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Okay, this is going to be epic. I LOVED the Philippines and it’s up there with one of the most beautiful countries in the world (the water is definitely the best in the world).
So to help inspire your own adventure here, I’ve compiled a list of the 50 best things to do in the Philippines!
The chocolate hills of Bohol are one of the most iconic sights in all of Bohol and the Philippines. They are a natural phenomenon and basically big mounds that have formed and look like hills. They’re brown in colour during the dry season, so that’s why they are called “chocolate hills”, not because there is chocolate near them (I seriously read that someone thought chocolate was there hehe)
It’s a cool spot and one of the great things to see in the Philippines that isn’t water based.
This is probably one of my favourite things to do in the Philippines and it involves staying on the only accommodation allowed on Coron island. You might be thinking, what’s so special about that? Well when you take a Coron island tour, you’re with lots of other people and it can get crowded.
But when you are staying within the crystal clear waters, you’re the only one there and you can literally step off your houseboat and snorkel in the water. Take a kayak and kayak to all the best spots that tourists flock too.
If you like to jump into waterfalls, then you’re going to love these waterfalls in Siquijor. They’re actually a pretty famous picture spot too, but you can swim in the falls and go on the swings that have been built by locals. It’s lots of fun and a great place to spend an afternoon or morning in the sun.
If you do want to go when no one is there, you will need to visit super early (6-7am).
Seeking some adrenaline pumping activities? Then head to Salagdoong beach in Siquijor. Actually, jumping into the sea from a dive board isn’t my thing, but it is brad’s and he had a lot of fun.
The water here is super blue and there actually used to be a cool slide that went into the water, but it’s closed now (I would have done that!) But even if you don’t wanna jump, the water is perfect for swimming in, then relax on the loungers and catching a tan. (or trying too if you’re irish like me)
Whether you’re an experienced surfer or you just want to learn, Siargao is the spot in the Philippines that has waves. It’s a really well established tourist island and Siargao itself is beautiful and actually is regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
Anyway, there are lots of surf opportunities, and most of the waves are for the experienced surfer, but there is one beach that’s got beginner waves and the chance to learn to surf!
Some really cool surf competition ares held here too.
Sugba lagoon is clear, beautiful, has diving opportunities and fast becoming a very popular tourist attraction in the Philippines, hence in the peak season it gets super busy, super quickly! But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit, it just means you should visit on a weekday and get the VERY first boat over to the lagoon.
Whilst visiting the lagoon above, you can take a mangrove tour and spot some crocodiles. They’re massive, so I mean, I wouldn’t want to get close to one, but seeing one from afar would be cool. You drive through some of the mangroves in order to get to the lagoon above, but you can also opt for a private tour that gets you closer, and you can stop at a mangrove viewpoint.
Ah, Guyam island, one of my favourite things to do in the Philippines. I want to own this island, but it’s already got an owner, and actually you can rent the island out for private events, like a wedding or just big birthday party, which is pretty cool.
You usually stop on this island as part of an island hopping tour in Siargao, but you can get a quick boat over if you just want to spend the full day there, swimming, relaxing and sipping on rum. Dreammmyy.
Located on Mount tayas in Coron town, the hollywood sign of Coron is a great place to hike to in the morning for sunrise, or sunset in the evening. It’s also a great place to fly a drone and get a proper pic of you and the Coron sign!
At the top there isn’t much going on, but before you go up there are a few shops selling food, drinks and when we visited there were two little boys walking up and down (it’s a tough walk in the heat, but they made it look easy, of course!), selling ice lollies.
These hot springs are well maintained and super hot. It’s a little weird being in hot weather then soaking in super hot springs, so I suggest you go early in the morning, or as late as possible. But it’s still pretty cool, and if you’ve never been to hot springs before then these are a great start! They’re super clean, the only problem is there is no shower, so you’ll be a little hot and sweaty.
Kaswan falls are probably the most famous waterfalls in the Philippines, and it’s no surprise really. It’s really that blue! The water is perfect for swimming and the falls are powerful. You need to visit around 7-8am to get no one there, otherwise the atmosphere isn’t the same.
I suggest you stay close to the falls the night before to make your drive more bearable.
Another popular thing to do at Kawasan falls (that we didn’t do) is canyoneering. Basically you start in the jungle and trek through beautiful forest, up and down waterfalls, jump in the water, climb through caves etc, until you get to your final destination of Kasawan falls!
These tours start pretty early, but actually if you forget to book something, when you get there early, people are still asking you if you want to do canyoneering, so you could quickly see the falls with no one at them, then take part in the fun stuff!
Just a little up the road from Kaswan falls there are some beautiful waterfalls, my favourite being Cambais Falls. It was just Brad, I and some local kids. I went for a swim whilst Bradley jumped into the water too. It was a nice walk through a forest to get to the falls and there are a couple of shops to buy snacks. It’s not touristy at all!
Bradley did this in Moalboal in Cebu! It’s a natural phenomenon that hundreds of thousands of sardines are all located in this one area, and you can swim with them.
They don’t touch you, but it looks super cool and makes for a unique picture! Brad did it DIY, you just turn up, rent snorkel gear and he took a guy out with him to take some photos of him (unfortunately our camera messed up and they weren’t good), but it was pretty darn cheap!
