“It is more fun in the Philippines.” This is the Philippine government’s official slogan to promote its tourism. And this slogan is true to its claim—that is something native Filipinos and foreign tourists can attest to. The Philippines’ rich history, culture, and people make it easy to fall in love with this country.
Over the years, the Philippines has become one of the top tourist destinations worldwide. Tourists have come to love its beauty and all the fun stuff they get to experience while staying in the country, from its sumptuous cuisine and exquisite sceneries to its serene beaches and enjoyable nightlife. Here are some reasons why the Philippines is an excellent place for tourists.
The Philippines is an archipelago and comprises 7,640 islands, so the country has many beaches to offer!
Boracay is an island located in Malay’s municipality—in Aklan Province—in Western Visayas. This island is seven kilometers long and boasts its white sand beach. Within the island are resorts, hotels, restaurants, lodging houses, pubs, nightclubs, bars, and other tourism businesses.
Not only does this island boast its beauty, but there are also a lot of fun things you can do while on your stay, such as:
- Scuba diving
- Cliff diving
Siargao Island is located in Surigao del Norte’s province and is known as “The Surfing Capital of the Philippines.” Within the island are resorts, hotels, and restaurants, and there are also a lot of fun activities you can do like surfing, cliff jumping, caving, island hopping, and many more.
Coron is part of the Calamian Islands in northern Palawan and is around 20 kilometers long and about nine kilometers wide. The water on this island is often calm, and this island is a well-visited destination for wreck diving. This beach is not only a favorite of foreign tourists but also with the locals.
KALANGGAMAN ISLAND, LEYTE
Kalanggaman Island is a municipality located in Palompon in the Leyte Province. This island is uninhabited and has a truly remarkable natural beauty. It boasts of its crystal clear water, powdery sand, and long sand bars. However, to maintain its natural beauty, there is a limit to the number of visitors per day.
Panglao Island is on the southwest of Bohol in Bohol Province. This island is 9.12 square kilometers and is beautiful due to its magnificent terrain, which has a mix of plains, hills, and mountains.
Panglao is a popular tourist destination for everyone. The island is known for its white, sandy beach and clear water. While on your stay, you can enjoy some activities such as:
- Scuba diving
- Island hopping
- Dolphin watching
- Kite surfing
- And more!
Apart from being kind, Filipinos are also known to be food lovers and excellent cooks. The country offers a variety of food, perfect for your palate. From main and side dishes to desserts, you will surely love what’s on your plate—even if you are a picky eater.
Here are some of the sumptuous foods that the country takes pride in:
Lechon is a very famous dish and is present for almost every Filipino special occasion, festival, and holiday. This type of roast pork dish is cooked by roasting a whole pig over charcoal. The entire pork is stuffed with herbs such as bay leaves, scallions, lemongrass, peppercorn, salt, garlic, and some other spices, depending on the cooking style and recipe.
This dish is very yummy, especially with its very crispy skin and tasty meat.
Kare-Kare is a Philippine stew with thick peanut sauce, commonly made up of oxtail, peanut sauce, and vegetables like eggplant, okra, Chinese cabbage, green beans, and asparagus. Although there are other versions of this dish: some use seafood or just vegetables alone. This meal is served hot with shrimp paste.
Sinigang is a trendy Filipino stew that has a sour and savory taste. It’s prepared with pork meat or seafood such as shrimp and fish. The sour taste comes from the main ingredient, which is usually tamarind.
Over the years, Filipinos had discovered other components that can be used to achieve the sour taste, like unripe mangoes, santol (cotton fruit), calamansi, and guava. It is also mixed with vegetables such as eggplant, okra, water spinach, white radish, taro corms, yard-long beans, and tomatoes. Most foreign tourists fall in love with this dish because of its unique taste.
Adobo is probably the most popular Filipino food in the country. This dish is very delicious; everyone who has tried it has loved it. Adobo can be made with pork meat or chicken, or you can also have both. It is mixed with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
Halo-halo is a popular Filipino dessert; its name means “mix” or “mixture.” This dessert is perfect with the Philippine weather, especially during summer. This specialty is one of the desserts that most Filipinos introduce to foreign tourists because of its mouthwatering taste.
