The Philippines is the up and coming holiday destination offering the best of Asia. The country boasts over 7,000 islands, which offer paradise beaches, historical sites and exciting experiences. With so much to choose from, a trip to the Philippines will always be fun-filled. Here is a list of the top not-to-miss attractions from this beautiful country.
The best beach: Boracay
The tiny island of Boracay was voted second best destination in the world in Travel & Leisure magazine 2013. Don’t let the tourist draw put you of: it is worth the hype. The main 4km white sand beach stretches along the pure blue sea. The crowds gather here during the day, and at night it becomes the party location, with bars, music and fire twirling. Everything is available to entertain visitors: scuba diving and snorkelling, boat tours, horse riding, and cave exploring. For a more local and peaceful experience, head north to Diniwid Beach.
The best landscape: The Chocolate Hills
The Chocolate Hills are a unique sight, seen only on the island of Bohol. There are up to 1776 conical shaped hills on the island, creating a surreal landscape. It is still a mystery how these hills were formed, and many legends have sprung up around them. This UNESCO World Heritage Site can be visited any time of year. Wet season is lusher, while in dry season sightseers can view the hills in their ‘chocolate’ brown state. The hills cannot be climbed but are viewed from platforms, allowing a birds-eye view of the mystifying scenery.
The best historical site: Banaue Rice Terraces
The Banaue National Cultural Treasure was originally created by the Ifugao people, who carved terraces out of the cliffs by hand. These terraces have been used for over 2000 years for rice growing. Soaring 1500m above sea level on the island of Luzon, they are a spectacular sight. It is a trek to get there, so often intrepid travellers find the place free of the tourist hoards. Sunrise Viewpoint has the best panorama, and local Igarot people pose for photographs and sell their handicrafts there. You can walk among the rice terraces, but hiring a guide is recommended.
The best to meet locals: Donsol
In the sleepiest corner of Sorogon province, Donsol is the best place to meet local people and wildlife alike. The fishing village offers traditional shrimp catching expeditions, using bamboos and nets, as well as places to eat the days’ tasty catch. The island has beautiful beaches, waterfalls, caves, and boat cruises. The highlight is scuba diving to meet the resident gentle giants: whale sharks.
The best adventure: Mayon Volcano
Rising over 2,400 metres (8,000 ft) above the Gulf of Albay, Mayon Volcano is a favourite for hikers, climbers and bird watchers. Not one for the faint hearted, this is the most active volcano in the Philippines, with the last recorded lava flow in October 2014. Mayon is one of the most attractive volcanoes too. It is almost symmetrical in shape, and the crater is almost always smouldering. Visitors can climb to the crater, camp on the slopes and enjoy the beautiful wildlife.