Tourism is and will always be very important to the Philippines, with 7107 Islands here are the top most famous islands you should visit if you are thinking of taking a vacation; remember all these islands have something different to offer.
First there is El Nido; a jungle beach town which is on the north side of Palawan which hasn’t transformed much since before the Spanish settlement and has been referred as Alex Garland’s The Beach.
You could visit the many isles of the neighbouring Bacuit archipelago on a round boat tour, where the waters are crystal clear and you could see many fish dashing back and forth amidst corals which are 15 meters deep, it is also an island with an amplitude of grilled seafood.
The Boracay Islands is known as the party island, perfect for Philippine Holidays it is full of countless beaches of fine-white sand, long happy hours, plenty of restaurants and hotels to suit all budgets and also many water sports. It consists of 12 beaches; the most popular is the White beach and Bulabog.
This island is split up into boat stations; these are used as reference points, the first station is situated in the north and it’s known for its exclusive resorts and peacefulness; the second station is the most energetic part, and then the third station is where all the cheap lodgings can be found.
While most of the inhabitants look back ardently to the 70s before the hotels and restaurants began to come up, this island is still a Phuket in its infancy.
Philippines Travel takes you to one of the biggest islands in this country; which is Banaue in North Luzon. Known also as the land of misty mountains, where pines substitute palm trees, you can head to Banaue and Batad to appreciate the 2,000 year old rice terraces imprinted along plummeting ravines.
These 20,000km terraces are listed as a UNESCO heritage site; to this day it still provides an income for the diverse tribal groups that continue to live in their respective secluded areas in the mountains. Various expeditions can be organised along the rice terraces and the many villages and waterfalls via the Banaue Tourist Information Centre.
The best way to travel to North Luzon is by bus, but be ready for a long journey; buses leave frequently from Manila and it takes nine hours to get to Banaue.
Bohol Island is situated just off Cebu; it’s most famous appealing site is the Chocolate Hills: with over 1,500 hills established by corral deposits sculpted by a 100 years of erosion, determined by the season it will either be green or brown.
This island is home to the camera shy tarsier, which is the world’s smallest monkey; you could pay a visit to them in their sheltered compound at the Philippines Tarsier Foundation, but remember not to visit them in the cages which are stored along the river; they are ill-treated and do not live that long.
A Philippine Holiday to this island gives you the chance to hire a motorbike or book a tour from any local company where they would also offer you a car, guide and lunch. The best way to get to this island is to fly to Tagbilaran airport from Manila, or you can catch a two hour ferry ride from Cebu to Bohol.
Siargao is facing the Pacific Ocean and is situated just north of the island of Mindanao, it is known as one of the Philippines surf centres; the town sees a stable flow of devoted surfers who come to challenge themselves on this island’s most famous Cloud 9 reef break.
This small beachside town entertains a various amount of international surfing competition, which in turn makes this island very busy during the surf season, but it is completely lifeless when the waves are down.
Newcomers can enlist trainers, whom you could easily find on the beach, or you can also book a package from a surf hotel; which also includes accommodation, transfers and one-to one surf lessons.
You can get straight flights to Siargao Island; the airport is just 45 minutes away from General Luna, which is the location of the popular Cloud 9 beach.
Then there’s Camiguin Island which is a pear-shaped volcanic island located just off the northern tip of Mindanao, it is often overlooked because of the many Islamist uprisings that have been reported on Mindanao.
But Camiguin Island itself has never ever had any incidents and tourists who take a chance and travel here are presented with an island hardly touched by tourism, for such a small island it gives you a lot to see. With around 29,187 hectares; which include seven volcanoes, good diving through an eerie sunken cemetery, waterfalls, lagoons and hot and cold springs.
You can easily reach all of these beautiful places by foot or by hiring a motorbike, if you want to spend more then you could go to Bahay Bakasyunan sa Camiguin, or if you are on a budget you can try the Enigmata Tree House homestay; which is a minimum of two people, to get to the island book a flight from Cebu and then take a 11 hour ferry.
The magical island of Siquijor is both dreaded and admired by the natives, it is the place to visit if you’re looking for a witch doctor. There is a record of witch doctors, or you could ask the natives and they’ll be able to tell you where you can find one.
It is better if you could rent a tricycle (a local motor taxi) for half a day, since most of the healers live high up in the mountains, these witch doctors or healers greet paying visitors – but remember to always be polite and respectful because it is an age old custom which is extensively trusted by the natives.
Away from all of the magic this is also a perfect and breathtaking island for relaxing, snorkelling and diving; there are no straight flights, you have to fly to Dumaguete city, and then take an hour long ferry to Siquijor.
Philippines Travel also takes you to another beautiful island; The Batanes Island which is found on the very northern tip of the Philippines archipelago, is a land of slanting hills, houses made with straw roofs and natives who wear customary straw hats.
The weather on this island reminds you of the drizzly British summers, the inhabitants visit this island to get away from the tropical heat, while the tourists visit it for a completely different island experience from the rest of the Philippines.
To travel around you could rent a bicycle or book a tour with a local company, the tour includes a three day trip including accommodation, transport and a guide. There are many flights from Manila to Batanes but since it is at the very tip of the country it is the most expensive island to reach.
The best dive spots are very common in the Philippines, but the good scuba diving spots are a little harder to reach, Apo Reef is one of them. It is situated two hours off the coast of Mindoro; this 40 sq km reef is well known among the diving society for the plenty of large creatures you can find there: like sharks, rays and sea turtles.
Many divers stay on Pandan Island which is a 20 minute boat ride from Mindoro and then from there they approach the reef by means of a three hour boat ride, the Apo Reef Club is the closest to the reef, a package for five divers, comes with two night’s accommodation and transfers.
You can get private flights which go from Manila to San Jose in Mindoro and then once you get on the island you can head to Sablayan port which is situated near the town market and get a 30 minute boat ride to Pandan Island.
The island of Mindanao has the biggest city Davao; this city has fewer tourists but it is known as a safe haven and has been categorised as one of the best places you could live in the country, it is also where the world’s most stinking fruit; the durian comes from, and it is also home to the uncommon Philippine eagle, you could go visit the Philippine Eagle Centre for an academic tour.
This island’s crowning jewel is the highest peak and semi active volcano, Mount Apo. It is a 2,956 metre climb to the top and it will take you past a full range of Filipino biodiversity, from the likes of steamy jungle pine forests and also belching sulphuric vents. It is a 1.5hr flight from Manila and there are at least six flights functioning to the city on a day to day basis.
So take a Philippine Holiday to any one of these beautifully breathtaking islands and experience the beauty and adventure these islands have to offer.