Heaven on Earth? YES.
With over seven thousand islands the Philippines are layered with countless white beaches and hundreds of deliciously fresh coconuts – so what are you waiting for? Book your flights and discover Asia’s best-kept secrets…
- UK residents have a free 28-day tourist visa
- Best time to visit: the dry season is between October and May
- The cheapest months to fly are in March/ April from Manchester Airport
- 1 British Pound = roughly 72 Philippine Pisos
- Locals speak really good English
- Good WiFi is very hard to come by
- If you want to island-hop (I strongly recommend) then book your flights between islands as far in advance as you possibly can, it can get really expensive if not
- Filipino cuisines are delicious
I spent 28 days island hopping and adventuring so here’s a list of 10 favourites to do in the Philippines:
1. Swim with whale sharks in Donsol
So, I have been obsessed with whale sharks for what seems like forever so I wanted to go to a place where I knew that whale sharks would swim naturally on their own terms. I did my research. Donsol is south of Manila where we first landed in the Philippines. Ready for a journey? Yes? Me too.
To get to Donsol you have to take a bus to Barlaran from the airport for 20 pesos (27p) which took around 20 minutes. Next, you have to catch a bus to Cubao (Araneta Centre) costing 35 pesos (48p) which took around 2 hours with bad traffic. The bus terminal was very efficient, a ticket to Legazpi City costs 1,100 pesos (£15.30) leaving at 9pm to then arrive 11 hours later. The last stretch of the journey would require you taking a minibus to the Donsoltourist information centre, this costs 98 pesos (£1.36) and takes around an hour.
Dancalan Beach next door to the tourist information centre – 500 pesos for a double room, 250 each (£3.47) with a shared bathroom. This place was a beautiful start to our trip because it was so quiet, the beach was right at our doorstep. Make sure you order their vegetable fried rice and mango pancakes!
Come 12 o’clock we hopped on a private boat with four men on a mission to find whale sharks. I cannot applaud these men enough as they were nothing less than professionals. The water wasn’t clear and the sun was hiding yet these guys spotted our first whale shark within 20 minutes! We had hired the boat for 3 hours so for us to be entering the water this soon was really exciting.
*Due to cloudy conditions please excuse these poor quality GoPro photographs!
2. Cebu – Kawasan Falls
Most famous for those icy blue waters and yes, the water really is this blue!
Tip: Visit in time for sunrise in order to beat the crowds!
3. Cebu – White Beach
We stayed in Moalboal which is about 30-minutes on a scooter from Kawasan Falls and a 5-minute scooter ride to White Beach.
Tip: We loved hiring a scooter and going for long rides to explore the surrounding area – it was beautiful!
4. Cebu – Badian – Inambakan Falls
There are so many destinations in the Philippines for waterfalls. If I were you I’d research the ones you like the look of the most, rent a scooter and go from there.
Tip: We arrived at around 11am and this place was still quite empty whereas I’ve heard Kawasan Falls can get very busy after a certain time!
5. Siargao Island – Soul Tribe Beach Retreat
A surfers paradise. It was hard to leave this island; we enjoyed the people, food, scooter rides and water so much that we ended up staying longer than expected.
Accommodation: Soul Tribe Beach Retreat is a beautiful getaway for anyone wanting to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of travelling.
6. Siargao – Island Boat Tour
The boat tours from this island are beautiful and easy to book through your accommodation: we were taken to a few sand islands, snorkel spots and ended with a Filipino BBQ (where you buy all of the ingredients at the market beforehand) on the beach. This may possibly have been one of the best meals in my entire life…
7. Bohol Island
Here, we completed our first night and deep dive with Bohol Divers Club. Diving is probably one of my favourite activities to do in Southeast Asia because it’s cheap and lets you discover what a fascinating underwater world we have!
Bohol is also home to the Chocolate Hills. Unfortunately, there is no chocolate to be found but there is, however, perfectly shaped hills dotted across the horizon… sorcery.
8. Siquijor Island – Cambugahay Falls
Known for its mystical witchcraft, scuba diving and adventure packed waterfalls. We stayed in a small town called San Juan at JJ packers, I recommend heading down to Monkey Business for their delicious food!
Tips: have 50 Pisos ready for entry and don’t forget to explore the surrounding waterfalls instead of staying by the main one.
Swing through the jungle like Tarzan and I’ll be your Jane. Too cheesy? Moving on…
9. Siquijor Island – Salagdoong Beach
Tip: From San Juan, it took around 1hr – 1hr30 to drive here on a scooter but there are lots of gorgeous views along the way to keep you occupied!
10. Palawan – El Nido > Coron
Finally, home to crystal clear water, palmy beaches and mermaid life is Palawan.
Island hopping tours were easy to set up through front desks or travel shops along the main strips. As a big fan of the Filipino BBQ, I highly recommend taking an El Nido > Coron boat tour for the day where you can bag yourself a gorgeous beach BBQ cooked while you’re working up an appetite free diving towards abandoned shipwrecks and getting that insta-worthy shot jumping into Kayangan Lake!
That concludes my 10 favourite things to do in the Philippines, thanks for reading!
Drop me a comment if you have any more questions.