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Top Things to Do

An archipelago of over 7,100 islands, there is literally so much to see and do in the Philippines.

  • Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities
  • Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities
  • Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities
  • Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities
  • Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities
  • Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities
  • Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities

Things to do in the Philippines: Must-Try Activities

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Looking to spend your vacation doing various activities and create great memories? Then the Philippines is the right destination for you! Here you can jump from one adventure to the next.

The Philippines is arguably one of the most beautiful countries to travel to at least once in your life. Of course, while you are there, you will want to see as much as possible of this unique country and take home some great vacation memories. 

Fortunately, there are countless activities in the Philippines that are incredibly fun and let you discover the dream islands in a very special way. Read on as we will show you which highlights you should not miss!

Exciting activities in the Philippines

Island hopping in the Philippines

The Philippines consists of over seven thousand islands, making it one of the largest island states in the world. It isn’t surprising, then, that island hopping is the center of activities in the Philippines. Here you’ll be spoilt with choices.

The main islands can be reached by ferries, water cabs, or cheap domestic flights, but don't worry about too much here. Many small and uninhabited islands can be explored in one day with a guided island hopping tour or even on your own, for instance by kayaking. This is especially useful off the coast of Palawan or Siargao because there are plenty of picturesque islands there that seem to be calling you to relax and take a dip. 

  • view from above of the beautiful Kayangan Lake in Coron must-visit destination Philippines
  • sailboat on the crystal clear waters of the stunning Kayangan Lake in Coron Island Palawan Philippines

Activities on and under the Water

Just the thought of the clear, turquoise blue water of the Philippine Islands will get you tempted to jump right in. And the sea is not only perfect for swimming but also offers many possibilities for exciting activities in this tropical paradise. 

Diving in the Philippines

Divers can get their money’s worth in the Philippines and feast their eyes on the natural beauty around - pleasant water temperatures of 25 to 28 degrees, great visibility of up to 30 meters, and the rich and colorful marine life underneath. 

The dive sites in the Philippines are suitable for all experience levels and preferences. Below we have summarized some of the best ones for you:

  • Tubbataha Reef, Palawan: A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, this dive site is home to over 350 species of coral and almost 500 species of fish. Mantas, whale sharks, barracudas, and turtles are no rarity here!

  • Monad Shoal, Malapascua: For the best and most thrilling shark dive experience, you can’t go wrong here. This is the only spot in the Philippines and in the world where there is a consistent sighting of the normally elusive thresher sharks.

  • Coron, Palawan: Here lies about a dozen wrecks of Japanese war and transport ships from the Second World War. The adventurers among you will surely love it!

  • Apo Reef, Mindoro: The biggest reef of the Philippines impresses with an incredible abundance of fish and corals.

  • Boracay: The island offers numerous diving schools and even more dive sites - perfect if you want to get your diving license and gain first experiences.

What’s more? You will also find a wide range of diving schools and beautiful dive spots on many other islands, including, Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Siquijor, or South Leyte.

Surfing and kitesurfing - the hotspots

On the dreamy island of Siargao, you will find Cloud 9, one of the most popular hotspots for surfers. From a long jetty, you have a spectacular view of the surfers, who are swallowed up by the big tube waves again and again. 

The best conditions are between August and December, in spring the waves get a bit flatter. More cool surf spots can be found in San Juan, Baler, and Pagudpud on the main island of Luzon. Puraran in Baras, Catanduanes, and Dahican Beach in Davao also offer ideal conditions for surfing.

Cloud 9 is clearly for professionals, but on Siargao, there are numerous other surf spots suitable for all experience levels.

Kitesurfers also get their money's worth here, but even better is the famous island of Boracay. From November to April a steady wind blows here and both Bulabog Beach in the east and the almost four-kilometer-long White Beach in the west offer the best conditions to let your kite pull you over the water. 

Exploring dream beaches by kayak

7,641 islands, gorgeous bays, and crystal clear waters - the Philippine islands are waiting to be explored by kayak. The bays of El Nido in the north of Palawan Island are especially not to miss. 

If you are skilled enough, you can paddle all day long from one island to the next and discover a new dream beach behind almost every bend. You can do this either with a guide or on your own. This way, you can find some hidden spots you have all to yourself. How cool is that?

Exciting activities on land

Even though the Philippines are mainly known for their paradisiacal beaches and the diverse underwater world, you should not miss a trip into the country’s interior destinations. There are some activities waiting for you, which you definitely don't want to miss.

