As countries gradually ease global travel restrictions, the Philippines ramps up its tourism recovery efforts, bringing it one step closer to welcoming international travelers again.
The island nation’s lead tourism agency is taking this opportunity to innovate further and develop its destinations, ensuring safe, more fun, and sustainable tourism for both local and foreign visitors. The Philippines recently unveiled its ‘More Fun Awaits’ campaign highlighting new tourism products and packages to explore, each with its own distinct set of adventures.
Plan your trip
With new and improved local destinations equipped with comprehensive safety protocols and procedures, the Philippines is more than ready to provide a safe and pleasant experience for visitors. Travelers may enjoy a range of adventures from north to south, which are now more accessible thanks to new and upgraded infrastructure such as regional airports and roads that connect tourists to the country’s gorgeous islands and their unique experiences.
Travelers may select from a range of destinations in the Philippines with various activities and tourism circuits to enjoy. The beautiful beaches lead to an underwater paradise, teeming with colors from diverse marine life. On land, the mountain ranges beckon to explorers with lush forests and trails that lead to breathtaking waterfalls and rapids. All of these can be experienced with a hearty serving of local cuisines from hosts, home cooks, and chefs, who will be the first to ask the quintessential Filipino greeting, “Have you eaten?”
Get ready to cross these places off your vacation bucket list on your next trip to this tropical paradise:
Relish the seascape: Powdery white sands, crystal-clear seas, and unspoiled natural resources characterize the beaches of the Calaguas group of islands in Camarines Norte. These lovely surroundings provide the ideal backdrop for spectacular sunsets and quiet nights under the stars.
The Mercedes Group of Islands, also located in this region, feature turquoise oceans and a serene atmosphere far from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. Caramoan Island is the crowning beauty of the region, with a 4,000-hectare limestone forest rich in biodiversity, as well as stunning white sand beaches, tranquil lakes, deep caves, coves, and abundant marine life. It is a fantastic diving location for experienced divers.
Boracay, considered one of the world’s best beaches, is also set to reopen. Its beaches, known for its powdery white sand and crystal blue waters, have been rehabilitated to preserve its natural beauty.
Dubbed nature’s “Last Ecological Frontier,” Palawan is famed for its enchanting coves and caves. Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site and sanctuary for more than 600 species of fish, as well as numerous species of sharks, whales, and dolphins, is a must-see for anyone interested in diving deep into underwater experiences, as is Coron Bay, which is home to many WWII shipwrecks. There are so many beaches to choose from, with island-hopping adventures from dreamy El Nido to picturesque Coron as well as a thrilling boat ride on the Puerto Princesa Underground River, which has been named one of the new Seven Wonders of Nature.
Tourists seeking more water adventure may head to Surigao del Sur, which has attractions ranging from the multi-tiered Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City to the Hinatuan Enchanted River Underwater Cave Systems. Siargao Island is also known for its idyllic island life and world-renowned barrel waves, which draw surfers from all over the world.
Batangas is also a beach lover’s paradise, with the azure waters of Nasugbu, Calatagan, and San Juan villages only a short drive from Manila.
Reconnect with nature: The Philippines has a diverse range of ecological assets. The Turtle Project in La Union, the Barobaybay Mangrove Ecopark and Marine Conservation in Northern Samar and bird watching tour in Ilocos Norte all have indigenous flora and fauna on exhibit. The scenic mountain environment of Baguio encourages visitors to wander around its public parks or harvest strawberries in neighboring La Trinidad.
Discover history and culture: The Philippines is a nation steeped in culture and history. And there are tourism sites that connect visitors to its heritage. Cebu City, the country’s oldest city, is home to many artifacts from its illustrious past, including the 500-year-old statue of the Sto. Nino de Cebu, which was given as a baptismal gift to the local chief’s wife by the first Spanish explorers headed by Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan.
Visiting Tam-Awan Village in Baguio will expose travelers to cultural performances and rituals that highlight the ancient customs and spiritual beliefs of the indigenous population of the Cordilleras.
Still rooted in centuries-old traditions, the UNESCO-listed Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao and the Sagada eco-tourism regions allow visitors to engage with locals and get insight into their daily lives.
Taking a horse-drawn carriage trip through Vigan’s heritage homes on cobblestone streets is a pleasurable way to see the city. Handcrafted items such as woven blankets, sculptures, and ceramics are also available to purchase as souvenirs.
