Visit Secret Beach is hidden away in a concealed cove, Nacpan Beach which is 4-kilometres of smooth sand and coconut trees, Pangalusian Beach that seems like a postcard, Las Cabanas Beach with warm water ideal for swimming, and the list goes on.

Scuba Diving in El Nido

If you think what you’re seeing above ground is incredible, dive underwater in Bacuit Bay.

It’s no shock that dive locations around El Nido are wealthy in marine life and exciting topography which include a 50-metre underwater cliff and a 12-metre underwater tunnel. Expect to see animals like spotted Mata Rays and mature green sea turtles. Take a night dive and you’ll see even more mysterious creatures like seahorses, shrimp and catsharks. You could take any of the diving lessons here for pretty decent prices.

Try out Ugong Rock Adventures

Ugong Rock is a natural creation just north of Puerto Princessa that is stunning, wild and makes a hilarious noise when you tap it. Crawl in and out of rock caves with spelunking, hike up to the Zipline as it hurls you across the jungle at high speeds, and hike across the jungle on some planned paths that lead to unbelievable sights.

Explore the Underground River

At 8.2 kilometres of twisting water, this is one of the lengthiest underground rivers in the world! Officially branded the ‘7th New Wonder of the Natural World’, the underground river in Palawan is a must-do.

You’ll take a brief trek across the jungle where monkeys would come out and request for snacks, and then you’ll reach tiny boats at the mouth of the cave. Climb in and you’ll paddle together across complex cave tunnels with hanging bats and tranquil waters. You’ll learn all about the formations from your pleasant guide as you go.

Must-Try Dishes in the Philippines

Adobo

Now this is one of my favourite dishes from the Philippines, I’ve had it and it’s delicious. Adobo is frequently known as the national dish of the Philippines and it’s surely the most popular Filipino dish. The flavour is made using vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper. Also, chilli peppers are sometimes added to give it a little zing. The most classic adobo dishes are chicken and pork but you’ll find every restaurant in the Philippines has its own take.

Suggested Read: Spice the Plate with Far Eastern Cuisines

Balut: The Filipino Kinder surprise

Balut is a developing duck embryo boiled and eaten as a snack in the shell, frequently offered with a splash of vinegar. This is certainly one of the most popular street foods to try in the Philippines and the strangest I’ve ever tried!

Kare Kare: oxtail stew

Kare-Kare is a heavy stew created with oxtail, vegetables, and a peanut sauce. It reminded me of a bit of massaman curry from Thailand which makes sense as the word ‘kare’ is taken from the Filipino word for a curry.  The best kare-kare comes from Pampanga which is just north of Manila, but you’ll find this dish served all around the Philippines.

Safety Tips for Travelling in the Philippines

  • Tricycles and pedicabs are an enjoyable way to see an area during the day. After dark, I would stick with Uber.
  • Never leave your things unattended.
  • Avoid travelling alone in rural areas across the country. Try to arrive at your destination in daylight and if exploring concealed areas make certain that you go with an organised group.

Well, there you have it, this is the perfect holiday where you can explore this stunning destination, so grab this deal before it’s too late!

Call us, text us or simply get in touch with our travel experts and we will help you have the most memorable getaway to these beautiful islands of the Philippines.

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