The Philippines is famous for its incredibly stunning islands and pristine beaches. While ‘Paradise on earth’ is a phrase not to be used lightly, the Philippines offers travellers and tourists exceptional beaches and incredible experiences not found anywhere else on the planet.
With around 7,641 islands in the Philippines, where do you start? Which destination do you choose for an unforgettable vacation?
The only way to answer these questions is to ask a local; specifically, a local Filipino travel blogger and that’s exactly what we did.
To get top recommendations and insider secrets, we asked 3 questions to 25 top travel and adventure bloggers in the Philippines:
1. What are your Top 3 places in the Philippines and why?
2. What are the 5 things you always have in your backpack?
3. What is your advice to tourists travelling to the Philippines?
The Top 3 Places in the Philippines
Many of the Filipino travel bloggers we spoke to answered question 1 with the same response:
“With so many amazing islands, breath-taking scenery and delicious food, it’s too hard to choose favourite places!”
However, they did their best and according to the bloggers surveyed, the top 3 places in the Philippines are:
Here you can see more spots the travel bloggers love to visit.
What do travel bloggers love about their favourite places?
Nina, from the “Just Wandering” blog: “What I love about Boracay is that you can get the best of both worlds: you get a stunningly beautiful beach that’s just a joy to frolic in and great amenities for any budget. Sadly, it has become too overcrowded in the past years, but I am looking forward to experience Boracay once again after its rehabilitation back in 2018 and the extended quarantine brought on by COVID-19”.
Kenneth, from the “Mr. Bratpacker” blog: “It’s hard to narrow it down to three when the Philippines have more than 7000+ island to choose from but if I were to choose, it would be: Siargao – the place got everything you could ask for a perfect vacation getaway – white sand beaches, natural wonders, not to mention the vibe itself”.
AJ, the alter ego of the “The Transcendental Tourist” blog: “This is a toughie. I would say Siquijor, the Cordilleras, and Negros. Siquijor, because it is mystical and still rather undeveloped in many ways. The Cordilleras, because it is breath-taking, literally, and otherwise. Negros, because of the food.”
Ding, from the “Travel Ta Bai” blog: “The first place is the Oslob Cebu where we have a close encounter of the whale shark. That was an amazing experience. Corregidor Island part of Luzon, I really love the history of the Philippines. Vigan, the place where you can see lots of heritage building and churches. Also it has a big part of the Philippine History”.
Jerny Destacamento and Mary Jane Famaranco, from the “The Jerny” blog: “Palawan: Coron & El Nido will always have a special place in our hearts not only because of the sceneries and beaches you can enjoy there but also because of all the great memories I remember when we hear the place.”
Erik James Requina, from the “Erik the Hungry Traveller” blog: “Palawan – a must visit place in the Philippines. Probably the most scenic destination in The Philippines that I’ve ever visited.”
Dr Amadeus Baraan, from the “Grandeur Traveler” blog: “El Nido is my first love in the Philippines. I discovered the beauty of our country through those stunning islands.”
Jonas Roque, from the “Wandering Weekend Warrior” blog: “Batanes – Everywhere in Batanes is picturesque. No need to add filter to photos because it is good as is. The people are also nice and welcoming. A great escape away from the busy city.”
Aaron Palabyab, from the “Aaron Palabyab” blog: “The Cordilleras, Aurora province, and Rizal province. What they all share in common is amazing roads and mountains, with the Cordilleras having the best. Aurora is largely undiscovered with so much to offer from beaches to mountains and so much adventure. Rizal is closest to Manila and easy to get to but also underappreciated.”
Keza, from the “A Wanderful Sole” blog: “Calayan Island. It is underrated and most people barely know about it but it is one of the most beautiful places in the country. It has everything from white sand beach, caves, scenic views and humpback whales!”
Check the professional traveller’s backpack
It is always complicated to choose the right things to bring for a vacation in an environment that might be a little foreign and outside of your daily comfort zone. The local bloggers are here to help by highlighting some travel essentials you may not have thought of to take on your trip to the Philippines.
Top 15 things in the Filipino travel blogger’s backpack
- Medicine – your preferred and prescribed meds might go by different names and be hard to find in the Philippines, easier to bring all you need with you just in case
- Sunscreen – it can usually be bought in regular tourist areas, but once off the main path it’s not so common, so always have some supply.
- Amphibian shoes – you need shoes you can get wet for getting into and out of boats, or crossing streams, or being in a rainstorm, or for jungle trekking, and then a spare pair to have something dry to walk in after
- Blackout eye mask – helps catch some z’s on long bus rides or waiting for that next (hopefully not delayed…) flight
- Book – something to read while your phone is charging at the only outlet in the restaurant behind the counter.
- Cap/hat – never underestimate the sun!
- Battery power bank – keep that phone juiced as your lifeline to the world and your itinerary
- Hammock – great way to sneak in a nap in your own private space
- Noise-cancelling earphones – shhh
- Notebook and pen – jot some notes
- Nylon sleeves – more sun protection, especially if spending a lot of time on boats
- Tissues/ wet wipes – keep clean
- Travel pillow – helps make tight bus rides and flights more bearable
- Water bottle – help cut down on single use plastics in the country, please, by refilling when you can
- Waterproof bag/ zip locks – especially for your phone out on the water
Advice from the professional Filipino travel bloggers
Exploring unknown country always has a risk or danger. While travelling we need to be cautious and try to control situation and predict the future. Due to that, we have requested a piece of advice from the people who know their country the best. Please read it carefully and hopefully it will help you avoid any travel issues.