Halo-halo is a mix of shaved ice with evaporated milk or condensed milk, coconut, purple yam, sweetened beans, tapioca pearls, sugar palm, fruit—like mango, flan, and topped with purple yam ice cream.
The beautiful country of the Philippines had gone through a lot before it finally had its independence, from the Spanish settlement and American rule to the Japanese occupation.
Still, its people were strengthened because of these experiences, and they had made the country history-rich and more beautiful. Here are some of the historical sites that you will enjoy visiting while learning about Philippine history.
LIMASAWA ISLAND, SOUTHERN LEYTE
Limasawa Island is a province of Southern Leyte. The Philippines’ first mass is believed to have been held here after the Spaniards arrived. Father Pedro de Valderrama officiated the gathering on March 31, 1521.
Aside from the historical first mass held on this very island, it also has a beautiful beach with white sand and crystal clear water.
MOUNT SAMAT NATIONAL SHRINE
Mount Samat National Shrine, or the Shrine of Valor, is in Pilar, in the Province of Bataan. This shrine was to honor all the Filipinos and Americans who fought bravely against the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
This site was the last stronghold of the soldiers at the time of the war but sadly fell after three months of battle and surrendered to the Japanese army, leading to the Bataan Death March.
Aguinaldo Shrine is a national shrine where the first Philippine flag was raised after the country earned its independence on June 12, 1898. The shrine is also the place where the national anthem was first played. The shrine was also Emilio Aguinaldo’s home, the first president of the Republic of the Philippines.
Tirad Pass is a protected area that serves as a memorial to the Filipino soldiers’ efforts and bravery against the Imperial Japanese Army, which eventually led to their victory. The natural monument is located in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.
MACARTHUR LANDING MEMORIAL PARK
“I shall return” is the famous line from General Douglas MacArthur during World War II. The Leyte Landing Memorial Park, located in Palo, Leyte, is a protected area built in General MacArthur’s memory when he came back with his entourage to help recapture and liberate the Philippines from the Japanese.
The Philippines is a remarkable country because of its white-sand beaches, good food, and the natural tourist spots that it offers, ranging from beautiful volcanoes to amazing hills, which would surely make your stay more memorable.
Here are some tourist spots that you would enjoy seeing here.
Mayon Volcano is named after the princess-heroine Daragang Magayon. It is an active composite volcano located in the Province of Albay in the Bicol Region. Mayon Volcano is nominated as a World Heritage Site and considered a Natural Park in the Philippines. It is also the most active volcano in the Philippines. This volcano is known for its perfect cone shape, no matter how many times it has erupted.
Batanes Islands is a province in the Cagayan Valley region and is the northernmost province of the Philippines. Aside from its very exquisite scenery, the people here, called Ivatans, are also known to be very honest.
This place is also rich in natural and historical heritage. For example, Mount Iraya is a dormant volcano where trekking and mountaineering are some of the fun activities you can do while there. There’s also the Radiwan Point, where Katipuneros landed on September 18, 1898.
BANAUE RICE TERRACES
The Banaue Rice Terraces, located in Banaue, Ifugao, is a popular destination in The Philippines. From its name, the Banaue Rice Terraces are terraces that were carved into the mountains. The tourist spot was also included as one of the Eight Wonders of the World.
Several activities can be done in this place, such as sightseeing and visiting the tribes located at the foot of the decks.
Vigan is a city located in the province of Ilocos Sur and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name “Vigan” was derived from the Chinese word “Bee Gan,” which means “Beautiful Shore.”
This city is a well-preserved Spanish-Colonial city. In May 2015, Vigan was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities. There are many historical sites here:
- The Mestizo District, which offers a glimpse of the colonial past, showcases ancestral houses with a mixture of local, Asian, and Spanish architectural styles.
- The National Museum/Padre Burgos House showcases memorabilia of the martyred priest, Jose Burgos, and artifacts such as weapons, kitchen utensils, costumes, and jewelry.
