Travel guide: The Philippines
Travel guide: The Philippines
With over 7,000 exotic islands to explore, The Philippines is the ultimate destination for every kind of curious traveler. Spend your Filipino vacation on the beach, in the mountains or exploring a new city. The country’s diversity provides travelers with many opportunities to relax, adventure or learn about a new culture.
Manila’s population is a melting pot of people with unique cultures and experiences, making the city a lively and vibrant destination to explore. There are many attractions to visit in the Philippines’ capital, and we’ve highlighted a few of the best.
Some of the best places to indulge in authentic Filipino food are the public markets in Manila. Quiapo Market sells an abundance of popular delicacies, from sweet to savory. Prepare yourself for the bustling culture of Manila at this market - its location in the old downtown district is known for its crowds.
One thing that must be ticked off the Manila bucket list, is to sit and watch the sunset from Manila Bay. The sky becomes a kaleidoscope of color, providing the perfect setting for a relaxing drink after a busy day exploring. The bay area is also where a lot of Manila’s attractions are situated, such as the Malacañang Palace – the official home of the president of the Philippines.
Fort Santiago is a Filipino ruin that was built in the late 1500s. The fortress pays homage to much of the Philippines history, most of which is revealed in the Rizal Shrine museum. The fort grounds are also beautifully manicured and maintained, abundant with gardens, plazas and fountains.
Cebu is an island paradise laden with relaxing beach scenes, prime waters for snorkeling and unique cultural experiences. Whilst it is very easy to relax on the pristine shoreline, we recommend experiencing a few of our recommended activities.
The crystal, clear waters and still currents in Cebu make it the perfect location for snorkeling and diving. We recommend that adrenaline seekers hire a jet ski to zip around the island’s shoreline – there are miles of still water to explore. Look out for the tropical wildlife on your marine adventures, including the majestic whale shark.
Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
This iconic church has been destroyed by fire on many occasions, yet it still stands today as one of Cebu’s most magnificent monuments. Its stunning architecture is certainly something to admire and it is well worth stepping away from the beach to discover.
On the topic of scuba diving - one of the best islands to visit from Cebu is Malapascua. The waters are abundant with tropical sharks as well as tuna, lionfish, pygmy seahorses and plenty more. It is an idyllic vacation spot for a quiet and intimate getaway.
Whilst Davao is one of the Philippines’ most iconic naturistic destinations, it also has a bustling urban side. The city is thriving with culture, adventurous things to do and not to mention, delicious Filipino culinary experiences.
Visit the highest mountain in the Philippines for an incredible volcanic vista. The active volcano is also rich with tropical rainforests to explore, lakes to discover and even hot springs to swim in.
If you wish to escape the lively surrounds of Davao for a few days, take a trip to the nearby remote island of Samal. It is known for its beautiful, pristine beaches, luscious rainforest, hidden waterfalls, exotic marine wildlife and much more.
Davao is laden with walking trails that will take you through lush rainforests and up to towering mountains. Most of these trails have incredible views of the Davao coastline, making exercising in the Philippines substantially more rewarding.
Davao is actually known for its abundance of durian fruit, although it is not all that this city is famous for. Davao is home to a variety of high quality, farm-to-table restaurants and cafes. We recommend dining at one of the Filipino seafood restaurants where local, fresh fish is served.
Currency: Philippine peso (PHP)
Visa for US Citizens: Visa exemptions apply to nationals of the USA with a passport for a maximum stay of 30 days. Otherwise, nationals of the USA can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum of 59 days. Read more.
Language: English and Filipino
Best time to go: November – April (dry season)
Transport: Some parts of the Philippines are served by a light rail, including Manila. Although, Jeepney’s are the most popular form of transport in the Philippines. Taxis and Uber are also used.
With the cultural diversity present in the Philippines, Filipino food pulls flavors from all over the world including Spain, China, India and Malaysia.
For a traditional Filipino meal, order a bowl of adobo. It is a meat and rice dish, cooked traditionally with vinegar and distinct spices from the Filipino islands.
For a typical Filipino noodle dish, we recommend digging into a bowl of Pancit, which is garnished with local island ingredients such as squid, oysters and shrimp.
Traditional, locally made sweets are also worth tasting in the Philippines. One dish not to miss is the sweet lumpia, a thin crepe packed with jackfruit and then deep-fried with sugar. It is known as a sweet version of the Chinese egg roll.
Filipinos are known for their warm and hospitable nature. The Philippines is a melting pot of cultures, influenced by both western and eastern traditions and religions. Family loyalty is important to locals, who often gather to enjoy culinary feasts together.