Among the many countries that can be considered as “a melting pot of cultures’, the Philippines truly stands out. Being a colony of three countries, namely – Spain, the United States, and Japan – means that a blending of different cultures and influences has been cultivated. This can be observed all over the modern-day culture of the Filipinos such as the food, traditions, and beliefs. Being situated just above the equator, the Philippines can enjoy a very tropical climate where it never gets too cold. Perfect for the numerous beautiful beaches that can be found in the country.
From the islands, to the high lands. The Philippines can offer different scenarios that would fit the preference of a variety of visitors. These are some of the destinations that one can enjoy and experience in the Philippines, along with the top three things to do in said destinations
For those who prefer a cold climate, Baguio City is the place for you. It is called “the Summer Capital of the Philippines” since it is located up north and is considerably one of the coldest places in the country. The lowest recorded temperature reached a whopping 6.3° C or 43.34°F.
Philippine Military Academy
The top three things to do here are the following; First, a visit to the Philippine Military Academy is a must. This is the Military School of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Aside from being able to witness how the cadets are trained, there are also tons of museums and great picture taking spots. A great place to learn about the history of the defenders of the country, as well as improving your Instagram feed.
Next is to visit the Diplomat Hotel. It is considered to be one of the most Haunted Places in the country. It used to be a vacation house for American Friars back in 1911 but became a center of refuge of the locals from the Japanese during World War II. The Japanese forces then discovered this and took it over. All the priests, nuns, and refugees were killed inside. It has been preserved and converted into a Heritage Site and Nature Park and is one of the favorite venues for events such as wedding receptions and Photography shoots.
Last place on this list is The Mansion. It was built in 1908, and formerly served as the official summer residence of U.S Governors-General. After the inauguration of the Philippine Commonwealth, it has been turned over to serve as the official summer residence of the Philippine President. The Mansion features a Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture. The gate of the most popular picture taking spots for tourists, but a visit to the main museum is also available.
For those who prefer a hustle and bustle of a city, Makati is the best fit. It is the Business Capital of the Philippines and is home to a lot of the Rich and Famous in the country due to its vicinity to High-end and International shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, you name it. It ranked as the 5th Safest City in Southeast Asia according to a 2018 report by Numbeo, an online collaborative database.
The top three things to do here are the following; First is to visit Greenbelt, home of everything high-end, where you can do top-quality shopping and dining. It is very near to some of the best Hotels in the country, such as Dusit Thani and The Peninsula. It is also home to the Ayala Museum, which every tourist must visit if they are in to Contemporary art that showcases Filipino history.
Second place to visit is the Guadalupe Ruins. These ruins are a collection of churches that have been founded in the 17th Century. These are 400-year-old churches and are considered to be one of the oldest ruins in the country. The ruins are presumed to have been constructed in 1629, which served multiple purposes during the Spanish occupation. It is also one of the hot spots for picture taking since it offers such a classic Spanish design.
Makati CBD Murals
Third, and last place to visit are the Makati CBD Murals. It’s a long walk way from Dela Rosa to Greenbelt that features Street Art. Colorful murals that have different images, some of which depict the different ways of life and some have motivational slogans. It is a great way for international tourists to get in touch with the local Filipino art that aren’t in museums. And to top it all off, it’s free.
For those who wants to be in the city but have a tropical vibe, Cebu is the place to go. It is widely known as the “Queen City of the South”, and it is home to one of the most efficient piers for travel from island to island in the country. This is where Ferdinand Magellan fought with Lapu-Lapu, known as the Battle of Mactan. It is also home to the World Famous Lechon.
Cebu City Center
The top three things to do here are the following; First is the Cebu City Center. It is home to two of the most Iconic Structures in Cebu; The Magellan’s Cross, which is a Christian Cross that was constructed and implanted by the Spanish and Portuguese sailors, following the orders of Ferdinand Magellan. This symbolized the successful Christianization of the Philippines. And the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country.
Second place to visit is the city of Oslob and experience the world-famous Whale Shark Adventure. It is a snorkeling/diving adventure, with all the passengers in a local fishing boat – called a bangka – and are given less than an hour to dive and swim around near the Whale Sharks. Tourists are not allowed to touch the Whale Sharks, but these Gentle Giants are playful enough to taunt with going near you. It is a must for those who seek thrill and adventure.
The third and last place to visit is the Lechon Market in Carcar. Cebu has always been known to be the home of the best Lechon. And with the rise of Filipino cuisine in the international food scene, it’s only normal to want to go to where it all comes from. Lechon is basically a whole pig, stuffed with spices such as lemongrass, rosemary, garlic, onions, etc., and roasted on top of an open fire while being rubbed with a special sauce, though it is commonly soy sauce, until the skin becomes very crispy. Perfect for those who love to try out local cuisine at an affordable price.
For those who want to experience a quaint city feel that is close to the provincial and rural environment and has numerous white sand beaches to choose from, Davao City is the place. It is the hometown of the Current President of the Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte – and is the 4th Safest City in Southeast Asia according to a 2018 report by Numbeo, an online collaborative database.
Island Garden City of Samal
The top three things to do here are the following; First is the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS), which is famous for white sand beaches, waterfalls, caves as far as the eye can see. Though it is not necessarily Davao City, they are considered as brothers since there is no other way to get to IGACOS other than a 30 min ferry ride from the different Piers of Davao City. Perfect for adventure seekers, since the multiple resorts offer different water activities such as Banana boats, Island Hopping, Jet Skis and more. Tourists who aren’t to keen on water can also opt for the Bat Caves and Waterfalls all around the Island. A tropical paradise enjoyed both by locals and tourists alike.
Second place to visit Mt. Apo. The “Grandfather of Philippine mountains” and is known as the Highest Mountain in the country, rising 2956 meters above sea level. It is a nature preserve as well, since it is home to the ‘Haribon’ from the words ‘Hari’ meaning ‘King’ and ‘Ibon’ meaning ‘Bird’. An internationally known as the Philippine Eagle, and it is the National Bird of the Philippines. The base of Mt. Apo is just as famous as it’s peak, since there are multiple hot springs that can be found and enjoyed. Tours can be arranged with different agencies, tourists can book online or be referred from their hotel receptionists.
The third and last place to visit is Shrine Hills. This is located within the city, and hosts majority of the local TV and Radio stations for better reception. During the day, it is best to visit the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague. A beautiful place of peace, relaxation, and prayer. It boasts an amazing view of the Davao sunset. At night, it is best to visit Jack’s Ridge. A center that has restaurants, a hotel, a pool, a KTV bar, a café, a playground, and the most beautiful view of the city. This view can also be appreciated during the day, but not as much as at night.
So, these are four among many more amazing tourist destinations that one can go to and enjoy in the Philippines. Don’t worry about budget, since there is so much variety in these places that can accommodate your wallet. There are really cheap accommodations, food, transportation available. There are also luxurious and high-quality options that one can enjoy. Thank you for taking the time to read and hope you can come visit the Philippines soon. Mabuhay!