Top 20 sightseeing the best attractions to see on your holiday

Top 20 Sightseeing Spots in the Philippines

It’s more fun in the Philippines!

This may be just a short slogan set by the Department of Tourism of the Philippines but it conveys a more profound meaning.

The Republic of the Philippines, or simply Philippines, is a Southeast Asian country that is consists of 7,107 islands. In addition to its rich history and well preserved culture, the Philippines offer a bundle of activities to do and interesting places to visit which you will surely enjoy regardless of whether you are visiting the country for a family holiday trip, for honeymoon, for business travel or just hanging around discovering something new. From Asia’s 24/7 island of Boracay and beautiful beaches to the world’s most famous dive site and sounds in Cebu, from scrumptious gastronomy to fun trekking, you will surely enjoy your holiday trip in the country.

The Philippines is also famous for its many fun festival activities like the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan, the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City and Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo City on January, the Tawo – Tawo Festival in Bayawan City and Panagbenga in Baguio City on February, Kaamulan Festival in Malaybalay, Bukidnon and Moriones Festival in Marinduque on March and a lot more.

More to that, let us take a quick foretaste of what wonderful things and places we can enjoy in this sovereign island country through this list of top 20 sightseeing spots in the Philippines.

1. Boracay

Hailed as the world’s best island by Travel + Leisure international travel magazine, Boracay offers more than just gently sloping and flour-like sand. Boracay is regarded as the most exquisite beach in the entire Asia. This small island is also widely known worldwide for being among the most visited destinations for relaxation. Apart from the warm and calm waters as well as from the very picturesque sceneries, Boracay is also known as one of the top destinations in the world for nightlife and tranquility. It is located in the Municipality of Malay, Aklan Province in Visayas.

2. Banaue Rice Terraces

The Hagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe, internationally known as the Banaue Rice Terraces, is one of the National Cultural Treasures of the Philippines. These 2,000 years old staircase-like terraces are also known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. The terraces were manually carved using mostly bare hands by the indigenous people of Ifugao, Northern Luzon. The terraces can be found at roughly 5000 feet above sea level. The best time to visit the site is during winter where you can be able to see clearly and appreciate the natural beauty of the carved mountains of Ifugao as well as during harvest season. The landscape is golden during the harvest time in June. During this time also, the local government holds a lot of interesting and fun activities for everyone to enjoy.

3. Whitewater Rafting, Cagayan de Oro City

Cagayan de Oro City, also referred to as the “City of Golden Friendship” and the “Gateway to Northern Mindanao”, is regarded as the happiest city in the country. It is known as the leading whitewater adventure destination in the Philippines. It is famous for its river trekking and whitewater rafting. Apart from the river adventures, you can also enjoy a visit to the Macahambus Hill Cave and Gorge as well as to the Jatico Adventures where you may try various activities like hiking trails, five-course zip line and ATV rides. You may also enjoy the stunning waterfalls as well as have fun trekking and rappelling at the Mapawa Nature Park.

4. Camiguin

The island of Camiguin is a landmass in the Philippines that was mostly formed through volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. It is the second smallest island in the country with merely 240 square kilometers total land area. This small island is known to be the home to seven volcanoes, to a couple of hot and cold springs, refreshing falls as well as to the sweetest variety of the lanzones fruit. The island is also known for its sunken cemetery and Lanzones Festival. Among the points of interest in this islet is the 20 degrees Celsius Santo Niño Cold Spring, the 40 degree Celsius Ardent Hot Spring, the Tuawasan Falls, the Katibawasan Falls, the Mantigue Island, some ancestral homes, Spanish-era churches and ruins of historical towns.

5. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Puerto Princesa, identified as the “the city in a forest”, offers a variety of attractions that has something to do with the city’s commitment to the environment and natural wonders. Puerto Princesa is regarded as the greenest and the cleanest city in the country. It is widely known for the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, or simply the Underground River. This 8.2 kilometer long river is recognized as among the New 7 Wonders of Nature and is enlisted as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The river with its 24 kilometers long cave system, the Saint Paul Underground River Cave, is distinguished as the lengthiest navigable subterranean river in the world.