A sugar trail goes through Negros, Iloilo, Capiz, and Antique for a delectable journey. While visiting this part of Western Visayas, travelers will see ancient churches, eat heirloom dishes, and appreciate Spanish-era heritage homes that showcase the country’s history.
Get a thrill for adrenaline: Central Visayas’ magnificent combination of mountains and beaches is excellent for adventure. Trekking the trails of Osmena Peak will reward you with a spectacular view as well as a refreshing plunge in the Kawasan Falls. The world-famous Chocolate Hills are seen from a view deck in Carmen, Bohol, or from the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park’s “surf zipline,” which provides a 230-foot-high aerial view of the hills.
Another enjoyable activity is touring the country on two wheels. The MoTOURismo Pilgrimage Caravan is designed to encourage motorbike enthusiasts to explore Cagayan Region’s open roads, with a scenic itinerary that travels through Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Isabela, and Cagayan and culminates at the magnificent Pagudpud Aquaduct in Ilocos Norte. In Davao, visitors may ride a bike suspended mid-air or experience the sky swing at the Eden Nature Park and Mountain Resort.
Experience a culinary adventure: The Philippines offers a diverse range of cuisines passed down through generations of home cooks using locally sourced ingredients. Tourists are in for a treat as the country’s bustling dining scene promises a delightful culinary adventure.
Being an archipelagic state, the Philippines has direct and easy access to seafood. Tropical fruits are also abundant all year due to the number of countryside farms. Eco and agro excursions are offered to take visitors to the source of food production, from mangroves and fishing villages on the islands to farms that cultivate climate-adapted local products.
One does not have to travel far to enjoy a taste of the Philippines’ culinary masterpieces. Local chefs expertly represent a wide range of regional cuisines at many of Manila’s exquisite restaurants, transforming the city into a global gastronomic paradise. On the other hand, culinary excursions in Bohol are ideal for tourists who want to sample traditional Filipino farm-to-table cuisine. It includes a trip to a bee farm, strawberry field, mushroom house, and a floating lunch buffet on a Loboc Riverboat ride where guests are encouraged to eat Filipino-style with their hands.
Ready for the world
As travel resumes in the new normal, the Philippines’ Department of Tourism (DOT) is preparing to welcome visitors once again, revealing its plans through the #MoreFunAwaits campaign.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat says, “We want to show our preparations for travelers, including newly-developed circuits with new exciting activities, destinations, and tourist attractions that have been developed in our regions. Through this campaign, we are also showing that the safety and well-being of tourists are our priority. Our tourism workers are well trained in enhanced health and hygiene protocols, and tourism establishments have also implemented safeguards in their premises to protect their guests and employees.”
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has recognized the DOT with a SafeTravels Stamp for its implementation of “global standardized health and hygiene standards” that will guarantee safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. SafeTravels is the council’s seal of approval certifying compliance with its global health standards to allow for safe travels.
Hotels, airlines, restaurants, tour operators, attractions, transportation, and airports will be able to use the stamp as proof that they conform to the WTTC’s health and safety standards. The WTTC is an international association that represents leaders in the worldwide travel and tourism sector.
As a result, the DOT has stepped up accreditation, conducting comprehensive inspections and assessments to guarantee that only businesses certified by the DOT are permitted to operate, and welcome visitors provided they conform to globally recognized health, safety, and hygiene standards.
The Philippine government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is continuously upgrading its procedures to ensure the safety of Filipinos and foreign visitors traveling to the country.
The Clark International Airport in Pampanga
In Pampanga, the new terminal in Clark International Airport was also recently opened. Inspired by the slopes of Mt. Arayat and the Filipino Christmas lantern, the new terminal provides fast, safe, and efficient air travel services such as contactless self-check-in and bag drop, advanced docking guidance system, and even contactless ordering for pre-flight dining. As the “gateway to the North,” it will help boost tourism recovery by expanding connectivity to various local destinations.
There’s a lot more to see and do in the Philippines, with world-class locations waiting to welcome visitors once travel is allowed. Visit http://www.philippines.travel/safetrip for a list of activities, get the latest information and travel warnings about the Philippines or download the Travel Philippines app from Google Play and Apple Stores.