Located in the town of Dimiao in Bohol there are a number of secluded and beautiful waterfalls and Ingkumhan falls are one of them. There is a small pool to swim in and you can jump and swing in a few points. When we visited there was no one else there and it was a beautiful spot.
Another set of waterfalls in Bohol that make the best things to do in the Philippines list is Dagamam falls. They are so secret and secluded that it’s best you take a guide with you to go.
Well, our guide was just a local guy called Zoko and he only ask you to tip him what you think but he took us to some amazing waterfalls and we had them to ourselves. You could swim, jump and relax to your heart's content. This is his whatsup 0965 695 8533.
The cave pools in Bohol are unique and great. We didn’t swim in them because they were closed for swimming (not sure why), but you can swim in them! It looks quite scary because you can’t see what’s underneath you.
Even if you aren’t swimming, it’s still pretty cool to visit in my opinion!
Loboc river is located in north of Bohol and it’s a really nice place to relax. Actually, bradley and I got lost trying to find the river, the main part with all the floating restaurants (Which look so cool), but we did go to the river itself at a different spot and it was pretty beautiful!
This is one of the cool things to do in the Philippines.
When you take an island hopping trip on the coast of Bohol, as you’re driving to your first location, you’ll see lots of dolphins as they’re just in the water there. They swim alongside the boats and as someone who LOVEs dolphins, I loved this! They get pretty close which is super cool.
This is typically part of bohol island hopping tour, but actually, the snorkel here was so darn good! They take you to one strip area that’s brimming with fish, and this was the final bit of snorkelling I did in the Philippines and I seen so many cool fish, was literally surrounded by them which was amazing.
So if you want one snorkel experience that you won’t forget and area guaranteed to see fish, then I suggest this one!
There are lots of chances to party when in El Nido, and it’s no surprise it’s earned a reputation as the party destination of the Philippines. There are plenty of bars and clubs to party at, but if you want to try something different, then check out the full moon party at El Nido.
It’s held monthly and brad and I left the day before it happened, but I’ve heard good things. I’ve been to the full moon party in Thailand twice, so if it’s anywhere near as good as that, you’re in for a treat!
Oh Nacpan beach, even as I think about it, I wish I was back there. It’s regarded as the most beautiful beach in Asia and it doesn't surprise me at all. It’s stunning.
Because it’s such a long stretch of beach, you can easily get a whole section to yourself. There are a couple of bars and restaurants for a romantic dinner on the beach, or a cocktail, but the beach is lined with beautiful coconut trees and the water is blue and a perfect temperature for swimming.
This is one of my favourite places in the world and it’s without a doubt the best place in the Philippines for sunset.
Another thing you can do in Nacpan beach and that area in general is glamping on the beach. We looked into this, but it was basically booked up. But it looks so cool to just camp under the stars (there is no light pollution) and just wake up to a beautiful sunrise and a swim in the sea.
One of the more unique things to do in the Philippines.
The rock pools of Siargao is a great place to visit in the morning when noone is around. When the tide is tiring, the place is amazing. Any other part of the day can be overcrowded. But you can find other mini rock pools beside the most iconic one to relax alone in.
Maasin bridge is located in Siargao in the village area and it’s basically a bent coconut tree that the locals have made a swing onto and you can climb up the tree, swing into the river. You can go take kayaks and take a river tour, or get a bamboo float.
It’s a really cool little place in Siargao, but that tree will break eventually, so the attraction won’t be there forever.
Sohoton cave is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines that Bradley and I didn’t go to, with big regret! I’d seen pictures of this place before we went, and I can’t even remember why we didn’t go, I think we ran out of time.
You organise this trip from Siargao for a day, and you can visit caves, fly your drone and get some amazing pictures and much more.
Naked island in Siargao is basically a sand bank. If you’ve never been on one then it’s pretty cool, but it’s super super warm as there is no shade. Now, when we went, we didn’t get naked, but our guide told us that she has taken groups and they’ve got naked on naked island, so...do as you dare!
Daku Island is an island just off Siargao that actually has about 300 people living on it. It’s a beautiful area with some of the bluest waters I’ve ever seen and absolutely perfect for swimming and relaxing. This island has lots of great restaurants and bars, so you could easily chill for a couple of hours here.
You’ve probably seen the pictures of this lake on Instagram and it really is as beautiful as it looks. What I would say that if you go when it’s super busy, then a bit of the charm will disappear, but head super early in the morning on an early tour or staying at the Paolyn Houseboats we mentioned earlier.
The Philippines is one of the cheapest places in the world to learn how to dive. And, it’s one of my biggest regrets that we didn’t learn. Basically it was down to timing. But the Philippines is known for having some of the best diving spots in the world, including really cool shipwrecks in Coron. So, if you've got time, get your diving certificate here!
Big lagoon is located in El Nido and it’s one of the most popular places to visit on an El Nido island hopping tour. It’s so cool! You can rent out kayaks and kayak in the lagoon. The water is so pure and beautiful. It was of my favourite place in the Philippines.
