Considering a trip to Southern Philippines? Start with Davao City, the largest urban center in Mindanao. Located at the foot of Mount Apo, the PH’s tallest mountain, this sprawling metropolis offers convenient nature trips in addition to city attractions.
9. Central Luzon
Central Luzon is a new addition to this list thanks to easy access from Clark Airport, the fastest growing flight hub in the Philippines. In case you find yourself transiting via Clark, there are plenty of places in Central Luzon that’s worth a stopover including Mount Pinatubo, the scenic beaches of Zambales, heritage sites of Bataan & more.
See Mayon Volcano, recognized as the World’s “perfect” cone-shaped volcano, swim with whale sharks at Donsol (Sorsogon), and go off-the-beaten-path to Calaguas Island and Caramoan.
Ilocos Norte is one of the Philippines’ best heritage destinations as well. From Laoag, visit the Spanish-colonial churches of the province including Paoay Church (included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites). Go farther north to find the beautiful beaches, surfing, and coastal landscapes in Pagudpud and Burgos.
How to go — Laoag Airport is an hour north of Manila by plane. You can also arrive at Clark Airport and travel to Laoag or Vigan by land.
6. Cordillera Region
The Philippines isn’t just all about postcard-perfect beaches. It has cool highlands and rich mountain cultures too! Go here for scenic viewpoints, waterfalls, summit treks, and of course, the famous rice terraces.
How to go — Land travel from Manila is approximately 5-6 hours to Baguio, 8 hours to Banaue, and 12 hours to Sagada. Cut the travel time by arriving at more relaxed Clark Airport.
Endless stretches of white-sand beaches, not your only image of a perfect island getaway? Surigao has many extraordinary sights for the off-beat traveler. See the bizarre Enchanted River. Enjoy the island hopping in Siargao, Dinagat Islands, and Britania Islands.
4. Dumaguete & Negros Oriental
Extremely chill Dumaguete is the jump-off point to Apo Island and Siquijor. It’s also near the many waterfalls, lakes, and mountain resorts of Negros Oriental province.
How to go — Dumaguete Airport is about an hour south of Manila by plane. You can also fly directly from Cebu. The flight only takes 30 minutes.
Bohol is an all-in-one travel destination complete with beaches, heritage sites, natural attractions, and convenient accessibility.
How to go — Bohol International Airport is 1 hour south of Manila by plane. You may also take a fastcraft ferry from Cebu, which takes around 1h30m hours.
Cebu is an ideal base to explore the country because of its strategic location in Central Philippines and convenient flight/ferry connections. When in Cebu, explore the local cuisine (start with Cebu Lechon!), centuries-old Spanish-colonial churches, and historical sites. There are also many beaches and waterfalls to explore beyond the city.
If you have the unfortunate dilemma of choosing only one place to visit in the Philippines, Palawan should be at the top of your list. You came to the country to see spectacular beaches and islands. You are going to experience the best in Palawan!