20 Best Places To Visit In The Philippines

Visit in the Philippines

The Philippines is one of the most expansive countries in Asia, spreading across more than 7,500 islands. It is known for its tropical climate and picturesque vistas. There are so many things to do in Manila Philippines that many foreign tourists escape the freezing winters of their home countries to enjoy the warm sun and beautiful people of the Philippines.

The country has so much to offer besides a friendly climate and stunning beaches. If you’re wondering where the best places are to visit in the Philippines in 2019, whether for a short stay vacation or an extended stay, this post is for you. We explore some of the top-rated destinations in the country below, where you’ll be sure to have an exciting and memorable experience.

Best Regions to visit in the Philippines

The Philippines is officially organized into 17 regions, mainly to ease the distribution of resources. Each region has unique tourist attractions. Let’s explore the top ten regions in terms of natural attractions, manmade attractions, festivals, and cuisine.

1. National Capital Region (Metro Manila)

Better known as Metro Manila the National Capital is the country’s busiest region. It encompasses the City of Manila with its fifteen surrounding cities. My first trip to Manila reminded me of New York in a sense due to the dense population, tall buildings and busy streets. If you ever visit the Philippines, you will more than likely fly into Manila.
Every flight I have ever taken to the Philippines, we always cross Manila Bay on our approach to the airport. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is where most direct flights to the Philippines arrive. You can find many attractions within a 10 to 15-minute drive from the airport.
Metro Manila is a blend of various traditions, cultures, and culinary delights. It’s impossible to run out of things to do in Manila, Philippines whether its resort accommodation, shopping centers, and various forms of entertainment.

Luneta Park

Located only 6 miles north of Ninoy Aquino International Airport you will find this urban park more commonly known as Rizal Park.  This park contains a lot of history and is named after the National Hero of the Philippines Dr. Jose Rizal.  On interesting fact is Rizal Park is the point from which Metro Manila road distances are measured for maps.


If you are a history buff, and you are looking for things to do in Manila, Philippines you will definitely want to visit Intramuros.  Take a look into some of the Philippines historical Spanish Cultural history. Intramuros is home to Spanish era landmarks where you can see religious artwork, carvings and statues.

Manila Bay

Provides a beautiful view of the sunset and while at times there is limited access due to construction you can see it from the Mall of Asia. Its really something to see and should definitely be added to your “things to do in Manila, Philippines” list.

SM Mall of Asia

I have seen a lot of malls in my time; however, you really have no idea how serious Filipinos take their malls. They are gargantuan compared to the malls here in the Unites States. Although there are many malls to choose from, the Mall of Asia is very popular due to its location right off Manila Bay and if the sheer size of this mall is amazing. With over 4.6 million sq. ft of retail shopping space, how could anyone see it all in one day. I certainly could not during my visit. Get the latest news and information by visiting their website at www.smsupermalls.com.

Shopping in Manila


Binondo is considered Manila Chinatown, and believe it or not it’s considered the oldest Chinatown in the world due to the fact it was established in 1594. Located across the Pasig River, Binondo is the place where most Commerce and trade occurs in Manila, and has been so since before the Spanish colonial period.

2. Cordillera Administrative Region

The only land-locked region in the country, Cordillera Administrative Region is comprised of highlands with indigenous tribes like Kalingans, Ibalois, and Ifugaos. Baguio City is the region’s main tourist destination and its commercial hub, with a vast range of attractions and businesses. 

Major attractions include:

Banaue Rice Terraces were hand carved into the mountains by the indigenous people’s ancestors. Banaue Rice Terraces are estimated to be 2000 years old and have an ancient irrigation system created to use water from the rainforest to feed the farm. Many locals still plant rice and vegetables on the terraces.

Mansion House sometimes known as The Mansion was originally built to serve as the official summer residence of U.S. Governor General W. C. Forbes in 1908. It is now considered the official summer place of the President of the Philippines. Tourists can visit the museum which hosts presidential memorabilia.

Camp John Hay is a former US military base located in Baguio converted to a mixed-use development used as a tourist destination and forest watershed reservation. It features historic buildings, 2 hotels and beautiful gardens.

Panagbenga Festival also known as the Blooming Flowers Festival in Baguio City, is an annual event every February 1 through March 10. The festival is traditional in a sense that it reflects the history, tradition and values of the people of Baguio.