- Plaza Salcedo has a 17th-century monument of Juan de Salcedo, who was a Spanish conquistador. This is where Gabriela Silang was publicly hanged in 1763.
Bohol is a province located in Central Visayas and is known for its natural beauty. The island is a popular destination not only for Filipinos but also for foreign tourists. It offers beautiful beaches and resorts.
Bohol is also well known for its scenic Chocolate Hills, consisting of numerous mounds of brown-colored limestone formation. These hills turn brown during the dry season, thus resembling chocolate candy kisses.
Aside from the scenic Chocolate Hills, the island also has Tarsiers, one of the world’s smallest primates, known for its large eyes, and indigenous to the island. They also have old churches preserved for history and human-made forests and floating restaurants, among others.
The Philippines is known to have many festivals aside from its majestic sceneries. These festivals are usually grand, colorful, and well-celebrated. Festivals help Filipinos showcase their history, creativity, and artistry and pay homage to their patron saint.
The Sinulog Festival is celebrated every third Sunday of January each year in Cebu City. It is a cultural and religious festival in honor of Santo Niño, the patron saint of Cebu City. The festival is considered the queen of festivals in the country.
Sinulog Festival is known for street parties the night before and night of the main celebration. The festival attracts around one to two million people, both local and foreign.
Masskara Festival is celebrated every fourth Sunday of October in Bacolod City. The festival mainly features masks with smiling faces to give rise to their title as the “City of Smiles.” This festival showcases:
- A street dance competition (which usually uses a rhythm of Latin musical beats)
- A beauty pageant
- Agricultural trade fairs
- Garden shows
- Food festivals
- Musical concerts
“Panagbenga” Festival means “Flower Festival,” which is celebrated for the entire month of February in Baguio City in the Cordillera Administrative Region, known as the Philippines’ summer capital.
This festival is a tribute to the city’s flowers, making it a feast for the eyes. It is one of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines, with vibrant and colorful flower-themed floats and costumes. The festival’s dance is inspired by Bendian, which is an Ibaloi dance of celebration.
Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is a cultural and religious festival in Tacloban City in the province of Leyte. This festival is one of the most awaited celebrations in the city and is done every June.
The festival showcases the body painting traditions of the “pintados” warriors, who were Leyte and Samar’s tribesmen. During this festival, the street dancing features colorful and vibrant costumes and is nicely designed with prints that resemble tattoos.
Ati-Atihan Festival is celebrated every January of each year in some towns in the province of Aklan in Panay Island, in Western Visayas. This festival is held in honor of the Santo Nino and is the oldest festival in the Philippines, which existed in 1200 AD. Ati-Atihan festival consists of a religious procession, street dancing that showcases themed floats, colorful costumes, and people with face and body paints in honor of the Aetas, who were the first settlers of Panay Island.
Everyone wants to have fun and escape from life’s pressures and stresses. Partying is one way to have fun, especially when you are on vacation and want to experience every bit of the place that you are visiting.
Luckily, the Philippines is not only great when it comes to beaches, tourist spots, and scenic views, but it is also great when it comes to nightlife. Nightlife in the Philippines is never dull as the country has many pubs, bars, and clubs.
If you are in Manila or around that area, there are nightlife districts you can visit, such as Makati, Ermita, Malate, and Paranaque City. And if you are around Cebu City, the go-to place is Mango Avenue and Mango Square. However, if you also would like to go to high-end clubs, there are a few in Mandaue City, close to Cebu City.
Wherever you are in the Philippines, it is not hard to have fun at night as locals are fond of parties.
And lastly, the Philippines takes pride in its people. Filipinos are known to be resilient and hospitable, friendly, and respectful. They always put a smile on their faces no matter how challenging the situation is. They have a positive perspective in life, which makes it so easy to befriend them.
They are always accommodating, especially to visitors, and are helpful in every possible way that they can. That is why aside from falling in love with the views and all the fun things you get to experience in the Philippines, one of the most memorable experiences you will have when you visit the Philippines is the friendship and bond you can make with the natives.