6. Hundred Islands National Park

With a total of 7,107 beautiful islands in the Philippines, choosing which island to explore first can be quite hard and intriguing. But did you know that you can actually explore approximately 120 islands in the country all at once? Well, if this sounds interesting to you, then you may head to the Hundred Islands National Park or Kapulo-puloan. The Hundred Islands is located in Alaminos City, Pangasinan Province in the northern region of the Philippines. The islands which sum up to 123 during high tide and 124 during low tide are distributed around the 16.76 square kilometers area of the gulf of Lingayen. Of the over one hundred islands in Lingayen Gulf, only three were developed and fostered for tourism. These islands are the Children’s Island, the Governor Island and Quezon Island.

7. Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort

Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort is a nascent holidaymaker hotspot in San Pablo in the province of Laguna. This 800 hectares hacienda and working coconut plantation is considered as among the main destinations for overseas Filipinos or balikbayans, local tourists and foreign visitors. The area was originally used for the Escudero family’s sugarcane plantation before it was converted into a coconut plantation and eventually a resort in 1981. Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort offers food, accommodations, village tours using the traditional Philippine jeepney and museum tour. More than the hypnotic beauty of nature, you will also enjoy learning more about the rich cultural heritage of the Philippines like the country’s traditional gastronomy, dance, customs, and dress.

8. Pagsanjan Falls

The Pagsanjan Falls, locally known as Magdapio Falls, is among the major tourist attractions in the province of Laguna and in the entire Philippine archipelago. Pagsanjan Falls features ruggedly beautiful three drops 91 meters waterfall. Although the falls is actually located in the town adjacent to Pagsanjan, called Cavinti, it is still referred to as Pagsanjan Falls since the jump-off point to the falls is located in Pagsanjan, Laguna. To get into the Pagsanjan Falls, you will first have to ride on a hired small boat or wooden canoe called a banka for roughly an hour. You will be lead to the Bumbungan and Balanac Rivers. You will be assisted by two experienced boatmen in navigating the wooden canoe to pass the local wildlife, scrubs, trees and lianas. Riding on a wooden canoe alone is already an exciting and thrilling experience. You will have to pass through the 14 rapids.

9. Chocolate Hills and Bohol

The Chocolate Hills is the most iconic landmark in Bohol. This mysteriously-made group of approximately 1268 to 1776 hills is not really huge. In fact, the highest hill measures 120 meters only while most of the hills are just anywhere between 30 and 50 meters high. The hills were called as the chocolate hills as they seem to look like perfectly shaped chocolate mounds. You may also enjoy playing and mingling with the cute and friendly Philippine Tarsiers which are very tiny, in fact, they can be able to fit comfortably in your hand’s palm.

10. Tubbataha Reef

The Philippines is not only rich in beautiful beaches, springs and waterfalls but also in diving spots like the famous Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu. The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, locally known as the Bahurang Tubbataha, is a protected marine and bird sanctuary in the Philippines. It can be found in the middle of the Sulu Sea, around 150 kilometers away from Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The park is divided into two gigantic atolls, the North and the South Atolls. It is recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for being one of a kind and excellent example of highly populous atoll reef and of a pristine coral reef.

11. Malapascua Island

Of all the 7,107 islands in the country, one of the most beautiful is the Malapascua Island. This small yet charming isolated island is popular for being a beach and diving paradise. Staying in one of the beach bungalow houses set in the middle of the homes of the locals will make you feel like you are part of the community and that you have really left behind the western world lifestyle. The tranquil environment, fresh air, breathtaking landscape, clean and crystal clear water as well as the picturesque view of the sunset will surely melt your heart away and will make you feel stress-free. Malapascua Island can be found in the Visayan Sea, just nearby the Cebu Island.

12. Vigan

In the Philippines, the finest way to see the rich Spanish heritage of the country is to visit Vigan. This Spanish-colonial fairy tale city is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site for showcasing an exceptional Spanish expatriate history in Asia. Vigan is one of the oldest and the most striking cities in the Philippines. The clattering horse-drawn carriages, locally known as kalesa, as well as the very well preserved and exceptionally intact cobblestone streets, ancient dark-wood mansions and other Spanish monumental architectural structures are the living testament of the rich history of this 16th century town during the Spanish regime in the country.

