Top 10 Tourist Spots in the Philippines You Absolutely Must See Before You Die

The Philippines is a paradise for nature lovers with over 7,000 islands, palm trees, paradise beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and lush green jungles. From Cordillera Mountains hillside rice terraces to Vigan’s colonial architecture, each island and region has its charms and culture.

This stunning archipelago is often overlooked compared to other Southeast Asian destinations but surprises at every turn. The Philippines will satisfy your cravings for diving reefs, climbing volcanoes, exploring ancient caves, or relaxing on unspoiled beaches.

The Philippines has many must-see tourist attractions, from global natural wonders to historical sites that reflect the country’s rich history. This blog post will highlight the top 10 Philippine destinations with stunning scenery, excellent natural features, and fascinating Filipino culture.

These stunning attractions showcase the Philippines’ best, from Boracay’s white sands to Bohol’s Chocolate Hills.

1. Pagsanjan Falls

Pagsanjan Falls, Laguna, Philippines

Pagsanjan Falls is an awe-inspiring waterfall accessible by boating upstream along the Bumbungan and Balanac Rivers. Tourists ride a small bamboo raft guided by locals, passing through rapids and gorge walls before reaching the falls.

Why it’s a must-see: Embarking on the Pagsanjan Falls adventure trip is the most thrilling way to experience this gorgeous natural wonder. As your raft shoots rapids then drifts calmly through lush forest and soaring rock formations, the anticipation builds.

Then suddenly, the deafening roar of high-speed plunging water comes into view, drenching you with cool mist. It’s a huge adrenaline rush navigating up to this postcard-perfect cascade surrounded by towering cliffs. Featured in many Filipino films, Pagsanjan Falls is both iconic and unforgettable.

2. Mount Pulag

mountain range under sunlight

Mount Pulag is the highest peak in Luzon at 2,922 meters. Located in the Cordillera Central range, it contains vast grasslands with dwarf bamboo at higher elevations leading up to its summit. Known for stunning “sea of clouds” sunrise views.

Why it’s a must-see: For intrepid trekkers, witnessing the majestic sea of clouds sunrise at Mount Pulag’s high-elevation peak makes all the hiking pain worthwhile. As dawn’s rays light up the horizon, watch in awe as the flowing mist atop neighboring peaks turns golden, revealing a magical landscape.

The phenomenon happens when clouds form overnight and then get hit with first light. Brave the cold for once-in-a-lifetime views!

3. Vigan

a narrow street lined with parked motorcycles and people

The UNESCO World Heritage city of Vigan, on the west coast of Luzon, is one of the best-preserved examples of a Spanish colonial town in Asia. It features cobblestone streets lined with archaic houses, mansions, shops, and churches.

Why it’s a must-see: Walking through the historic crisscrossing stone streets of Vigan, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time to the 16th-century Spanish era. The sights, sounds, and vibe create an utterly nostalgic and romantic atmosphere unmatched elsewhere in the Philippines.

As kalesa horse-drawn carriages clip-clop by, you’ll be wowed by sprawling elegant Bahay na Bato houses and schools of centuries past now housing shops and cafes.

4. Mt. Mayon

Mt. Mayon Volcano

Mount Mayon is an iconic near-perfect symmetrical volcano rising to 2,462 meters in Albay province. Called the “most perfectly formed volcano in the world” by UNESCO, it has a rich ecosystem and hiking trails leading up through diverse vegetation zones.

Why it’s a must-see: Majestically rising over the Legazpi landscape, Mount Mayon steals the show with its captivating cone shape and picturesque beauty. As you traverse its slopes through greenery and boulder fields tinted gray with volcanic ash, the panoramic summit views across Albay are jaw-dropping.

It’s also possible to witness minor eruptions, with eerie orange lava trickling down the mountainside. Adventure and photo ops abound!

5. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

tubbataha reef

A protected marine park in the middle of the Sulu Sea, the Tubbataha Reefs feature towering, steep-sided coral atolls along with excellent reef diving and marine biodiversity. The North and South Reef have the Wall of Staghorn and Shark Airport dive sites.

