What are the Philippines famous for and what should be on your Philippines bucket list? If those are the questions you're pondering then roll right up for a look at the best of this beautiful island nation.
See also the highlights of Thailand here.
Why make a Philippines bucket list?
The Philippines, made up of more than 7,600 islands scattered around the western Pacific Ocean, is truly a traveller’s paradise. In fact, it feels as if each visitor will find exactly what they’re looking for — whether that’s heart-pumping adventures, pristine beaches, beautiful viewpoints, or everything in between — once they come and visit.
Even better, the Philippines recently announced that they have finally reopened after nearly two years of shutting down due to the pandemic. While planning a trip, don’t forget to fill out the One Health Pass to travel to the Philippines. This quick and simple form is required to facilitate safe travel to the country by registering visitors’ details (including flight number, contact information, and more) before they can enter the country.If visiting this dreamy country is in your plans, be sure to add these five bucket list-worthy places to your itinerary.
Boracay Island: A Paradise Packed into 7 Kilometres
Who doesn’t love a beach holiday? One of the top bucket list destinations in the Philippines is none other than Boracay Island. Measuring approximately seven kilometres in length, Boracay is made up of pristine beaches, soft white sands, and endless shades of blue and green waters. Although the island mainly draws travellers who want to see its beaches, that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to it.
In fact, there are plenty of exciting activities, such as exploring coves and rock formations, windsurfing, parasailing, and much more.
However, perhaps the best way to get acquainted with Boracay is to go underwater and see the local fish, reefs, and more. Take a snorkelling or scuba diving tour and you’ll be in awe of the diverse marine life that can be found just below the surface.Those who are visiting the island in January shouldn’t miss the Ati-Atihan Festival, which honours SantoNiño with colourful costumes, street parades, floats, and music.
If you’re a fan of interesting festivals and local culture, be sure to check it out.
Best of all, Boracay is quite compact and everything is within reach. The island doesn’t allow cars, but there are plenty of tuk-tuks, bicycles, and other light vehicles to get around.
The unique colours of Chocolate Hills
Although it was once a hidden gem, Chocolate Hills attract more and more visitors every year, each coming to see these uniquely-shaped hills for themselves.Thousands of cone-shaped mountains are sprinkled over a span of 50 kilometres in the centre of BoholIsland. The hills are named because they look like chocolate truffles after the green vegetation turns to brown once the dry season comes around. One of the best viewpoints can be found at the Chocolate Hills Complex, which has an expansive terrace and observation deck overlooking dozens of hills.
The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
Although there are many rice fields across Southeast Asia, perhaps the most famous are the rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
The rice terraces spread across the Philippine Cordillera mountain range (hence the name), and you will find five sites in total.
These terraces were thought to have been constituted between 400 to 2,000 years ago in an effort to sustain the villages living in the area.
The Historic City of Vigan
Fans of beautiful architecture and historical cities will love the charming city of Vigan.
Just like the rice terraces mentioned above, Vigan also has a firm place as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its fusion of colonial and Asian architecture, cobbled streets, and colourful houses.
In fact, the city is best known as the world’s best-preserved Spanish colonial town, built nearly 500 years ago. Thanks to this distinctive mix of different architectures and cultures, Vigan is one of the most unique cities in Southeast Asia.
As you walk along the cobbled streets, you’ll feel a special, almost retro atmosphere. Among the main attractions, be sure to visit the courtyards in Vigan Cathedral, the house of Filipino patriot José Burgos, and the President's residence.
Last but certainly not least, let’s finish off with a hidden gem. Although the Philippines are famous for their beaches and islands, you will also find plenty of other natural wonders — including an active volcano. Many locals like to boast that the Mayon Volcano is one of the most picturesque volcanoes in the world, and it’s true. Mayon has an ideal cone shape, green groves of trees growing along its slopes, and smoke going up into the sky from its peak.
Mayon Volcano is located on the island of Luzon in the central part of the country. While here, visitors can opt to go hiking to the top of the volcano, visit the Cagsawa Ruins (which have the remnants of a16th-century Franciscan church that survived an eruption), or see the top of the volcano by a seaplane trip.
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