Top islands for your trip
For a city located outside of Manila, head to Davao City, which has a large capital city. Davao City is the main city in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao. Despite its malls and large population, Davao City has many natural elements, including the Eden Nature Park, the Philippine Eagle Center, and Davao Bay by the Sea. One of the must-sees in Davao City is Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines. Davao City is the best place for shopping as there are several large malls including Abreeza Mall and SM Lanang Premier Mall. For a glimpse into the history and culture of Davao City, the tiny Davao Museum of History and Ethnography is worth a visit.
One of the most unique experiences you can have in the Philippines is the northern tribal area of Sagada. Nestled in the rugged and remote Cordillera Mountains are the tribes that overwhelm the casual visitor. This area is a paradise for the advanced outdoor enthusiast. Fast mountains and high altitudes increase the thrill and skill level required for an outdoor excursion. One of the must-sees in this region are the hanging coffins that hide deep in the mountains. It is best to contact a local guide to visit you at this incredible site, as this is not a tourist area, but rather a true tribal area that hides experiences worth bragging about. The trip is popular in Sagada, particularly to Mount Ampako, which has the highest peak in the region, or through the Echo Valley, which has steep and rugged terrain.
One of the most popular diving destinations in the world, Coron Island is a tropical paradise, with electric blue and green waters that almost seem unreal. The mountainous island sits atop the island of Palawan, the westernmost of the islands in the Philippines. The island is popular for diving because of the numerous shipwrecks here. Many preserved shipwrecks located in depths from shallow water of only 3 meters to deep water of 42 meters. Some wrecks require more than one dive to explore due to their size, but you can easily spend a week diving in this area. For boat trips, visit Barracuda Lake, a former volcano with many unusual rocks and fish.
Baguio is a city tucked away in a mountainous region on the island of Luzon. Although a city, Baguio has an intimate and cottage-like environment. Baguio is called the City of Pines for the abundant pine forests and cooler temperatures that surround it. You can explore one of the many hiking and biking trails or take a round of golf at one of the resorts in the area. Baguio is unique from other destinations in the Philippines because the city is surrounded by trees rather than water. Parks like Mine View and Burnham let you enjoy some of the flora and fauna that are special to the region. Be sure to spend some time on Session Road, which is the main drag through Baguio, where you can take in a slice of local life.
The rock islands, caves and natural parks of Palawan Island are the hidden paradise of the Philippines. The coastal city of Puerto Princesa is the place to base yourself to explore some of these natural gems in the country. The Underground River National Park is a great first stop to see five kilometers of underground rivers and impressive limestone caves. The UNESCO World Heritage Site has boat tours that pass through the national park. Another must-see in Puerto Princesa is Honda Bay, which is popular for scuba diving, and Ugong Rock, where you can try ziplining and rock climbing.
On Samal Island, also called the Garden City of Samal, hiking, diving and kayaking are a way of life. One of the most popular things to do on Samal Island, besides relaxing on the beach, is visiting the Montrol Bet Sanctuary, home to millions of bats in caves. A pleasant day trip from the beach to Hagimit Falls, where you can walk the nature trails and cool off in one of the pools under the tropical waterfalls. Samal Island is a short distance from Davao City, which makes for a nice change of pace when you want another metropolitan scene or a wider variety of food options.