A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling to the Philippines

Snake Island, El Nido, Palawan, Philippines. Image credit: iStock.

A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling to the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,641 islands with a population of more than 100 million people, including more than 100 cultural minorities. With its picturesque beaches, rich culture and delicious cuisine, it truly lives up to its motto of “Have more fun in the Philippines”. The warmth and hospitality of the Filipino people add to the many reasons to travel in the Philippines. With so much to see and do, this beginner’s guide to traveling in the Philippines will help you make the most of your time in this vibrant and diverse country.

In addition to pristine white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, the tropical islands of the Philippines are rich in natural beauty, from rice terraces to sprawling mountains. These cities also offer a unique blend of modern amenities and cultural heritage, with Spanish, American and Chinese influences.

We also offer some tips for an alternative, more sustainable journey in the Philippines, with some responsible travel advice. This is the best website for booking hotels in the Philippines.

Read more about traveling in Asia

Best beaches for beauty and tranquility

Hidden beach, Palawan, Philippines
Hidden Beach, Palawan, Philippines. Image credit: iStock.

Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Palawan often tops travel lists of the world’s best islands and beaches, so it’s no surprise that one of its many beaches tops the list. Hidden Beach is located behind towering karst formations and can only be reached by island hopping, hence the name. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters, or take a kayak to the beach. The isolation and peaceful atmosphere make it well worth the effort.

Dahican Beach, Marti, Davao

Just a four-hour drive from Davao City, Dahican Beach is a must-see for adventure seekers and beach lovers alike. Skateboarders and surfers will enjoy the strong waves, while those looking for a more leisurely experience can lounge on the seven kilometers of white-sand beach. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, which have been known to visit the area.

Bon Bon Beach, Romblon

Bon Bon Beach is a haven for truly remote and secluded beach experiences. Visible only at low tide, this 2-kilometre stretch of white sand is peaceful and picturesque. It’s also conveniently located near the main town of Poblacion, so you don’t have to travel far to get there.

The Best Destinations to Practice Responsible Tourism

Apo Island, Negros, Philippines
Apo Island, Negros Island, Philippines. Image credit: iStock.

Lord Island

A true destination off the beaten track, Apo Island is one that will amaze you in so many ways. This small volcanic island off the coast of Negros Dumaguete is known for its diving and snorkelling opportunities due to its marine protected status and stunning coral reefs. Even if water activities aren’t your thing, there are plenty of things to do, like hiking, or just relaxing on the beach.

batan island

Batanes, the smallest and northernmost province in the Philippines, is a sanctuary for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The province’s remoteness and limited flights help preserve its unspoiled natural landscape and peaceful way of life, from charming stone cottages to sustainable practices recognized by locals.

Palaui Island

Located in the Cagayan province on the northeastern tip of Luzon, Palaui is a protected area and national park that is a must-see for sustainable tourism. Environmental groups on the island have won Southeast Asian awards for their efforts in promoting sustainable tourism. In addition, the beaches of Palau Island were rated as one of the 100 best beaches in the world by CNN, which is even more worth visiting.

Best food to experience Filipino culture

halo, ice cream, philippines
Halo halo is a Filipino favorite food. Image credit: iStock.


Halo-halo is a beloved Filipino dessert that is a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth. It’s made with colorful ingredients including fruit, red beans and jelly, all served with shaved ice, ice cream and condensed milk. For an extra special treat, try adding halaya ube or crushed purple yam to your halo-halo to really complete your Filipino food experience.


Often referred to as the national dish of the Philippines, Adobo is a delicious combination of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaf, and black pepper. It is usually cooked with chicken or pork and can be found in almost every restaurant, each with its own unique recipe.


Sinigang is a comfort food that is sure to whet your appetite. Made with a tamarind base, it is a sour soup usually filled with various vegetables and various meats or seafood. It is a staple in Filipino cuisine and is loved by many locals and tourists alike.

Filipino Food Pork Sinigang in Tamarind Broth
Pork quarters in tamarind broth, a favorite Filipino food. Image credit: iStock.


In Cebu, lechon is a must as it is one of the most famous Filipino dishes along with adobo. The dish consists of a whole suckling pig seasoned and skewered over charcoal to create a crispy skin and juicy tender meat. It can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as eating the carcass directly or dipping the pork belly into a sauce.

care care

Kare-kare is a traditional dish featuring a thick peanut sauce. It is usually made with oxtail and vegetables and is similar to curry in terms of flavor.

elder sister

Pork sisig is a classic Filipino dish usually made with pig ears and cheeks, served piping hot on a stone plate with a raw egg and citrus juice. Various versions feature different meats, but pork sisig remains the most common and traditional iteration.

By Angie Chua,

El Nido, Las Cabanas Beach, Philippines
El Nido, Las Cabanas Beach, Philippines. Image credit: iStock.

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