Philippines Things to Do

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Things To Do as a Family

Boating in the Underground River of Palawan

One of the most popular attractions in the Philippines is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, also called the Underground River of Palawan. It's a cave with spectacular limestone karst formations and an underground river emerging directly into the sea. Families with kids will surely enjoy exploring the underground river on a boat and seeing the jaw-dropping cave formations.

Swim at Boracay's White Beach

Definitely one of the best things to do as a family in the Philippines is to visit the famous island of Boracay and swim at the White Beach. The stunning beach is the most popular strip on the island, lined with hotels, restaurants, and bars. It has shallow and calm water safe enough for the kids to swim. And while the little ones are playing in the water, the adults can relax on the beachside and perhaps get a good massage.

Island Hopping in Palawan

With its postcard-perfect islands and stunning beaches, Palawan is often the main reason many tourists come to the Philippines. These beautiful islands are some of the best in the world, and the best way to explore these islands is to go on an island-hopping tour.

You can book different tour packages for an island-hopping tour in Palawan. It's also possible to hire a private boat and explore on your own. Some islands may not be suitable for the little kids as it requires swimming into small hotels to get into the lagoons, so talk to the boat operator and plan your routes well.

Learn Surfing in Siargao

If your kids are interested to learn surfing, take them to Siargao, the Surfing Capital of the Philippines. The island is home to several surfing schools, including surf camps that offer "surf and stay" options. You can opt for the weekly surf packages or those that will last only a few days. If you have small kids, you'll find surfing schools that specialize in teaching kids under 15 years old. Run by professional surfers, you can guarantee the safety of your kids when taking surfing lessons.

Swim with Whale Sharks in Cebu

Swimming with whale sharks in Cebu is one of the fun things to do as a family in the Philippines. It's such a unique experience, something that your kids will surely remember for the rest of their lives. You will be riding a boat for this activity, and the boatmen will lure the whale sharks with food, allowing tourists to get a closer look at these amazing creatures and swim with them as well. The site for whale watching in Cebu is in the town of Oslob, a remote part of the island, about 3-4 hours away from the city centre.

Visit the Manila Ocean Park

Visiting the Manila Ocean Park is one of the best things to do as a family, especially if you've got curious little kids fond of marine life. This oceanarium is in the capital city, right next to the beautiful Manila Bay. Featuring fun dolphin shows and interesting shark encounters., the park is suitable for visitors of all ages. The park also features exhibits of various marine creatures, dining places, and hotels. But the highlight of the park is the glass observation tunnel offering great views of the creatures that live underwater.

Discover Historical Sites at Intramuros

If you want to learn more about the culture and history of the Philippines, head to the walled city of Intramuros. When strolling through its cobbled stone streets, you'll find historical sites dating hundreds of years ago, featuring Spanish influences. The Spanish ruled the Philippines for 300 years, and you will learn more about this in the Intramuros. The most popular sites you should check out within the walled city are Fort Santiago, Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, and the Museo de Intramuros.

Hike up the Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Hearing the word "chocolate hills" is enough to make your kids get excited about exploring Bohol, an island in the Central Visayas Region. The chocolate hills are unique, cone-shaped geological formations scattered all over the island and covered with green grasses that look "chocolatey" during the dry season. There are thousands of these hills all over the island. They look like giant chocolate kisses, making them truly interesting to see. The best way to admire these unique geological formations is through the viewing point of Sagbayan Peak, a mountain resort in the town of Sagbayan, which also has a small waterpark.

See the Tarsier in Bohol

Aside from the chocolate hills, another popular tourist attraction in Bohol is the tarsier. Tarsiers are very tiny primates that cling upright to trees. They move from one tree to another with the help of their elongated hind limbs. With their small body and large goggling eyes, these creatures are truly fascinating to watch up close. Endemic to the island of Bohol, they are one of the world's most endangered primates.

Experience Glamping in Baguio

Glamping is a more comfortable way of camping, and this trend is becoming more and more popular over the recent years, especially among families with kids. If you want to experience glamping in the Philippines, head to Baguio dubbed the "Summer Capital of the Philippines." Baguio is home to the Valleypoint Campsite, which offers tents of different sizes and fitted with comfortable beddings and some modern furniture. These tents are surrounded by gorgeous views of nature, allowing for a truly relaxing family bonding experience.

Top 10 Places to Visit in the Philippines

Boracay

Boracay is a world-renowned tourist destination about an hour's flight from Manila. Boasting pristine beaches, powdery white sands, and diverse marine life, it attracts tourists seeking a relaxing holiday in the Philippines.

Boracay is home to numerous beaches, but the most popular is the White Beach, featuring a 4-km strip of white sand lined with hotels, bars, and restaurants. Aside from the White Beach, the other beautiful beaches in Boracay are Puka Beach, Ilig-Iligan Beach, and Diniwid Beach. You can also enjoy various watersports in Boracay, such as kite surfing and standup paddle boarding, and you'll find tour operators offering these activities along the White Beach.

