Every traveler heading to the Philippines faces a difficult decision. The country made up of more than 7 000 islands attracts by its exotic diversity, beautiful nature, turquoise sea and great people. But which island to visit when there are so many of them? We decided to visit 4 islands – Palawan, Bohol, Panglao and Luzon – because each of them offers something a little different and you should definitely not miss it when traveling to the Philippines. In addition, here you will find recommended hotels and hostels, where we slept in the Philippines.

1 . Taal Volcano – a unique volcanic area

A trip to the Taal Volcano is a must stop for any visitor who plans to visit the island of Luzon. Most flights to the Philippines are heading to the capital of Manila, which is located on this island. This natural scenery is unique because there are actually two volcanoes in one. In the middle of the caldera of a giant prehistoric volcano, there is a lake from which another volcano towers and in whose crater there is another lake. It sounds somewhat bizarre, but that’s why you have to see it with your own eyes. The volcano is best reached by bus that departs directly from Manila and it takes approximately 2.5 hours to get there. Or you can book a tour with an agency from Manila.

Recommended hotels and hostels in Manile:

View of the lake in the middle of the volcanic caldera of the volcano Taal

View of the lake in the middle of the volcanic caldera of the volcano Taal

At the first lake in a large crater, a boat trip to the second volcano awaits you. This volcano towers in the middle of the lake. Ascent to the top is somewhat steep and we were surprised how many people live in their huts. Although this volcano is still the second most active in the Philippines, it has become home to many natives. They do not seem to be aware of the danger even though in 2011 the hot magma has begun to penetrate the surface. But when you finally hardly get to the very top, it’s a fascinating view ahead of you. For a small fee, you can even go to places where hot steam rises directly from the rock. Local people will offer you golf clubs and for a small fee you can hit off a couple of balls right up to the middle of the lake.

Eva inside a vulcan Taal

Eve on the edge of the lake inside the volcano crater

2. The Bacuit archipelago – blue lagoon between the rocks

Who was in Palawan and didn’t visit El Nido is the same as if he wasn’t in the Philippines at all. Although it is a very popular tourist area, this place is still very attractive and interesting. The beautiful beaches overlooking the surrounding rock formations are luring the baths. But best of all is the island hopping to the Bacuit archipelago. These islands of various shapes form beautiful lagoons, among which there are hidden sandy beaches. 

El Nido isnt only interesting places to visit on Palawan, keep reading or visit this post about all places in Palawan.

Recommended hotels and hostels in El Nido:

Bacuit islands - small beach

Beach tucked between rocks

There are so many islands that even more excursions are on offer according to your own preference. The price includes a luxury lunch on the beach on one of the islands. Surely don’t hesitate to take snorkel with you because the cliffs offer a unique undersea spectacle. I have to say that we have dived in many places on earth, but this still remains the most beautiful for us.

El Nido island hopping

Turquoise sea invites for swimming

3. Exotic cuisine – duck eggs or tree worms

If you like trying extreme cuisine, the Philippines is the right place. Local cuisine offers lots of selected specialties that we aren’t accustomed to in our Western culture. One such delicacy is called Balut, and it’s a real unmistakable dish. We have discovered Balut with the help of local people because it is sold in closed refrigeration boxes, so at first sight it isn’t visible. Balut is an 8-week-old egg, where a duck embryo has already been formed and is boiled. Local people eat it so that they gradually peel these eggs and eat it with the salt. If you decide to taste it, don’t peel the whole eggs to see how the duckling looks inside. Otherwise, you reduce your chances of being able to eat this local delicacy. 

Balut - the duck egg with embryo

Balut – the duck egg with embryo

Another extreme delicacy is tamilok. When eating tamilok I had the advantage of not even knowing what is this food. The slimy transparent substance tasted like a sea clam, so I lived in the belief that I enjoyed some excellent sea creature. In fact, tamilok is a tree worm that thrives in mangrove wood. Local people catch him and eat it raw. Bon appetite!

Tamilok - the raw worm

Tamilok – the raw worm

4. Chocolate hills – tears of the giant in love

Chocolate Hills are spread differently in groups on the island of Bohol. They are covered with tufts of grass that are beautifully green during the rainy season. Until the time of drought comes and the grass dries and browns, which is roughly from February to May. Then they look really like chocolate truffles. However, it is a magic spectacle in every season. Scientists cannot agree what has caused their interesting shape, however there are a few theories. According to experts, round hills have been shaped by the wet ocean climate along with the limestone from which the peaks are formed. 

