Cenotes (sinkholes in limestone with pools at their bases) don’t just exist in Mexico – on Siargao Island in the Philippines there’s one too!
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Philippines landscape is home to towering limestone cliffs, lush flora, and breathtaking beaches that draw an array of travellers looking to soak in nature’s splendour through activities like hiking, diving and island hopping. Additionally, it’s also attractive to wellness-seeking tourists as its calming surroundings provide the ideal place for yoga sessions, spa treatments and holistic therapies.
El Nido is one of the country’s premier holiday destinations in Palawan’s westernmost province and can be found near its northern tip. Translating as “The Nest”, El Nido features 45 islands and islets which together form part of Bacuit Archipelago; known for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and coral reefs – plus so much more to explore in this vibrant destination!
Start out your visit at El Nido by exploring Nacpan Beach, a stunning yet uncrowded stretch that’s easily accessible from El Nido Town via scooter rental or Tour E (inland tour). Calitang and Twin Beaches make up this area; and sunset is an especially breathtaking time for exploration here.
If you’re in search of the authentic cenote experience, Cabagnow Cave Pool’s water pools could be ideal. Similar to their counterparts in Mexico, these deep sinkholes in limestone boast crystal clear waters surrounded by clear surroundings – perfect for swimming. There’s another similar site on Siargao Island known for its surf spots.
Rice terraces are an iconic feature of Philippine tourism, yet many travellers only know of those found in Batad and Banaue, which have been featured in movies like Avengers: Infinity War. If you want something different, head to mountainous Kabayan where Ibaloi burial caves and Timbac Caves contain mummified bodies dating back pre-colonial times – offering something totally unique!
Boracay may be small, but it plays a huge role in Philippine tourism. Postcards and photographs often show one place that defines it: White Beach. But this tiny island offers much more than powdery white sands alone: adventure enthusiasts and underwater photographers will also find their paradise here.
One of the best ways to explore Boracay’s shimmering waters is snorkeling along its coral reefs. Swim alongside schools of fish or take pictures of vibrant marine life–this activity offers something suitable for everyone, from first-time divers to experienced free divers.
Kayaking is another popular pastime on the island. Rent a kayak and explore its beaches or more rocky parts, or sign up for tours that feature kayaking as part of their itinerary; more experienced paddlers may even manage a complete circuit of the island!
If you prefer an aerial perspective of Boracay Island, book a helicopter tour. Not only can this give you a good feel for its different beaches and landscapes, but it will also allow for views of neighboring islands!
White Beach may steal the show when it comes to photos of Boracay, but there’s another area of the island which is equally as stunning and is perfect for taking in its famed sunset: Puka Shell Beach is away from partygoers but offers peaceful natural sounds with breathtaking scenery including spectacular sunset views. Or why not experience watching it aboard a paraw sailboat that features outriggers with two huge sails capable of accommodating up to 6 people at a time!
Bohol has much more to offer beyond its famous Chocolate Hills; Panglao island alone features numerous beaches and resorts from luxury to budget, while its waters boast abundant marine biodiversity.
Alona Beach on Panglao is unquestionably its most acclaimed stretch, boasting 1.5km (0.9-miles) of blinding white coral sand backed by resorts, bars, restaurants and souvenir stands. Away from this main strip you will also find plenty of quiet secluded spots where you can sunbathe and swim in crystal-clear waters.
Diving off Panglao can provide an unparalleled underwater adventure at Balicasag or Pamilacan Islands, or you could join one of several dolphin watching cruises available to take advantage of. The waters around Panglao boasts abundant coral growth and are full of marine life such as green sea turtles, clown fish, manta rays and schools of tropical fish that you might spot as you snorkel along its shores.
River tubing and rafting on Loboc River is another fun adventure. South Farm in Loboc is also an enjoyable spot for river tubing and rafting; visitors are also invited to wander its plots of corn, basil, squash (kulasi), banana and amaranthus (kulitis).
Other top attractions on Panglao Island include the Tarsier Sanctuary where you can see some of the smallest primates in their natural environment, and Hinagdanan Cave with its gorgeous stalactite and stalagmite formations and bat colony that calls it home. Don’t forget about visiting Dauis Town where there’s a 300 year-old church to admire; for maximum experience rent a scooter instead or head into one of several rental car locations nearby Panglao.
Philippines offers untold beauty with its beautiful beaches, breathtaking dive sites, dense jungle and startling waterfalls – not to mention plenty of secluded islands to discover without competing for photos with millions of other visitors! For those wanting an alternative experience to sharing paradise with tourists fighting over photos they won’t get their photo op there are still plenty of islands and destinations worth discovering!
Siquijor Island lies so far off the beaten path, even many Filipinos don’t know it exists. Situated in the central Visayas region, Siquijor is known as one of three smallest provinces with 327 square kilometers in land area and 102-kilometer coastline; more importantly it’s known for centuries old practice of Mangkukulam or natural healers; also infamous as being haunted.
Paliton Beach is one of the many beautiful sights to see here; with pristine white sand that makes the waves sound almost audible, and several restaurants and bars offering seafood platters while watching the sunset from this idyllic location.
Callao Cave, boasting seven limestone chambers including an intimate chapel-like space, is another must-see attraction. While climbing its 184 steps may seem intimidating at first, once inside you will appreciate that all your efforts were worth it!
San Juan is well worth a visit, where you can indulge in delectable local specialties like chicken inasal and batchoy as well as explore its heritage houses built by plantation dons who once owned this land. However, the highlight of each month is undoubtedly MassKara Festival where costumes abound alongside lively music to bring life to this picturesque town.
Caramoan, the first-class municipality of Camarines Sur, has become an idyllic coastal retreat and adventurer’s haven in recent years. Boasting clear blue waters framed by alluring limestone islands, Caramoan offers plenty of island hopping, snorkeling, diving, kayaking and cave exploration activities – not to mention centuries-old churches that make for stunning sightseeing. Plus it boasts centuries of culture.
Caramoan’s most striking attraction are its beautiful islands and islets, providing beach enthusiasts a tranquil respite from city life. Matukad Island in particular is popular among both visitors and locals, boasting powdery white sand beaches with crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming – not to mention magnificent cliffs suitable for climbing as well as friendly locals who reside nearby, not forgetting an eye-catching lagoon.
Lahos Island is an idyllic retreat that boasts breathtaking seascape views. Popular among photographers and nature enthusiasts alike, Lahos’ rugged terrain makes for great hiking opportunities, while its cave called Kulapnit is known to be filled with bats – perfect for wildlife photographers and nature enthusiasts.
Island is also well known as being used to film several seasons of hit reality TV show Survivor, an international phenomenon which tests contestants using both their mental and physical strengths in order to survive in order to remain viable competitors on an island paradise environment. Filming locations have included US, France and Israel among many others.
Caramoan is an undiscovered gem that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Boasting beautiful beaches, calm waters and abundant marine life, Caramoan provides an idyllic location to unwind and recharge – ideal for both leisurely beach strolls and watersports activities that will leave lasting memories behind.