If you’ve ever wondered if the Philippines is an island you’re not quite off the mark. Comprising over 7,641 islands, this archipelago in Southeast Asia is a haven for the beach buff. Quite naturally, one of the top things to do in the Philippines is to while away your time on the sun and sand, or go island hopping. The dilemma lies in which one of these tropical paradises to choose from. While the island of Boracay is one of the key tourist attractions in the Philippines, the island of Cebu is not far behind. The numerous islands that make up the country are broadly categorized into three geographical divisions which comprise three mega islands Luzon, Mindanao, and the Visayas.
Although the beaches are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Philippines, there is much more to the country than endless stretches of pristine sands. The country’s rich biodiversity comprising beaches, rainforests, mountains, islands, and diving sites is a big draw for travelers. There are plenty of natural parks and caves to explore too, the most notable being those on Palawan Island. Puerto Princesa is a good place to base yourself to explore these natural gems. The tribal region of Sagada in the remote San Augustin Church is where you’ll experience the mysticism of the country. Fantastic hikes, creepy caves, hanging coffins and strong coffee characterize this part of the Philippines.
If you’re missing your dose of urban mayhem then the Philippines has that too. There are plenty of things to do in the Philippines’ cities from exploring historical sites to letting down your hair at nightclubs. Manila, the capital city on the island of Luzon bustles with endless activity. Being one of the most densely populated cities in the world, it can be quite overwhelming for a first-timer. However, there’s a lot to explore here, from the city’s world-class museums to the historic San Augustin Church and the pulsating nightlife. For a real feel of the city, take a ride in a colorful jeepney packed with locals. Another city worth exploring is the historical city of Vigan in the north. Spanish and Chinese influences fuse seamlessly into the culture of this part of the country. Colonial houses line the streets of this town, an indication of the country’s Hispanic past.
Catholicism is the dominant religion in the Philippines, another enigma emerging from 350 years of Spanish rule. Although colonialism and the American occupation has left an indelible mark on the country, the Filipinos have maintained their uniqueness.