There is a reason that Boracay Island is considered the beach capital of the Philippines because it has more than 12 beaches. This tiny island in the western part of the Visayas region is perfect for beach lovers after some simple relaxation in the sun or water activities. White Beach, on the western side of the island, is one of the most popular beaches with a lively reputation. Puka Shell Beach is at the top of the island and is a favorite spot for shell collectors. Cagban Beach is a quiet place with nearby caves that are rumored to still contain treasure chests. Dinwiddie Beach is a tiny beach at the northern end of White Beach that has the best view of the island from the platform there. This island is known for many resorts, so finding a place to stay is easy. For a panoramic view of the island, take a day trip to Mount Luho, its highest point.
The island of Bohol in the Philippines, the central region of the Visayas, is slower paced and a place that showcases the country’s natural beauty. One of the most unique natural wonders on the island is the Chocolate Mountains in Carmen. This UNESCO-protected site is a collection of 1,200 geological formations that brown in the dry season, resembling a landscape of chocolate candy kisses. Bohol is home to a family sanctuary for tiny tarsier primates, known for their large, eye-catching eyes. For a small fee, you can walk the steps and walk twice as far as the little snow mammal. The showcase of Bohol is the beach.
The island of Cebu, in the central Visayas region, is considered the port for the best diving and snorkeling in the Philippines. If you are an underwater enthusiast, Cebu is one of the best options for excursions that will help you get close to whale sharks, coral reefs and sea turtles. Some of the most spectacular scenery from the water near Cebu are the sea caves that attract photographers and enthusiasts looking for unique diving and snorkeling sites. The Sudlon National Park, located about an hour from Cebu City, is a fascinating park to explore and hike. While Cebu’s biggest draw is the water, Cebu City is the capital, with tourist attractions such as museums and cathedrals that interest history buffs.
The Banaue Rice Terraces are one of the most spectacular things to see in the Philippines. The emerald green terraces are an agricultural wonder in the area. The most impressive view of the terraces is at sunrise, when the clouds and mist lift off the mountain to reveal the complex terrace landscape. The Rice Terraces and Bangaan Rice Terraces are protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For a deeper taste of the region, take a stroll down Banaue Ethnic Village or Hiwang Village to mingle with the indigenous people who farm the rice terraces.
The historic city of Vigan in the northern Philippines is one of the most charming towns to visit in Luzon. Its culture is a fusion of Chinese and Spanish influences originating from settlers to the area. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets and admire the colonial architecture, courtesy of the Spanish who colonized the area in the 18th century. Vigan is a city with many nuances to explore. The best view of the region is from the Banten bell tower, which is also a landmark in the area. The Calle Crisologo Historic District is a walking area where you will meet many local craftsmen and see historic architecture. A visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral is breathtaking and the perfect place to sit and people watch as you take in the local culture.
The capital city of Malila, located on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, is a bustling city without restrictions. Hop aboard one of the colorful jeeps, the main form of public transport, to get a taste of local life. Usually too packed with locals, the stunning ride through the streets in the iconic and kitschy jeep/bus hybrid cars will be one of the highlights of your visit. The plan stops at the main park of the city, Rizal Park, and the historic Church of San Agustin, which was built in the 16th century. Buy local fruits and gifts at the handmade market at the open market Church of Quiapo, where you will probably see several thousand people showing up for Monday worship.