3. Ilocos Region

The Ilocos Region is located on the northwestern coast of Luzon, facing the Cordilleras region to the east, and the South China Sea to the west. While the region is mainly historical, it is also home to some scenic beaches, like the Pagudpud Beaches, and outstanding culinary art.

Major attractions include

Bangui Windmills are located along a 9-kilometer shoreline at the north-west tip of Luzon island. Facing the West Philippine Sea.

Paoay Church was completed in 1710 and is famous for its unique architecture. It has very large buttresses extending in its sides and back. For those who aren’t familiar with what a buttress is, it’s an architectural sculpture used to reinforce a wall or building.

La Paz Sand Dunes

If you are looking for some family fun and you are in the northern region of Luzon, why not sand surfing? You can also rent a 4×4 and try some of the tracks end enjoy a great view from the beach.

San Juan, La Union

This growing surfing community is ideal for those who enjoy being in the water. Peak tourist season starts in October and ends in April. May is when Monsoon season begins and it lasts to October. This is in contrast to most destinations in the Philippines which peak from March to May.

Vigan City

This is one of the few towns in the Philippines whose historical structures have remained in tact. The unique architecture and sett roads display a mix of Native Filipino, Oriental and Spanish influences.

4. Cagayan Valley

Its pretty hard to run out of things to do in Manila, Philippines however of a change of scenery you may want to consider going north. Perhaps the most expansive region in the Philippines, the Cagayan Valley which rests between the Sierra Madre and Cordillera Mountain Ranges.  Its about a 2 hour drive from Manila.   The country’s longest river, Cagayan River, cuts across Cagayan Valley before draining into the Luzon Strait.

While the region is largely agricultural, the coastal towns mainly practice fishing. Major attractions include:

  • Batanes Lighthouses
  • Magat Dam Tourist Complex
  • Callao Cave

5. Central Luzon

Facing the Philippine Sea to the east and the South China Sea to the west, Central Luzon, as its name suggests, encompasses the whole central area of Luzon. The region is largely agricultural, with rice cultivation as the main economic activity. Major attractions include:

  • Mt. Arayat
  • Corregidor
  • The historical town of Baler
  • Subic Bay Freeport Zone
  • Morong Sea Turtles

6. Calabarzon Region (Tagalog Mainland)

The Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonial rule in the 19th century was largely staged in this region. There are several historical buildings and landmarks that are evidence of the region’s past struggles. Major attractions in Calabarzon include:

  • Taal Lake
  • Taal Volcano
  • Tagaytay City
  • Rizal Shrine in Calamba, Laguna
  • Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite
  • Anilao, Batangas (diving)
  • Enchanted Kingdom Theme Park
  • Pahiyas Festival in Lucban

7. Mimaropa

Mimaropa is one of the Philippines’ most visited regions, thanks to its archipelagic endowments. Also called the Southern Tagalog Islands, the region is a hub of natural attractions and eco-tourism spots. The Puerto Princesa Underground River is the most outstanding feature in Mimaropa.

Other attractions include:

  • El Nido
  • Puerto Galera
  • Dive sites in Romblon
  • Tres Reyes Marine Sanctuary in Marinduque
  • Moriones Festival in Marinduque

8. Bicol Region

Bicol borders Luzon to the southeast. It is famous for numerous active and dormant volcanoes. If you love spicy cuisine, then Bicol will delight the palette. Major attractions include:

  • CamSur Watersports Complex
  • Mt. Mayon
  • Catanduanes and Camarines Norte Beaches
  • The Donsol Whale Sharks

9. Western Visayas

Western Visayas is home to the world-famous Boracay Island, which makes it one of the country’s most visited regions. It is served by four domestic airports and three international airports, to cater to its huge volume of tourists. Major attractions include:

  • Masskara Festival in Bacolod
  • White Beach in Boracay
  • Ledesma Ruins in Talisay

10. Central Visayas

Comprised of three major islands – Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Cebu – Central Visayas is considered the seat of the Catholic faith in the Philippines. Cebu City, also referred to as the Queen City of the South, is the regional capital. Major attractions include:

  • Sinulog Festival in Cebu City
  • Basilica Minore del Santo Nino de Cebu
  • Magellan’s Cross
  • Panglao Island, Bohol
  • The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

Top Things You Can Do In The Philippines

There are literally hundreds of activities you can engage in when visiting the Philippines. Below are some of the activities that are sure to leave you with lasting memories of the beautiful archipelagic country.

