Although the picture most people have of the Philippines is one of palm-shaded beaches, the country actually offers a huge range of experiences to satisfy every type of traveler.
For history buffs, there are Spanish Colonial forts, churches, and towns. Nature lovers can try world-class scuba diving, swim with whale sharks, and encounter rare flora and fauna. Adventure junkies can go surfing, spelunking (caving), or mountain-climbing all over the archipelago. And for wellness enthusiasts, the Philippines has its own unique traditions and award-winning spas to enjoy.
You don’t have to part with much money to have a good time in the Philippines. A tent or bamboo hut on a jaw-dropping beach, with three meals a day, will cost you less than US$40 (£32) per person. For those with a little more to spend, the Filipino creativity plays out beautifully in its well-designed, mid-range hotels and resorts. And finally, if you have the urge to splurge, the Philippines has perfected the concept of barefoot luxury in top resorts such as Amanpulo, Abaca, and the Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa.
This is a country where you will max out your memory card and run your camera battery dry, again and again. For majestic, can’t-look-away seascapes, make your way to El Nido and Coron in Palawan. In the highlands of Luzon, you’ll find centuries-old rice terraces and jungle-clad peaks aplenty. The islands in the Visayas lure travelers with lush countryside, soothing rivers, and amazing underwater scenery. And, of course, let’s not forget the countless sparkling beaches and famous sunsets.
Because so many of the population can communicate in English, it’s easy to make friends with the Filipinos. Quick to laugh, joke, and smile, the locals are often more than happy to show you the best corners of their paradisiacal islands, and even happier to invite you over for dinner, drinks, and maybe a high-spirited round of karaoke.
Finally, the Philippines is home to 7,107 islands, so you and your partner can be as solitary or as surrounded by people you choose. There are still many gorgeous, little-known islands where you can have beautiful beaches, bubbling waterfalls, and starry nights all to yourselves.