The Philippines is known for its white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and welcoming locals. It is the second-largest archipelago in the world after Indonesia. The fact that it is still not overly commercial is a plus.

The Philippines are often overlooked by tourists passing through South East Asia, but that is part of what makes them so exceptional.

Now get there quickly before the crowds show up.

1. Watersports Heaven

Siargao Island


It should not be surprising that the Philippines is a bit of a haven for water-sports addicts given that it is surrounded by water. You can try wakeboarding, kiteboarding, diving, and surfing here. Siargao Island and the Cloud 9 surf break are the ultimate surfing mecca. On the island, there is also the yearly Siargao Cup surfing competition, which is amazing to watch if you’re more of a spectator.

2. Boracay for parties



Boracay is well-known for its impossibly white sandy beaches and the wild parties that take place on them. You might think that tourism would have taken away some of the island’s charm, but don’t worry, it hasn’t. Boracay has it all: chilling out, meeting fellow travellers, and generally having a good time. This could actually be paradise…

3. The Chocolate Hills

Bohol Chocolate Hills


Hills that resemble chocolate mounds? Before you get your mouth watering, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol only look like chocolate, but they’re still a pretty spectacular sight.

Scientists can’t agree on why the hills are that colour; theories range from two giants throwing sand and stones at each other to the slightly more sensible mix of limestone and clay’ theory. In any case, the Chocolate Hills appear to be pretty tasty.

4. Get Lost In the Rice Paddies

Batad rice terraces


You’ve probably seen pictures of rice fields that are lush and green and seem to go on forever. They can be found in Batad. This tiny mountain village has breathtaking views of the Ifugao rice terraces, which have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. A truly unique experience.

5. Snorkel With Whale Sharks

Batad rice terraces


From June to November, Donsol Bay on the island of Donsol is a good place to see whale sharks. Which is best? The choice is yours to go snorkelling with them. The chance to get close to these gentle animals is extremely uncommon. Do. Not. Miss.

Have you been to the Philippines? We want to know all about your experiences in the comments thread below!