Filipinos are renowned for the immense pride they take in their homeland. Anything made in the Philippines or achieved by a Filipino, especially when recognized abroad, sets off a flood of national joy. In a country as startlingly beautiful as the Philippines, there is indeed plenty to be proud of. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful places to visit in this nation of more than 7,000 islands.
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With its gorgeous rock formations, pristine beaches and clear aquamarine waters, El Nido is a place that makes Filipinos beam with pride. Located on the northern tip of mainland Palawan, the municipality of El Nido has been increasingly drawing tourists in year after year, with more travellers, both local and foreign, discovering its undeniable beauty. The area is responsible in large part for why Palawan is recognized –and has been for some time – as the best island in the world.
Also within the gorgeous province of Palawan is the municipality of Coron. With crystal clear waters perfect for snorkelling, powdery white sandy beaches and innumerable picture-perfect landscapes, Coron is a beach bum’s dream. As in El Nido, travellers can charter a small boat or join organized tour groups for day trips around the many islands and lagoons here. One stop that should not be missed is the breathtaking Kayangan Lake, dubbed the cleanest in the country and surrounded by stunning karst walls; truly a sight to behold, both above and below the water.
The pride of Bohol Province, the rolling landscapes of the Chocolate Hills were named after their colour transition taking place between the wet and dry seasons when they grow a deeper and deeper shade of brown. Over 1,000 hills are estimated to be scattered across the 50sqkm (5,000ha) area.
Intramuros, nestled within today’s restless Metro Manila, is a walled area that played an important role in the country’s history. The heart of old Manila, the area packs a lot into its 0.5sqkm (50ha) size and with cobblestone streets, preserved ruins and colonial architecture, Intramuros is a must-see for visitors to the capital. Visitors can go on walking tours to learn about Intramuros and the country’s history and take kalesa (horse-drawn calash) rides around the historic zone.
Perhaps the second most popular Philippine island next to Palawan is the island of Boracay. Known for its powdery white sand, spectacular sunsets and vibrant nightlife, Boracay has long been a tourist hotspot Filipinos like to brag about, but the island was shut in 2018 due to a large-scale sewage problem, which dramatically affected tourism. With a long list of activities and watersports available, visitors will never run out of things to do on the island.
Gaining more and more popularity in recent years is the country’s surf capital of Siargao. Strategically located on the east coast, Siargao receives strong winds and currents that flow in steadily from the Pacific Ocean. To the delight of surfers, this gives the island solid swells they can enjoy, including the famous Cloud 9.
One natural wonder that locals are truly proud of, Mount Mayon sits in the Filipino province of Albay. Mayon is an active volcano (the most active in the country) that is famous for its seemingly perfect symmetry. Standing at nearly 2,500m (8,200ft), its flawless conical shape captivates anyone who sets eyes on it. And while viewing it from afar is a sensational sight, it is best experienced up close through a multi-day hike.
This deep spring river in the province of Surigao del Sur takes its name from the mystical qualities locals believe surround the body of water. With its enchanting shades of deep blues and greens, the river is believed by locals to be guarded by fairies and other spirits known as engkanto. Contributing to its mystical nature is the unexplained source of its clear saltwater.
Batanes offers an escape like nowhere else in the country. Perched at the northernmost tip of the Philippines, Batanes is surrounded by picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, big sky and azure seas. A tranquil, slowed-down vibe permeates life here, with locals known for their pleasant and amiable nature. They are also proud of their province’s virtually non-existent crime rate.
Explore more of Asia on our 10-day trip to Northern Thailand or our 12-day adventure around Japan. Alternately, browse our collections of Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips to find your next exciting destination.
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