For a country with thousands of islands, plus world-class surfing and diving, Philippines is a relatively undiscovered travel destination. Tourism is crucial to the country’s economy, accounting for eight per cent of its GDP, but compare the UK visitor numbers – 120,000 in 2012 – to those of Thailand (800,000 per year) and you get some idea of just how off the radar this vast archipelago is.
#1 BORACAY, Aklan: Finest Sand
Boracay is a tropical island surrounded by stunning white sand beaches about an hour’s flight from Cebu or Manila just off the larger Philippines island of Pana.
For beach connoisseurs it competes with the best beaches of more popular destinations such as the Caribbean and the south pacific as well as neighbouring Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. For those wanting to just lounge around and top up their tan, beach-front hotels usually have lounge chairs set up just a few steps away from the hotel entrances. The more active will appreciate water sports and activities such as sailing, wind surfing, snorkelling, diving and jet skiing. The fine soft white sand made this island special and world famous. Island hopping and water sports will fill your days with discovery and adventure, while at nightfall, candlelit dinner, fire dancers and music of all genres lend a fun and easy-going atmosphere over the island. Bring your friends around, make some friend and party all night!
#2 Palawan, El Nido and TayTay: Exotic Discovery
Palawan is an archipelago of 1,780 islands on the western part of the Philippines. It has the most concentration of islands but is the most sparsely populated region in the country. Because of its scenic landscapes and high
bio-diversity, Palawan is known as “The Last Ecological Frontier of the Philippines”. The northern part of Palawan province is blessed with crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and a wealth of flora and fauna. It is here that El Nido and Taytay, home of the lovely El Nido Resorts, are located. Spectacular ancient limestone cliffs tower over marine sanctuaries teeming with innumerable species of tropical fish and coral, as well as five species of endangered sea turtles. Lush forests abound with more than 100 species of birds. It is a truly exotic destination.
#3 Mindanao, Camiguin island: Now you see me now You don’t: you see :
Camiguin is an island province of the Philippines located in the Bohol Sea, about 10 kilometres off the northern coast of Mindanao. Travelling in Mindanao will not be complete without visiting the famous Camiguin Island.
It is politically part of the Northern Mindanao Region of the country and formerly a part of Misamis Oriental province. Camiguin is the second-smallest in the country both in population and land area after Batanes. Mambajao is the capital of the province and its largest municipality both in area and population.
Camiguin Island also pride itself with crystal clear beaches, hot and cold springs, waterfalls, rain forests, lagoon, dive sites and religious sites. With these and other things, there is no reason why you will miss this island for a lifetime.
This beach has a special nick name “Now you see it, now you don’t.” The island’s best beach is actually a sandbar,
appears only during low tide. This is only one of Camiguin’s many secrets, among them, thereis an underwater cemetery, church ruins, hot and cold springs, waterfalls, and the extinct remnants of ancient volcanoes. The popular cream-filled Pastel buns and sweet lanzones (langsat) fruits will have you snacking non-stop as you go on the island loop.
#4 Siargao Island: Catch the Wave
Siargao is a tear-drop shaped island in the Philippine Sea situated 800 kilometers southeast of Manila in the province of Surigao del Norte.
Siargao Island has been widely known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, Especially Cloud 9 where there`s a big international surf contest every year. Siargao Island’s pristine waters are teaming with some of the most beautiful aquatic life in the world. Siargao Island offers; under water caves, mounds, & pinnacles.
Siargao Divers has explored and discovered some of the most remote dive spots in and around Siargao Island. Expect to see some of the most beautiful rock formations and coral slopes in the world here. In fact, Siargao’s mangroves are one of the two remaining sites in the country where the rare iron wood or magcono tree still grows. Eco-tourists will enjoy a day paddling amid the mangrove forests, kayaking through waters home to rich marine life.There are still many undiscovered dive sites to be explored by you. Diving in Siargao Island has
been long sought after by local Filipino scuba divers and foreigners alike.
#5 Cebu, Oslob: Close Encounter
Oslob is a fourth class municipality in the province of Cebu, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 26,116 people.Watching of whale sharks in Oslob Cebu is 100% guaranteed. Whale sharks can be seen in a small barangay Tan-awan, which is 10 km away from the center town of Oslob. Whale shark watching in Cebu started last September 2011 and it became popular all over the world when the news hit in the internet last November 2011.
By December 2011, local fishermen’s interact with the whale sharks by feeding them that result to flocking of tourist to the beach of Tan-awan. Large numbers of tourists began arriving in Oslob not just to see the whale sharks being fed but also to snorkel or dive with them.
#6 Palawan, Tubbataha Reef: Deepest Legend
The marine and bird sanctuary consists of two huge atolls.this park host an amazing variety of tropical reefs, turtles and large pelagics. Manta and eagle rays, white and black tip reef sharks, gray reef sharks, turtles and Napoleon wrasse are seen on many of the dives. Nurse, shovelnose, leopard and hammerhead sharks are common. Schools of jacks and snappers congregate on the wall, while sleek barracudas patrol.Make sure you visit the Malay Wreck with its amazing school of sweetlips and bumphead parrotfish.Tubbataha is considered as one of the best dive sites in the world according to CNN Travel. Because of its isolated location, Tubbataha can only be visited on a live aboard boat. Divers can experience the reefs’ dramatic underwater terrain.
As a visiting diver you play a key role in Tubbataha’s future, as your conservation fees provide the funds we need to protect the park from illegal exploitation.