The Philippines offers many sights and activities to make your holiday special. In Manila, browse the highly rated art galleries, such as Silverlens, or take a tour of the Intramuros district. Stay cool in the hot summer months in the city of Baguio, where you can ride horses in Wright Park. More adventurous types should head to Coron Island to dive among the Japanese ship wrecks left over from World War II.
Of all the Philippines’ rice terraces, Banaue is the most spectacular. The hills rise like ancient temples of lush green up to heights of 1500 metres above sea level. It’s a farming technique that has prevailed for over 2000 years in the region as a solution to growing rice in a mountainous landscape.
Guides are available to stop you getting lost and lead you to magnificent lookout spots like the Sunrise Viewpoint, where you can stop to take in the stunning, lush green vista below and pose for photos with local Igarot tribes
If Banaue is too crowded for your liking, there are other worthy spots such as Mayoyao, Batad, Hapao, and Kiangan. All can be found in the north of Luzon island.
At the mouth of the Pasig River stands one of the country’s premier attractions. Fort Santiago is an imposing stone fortress built by the Spanish at the end of the 16th century. The structure forms part of the walled city in Manila known as Intramuros.
Fort Santiago has sustained several attacks over the centuries, but has been rebuilt and restored many times, such is its significance. Within the complex you’ll find the Rizal Shrine museum, while the rest has been converted into an oasis of manicured gardens and parkland perfect for exploring at a leisurely pace. A crucial icon of Manila’s history, Fort Santiago is an essential day trip.
Following a whirlwind of hype, Boracay has become perhaps the biggest tourist drawcard in the Philippines. There’s plenty to keep you occupied with activities such as scuba diving, parasailing, and kitesurfing against a backdrop of stunning beaches.
White Beach is at the heart of things, a picturesque strip of sand serviced by a host of thriving restaurants and nightlife. After sunset travellers can expect the boardwalk to fill with fire twirlers and live music breakouts. The area does have a tendency to fill up with tourists, so try to plan your timing accordingly. Whatever you’re looking for, Boracay is likely to deliver.
Sometimes nature’s wonder defies description and the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River goes awfully close. In an already remarkable coastal rainforest setting, the river is an extended cave system that stretches for eight kilometres beneath the limestone karst.
Tourist vessels are only allowed to go 1.5 kilometres deep, although permits can be secured to venture further. Within you’ll find dazzling rock formations, bat colonies, fossils, and waterfalls.
Boat transport can be arranged from the Sabang Information Office. Access is very much weather-dependent, so it’s also worth checking with the office about conditions beforehand.
Mayon Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines. At 2460 metres, it is a beautiful and imposing sight, displaying perfect conical symmetry.
Despite its activity, visitors still flock to climb its many hiking trails which vary in difficulty. It has erupted with relative frequency over the past decade and activity is monitored closely in order to cue evacuations.
The steep slopes of the volcano form a perfect cone shape, making it a postcard-worthy photo opportunity from afar. For those adventurous enough to climb it, the views of the flat landscape below are testament to the breathtaking power and majesty of Mayon.