Canyoneering - especially for the adrenaline - junkies!

Walking to a waterfall on beautifully laid out hiking trails, anyone can do that - but there's more to the Philippines! If you are a thrill-seeker, you can also take a path along deep gorges and raging rivers. When canyoneering, you can squeeze through narrow crevices, slide down smooth rock faces and jump off meter-high cliffs - always following the water! 

Craving for this kind of adventure now? On the island of Cebu, guided tours with different levels of difficulty are offered, for example to the Kawasan Falls, which are also worth a visit via the regular route.

Hikes and treks through breathtaking nature

Hiking and trekking are probably some of the most exciting activities in the Philippines because on foot you can discover the raw beauty of the natural wonders while you reconnect with nature. Explore breathtaking waterfalls, climb through dark caves, visit quaint villages, or climb a large volcano. 

No matter if you want to be on the road for a few hours or even several days, you are sure to find the perfect route for you here in the Philippines.

Among the most spectacular hikes in the Philippines are the Banaue rice terraces in the center of the main island of Luzon, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Also in Luzon, is the remote town of Sagada in the Cordillera mountains. 

Tip: Not many trails in the Philippines are signposted and you will hardly find any hiking maps on the islands. If you want to walk through the jungle or climb a volcano, it's best to ask a local guide.

Adorable wildlife in the Philippines

You’ve probably always heard about the fantastic underwater world of the Philippines and its richness of species. Here we will tell you about two animal encounters of a special kind separately. These creatures are really one of their kind!

The jellyfish of Tojoman Lagoon
The Sohoton Cove National Park on the island of Bucas Grande near Siargao consists of many small limestone islands rising high out of the deep blue sea and dotted with breathtaking caves. This alone is a good reason why it is worth a visit.
During the mating season in June, you have the best chances to observe the jellyfish in large numbers.
But the real highlight hovers under the water surface in Tojoman Lagoon (also called Sohoton Jellyfish Sanctuary) - in the form of jellyfish. The hand-sized animals immediately attract attention with their brownish color in the clear water of the lagoon. 
Don’t worry, they are not dangerous. If you want, you can even swim with them and observe their bizarre appearance at close range. But be careful not to hurt the delicate tentacles, do not touch them, and do not lift the jellyfish out of the water, because these impressive yet fragile creatures can dry out quickly.

Swims with whale sharks
On several Philippine islands, you can swim with whale sharks - the biggest fish in the world. Getting so close to these gentle giants will leave you speechless and at the same time provide topics of conversation for the rest of the trip!
Despite their enormous size of up to 13 meters, the sharks are harmless to humans since they only feed on plankton and small fish. Tours are offered from Donsol in Luzon, Leyte, and Oslob, Cebu. We recommend you go for Donsol. 
Unlike in Cebu where interactions with the whale sharks are not controlled, in Donsol, as a protected area they have strict rules so you know that the experience you have has the least damage to the natural environment of the butandings (local name for whale sharks). Make sure that your tour operator does not feed the sharks and that you get a detailed briefing before you go into the water. 

The Charming Philippine Tarsiers
Native to the country, tarsiers are mostly found in Bohol. One of the world’s smallest primates (it’s just about the size of an adult palm), it’s hard not to be mesmerized by this tiny creature’s hyper-enlarged eyes. They are mostly active at night and have excellent leaping skills. Tarsiers can also be seen in Leyte, Samar, and in some places in Mindanao.

Looking for more action?

If diving along the most beautiful reefs, surfing incredible waves, and hiking through the most enchanting nature is not enough for you, below we have more recommendations for exciting activities in the Philippines at a glance:

  • Sandboarding on the La Paz Sand Dunes in Laoag, Ilocos Norte
  • Exploring caves - the Calbiga Caves (dubbed as the country’s biggest cave system) of Samar, Cantabon Cave in Siquijor, Calinawan Cave in Tanay, Rizal, and many other caves
  • Hot air balloon ride in Clark
  • Cliff Diving in Ariel’s Point, Boracay
  • White Water Rafting in Cagayan De Oro and on the Chico River in Kalinga
  • Ziplining in Sebu on the Seven Falls Zipline
  • Paragliding in Nabas and Carmona
  • Wakeboarding in CamSur
  • Trekking in Mt. Apo
  • Rappelling in San Miguel Peak, Bataan