We are often asked how many days are enough to visit the Philippines. If only we could all have unlimited days off for really long vacations. The truth is the Philippines is a beautiful country with over 7,000 small islands off the mainland islands.
The Philippines has stunning beaches with world-class surfing and diving, lush rice fields, excellent food, shopping and entertainment, and a rich culture. As well it is an affordable country to travel around, so if you have time, you can stretch your budget to stay as long as your vacation allows.
So our answer is you should spend as much time as possible in this wonderful South East Asia country. Here are some of the experiences you might enjoy
The capital of Manilla has the Walled City of Intramuros that truly reflects the Spanish Era with forts, stone gates, and cathedrals. Manila Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches, and Fort Santiago is a well-preserved citadel with many stories to tell. The shopping, dining experiences and nightlife in the city are excellent in this vibrant urban capital. Many travelers choose to fly into the capital and spend time there at the beginning and end of their trip to enjoy the buzz of the urban metropolis.
Often called the “Philippines’ Shangri-La”, Sagada is a peaceful area where indigenous culture and traditions are still practiced. Sugong Hanging Coffins and Sumaguing Cave are scenic attractions and you will surely get your fix of rice fields and mountains.
The largest island in the Philippines is Palawan, and if you have time it is definitely worth a visit to enjoy the lush jungle, stunning mountains, and pristine white sand beaches. Once named the top Southeast Asia region to visit by National Geographic Traveler magazine Palawan is an archipelago with nearly 2,000 islands on the western side. El Nido and Taytay, famous for steep limestone cliffs and an abundance of interesting underwater life, including endangered sea turtles, are sure to be highlighted as the Palawan leg of your trip.
Another charming place is the island of Bohol in the central area of Visayas. UNESCO includes the Chocolate Hills in Carmen on the world heritage list for the thousands of geological mounds that turn brown in the dry season. They look gorgeous when they are green and fascinated when they turn brown, looking like masses of chocolate. You also might see the cute little Tarsier primate if you visit the sanctuary there. After visiting the wide-eyed nocturnal mammal, it will be time to hit the beach if you can handle another breathtaking stretch of dreamy coastline.
In Banaue, the rice fields are an impressive sight, especially at sunrise as the clouds and fog slowly rise off the mountains to review the stunning blanket of green that sustains thousands of families. The Batad Rice Terraces and the Bangaan Rice Terraces are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. Try to make time to visit the Banaue Ethnic Village or the Hwang Village to meet the indigenous people who work on the rice terraces.
For diving, Cebu is beautiful with day trips or liveaboards available if you have time. Capitancillo Island is especially spectacular for diving, with frequent sightings of bright coral, tropical fish, sharks and large fish such as yellowfin tuna, snapper, and mackerels. Cebu is a great place hitting the beach and soaking up the sun.
Cebu retains strong Spanish traditions and is a culturally fascinating place. The Taoist Temple, Sirao Flower Farm and Temple of Leah are all amazing sights. Nature lovers will be happy roaming around Cebu, and you could easily spend a week here exploring places like Inambakan Falls, Kawasan Falls and Mainit Hot Springs.
Boracay Island is another beautiful spot for diving, beach life and a happening nightlife. Watersports, swimming, cocktails and massages on the beach call many weary travelers who need to recharge and re energize. This is the tropical paradise you saw in the travel magazines, which many call the beach capital of the Philippines.
There are about a dozen jaw-dropping beaches in Boracay and naming our favorite one isn’t easy.
There is something romantic about Puka Shell Beach, where you can wander along the shoreline collecting shells and taking in the natural surroundings. If you have kids take them to Cagban Beach, where there are caves to explore and locals will say there is an undiscovered treasure within.
To reach great heights, go to Mount Luho for epic views from the highest point on the island. As you can tell, the beach life in Boracay is quite diverse and you could devote a day to each one and have so much fun with wonderful photo opportunities along the way.
You can stay on the path of the most well-known places or branch off the beaten tourist track. With so many cities, towns and villages, not to mention gorgeous islands to discover, you could spend weeks or months in the Philippines and constantly be amazed at the awesome sights and experiences you have.
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