6 mins

The Wanderlust guide to the best of the Philippines

With an archipelago so large, numerous and disparate, the Philippines is dizzyingly diverse. Beautiful beaches, tribal cultures and volcanic landscapes are waiting to be discovered.

El Nido, Palawan (Shutterstock.com. See main credit below)

Demand a deserted tropical beach all to yourself? Done. Want rainforests, mountains, ancient tribal villages and terraced rice paddies? No problem. Won’t leave the house for anything less than world-class diving? Sorted.

Made up of more than 7,000 tropical islands, off-the-beaten-track Philippines is the second-largest archipelago in the world and has the answer to any travel junkie's dreams. Your biggest dilemma will be deciding which side of the Philippines you want to uncover first.

Jeepney (Shutterstock.com)

Jeepney in Tagbilaran, Philippines (Shutterstock.com)

Looking for inspiration?

There are a lot of islands in the Philippines. 7,107 to be exact. And while Mark Stratton didn't visit every single one of them, he visited a lot and lists the ones you must visit and why.

Katherine Tanko explored the various islands of the Philippines too, climbing volcanoes and lazy on golden beaches, and wonders why more people don't travel there.

And Kara Santos travels to the foot of Mt. Pinatubo to experience a unique festival that celebrates the customs, rituals and food of the local indigenous people, the Aeta – and reveals yet another side of the Philippines that many travellers are unaware of.

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Philippines island adventures – Mark Stratton

The Philippines first Forest Food Festival – Kara Santos


Diving in Cebu

Diving in Cebu (Shutterstock.com)

Discover an underwater paradise

A tropical climate, warm water, vast coral reefs and mind-blowingly sea life make the Philippines a true scuba diver’s paradise. And while there are literally thousands of potential dive sites, Mark Stratton lists the 12 that should definitely top your list.

Jeremy Head recommends diving off Palawan. Here he discovered coral-encrusted shipwrecks, underground rivers and an underwater substance that made diving here unique.

More information

Philippines in the Sea: 12 watery adventures – Mark Stratton

Wild Blue Yonder – Jeremy Head

Diving amongst Trevally in Panglao (Shutterstock.com)

Diving amongst Trevally in Panglao (Shutterstock.com)

Capturing it all on film

With some of the most stunning dive sites in the world, chances are that at some point you’re going to try and capture the awesome world you’ll encounter under the sea. 

There is more to underwater photography than keeping your camera dry. Steve Davey lists all the tricks, from under exposing your shots through to getting the white balance right in his top tips for underwater photography.

If it’s inspiration you’re after, make sure you check out the photos taken by our readers on their travels in the Philippines. They are amazing.

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Underwater photography – Steve Davey

Readers’ photos from the Philippines

The rice terraces of Banaue (Shutterstock.com)

The rice terraces of Banaue (Shutterstock.com)

Everything you need to know

Ready to start planning your trip? Our Philippines Travel Guide is the place to start. And we’ve rounded up the latest travel news from the Philippines too.

If you have a particular question about the Philippines, pop over to the myWanderlust Forum where our knowledgeable community are ready to spring into action and share all that they know. Or check out the questions that have already been asked about the Philippines. The answer to yours might already be there.

More information

Philippines Travel Guide – Wanderlust Team

Latest travel news from the Philippines

Forum posts about the Philippines

Community content about the Philippines

Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines

Tarsier in Bohol, Philippines (Shutterstock.com)


Main image: El Nido, Palawan (Shutterstock.com)

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