Chocolate hills

Chocolate hills

But local legends are somewhat more romantic. It is said that the giant Aroga passionately fell in love with an ordinary woman named Aloy. But she didn’t return his love, so the giant had kidnapped her. Aloya was unhappy and had withered and at the end, she had died. Aloya’s death caused Arogo much pain and misery, and in his sorrow, he couldn’t stop crying. When his tears dried, the Chocolate Hills were formed. The ideal is to combine a visit to the hills by scooter which you can rent at every corner at minimal cost.

Working man on the rice field

On the way to Chocolate hills, you can admire the work of local people in the fields

5. Philippine tarsier – the smallest primate

This little animal with huge eyes is among the smallest higher primates. It is a Philippine endemic species that lives mainly on the islands of Bohol, Samar, Leyte and Mindanao. Tarsier is a nocturnal animal, so his sight is very well adapted for night vision. During the day he is hiding in the cavities of the trees, where he rests and sleeps. He is also a great hunter because he feeds on small insects, spiders, crustaceans and small rodents.  Tarsier occurs in the branches of the trees, so to catch the prey, he jumps from one tree to another one. Sometimes he has to overcome several meters distance. In order to attach well to the tree trunk, he has very long thin fingers and also the tail.

eva_profilThe Philippine tarsier is suffering from life in captivity. They are very shy animals that die quickly because of stress. It is therefore very important to carefully select the reservation where the tarsiers occur. During the visit, try to be really quiet so you don’t stress the animal unnecessarily. This small creature has recently been designated by nature conservationists as an almost endangered species.

Philippine narthex - the smallest primate in the world

Philippine narthex – the smallest primate in the world

6. Sabang river – The underground river

The Sabang River, with its 8.2 km is the longest underground river in the world and is has been added to UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was even listed in 2011 as one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world. Visiting this natural sights can’t be more tempting.  As a result, tourists from all over the world are coming there. This causes instead of a romantic boat ride on the river rather massive affair. Anyway, we have decided to visit this place. Because of the great interest, authorities have even introduced daily quotas that limit the number of visitors to the cave. So, it is necessary to arrange a tour sufficiently in advance through a travel agency. The river flows through the caves in the national park – Puerto Princesa Subterranean River Park on Palawan.

The cave can be reached by water taxi, which is a pleasant boat ride right up to the rock cliffs. The river flows right under the huge rocks and you will have the unique opportunity to board the boat and let yourself to drive up a few kilometers to the inside of the cave. The guide with his poor English is trying to compare the individual stalagmites to known animals. There are bats flying above your head, and besides the light of flashlight, there is completely dark in a cave. Those who already have had a few visits to stalactite caves will be very familiar with this tour.

Recommended hotels and hostels in Puerto Princesa:

Access to the underground river Sabang

Access to the underground river Sabang

7. Diving & snorkeling – coral reefs

The Philippines is one of the best diving destinations ever. The islands are thriving with life both on land and in the seas. I have to say that diving in the Philippines was one of the most beautiful experiences. And if you have never scuba dive, then believe me there is the right time to start. Almost at every beach on Philippines, you will find a scuba dive center where you can rent diving equipment at very reasonable prices. The instructor will take you where you will explore the seabed. Beautiful coral reefs full of fish and floating turtles will enchant you. We combined diving with excursions to the islands of Virgin Island and Balikasag from Alona Beach on Panglao Island. If you are a little more challenging, you can try scuba diving or snorkeling with whale sharks in Oslob. For those who love wreck diving, there is an ideal bay near Coron or Subic Bay.

Recommended hotels and hostels on Panglao island:

Scuba diving on Philippines

Underwater life in the Philippines is very diverse

eva_profilUnfortunately, the diving was spoiled by the coming typhoon, but in the end, I was glad for it. Local people feed the sharks to attract them closer to the shore and therefore wild animals are so unnecessarily accustomed to humans.
Virgin Island - beautiful beach

Virgin Island – beautiful beach

Itinerary of our journey on Philippines

Itinerary of the trip on Philippines

Liked this post? PIN IT FOR LATER!!

Best from Philippines