Perhaps the most Instagrammable spot in the world, there’s no way you can come to The Philippines without visiting El Nido’s Big Lagoon. Satisfy your wanderlust as your paddle through the gentle, crystal-clear waters of the lagoon, cocooned by the karst peaks surrounding you.
I have to make a confession, that until I saw one with my own eyes, I thought fireflies were a make-believe animal, something from a Disney fairytale, up there with unicorns and fairies. It blew my mind when I saw their green lights burning through the night sky for the first time and realized they were a real animal! The Philippines is one of the best places in the world to see them and we visit them at the mangrove swamps of Coron, in Palawan, where their darting night flights make for a truly magical evening.
Sometimes described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, these rice terraces, carved largely by hand into the steep slopes of the Banaue Mountains, are so impressive in their scale and beauty that they will leave you breathless. They are in a more remote region of The Philippines and can only be accessed by a series of buses, jeepneys and hikes, so we put this on day 2 of our Philippines backpacking tour when you are bursting with energy. We assure you the views are well worth the journey.
Sadly, the government has plans to phase out this colorful form of public transport which for decades has been the most common way for the inhabitants of Manila to get around the teeming metropolis, so make sure to take a ride on them while you still can. They first emerged to make use of the US military jeeps left in The Philippines after the Second World War, but their kitsch, vibrant paint jobs and cramped, but lively, interiors fast made them a popular symbol of Filipino culture and art.
Few countries can lay claim to having more beautiful waterfalls than The Philippines. It usually involves a walk through lush jungle to get to them and the tropical views coupled with a dip in the clear pools at the bottom of the falls tend to provide the perfect reward for your hiking efforts. Two of our favorite falls are the Tappiya Waterfalls in Batad, near the rice terraces and the Kawasan Falls, a multi-tiered waterfall on Cebu, near the backpacker Mecca of Moalboal.
The underwater vistas offered by the coral reefs in The Philippines make scuba diving a must here. A personal highlight for our Philippines adventure tour team is watching a school of hundreds of thousands of small sardines become one as they dance in unison through the clear waters off Moalboal.
Animal welfare is a top concern for us at The Dragon Trip, so we include this in our budget adventure tour because we know the sardines come naturally to these waters year-round to feed, unlike the whale sharks, which are lured with artificial feeding to stay longer than their natural migration patterns dictate.
The most appealing aspect of a Philippines group tour for many visitors is the plethora of undiscovered, white, sandy beaches here. If you ever worried that the beaches of Spain, California or Thailand were getting too busy, then be rest assured that across the more than 7,500 islands of the Philippines, there are so many sandy paradises waiting to be explored. Our personal favorites are the beaches of Coron, El Nido and Cebu and of course we stop by all these spots on the Dragon Trip’s new budget tour.
Endemic to Bohol, the second island we visit on our Dragon Trip adventure in The Philippines, the Philippine Tarsier is one of the world’s smallest (and cutest!) primates. Their small size of only 8-15cm when fully grown makes their bulging eyes seem even larger and with these big peepers you can be sure they’ll spot you before you spot them.
Working with our local team of Filipino experts in building our Philippines adventure tour has been a fascinating experience and narrowing down the top 8 things to do and see in this vibrant, tropical archipelago was a challenge. There were so many amazing things we couldn’t squeeze into this blog, so with this much on offer here, we think The Philippines would be a very worthy addition to your list of dream travel destinations.
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