Palawan

Palawan is one of the top places to visit in the Philippines for a beach holiday. Offering a more serene and peaceful atmosphere, Palawan is home to unspoilt islands that you can best explore on an island-hopping tour.

As you hop from one island to another, you'll find the islands boast many untouched beaches surrounded by crystal clear blue waters. And given the excellent tropical climate all year round, Palawan is a paradise for every beach lover. During your island-hopping tour, you can take up several activities like snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, and more!

Cebu

Cebu is an island province that's part of the Visayas group of islands. Its capital city is the oldest in the Philippines and is home to various historical sites. Like the other islands in the Philippines, Cebu is also renowned for its beautiful beaches.

Cebu is said to be the birthplace of Christianity in the Philippines since this is where Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first landed. Because of this, you'll find many historical and religious sites spread across the city, including Magellan's Cross, the cross planted by Magellan to mark his successful colonization of the country. If you're here for the beach, head to the Bantayan Island up north or Moalboal in the south.

Bohol

Bohol is another island that belongs to the Visayas group of islands. It's famous for the unique geological formations called the "Chocolate Hills." These are thousands of hills covered with green grass that turn brown during the dry season, resembling chocolate. Thus, the name. Bohol is also famous for the tarsiers, the world's smallest primate. These tiny species are endemic to the Philippines and have recently become endangered.

Of course, Bohol will not disappoint if you're here for the beaches. It's home to Panglao Island, famous for its stunning white sand beaches and beautiful coral reefs. The island is also a popular spot for diving.

Siargao

Siargao is a popular destination for surfing and is definitely one of the top places to visit in the Philippines. Surfers from around the world would come to this island to ride its world-famous waves. But it's only recently that this island has gained the attention of tourists. Therefore, you won't find too many tourists on the island compared to Boracay and other islands.

Even if you're not into surfing, Siargao is still worth visiting. The island is home to pristine white beaches, perfect for swimming and snorkelling. You'll find these beaches at Naked Island, Daku Island, and Guyam Island.

Siquijor

If you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination, an island far from the tourist radar, head to Siquijor island. The island is a bit remote, but those who venture will be rewarded with unspoiled beaches, epic waterfalls, and gorgeous coral reefs.

You'll find many beautiful beaches in Siquijor, but Paliton Beach is the best. Despite being popular, it doesn't get too crowded, and there are days when you have the beach all to yourself! The Cambugahay Falls is another place you shouldn't miss while in Siquijor. This stunning, three-level waterfall has an enormous pool with rope swings that appeal to the more adventurous tourists.

Baguio

The Philippines is not all about the beaches. If you head to Luzon, you'll find many interesting places worth a visit, such as the city of Baguio, dubbed the "summer capital of the Philippines." It's set high up in the mountains, so the temperature here is colder than in most places in the Philippines. Locals who want to escape the summer heat would come to Baguio, about a 5-hour drive from Manila.

Baguio is also home to many public parks where you can enjoy a leisure hike. Some of the most popular attractions in the city include Camp John Hay, Burnham Park, and the strawberry farm.

Tagaytay

Tagaytay is another popular destination in Luzon that has a colder climate. Like Baguio City, Tagaytay has chilly weather due to its high altitude, situated above the mountain ridges. However, Tagaytay is more accessible from Manila, less than two hours’ drive away.

Tagaytay is a great place to relax and escape the chaos of Manila. It has a serene atmosphere with many excellent restaurants overlooking the magnificent views of the Taal Volcano. The volcano itself is one of the top places to visit in the Philippines. It's one of the world's smallest active volcanoes and sits on an island within a lake.

Vigan

Another popular destination in Luzon is Vigan, home to a well-preserved Spanish colonial town that's a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In case you didn't know, the Philippines was colonized by Spain for many years, leaving behind many heritage sites with strong Spanish influences.

Calle Crisologo is the most popular spot in Vigan, a cobblestone street lined with colonial-style houses. The best time to explore Calle Crisologo is before dusk, as lamps start to illuminate the beautiful street.

Manila

Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, is where you will most likely arrive on your visit to the country. While most tourists would fly directly to other destinations upon arriving in Manila, it's worth spending a day or two in the mega-metropolis.

Manila is home to some historical sites, such as the walled city of Intramuros, a 64-hectare Spanish fort built in 1571. Here, you'll find old churches built during Spanish times, such as the San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral. If you want to learn more about the history of the Philippines, you should spend some time exploring Intramuros.

Top 10 Places to Eat Out

Antonio's Restaurant, Tagaytay

If you want to enjoy fine dining in the Philippines, head to Tagaytay, and you'll find Antonio's. Offering a spectacular fine dining experience amidst gorgeous views, Antonio's is one of the top places to eat out in the Philippines if you want to escape the chaos of Manila.

