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Why The Philippines Is Such A Hot Destination Right Now

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Matukad Island
Matukad Island, Caramoan Islands (photo: Fabio Achilli)

“It’s more fun in the Philippines.”

You may have seen this tourism slogan from one of your trips, or maybe an ad on one of the travel websites you’ve visited.

This stunning country is often overlooked by people in favor of the more famous neighbors.

With over 7,100 islands to explore offering unique activities, a diverse range of food and friendly people, you will find that adventures are indeed more fun in the Philippines.

That is, once you’ve experienced this fantastic country.

It can be overwhelming to decide what to do in such a large country; there are so many things to do and places to go.

The list below has a little something for every type of adventurer out there. From frolicking on world-class beaches to the happy faces that welcome you everywhere you go.

All you have to do is start reading to whet your appetite for the Philippines.

The Unspoiled Islands and Beaches

Being an archipelago means thousands of islands, so the Philippines has no shortage of beaches.

In the eastern part of the archipelago are the Caramoan Islands with one of the best beaches in the country.

And on top of that, these islands have a lot more to offer than merely lazing under the heat of the sun.

Matukad Island

You may want to start your island hopping at Matukad, which is surrounded by limestone cliffs.

Aside from swimming and snorkeling in clear blue waters, you can also climb the cliffs to get a 360-view of the surrounding islands.

Guinahoan Island

The outermost island of Guinahoan faces the Philippines Sea with a lighthouse on top of a hill.

Long stretches of white sand on both sides provide options for where you’d like to spend time.

With nothing but mooing cows around and the whisper of the wind, you’ll also notice rolling, grassy hills perfect for a small hike.

When you get to the top, you’ll be tempted to take the perfect selfie with the endless blue water as a backdrop.

Lahos Island

If you’re looking the perfect white powdery beach sand, then head to Lahos.

White as ivory and smooth as silk, this beach will have you sinking your feet into the cottony softness of sand as you walk along.

With the endless blue ocean ahead and waves softly crashing, you can think of this as your paradise on earth.

Kawasan Falls
Kawasan Falls (photo: Harry Fozzard)

Adrenaline Pumping Activities

If you’re looking for a unique adventure that will require some physical strength and a rush of adrenaline, then downstream canyoneering at Kawasan Falls is the perfect fit.

Located about three hours from an international airport, you won’t have trouble getting here.

It takes three to four hours to complete the trek, so be sure to give yourself enough time, especially since it is such a unique destination and experience.

Starting with a 10-minute walk through the lush green foliage, the 15-foot jump from your first waterfall will be breathtaking.

The loud sound of rushing water only adds to the excitement.

As you make your way, you’ll notice the clear, blue water like how the sky looks in the absence of clouds in the middle of summer.

Maybe the water quality is because it remains unspoiled, hidden within the dense jungle. Either way, this is one of the reasons you have to visit.

Ending this experience is a heart-thumping 30-foot jump into Kawasan Falls so you can make your way into the deep water below.

The turquoise water is mirroring the sky, with the never-ending rush of water from above. You’ll want to savor this experience.

The Kawasan Falls are quite popular, but there are also some less explored destinations.

Heading into Sagada cave
Heading into cave

The Lesser-Known Destinations

If spelunking (caving) is your thing, then the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada is your best bet when in the Philippines.

Considered the deepest cave in the country, Sumaguing Cave works as the connection to all other caves in the Mountain province.

The almost 12-hour journey to get there is worth it once you’ve set foot in the caves.

The adventure begins when the bus starts its ascent into the vast mountains with nothing but the sky above and the dark unknown below.

Your bus will weave its way along winding roads clung to the mountainsides. 

Once you’re dropped off, it’s rough terrain; you’ll undertake a series of climbs, crawls, and slides as you go through the four-hour journey.

With sharp stalagmites and stalactites as your backdrop, you’ll have lots of chances to take that perfect shot as you make your way through.

Greeting you at the end of your trip, you’ll be rewarded with huge rock formations sculptured by nature for millions of years.