13. Manila Ocean Park

A trip to the Philippines will never be complete without a visit to the oceanarium in Manila known as Manila Ocean Park. The oceanarium is located in Ermita, Manila at the back of Quirino Grandstand at Rizal Park. Apart from shopping, dining and nightlife, the Manila Ocean Park also showcases a lot of interesting programs, activities and attractions including Jellies Exhibit, Fish Spa, boat ride at Glass Bottom, Fantasea games and rides, Birds of Prey Kingdom, Oceanarium, Travel to Antartica, Sharks and Rays Encounter and Mermaid Swim Experience.

14. Taoist Temple of Cebu

One of the must visit unusual destinations in Visayas is the Taoist Temple of Cebu. What makes this temple unusual and unique from all other Taoist temples in the world is its remarkable structure and design. It was built intricately with a concoction of contemporary and modern motif in the later part of the last century. It is located at the top of Cebu City’s millionaire quarter, the Beverly Hills. From the location of this lovely temple you can enjoy a very scenic view of the entire city. The temple also offers a perfect spot for taking beautiful photographs.

15. Taal Lake and Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano and Taal Lake are located in San Nicolas and Talisay in the province of Batangas. Taal Volcano, also referred to as Bombou, is just one of the complex volcanoes in the Philippines. The volcano has already recorded 33 historical eruptions and is currently ranked as the second of the most active volcanoes in the country. The Taal Lake, on the other end, is a freshwater lake that fills the large volcanic caldera called Taal Caldera which was formed as a result of some powerful and large eruptions that occurred around 500,000 and 100,000 years back. The Taal Lake is the third largest lake in the Philippines.

16. Star City

The Star City is a family-oriented amusement park in the Philippines that occupies a total land area of 35,000 square meters. It is located in in Pasay, just nearby the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The park is known for their world class amusement facilities as well as for their one-of-a-kind attractions like for instance the Winter Funland, go-kart track, roller coasters, Dino Island with the prehistoric artifacts museum and Star Theater. There are also miniature train rides, playground and kiddie rides which the kids can enjoy. The Snow World is one of the most loved attractions in the park. Here the whole family will enjoy looking at the carved ice castles and igloos, ice statues as well as the ice slides specially carved for children.

17. Camotes Islands

Another archipelago inside the Philippine Area of Responsibility is the Camotes Islands. This archipelago is situated north of Bohol Island, southwest of Leyte Island and east of Cebu Island. The Camotes Islands which is considered part of Cebu province is also known for its pseudonym “Lost Horizon of the south”. The archipelago encompasses one minor islet known as Tulang Island and three major islands, namely; Poro Island, Ponson Island and Pacijan Island.

18. Malacañan Palace

The Malacañan Palace is the official seat of the President of the Philippines. It also serves as the president’s principal office. The palace was originally built by Don Luís Rocha in 1750 to serve as the Spanish Governor-General’s summer residence. When the Palacio del Governador or Governor’s Palace was destroyed in June 3, 1863 because of the earthquake that hit the Philippines, the Malacañan Palace was converted into an official residence of the Governor-General. Not all areas in the palace are open for public visits. The only parts that are available for tourist and guest visits are the Presidential Museum and Library, the National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels and the Casa Roces, a house-turned-restaurant offering Spanish-Filipino heirloom gastronomies.

19. Paoay Church

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Philippines is the Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay, translated as the Saint Augustine Church. This Roman Catholic Church, also called as the Paoay Church, is just one of the Baroque Churches in Ilocos region that was declared as the Philippines government’s National Cultural Treasure. It is located in Paoay Municipality, Ilocos Norte. Paoay Church is popular for its distinct architectural design. Its monumental and mammoth appearance is considered as the finest example of localized Baroque style architecture.

20. Cultural Center of the Philippines

The Cultural Center of the Philippines or CCP is one of the best places in the Philippines that show the country’s history, culture, arts and traditions. The CCP Complex is a corporation that is owned and controlled by the Philippine government. It is located in Manila City and Pasay City. It occupies a total of 62 hectares land area. The CCP provides exhibition and performance venues for a variety of productions both international and local. Included in the list of programs that the CCP holds are exhibitions, outreach, cultural research, performances, preservation and festivals.

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