The interiors of Antonio's exude an elegant feel, a perfect place to celebrate special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. Its menu features a wide variety of delectable Filipino and International dishes. They also have an excellent selection of wine to go with your meals. If you can't decide what to order, try one of the restaurant's specialities, the Sucking Pig Confit, served with herb-roasted marble potatoes and fermented black garlic rice.

Barbara's Heritage Restaurant, Manila

For a taste of authentic Filipino cuisine, head to Barbara's Heritage Restaurant in Manila. Located within Intramuros, a 400-year-old Spanish fort and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines, the restaurant's architectural design features a touch of Spanish colonial influence.

The restaurant interior exudes a warm and cosy ambience reminiscent of the colonial era, complete with antique furniture and chandeliers. Aside from serving delectable Filipino dishes, Barbara’s also offers guests a taste of Filipino culture and tradition. Diners are treated to traditional Filipino dance performances and other cultural presentations. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner buffets, and some ala carte dishes. Some of the most popular dishes on their menu include paella de mariscos, crispy pata, and beef kare-kare.

Blackbird Restaurant, Manila

Blackbird is one of the best places to enjoy fine dining in Manila. Located in the heart of Makati, the country's financial capital, Blackbird offers a sophisticated ambience with top-notch services focused on the warm hospitality of the Filipino people.

The restaurant is housed in the iconic Nielson Tower. Built during the 1930s, this is where the country's first commercial airport is located. Thus, the menu is inspired by the building's aviation history, combined with international classics and contemporary Asian dishes. Some of the most popular items on the menu include the peppered tuna steak with warm potato and bacon salad and grilled Iberico pork skewers.

Wave Bar & Lounge, Boracay

The famous tourist island of Boracay is home to some of the best places to eat out in the Philippines. One of these is the Wave Bar & Lounge, a restaurant & bar housed in Henann Regency Resort and Spa, a luxury resort along the White Beach.

Located in the beachfront area, Wave has multiple dining areas, including an al fresco bar and an indoor club at the upper level. Aside from delectable dishes, Wave also serves an excellent selection of tapas and bar specials for the perfect night out in Boracay.

Aria Cucina Italiana, Boracay

If you find yourself craving Italian cuisine while on holiday in Boracay, you should check out Aria Cucina Italiana. Aria is a modern trattoria located along the beachfront of Boracay, right at the entrance of D'Mall, an outdoor shopping area by the beach.

Like any traditional trattoria, the restaurant serves classic Italian dishes, from wood-fired pizzas to homemade pasta. The restaurant also serves meat and seafood dishes prepared by Italian chefs. Aside from the delicious food on the menu, diners especially love the restaurant for its simple interiors and casual atmosphere. You can also dine al fresco for a wonderful beachfront dining experience.

Zubuchon, Cebu City

When looking for the best places to eat out in the Philippines, head to Cebu, the country's oldest city. Established by the Spanish in 1565, the city's culinary scene is influenced heavily by Spanish culture. For a taste of authentic Cebuano delicacies, head to Zubuchon.

The Pig & Palm, Cebu City

When fine dining in Cebu, head to The Pig & Palm, a restaurant run by Michelin-starred British chef Jason Atherton. Featuring a modern European menu, The Pig & Palm aims to bring a taste of European gastronomy to Cebu in a contemporary environment.

The menu consists of tapas-style sharing dishes made from high-quality Filipino produce.

Aling Lucing Sisig, Pampanga

Dubbed the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, Pampanga is another place home to the top places to eat out in the Philippines. One of Pampanga's most popular dishes is sisig, a dish made from parts of a pig's face and chicken liver, seasoned with onions, peppers, and other spices.

The best place to eat this popular Filipino dish is in a humble restaurant called Aling Lucing Sisig. The restaurant is owned by Lucia Cunanan, also known as "Aling Lucing," who herself invented the dish.

Bondi&Bourke, Davao City

Davao is a city belonging to the Mindanao group of islands. It's about a two-hour flight from Manila and home to Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the country. The city may be far from the tourist radar, but it has a few attractions worth checking out, including a conservation centre for the endangered Philippine eagles.

Davao is also home to some of the top places to eat out in the Philippines, and one of these is Bondi & Bourke. Featuring a quintessential modern Australian dining experience, Bondi & Bourke is run by award-winning chef Wade Watson. The restaurant also serves premium wines and handcrafted cocktails in a social alfresco setting.

Loboc Riverwatch Floating Restaurant, Bohol

When in Bohol, an island famous for its "Chocolate Hills," one of the top things to do is dine at a floating restaurant in the Loboc River. You will be riding a boat resembling a floating house with a thatched roof and a large dining room.

As the boat glides down the river, diners will be treated to delectable lunch buffets and serenaded by local singers and dancers. There are many floating restaurants along the Loboc River. One of these is the Loboc Riverwatch Floating Restaurant, where guests will be treated to a lunch buffet featuring a sumptuous array of Filipino dishes.

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