Note: Just be aware that this is a four-hour activity, and it’s not for everyone. If you are not fit enough, or not a huge fan of caves, it might not be for you. For safety reasons, hiring a tour guide is a must as the cave is made up of complex chambers.

Taho
Taho (photo: Laine Trees)

Unique Food Experiences

Of course, every country has unique food to offer, and the Philippines is no different.

Stemming from hundreds of years of colonization, the country has a mix of everything that everyone can enjoy.

In this section, I selected a few food experiences you have to try while in the Philippines.

One-Day-Old Chick

One-day-old chick is precisely that. Fresh from hatching its way out of the shell, the baby bird is coated in a mixture of flour, egg, and other spices.

It is deep-fried until crispy, with all of its parts intact.

It tastes just like regular crispy chicken, but you can feel its frail bones crushing against your teeth with every bite.

Though some find it nasty, this is one of the staples of Filipino street food.

Taho

Taho is one of those foods you can either eat for breakfast or reserve for dessert.

The main ingredient is processed soybeans, or sometimes, silken tofu. What makes it delicious is the addition of caramelized sugar and heaps of tapioca pearls.

If eaten for breakfast, you’ll opt for the freshly cooked ones, but for dessert, it is best to take it chilled or frozen.

Pichi-Pichi

Filipino parties and small gatherings will almost always have Pichi-Pichi on the table.

This unassuming dessert is made of grated cassava and sugar steamed for about an hour.

Sweet and sticky, topped with either coconut or cheese, and rolled into small bite-sized pieces.

You’ll want to end your meal with this dessert.

But it’s not all about food, of course. The people in the Philippines also make the country what it is.

Philippines
Traditional dress (photo: giulianabencovich)

A Rich Culture and Friendly People

Filipino culture is another reason this place is so different from other countries.

Used to having foreign visitors and settlers alike, the atmosphere is always warm and welcoming.

Aside from the majority of the population’s ability to speak excellent English, the Filipino people are well-known for being both hospitable and friendly.

Resilient and always finding hope in every situation, they’re ready to welcome you with open arms.

The culture of treating guests like family is also evident in everyday life.

The generosity to share the food on their table, the respectful way of treating visitors, and manner of fussing over making everyone feel comfortable are just some of the things that will make your stay more memorable.

There are also some indigenous tribes that still exist in the Philippines, which if you are willing to go a little out of your way you can still come into contact with.

Speaking of heading off the beaten path.

Sunset in the Philippines
Sunset in the Philippines (photo: Alyssa Reyes)

You Can Still Get Off The Beaten Path

Most people head to the easy to get to and “safe” destinations in the Philippines. And I can hardly blame them.

But if you want to go off the beaten path and have a little bit of adventure, then perhaps Basilan is for you.

Basilan, unlike other parts of the country, is usually seen as unsafe. 

This is mainly due to the past (some claim it’s still ongoing) conflict between Moro groups and the government.

It is one of the reasons Malamawi beach remains a challenge to get to, but it is getting more accessible as the conflict eases.

As a safety precaution, it’s still best if you reach out to the local tourism office ahead of your visit.

Getting to Basilan will entail that you go through Zamboanga City first, both of which are located in Mindanao.

The Zamboanga City port offers several ferry options, and schedules are fairly consistent.

Don’t be alarmed if you see police officers patrolling the area.

Security is still tight as it is just recently that the conflict has somewhat been resolved.

Upon arrival at the Isabela City port, you will then have to travel by a small boat to get to Malamawi Island. After which, you’ll need to take another motorcycle ride to your destination.

After all the traveling and the unease with the province’s stability, you might just cry with joy once you see the beauty of the island.

Long stretches of fine white sand, glistening blue waters, and the silence of the uncrowded beach will leave you in awe.

Sunsets are equally stunning, with the orange glow slowly fading into the horizon; a reminder to end your day peacefully.

So, Now You Know Why You Must Visit The Philippines

Boasting diverse activities, incredible food, undiscovered places, and interesting people, the Philippines has a lot to offer.

It may not be as popular yet as the other Southeast Asian countries, but there are hundreds of reasons to start looking at the country as your next hot destination.

So what are you waiting for? Take the leap and start prepping for an adventure of a lifetime!

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