Secret lagoon is another great place to visit. I actually prefer the water that’s located just before the secret lagoon. You’ve got to queue to get into the secret lagoon and if the tide hasn’t cleaned the water yet, it may seem a little icky.
But the crystal clear water outside it is really cool.Just be aware of the tiny jellyfish that will give you little pricks of stings. It’s more annoying than it is painful!
The Philippines is made up of 7,000 islands, so if you want to experience as many of them as possible, then you’re going to need to island hop. I loved every single island hopping tour wee did, with the highlight being in Port Barton. They are all well organised and it never felt too crowded.
Bali beach is a beautiful spot in Coron that’s secluded, and peaceful. When we visited we were the only ones there. There wasn’t an entrance fee, but the lady did ask that we buy something at her shop, she had some beers and coke, so we bought a coke! There is a cute little swing too and some dogs to pet!
Cabo beach is also at coron and it’s even more beautiful. The view here is of limestone cliffs and mountains and it’s bloody amazing. The water is also super clear and blue and a great place to swim. You’ll see lots of people swimming, sunbathing and drinking a few beers. One of the most surprising and unexpected spots to find in the Philippines.
The twin reefs are one of the most photographed spots in Coron island and they’re truly beautiful and scenic. We visited this spot around 4 and it was quieter than usual. It is deep which freaked me out for a bit, but it’s beautiful!
There are coral gardens all over the Philippines. It’s basically a part of the water that’s got very healthy and alive coral so there are lots of different fish. The one in Coron island was filled with clown fish (better known as Nemo fish) so if you want to see those cute fish then there is your best bet!
We didn’t actually go to Calauit island but I’m mentioning it because I did research and it looked pretty unique. There is basically a safari animals up there, such as giraffes, so if you want a safari experience on an island, then this is your spot!
The Philippines is home to some of the most amazing sunsets in the entire world. I’ve mentioned many different spots that would make great sunset spots, but you need to catch as many sunset spots as you possibly can when you are there.
One of the cool and unique things to do in the Philippines is visit the indigenous tribes on Coron island. People still live there and it’s one of the reasons why accommodation and hotels can’t be built there. But you can arrange a tour if you want to learn more about these people. actually the guys who work on Coron Paolynn Houseboats are locals from the island.
If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a drone, then now is the time to do it. There are no restrictions on drones in the Philippines and they actually encourage it (you can rent ones out- though they aren't great), but droning in the Philippines will allow you to capture some amazing content. We use a mavic pro and it’s amazing.
The rum in the Philippines is amazing. Because it’s locally made, it’s super cheap (like, $2 for a litre), and it takes amazing. It’s like a spiced rum and I highly recommend you check it out (if you drink). When we were visiting Siargao and driving around, when we met locals they were just offering us rum at like 10 am! It’s almost as cheap as water.
There is nothing quite as relaxing as a massage on the beach and for a cheap price. Well, the Philippines has the opportunity for beach massages at every turn. They were very cheap and popular in Bohol, but you can get them at most beaches that tourists occupy.
One of the most relaxing things to do in the Philippines.
You’ve probably seen the amazing pictures of the coconut viewpoint in Siargao! It’s super super cool. It’s basically just a high point in the road that gives you an epic view of coconut trees that stretch for miles and miles. It’s a beautiful spot and worth seeing.
This was one of the best activities in the Philippines ever and it was one of the major highlights of my trip. I love turtles and in Port Barton we got to swim with BIG turtles.
There are a few giant turtles that come and go around one spot and we were lucky enough to see two when we were swimming. Turtles are so cute when they swim and I’ll always cherish being able to swim with them.
The water was so blue, pure and clean, definitely one of the very best things to do in the Philippines. Do not miss this!
This is another set of falls in Siquijor that’s really cool. When we visited the falls were dry, but if you walk another 10 minutes into the jungle, you’ll come across a set of hidden cold springs and they’re really cool to relax in.
We did this in Siquijor and it was great! Basically the Philippines love their basketball, and it’s their big sport in the country. Because of that, all the local towns have basketball courts and you’ll always see kids playing.
Basically, in Siquijor there was a court joined onto our property we were staying at and we saw a bunch of kids playing and Brad, I and our awesome friends (Sophie and Wayne) played with them!
I say “play”, but we all took turns shooting some hoops!
The badilan viewpoint is the highest point on the Siquijor island and it gives you beautiful views around and across the island. I think it makes a great place for both sunrise and sunset, but be aware there isn't much going on up there so bring snacks and drinks with you.
The BBQs in the Philippines are something special! When you go on any island hopping tour, or tour in general, you will get lunch included and 99% of thee time it’s on the beach and it’s a freshly cooked BBQ. If you don’t go on a tour, head to a beachside restaurant and get a BBQ.
So there you have it, my guide to the amazing things to do in the Philippines. There are other things to do such as the Underground tunnels in Puerto Princesa, but I didn’t research this, or know anything about it, and you can swim with whale sharks in Oslob Cebu, but this is actually unethical, so I don’t recommend you do it either.
Other than that, you’ve got plenty of things here to keep you busy on a Philippines trip. But, if you’ve got anything else to add to the list then drop me a comment below.