The best things to do in the Philippines
We stayed 6 weeks from mid in the Philippines and this diverse and beautiful country made us fall in love with it.
From beautiful beaches to dense jungle, this breathtaking country is, of course, not a hidden gem anymore.
We did a lot of activities and here is in our opinion the best things to do in the Philippines:
1. Snorkeling with Whale Sharks
Our highlight of the best things to do in the Philippines list
This was our best experience overall in the Philippines and we will never forget it.
Whale Sharks are the largest existing fish which can grow up to 13m.
You may think “13m long sharks?! And I should snorkel with them? Are you crazy?”
No worries, they are gently giants of the ocean and just feed themselves with plankton.
There are different places where you can see them:
Most people decide to go to Oslob for the Whale Shark adventure because it’s guaranteed that they will see them. But the reason is, that they feed them in Oslob and that’s why they keep staying there. This is not natural to them because Whale Sharks are nomads. They stay for a couple of month at one place but then go to another place (based on the season etc.). For example: They once spotted the same Whale Shark in Southern Leyte (Philippines) and another time near Taiwan.
Another big no go is that tourists are able to touch them and the tour guides don’t do anything against it. Some years ago there was a big scandal because a photo went viral with a girl even riding one of these giants.
And last but not least the Whale Sharks get used to interact with humans that they approach boats and often get injured by the propeller.
For more detailed info please check this link.
Please rethink if you really want to go to Oslob. Is it really worth?
Puerto Princesa, Donsol and Padre Burgos
All these places have something in common:
These are the other three places to see Whale Sharks in the Philippines and all of them don’t feed or allow to touch them.
This is the most Eco friendly way to snorkel with Whale Sharks.
We decided to go all the way to Padre Burgos.
Because they don’t feed them, it possible that you won’t encounter them during your trip.
We went ou twice. The first time didn’t see any and on our second trip we saw two. One was around 8m long the other one between 6 and 7 meters.
The Whale Sharks are unpredictable so prepare yourself to swim a lot to keep up with them when they decide they just don’t want to hang out and want to move. The first one we saw moved a lot and it was really hard work to follow him. The second one wasn’t moving that much and even stood still from time to time.
We always had two marine research people with us on our boat. They make notes about size and characteristics but most important they took care that people don’t get to close to these friendly creatures.
Big thumps up for this.
We arranged our tour with Peter’s Dive Resort in Padre Burgos.
The price PAX was 2500 Pesos. Not cheap but totally worth it.
We can totally recommend this place and they offer the cheapest tour of all in Padre Burgos.
If you want to support us and earn for yourself 15 please use the following link:
There are no additional costs on the room prices. A win win situation for you and us! 🙂
2. Island Hopping Palawan
Cruising with a boat from island to island and discover beautiful beaches and unique landscape.
Doesn’t this sound like paradise?
Then Palawan is your place to go.
The best places to arrange a tour are Port Barton, El Nido and Coron.
All three offer totally different destinations and are unique by their own.
In Port Barton it’s more a beach orientated tour and costs half of the price as the other two: 600 Pesos
Recommended accommodation in Port Barton: Westpoint Inn*
El Nido’s tours are well known for the beautiful limestone Mountain Islands and stunning lagoons.
The average tour price is about 1300 Pesos.
Coron’s tours are a mix of both and all end at the lake with the clearest lake of all the Philippines.
The average tour price is about 1300 Pesos as well.
Recommended budget accommodation in Coron: Coron Guapos*
We enjoyed all three of them but there are two factors we really liked at the tour from Port Barton:
- the price
- we were just 4 people on the boat (El Nido and Coron about 20)
Everywhere we did Tour A. They all offer different tours from A to C and beside Port Barton as well a ultimate tour.
We felt that tour A was enough and covered the most important places therefore we didn’t do other tours at each location.
3. Tarsiers the Gremlin look a likes
The best place to see these cute little fellas is the Island Bohol.
If you plan to see the Tarsiers, please only go to the sanctuary in Corella because the other place called the Conversation Area is accused of mistreatment.
4. Snorkeling with sea turtles at Apo Island
Apo Island is a small island near Dumaguete.
It was the best snorkeling we experienced in the Philippines.
The reef just in front of the island is the natural habitat of sea turtles and beside them you can see a lot of colorful corals and different fishes.
You can either sleep on the island and go snorkeling by your own or you can either join a guided tour with Harold’s Mansion in Dumaguete.
We decided to do the tour and we can totally recommend it.
5. Diving in Coron
Everybody who is googling about diving in the Philippines will stumble across Coron.
Coron is a well known dive location with different world war ship in some you can even dive into them with the right certification.
We made great experience with the Ragae Dive Center: https://reggaedivecenter.com/
6. Discover Siquijor
Not just one activity particular but everything is just awesome about this island and because of this we totally fell in love with it.
Rent a scooter and discover:
- beautiful beaches (one with a 10m diving platform)
- awesome waterfalls (at some you are going to be the only visitor and can enjoy it by your own
- dense jungle in the middle of the island
- traditional healers: Siquijor is known by Filipinos for it’s natural charcoal healers
7. Kawasan Falls
The Kawasan Falls aka the Gatorade Falls are located on the island of Cebu and one major tourist attraction of the Philippines.
The nickname is based on the Gatorade blue color of the water.
You can go there by your own to explore and jump some spots by your own or you can organise a canyoning tour from Moalboal or directly near the waterfall itself.
Pro Tip: try to avoid the weekends (as always) because this place is getting packed with a lot of tourists. Even when they open at 9am.
8. Sardine run in Moaboal
Get some snorkel gear and swim offshore at Moalboal near Chill Bar and you will see thousands of Sardines.
That’s a unique experience. Just stay still and watch them gather near you. And, when you have your own snorkel gear, this activity is for free. This should be enough why it should be mentioned in best things to do in the Philippines list.
9. Diving Malapascua
Unfortunately we didn’t do it because we felt a bit ill but Malapascua is known for diving with Thresher Sharks which are between 3,5 and 7,5 meters long.
10. Surfing at Siargao
Siargao is the surf mecca of the Philippines.
Enjoy this beautiful laid-back island and go surfing there.
But even as a non surfer is this beautiful part of the Philippines totally worth to visit.
We hope this best things to do in the Philippines gives you enough inspiration for your trip to the Philippines.
Would you like to have more tips for the Philippines?
If yes, have a look at our other Philippines guides.
* = Affiliate-Link Info: No extra costs for you.