The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, is internationally renowned for its stunning beaches and natural wonders. Named by Forbes as one of seven countries that can become significant tourist destinations once COVID-19 is controlled, the island nation provides unique experiences for all types of visitors seeking to escape the fatigue that comes with travel restrictions and closed borders.
Home to pristine beaches, interesting history, and exceptional gastronomy, these are some of the destinations that should be on your next trip to the Philippines:
For art lovers, the Pinto Art Museum and Art Sector galleries in Rizal provide some of the best from the Philippine contemporary art scene. The former is well-known for its exhibitions housed in mission-style buildings surrounded by lush, immaculate gardens. On the other hand, the latter offers beautiful and scenic views of the mountains and Laguna Lake.
The Burrow Cafe, Rizal’s hidden treasure, strives to bring people closer to nature by placing customers in a beautiful environment surrounded by a dense forest. This popular breakfast and lunch restaurant, accessible by a 76-step stairway from the main road, is well-known for its all-day breakfast and lunch menu, including Filipino-infused favorites.
Many destinations in Ilocos Norte reflect the Philippines’ vibrant culture and ecological diversity. Top on the list is the famed Paoay sand dunes, where tourists can enjoy the adrenaline rush of ATV and 4×4 truck riding and sandboarding down this exhilarating desert landscape located in the storied town of Paoay.
Complete your Ilocano road trip with a visit to the St. Augustine Parish Church, also known as Paoay Church. It is one of the Philippines’ and Asia’s oldest Catholic churches dating back to the 1600s. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has maintained its distinctive architectural beauty through regular upkeep and serves as a good visual depiction of the Spanish influence on Philippine culture.
Travel back in time at Sitio Remedios Heritage Village Resort in Currimao. This Spanish Colonial-style property lets you experience life in the past but with the convenience of modern leisure for a relaxing vacation.
Situated in neighboring Ilocos Sur, Vigan’s Calle Crisologo invites a stroll along its lovely cobblestone street lined with Spanish-era mansions, shops, and restaurants. The famed street continues to dazzle visitors from all over the globe with its old-world beauty that has been meticulously kept throughout the years. It is picture-perfect during the day and takes on an enchanting vibe at night when the lamps begin to illuminate the entire street.
A trip to the beach is a must-do for anybody visiting the Philippines. Home to countless beautiful islands and crystalline waters, one of its finest is the world-famous Boracay, known for its powdery white sands and bustling nightlife.
Following intensive rehabilitation efforts on the island that began in 2019, many hotels, restaurants, and other tourism establishments are now ready to accommodate guests wanting to enjoy island life.
Home to some of the Philippines’ most incredible marine life, the diving spots of Anilao off the coast of Mabini, Batangas are popular with tourists looking for a change of scenery from their usual stay-at-home routine. The waters in Anilao are filled with life all year, but adventure seekers from all over the world favor the months from November to May to dive into an unforgettable under-the-sea experience.
Baguio and Benguet
Roughly a four- to six-hour drive from Manila, Baguio is a city in Benguet oozing with a unique mountain town charm. Known to locals as “the city of pines,” this summer paradise has long been a delightful getaway for people seeking a break from the heat, thanks to its refreshing pine trees and year-round cool weather.
With attractions such as the Mirador retreat house, a bamboo path, weather station, labyrinth, and outdoor café overlooking the city with magnificent sunsets, the Mirador Jesuit Villa in Baguio provides a unique historical and spiritual experience. The Bencab Museum, which breathes with creative inspiration from some of National Artist for Visual Arts Ben Cabrera’s masterpieces, is also one of Baguio’s most popular go-to locations. Travelers may also learn about the indigenous Igorot tribe’s history and culture in Winaca Village in Benguet.
Benguet also boasts newly established eco- and agro-tourism sites such as Armando’s Lemon Farm and Polig Berry Farm. Here, guests can experience a slice of farm life with activities like lemon and strawberry picking.
Finally, those seeking a taste of “the sweet life” should visit Bacolod, the capital city of Negros Occidental, also known as the Philippines’ sugar capital.
Negros Occidental combines metropolitan preferences with a laid-back lifestyle. Stay at Casa Gamboa, snap photos of The Ruins, and visit the Bacolod Art District to see visual art exhibitions before settling in for some traditional Visayan fare from Emma Lacson’s House, Ann Co Cakes, and El Ideal Bakery.
The Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) has proactively developed new public health and safety rules and regulations for the future arrival of tourists to ensure safe travels. When the world reopens, new and previously celebrated attractions around the country will be available for tourists worldwide to visit and experience what makes the Philippines such a fun and memorable travel destination.
For the latest updates and travel advisories about the Philippines, please visit http://www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at the Google Play and App Store.