Why it’s a must-see: For scuba divers and snorkelers, visiting the pristine Tubbataha Reefs is the ultimate bucket list dream. With absolutely breathtaking coral walls, you’ll be blown away by schools of barracudas, manta rays gracefully flapping by, reef sharks patrolling the blue, and tiny colorful fish weaving through technicolor corals.

The incredible visibility and diversity cement Tubbataha as one of the world’s premium dive destinations.

6. White Beach, Boracay

wooden boat on shore near green tree

Often topping lists of the world’s best beaches, White Beach on Boracay island is famed for its sparkling white sand and clear blue waters. Spanning four kilometers on the western side of the island, it features varied zones from quiet to lively.

Why it’s a must-see: For beach connoisseurs, missing White Beach would be an absolute travesty. By day, indulge in sun-soaked relaxation, watersports, and epic sunsets over the sea.

By night, join the buzzing tropical beach party scene with live music spilling out from bars and restaurants. If you imagine palm tree paradise, chances are, you’re picturing White Beach.

7. Banaue Rice Terraces

Banaue Philippines Banaue-Rice-Terraces

Description: Carved into the mountains of Ifugao over 2,000 years ago, the Banaue Rice Terraces stretch like stepping stones toward the sky. Known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” these ancient terraces were built by hand by Ifugao tribes without modern tools.

Why it’s a must-see: The sheer magnitude and beauty of the Banaue Rice Terraces will leave you awestruck. The green stepped paddies seamlessly blend into, accentuate, and reshape the natural mountain contours.

This incredible feat of ancient engineering allows crops to be grown at high altitudes. Seeing local tribespeople maintaining the terraces as their ancestors have done for thousands of years offers a magical glimpse into the past.

8. El Nido Palawan

top 10 Tourist Spots in The Philippines

Description: The island cluster of El Nido on Palawan Island is famed for its striking limestone cliffs, turquoise lagoons, coral reefs, and pristine beaches with fine white sand. Offshore lies the Bacuit archipelago with deserted islets surrounded by crystal clear waters.

Why it’s a must-see: With heavenly beaches, underwater wonders, and dramatic karst scenery over the sea, El Nido is quite simply paradise. Island hop by boat to find your private beach, swim in tranquil hidden lagoons enclosed by limestone cliffs, or kayak over thriving reefs through a maze of marine biodiversity.

From adventure to relaxation, El Nido perfectly caters to different tastes with nature at its most impressive. No visit to the Philippines is complete without seeing

9. Chocolate Hills

Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are a geological phenomenon in Bohol comprising of at least 1,260 hills spreading over 20 square miles. Resembling chocolate kisses, these cone-shaped hills have lush green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name.

Why it’s a must-see: There’s no other place on Earth quite like the Chocolate Hills. Seeing countless grassy hills uniformly spread across the landscape is a surreal and unforgettable sight. As far as the eye can see, waves upon waves of emerald and chocolate-colored hills ripple into the distance.

Their symmetrically conical shapes and sheer number are astounding. For the best views, head to the Chocolate Hills Complex viewpoint in Carmen Town or Sagbayan Peak.

10. Puerto Princesa Underground River

Puerto Princesa Underground River

This UNESCO World Heritage site and New7Wonders of Nature is a sprawling underground river flowing through a cave before emptying into the West Philippine Sea. Located on the island of Palawan, it features spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites, large chambers, and underwater rivers winding through a mountainous jungle landscape. Rare wildlife like monkeys, large monitor lizards, and bats can be spotted here.

Why it’s a must-see: A ride down the underground river is an otherworldly adventure. Gliding in silence through the darkness, illuminated only by a flashlight, you’ll be stunned by dramatic rock formations, stalagmites, and stalactites that have developed over millions of years.

Sometimes, you can simply reach out and touch the cave walls gliding by. Far in the distance, a spectacular cone of light appears where the underground river meets the sea. This hidden world beneath the earth astonishes everyone who sees it.

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