The 5 main advice to follow according to the professional travellers:
- Do the research of the area you are going first;
- Always bring only essential things with you, like water bottle, passport, and extra cash;
- Be respectful and friendly to local people and they will do the same to you;
- Have a spirit of adventurer and enjoy your trip;
- Do not litter.
Nina, from the “Just Wandering” blog: “Explore beyond the popular tourist destinations. The Philippines has plenty of hidden gems that are as beautiful and not as overrun with tourists. Make sure to pack some extra patience as local transport may not always be reliable!”
Roy Van Rivero, from the “Meant to Go” blog: “Pack only the essentials (pack light) as some destinations may require you long walks as transportation is scarce in many areas.”
Elal Jane Lasola, from the “Elal Jane Lasola” blog: “Philippines is paradise I am lucky to call home. I hope we, locals and tourists alike, protect it so that the future generations will have the chance to see and experience its beauty.”
Kin Enriquez, from the “Boarding Gate 101” blog: “Stay away from scammers. Relax and enjoy the trip.”
Kenneth, from the “Mr. Bratpacker” blog: “There is more to Philippines than our white sand beaches and rich biodiversity – our people, our food and our culture can be an attraction themselves. Ask but do not be gullible enough. The connection you’ll make here will definitely be one for the books.”
AJ, the alter ego of the “The Transcendental Tourist” blog: “Chill. That’s how to fully imbibe our lifestyle and culture.”
Ding, from the “Travel Ta Bai” blog: “Always do research first and ask the local because they are the one who knows their place. Filipinos are friendly and they can help you if in case you need some guide going to your destination. Also, do not forget to taste the famous street food in the country which is the “Balot”.”
Anacleto C. Romana, from “The Backpack Man” blog: “Talk to locals and be friendly and tried some best foods and delicacies.”
Brian Benson Aballe, from the “Meet the X-plorers” blog: “Get out of your comfort zone however when you travel on a place you must have your research done to enjoy your vacation, like me and my Tatay buddies.”
Angelo, from the “Filipino Travel Center” blog: “Enjoy and travel around while you can in the Philippines. Expect many smiles and welcome from the Filipino People! Bring home good memories along with you, and we wish you could come back because, as they always say, it’s more fun in the Philippines!”
Carl Antoniette, from the “Adventurous Feet” blog: “Be respectful to the people around you especially to their culture. Enjoy the place, savour the moment. And last but never the least, do not litter. :)”
Jerny Destacamento and Mary Jane Famaranco, from the “Do not be afraid to ask. People in the Philippines know how to speak English and they can converse well.”
Erik James Requina, from the “Erik the Hungry Traveller” blog: “Enjoy and immerse in the awesome culture of the Philippines!”
Marky Ramone, from the “Nomadic Experiences” blog: “Embrace the experience fully from the challenging journey to the sweet feeling of reaching their destination.”
Dr Amadeus Baraan, from the “Grandeur Traveler” blog: “Enjoy the surprises. Be open to everything.”
Jonas Roque, from the “Wandering Weekend Warrior” blog: “Prepare your itinerary (schedule and costing) by reading a lot of travel guides from books and blogs. But have a leeway to break it by befriending the locals. They know more. They know better. Build a connection with them, with nature, and with yourself.”
Lyndsay, from the “Lyndsay Cabildo” blog: “Be respectful to the culture and be nice. Locals will be nice if you are too.”
Aaron Palabyab, from the “Aaron Palabyab” blog: “Have a spirit of adventure when it comes to everything! Things do not always work as expected so just be along for the ride. It is an amazing place with wonderful people and lots to discover.”
Levy Amosin, from the “Hugging Horizons” blog: “Always bring your waterproof bag with you.”
Romeo Briones, from the “Take off Philippines” blog: “Prepare yourself for a memorable adventure. Bring out your best smile and snap a selfie of sunrise on every island in the Philippines.”
Renan Barco, from the “Lost In” blog: “Follow the locals. Get out of your comfort zones. And get ready to be amazed!”
Keza, from the “A Wanderful Sole” blog: “Skip the famous/touristy places and gamble on the less known ones. Hey! It is the Philippines! You can never go wrong wherever you point your finger in the map.”
Melo Villareal, from “Out of Town Blog”: “Always have a backup plan. Talk to the locals if you need help.”
Edmar Guquib, from the “Edmaration” blog: “We have different travel styles and ways, but the most important is: travel to please yourself, not to please other people. Bottomline, leisure travel is a mental health therapy. In some countries, travel therapy is now being officially prescribed by doctors in their prescription sheets. So have a therapy. Do not mix your travel with unnecessary stress to please someone. Travel and be yourself. Have fun! Learn a lesson.”
We have shared with you all necessary information about travelling to the Philippines from the first hands. Enjoy your trip and always stay safe. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us any time. You also can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube.