The Philippines has plenty of things to offer. However, what we have in abundance are beautiful beaches. With the sheer number of islands here in the Philippines, with others still unexplored, It’s hard to narrow the numbers to only ten islands. But the following are some of the most famous must-see islands of the Philippines.
By far one of my favorite. It’s hard not fall in love with this beguiling island with its white sand beaches, azure blue water, lagoons, coral reefs and incredible rock formation.
Puerto Princesa is the gateway to Palawan, but most travelers go further to El Nido, Coron and for the divers, Port Barton. It’s a bit far and probably costs a bit more to travel the islands, but it is worth it.
I’ve met some travelers who regularly ask what to do around the city. Well, for me, being a city, not much. But there are a few heritage sites and places to explore. But if you go south, there is “the swimming with the whale shark” in Oslob (I’m a bit ambivalent about this), indulge in the luxurious Sumilon Island, canyoneering in Kawasan and other falls, or dive in Moalboal. Up north, you can relax in the laid-back vibe of Malapascua or dive with the thresher sharks. You can also head out to Bantayan islands to do some island hopping in the virgin island or explore it on bike or motorcycle. But there’s also some hidden places and islands in Cebu waiting for you to discover them.
After Cebu, Bohol is just two hours away by fast craft. If you know how to drive a motorcycle, it is a plus and can save you a ton of money plus it gives you the freedom to stop anytime you want. You should check out the Chocolate hills, or do the bike zip line in CHAPS. You can also tour the Loboc river or zip line over it. Head out to check the cute smallest primate, the tarsier. Then relax and watch the sunset in Panglao after a day of exploration. There are also some islands where you can snorkel and dive, such as Balicasag island.
4. Siargao, Surigao, and Dinagat
I put all these three together because they are near each other. Well, when I meant near, it’s probably an average of three hours away from each other by boat. Although there are direct flights to Siargao, it can be quite expensive at times that people opt to pass by either Surigao or Butuan. So if you have few days to spare then why not explore all.
Siargao is dubbed as the surfing island of the Philippines. But for those who are not into surfing (like me, not because I don’t want to but because I can’t swim well), don’t despair. Siargao is more than just a surfing island. Rent a bike to explore the island or rent a boat for some island hopping.
Dinagat is more rustic and totally unexplored. But if you have the urge to go off-rid for days, then this island is a must. As I’ve said before, it looks like a cross between El Nido and Halong Bay of Vietnam.
Siquijor, also known as the mystical island, is used to be rumored as the island of witches. I assure you, there is no such thing, but you can still buy some love potion and have your fortune told. But aside from that, Siquijor has plenty of natural wonders for you to see.
Boracay will always be one of the famous islands of the Philippines. With its party scene, and beautiful, white, fine sand beach, it is worth checking at least once in your life. Although, it can be quite crowded. On the other side of the island, Bulabog, you can get your adrenaline kick with some water sports such as kite boarding and wind surfing.
7. Negros Island
Both Oriental and Occidental. Oriental has Apo island where you can dive, snorkel and swim with the turtles, the twin lakes up in the mountain of Balinsasayao, whale watching in Bais and the sand bar in Manjuyod.
In Occidental, check out the new floating bar of Lakawon, marvel at the view in Sipalay or indulge your palate in Bacolod. There is for sure plenty more I haven’t mentioned. But like you, I still have to explore them also.
8. Camiguin Island
This charming little island gave me so much memory. It is also known as the volcanic island. By far the most impressive rainforest I have seen. Not to mention the small islets you can visit, the giant clam sanctuary, the falls, and more. It is small that you can drive around it in a few hours.
Iloilo is also a big city but also the gateway to some cool islands such as Gigantes and Guimaras. Besides, Iloilo has plenty of cultural heritage to see and food to try.
10. Biliran, Kalanggaman, Enchanted River or Mati in Davao.
I tried to choose number 10, but I can’t decide. But your preference may depend on how much time do you have.
Kalaggaman Island is accessible via Malapascua Island. So if you are in Mala, then why not take a side trip here.
Sambawan Island, one of the picturesque island with abundant corals, white sandy beaches and the view magnificent view of land formation. Not so crowded but it is probably due to the travel time and the tumultuous waves on your way there. But Biliran Island has plenty of natural waterfalls that worth visiting.
Enchanted River of Surigao, quite remote and being popular, can be quite crowded. But this enchanting river that seems to just seep from nowhere and flow to into the Pacific Ocean is a sight to behold. Especially at noon where big fish just appear from the bottom for the feeding.
I’m sure there are still plenty of beautiful islands in the Philippines that is not part of the list. If you want me to know about them, feel free to introduce them to me.