5 of the most awe-inspiring activities you can only do in the Philippines

Apr 1 2022, 4:15 pm

Travel awakens the soul, and when you visit a new destination for the first time, like the Philippines, for example, it reminds you of the vastness and wonders of the world.

With borders now open to wanderlust-seekers from all over the globe, the Philippines — a recipient of the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) — is welcoming visitors back for one-of-a-kind vacations.

Rich in diverse culture, endless lush landscapes, crystal clear waters, culinary delights, and of course, adventure, this Southeast Asia archipelago already has the top spot on many Canadians’ bucket lists. To show you why, we’ve rounded up five activities you can only do on vacation in the Philippines.

Dive into one of the world’s most biodiverse marine kingdoms

Whale Shark and diver in Oslob, the Philippines

Whale shark in Oslob, the Philippines (Erwin Lim/Philippine Department of Tourism)

While you can go diving in select destinations all over the world, nowhere compares to the Philippines, its vibrant reefs, and rare marine species. The rich, diverse underwater realm here has even led to its Verde Island Passage (between Luzon and Mindoro) to be known as ‘the centre of marine biodiversity in the world.’

It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or a pro diver; you’ll discover something new with each dive, whether you go deep into the ocean to find sunken shipwrecks or swim closer to the shore where coral can be found in abundance (along with over 2,000 fish species). You can schedule a diving tour to capture incredible photos of wildlife, go scuba diving on Verde Island, swim with majestic hammerhead sharks in Bohol, or swim with whale sharks in Donsol or Oslob.

Visit the rolling Chocolate Hills in Bohol

When we said the Philippines was an archipelago, we weren’t kidding. It boasts 7,641 islands. This colossal number of islands means travellers with all interests are basically spoiled for choice. The 10th-largest of the Philippinesā€™ islands, Bohol, is home to a must-see site with its Chocolate Hills spanning over 50 km.

Wondering where the inviting name came from? The hills, made of limestone and covered with grass, transform to a shade of brown during the dry season in the Philippines. When you’re there, you can take in the mesmerizing mountainous scenes by hiking to the highest point on land or by booking a tour by air to get a different perspective of these fascinating formations.

See the Eighth Wonder of the World in Banaue

Banaue Rice Terraces, Banaue, the Philippines

Banaue Rice Terraces, the Philippines (Russel Llanera/Philippine Department of Tourism)

It would be impossible to tire of looking at the landscapes of the Northern Philippines. Renowned for its rugged mountain networks of the Cordilleras soaring thousands of feet high, the municipality of Banaue is home to rice terraces. Nestled within the mountainsides, the narrative of these irrigated rice terraces runs deep, dating back to over 2,000 years ago.

To bring the systems to functionality, the local Ifugao people employed incredible craftsmanship and skill, carving out cliffs and diverting water to flow in from jungle forests nearby — work done mainly by hand. The engineering involved in creating the Ifugao rice terraces was ahead of its time and can be seen today at the cultural landmark of the Bangaan Rice Terraces in Banaue — one of five locations in the Cordillera mountainsĀ declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Experience the true meaning of island hopping

Big Lagoon, El Nido, the Philippines

Big Lagoon, El Nido, the Philippines (Erwin Lim/Philippine Department of Tourism)

With thousands of islands to choose from in the Philippines, each offering something truly unique, it presents a new way to approach the idea of island-hopping. Since itā€™s easy to travel to any location in the country with the bustling economic capital of Manila as a starting point, travellers can fly into the city and get a taste of local life by visiting the lively Bonifacio High Street.Ā 

From there, visitors have a slew of different options for getting around and hopping between nearby islands: think local airlines, seacrafts and ferries, and busses. If a tour with a pre-planned travel itinerary is more your jam, you can join adventure tours from day trips to multi-day excursions on the beach capital of Boracay, the forest-rich Palawan, and the fresh produce-filled Siargao, among other destinations.

Indulge in food tours to treat your tastebuds

No visit to the Philippines would be complete without immersing yourself in the local culinary world, absorbing the aromas of freshly prepared dishes bursting with flavour. Embarking on a food tour (or two) is the optimum way to get a taste of the best and ensure you donā€™t miss a beat.Ā 

Why not kick it all off in the food capital of the Philippines with a tour of Pampanga and Bulacan? Some of the best Filipino chefs at renowned historic locales will teach you what makes Filipino cuisine exciting. After this, youā€™ll visit the countryā€™s hub for one-of-a-kind pastries and desserts — Bulacan — to taste sweet creations.Ā 

If youā€™ve ever wanted to treat your tastebuds like royalty (who hasnā€™t?), make it a priority to visit the Queen City of the South: Cebu. Not only is it a centre for historic sites, wildlife, and live native guitar-playing, itā€™s a paradise for foodies. Taste the local Lechon de Cebu (roasted suckling pig stuffed with herbs and spices), deep-fried Ngohiong, and dried mangoes. Now, imagine eating fare this good on the regular.

Through outstanding adventures and unforgettable culinary experiences, curious travellers can get a sense of the distinct cultures of each region of the Philippines.Ā 

This April, Canadians can get a taste of the Philippine culinary scene without leaving the country as Canada prepares to host its first-ever Filipino Restaurant Month. The inaugural event will see Filipino restaurants across Ontario, BC, Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Manitoba participating in month-long festivities.Ā 

Before you make a reservation at a Filipino restaurant near you, visit philippinetourism.co to learn more about the Philippines and start planning your future trip.Ā 

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