1. Spend a few days on Boracay Island

Boracay Island is one of the most visited destinations in the Philippines, thanks to its stunning white beaches and turquoise bays. The major attraction of the island is White Beach, which boasts a 4km stretch of white sand, surrounded by hotels, restaurants, and dive shops. The island offers numerous places to relax and enjoy yourself.

2. Honda Bay Island Hopping

If you are on a short vacation, Honda Bay Island would be the best place to visit. In a single day, you can visit the islands of Cowrie, Starfish, and Luli. All these islands offer white sandy beaches and some of the world’s best snorkeling. Your trip can’t end without visiting the Tubbataha Reefs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to a vast range of marine species, including sharks, mantas, and turtles.

3. Diving at Apo Island

If you would like to see large sea mammals, like whale sharks, thriving in their natural habitat, consider taking a trip to Apo Island. Apo Island is a tiny, uninhabited island considered to be the best diving area in the Negros Oriental Province.

4. Marvel at The Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park

If you’re looking for a more unique experience in the Philippines, visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park. This protected area boasts an amazingly complex cave system. An eight-kilometer river flows through the caves and drains directly into the sea. This river has been recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of Nature.

5. Take a trip to the Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in the Philippines. These are eccentric geological features that comprise over 1,200 individual hills spread across the interior of Bohol Island. The virtually symmetrical, same-sized features range from 98 feet (30 meters) to 164 feet (50 meters) high. They’re covered in green grass, which turns brown during the dry season.

Where to Stay When Visiting The Philippines

The top-rated accommodations in the Philippines are characterized by quality facilities, exceptional service, and, above all, a great location.  Although you may be looking for things to do in Manila, you will also need to consider places to stay in the Philippines.  Below are some of the best places you can stay while on a short or extended Philippine vacation.

1. Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila

Located in the heart of Pasig, about fifteen minutes’ drive from Medical City and Smart Araneta Coliseum, Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila features world-class amenities. This includes front desk service around the clock, multilingual staff, and a shuttle from the airport.

2. Qi Palawan Resort

If you prefer peace and tranquility, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you might want to consider staying at Qi Palawan. This is one of the best remote luxury resorts in the Philippines. To get to the 100% solar-powered sanctuary, take an hour-long flight from Manila to El Nido.

From El Nido Airport, you’ll take a one-hour drive to the northeastern end of Palawan Island. The resort is characterized by lush gardens, breezy hammocks, and spectacular sea views. Other outstanding features include its open-air restaurant, bamboo villas, and a yoga pavilion.

3. Tugawe Cove Resort

This is another one of the favorite remote luxury resorts, in one of the country’s most pristine locations. Tugawe Cove Resort is located in the heart of Caramoan Island, a tranquil corner of south-central Philippines. The resort stands on a hillside above Lauing Bay, offering panoramic views of Loto, Litao, and Sombrero islands in the distance.

The most outstanding features of the resort include an open-air restaurant, a hilltop infinity pool, and deluxe rooms with wooden finishes. You can choose rooms along the hillside, at the top, or near the lake.

To get to Tugawe Cove Resort, you’ll need to take an hour-long flight from Manila to Virac, followed by a 45-minute drive to Codon port. The last half an hour is a leisurely boat ride to the resort.

4. Misibis Bay

If you are looking for a place to learn how to windsurf or drive an ATV on volcanic slopes, the Misibis Bay is an ideal location. After a long day in the wild, try a revitalizing massage treatment with refreshing cocktails ordered to your private plunge pool.

5. SM Grass Residence

You may want to consider a condo-tel if you are looking for things to do in Manila. SM Grass Residence, Quezon City is located in the heart of metro Manila’s business district. It’s less than 20 miles from the Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and is a great choice when extending your stay in the Philippines.


The Philippines is such an amazing place to visit. The archipelagic country offers endless options for any tourist seeking adventure or relaxation. The Philippines beaches are known for their fine white sand and coastal rainforests that designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s a beautiful country!

Download Your Free Guide To Easy Condo Rental

Enter Your Name and Email Below For Instant Access

Fill in the form Below:

Latest Articles

Legal Information

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site.