The Filipino Adventure: An Online Guide to the Heart of the Islands

Experience Manila’s historic Intramuros walled city centre or embark on an entertaining gastronomic tour through Binondo (Manila’s diverse Chinatown). Additionally, visit the National Museum which houses Spoliarium by Juan Luna as one of its top artworks.

Are you seeking an idyllic tropical beach, with only yourself for company? No problem: Or are you more inclined towards climbing Luzon Mount Mayon or touring Banaue rice terraces? No issue there either.


Philippines may not be one of the more well-known Southeast Asia backpacking destinations, but all visitors find themselves falling deeply in love with it. Boasting tropical beaches, lush rice terraces, breathtaking volcanoes, and an exciting capital city full of delicious food, lively bars, and world-class shopping – you will fall head over heels in love with every inch of this tropical gem!

Manila, known as The Pearl of the Orient, could not have a more fitting moniker. A city which has seen every disaster that human and natural disaster can throw its way, Manila still thrives as an Asian megacity today with skyscrapers rising above grinding poverty in sprawling shanty towns and gleaming malls promising an air-conditioned future.

Filipinos are friendly and generous hosts; you won’t find language an issue either; English is widely spoken and easy to navigate around in.

Keep your belongings close, especially at night, and avoid walking alone through any darkened neighborhoods of Manila. Additionally, learning some basic Tagalog (the local language) before arriving will make communication much simpler; most Filipinos are Catholic and this can be seen by the abundance of grand churches dotted across the country and museums like Ayala Museum that showcase contemporary relics tracing Philippine history through stunning dioramas.


Boracay Island in the Philippines is an iconic beach destination and tropical island paradise, boasting 17 stunning beaches and coves for relaxing or engaging in water activities – easily accessible and an economical place to stay! It has so much to offer its visitors that makes this an excellent vacation destination.

White Beach, Boracay’s main draw, boasts stunning powder-white sands and crystal waters. A popular location for nightlife activities, it also contains many hotels, restaurants, bars and other attractions.

The island offers both natural and man-made attractions. Shopping can be done at D’Mall or D’Talipapa; seafood meals can be found in numerous eateries; you could take a boat tour around its various parts or sign up for a scuba diving lesson as well.

Boracay locals are friendly and laid back. While their economy was hit hard when Covid-19 arrived, most are still trying to find ways to make an income; so don’t be surprised if touts pressure you to book tours or purchase souvenirs from them.


Baguio, located in the northern province of Benguet, is an exquisite blend of natural beauty and cultural depth. Widely recognized as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, this charming destination provides welcome respite from lowland cities in terms of climate. Boasting lush pine forests, picturesque mountains, breathtaking panoramic views, Baguio is an enticing escape for both locals and visitors.

Burnham Park, a sprawling green space featuring a lake, scenic walking path and various restaurants and cafes is among the must-see spots in Baguio. Additionally, Mines View Park provides breathtaking views of surrounding mountains and valleys while Baguio Cathedral stands as both place of worship and historical landmark. Tam-Awan Village teaches about traditional Cordilleran culture through Ifugao houses and Kalinga houses with art exhibits on display.

Art enthusiasts should visit the BenCab Museum, which houses premium collections by various Filipino master artists and contemporary works by international artists. If culinary is your passion, Hill Station offers fine dining in Baguio with delicious options like shrimp fritters and deep-fried quail eggs; as well as one of Baguio’s top desserts such as bibingka (rice cake with butter and grated coconut).


Sagada is a charming mountain village that will win your heart. Here, the Philippines’ slow pace of life meets breathtaking landscapes; here, visitors can hike forested trails or discover underground caves; they may also witness locals practising traditional customs.

Sumaguing Cave in Sagada is one of the premier attractions, where visitors can view stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Guide fees of 800 pesos cover five people, and daytime is best as its narrow passageways make navigation simpler.

Echo Valley is another must-see spot, featuring hanging coffins that symbolize “till death do us part”. Visitors can explore this tradition among Igorot people of Sagada on their own or hire a guide for 200 pesos per group up to 10 people.

Sagada can be reached by bus or private car. Though not as easily accessible due to its remote location, getting there still should not be difficult. By bus from Manila it should take 12 hours, with two stops along the way in Baguio and Bontoc for changing buses. Independent travelers may wish to try hitchhiking directly there instead; just bring along waterproof maps and signs indicating your destination!


Banaue Rice Terraces are an amazing sight, showing off the extraordinary ingenuity of local people. Two millennia ago, their ancestors meticulously handcrafted these terraces out of mountains; today they remain as remarkable feats. Their water source comes directly from rainforests above, making cultivation possible for farmers who specialize in rice or other vegetables.

Visits to this spectacular landscape should be a part of any Philippines journey. Rice terraces should ideally be experienced between February and March when they’re being cleaned and planted, and June and July when harvesting occurs.

Be sure to take a guided tour when visiting the terraces, so a professional can share its history and significance. Also bring plenty of water and sunscreen since temperatures in this mountainous region can quickly rise.

Banaue can be easily reached from Manila by taking a six to seven-hour bus journey, with several connecting to popular Philippine destinations like Sagada and Baguio. For optimal results it’s recommended that guests stay nearer the main attractions where there are more dining and lodging options. You will find hotels, hostels and homestays here but booking ahead may save money and ensure an excellent experience.


The northern Philippines are an untamed and stunningly beautiful region shaped by volcanic forces and powerful typhoons. From Subic Bay’s theme parks and wreck diving opportunities to Baguio’s mountain city and Sagada/Banaue’s breathtaking rice terrace countrysides, travellers looking for a change of pace should head northward to Batanes for an unparalleled travel experience.

This remote island province is a photographer’s delight and also a wonderful retreat from city life. Tourists aren’t an issue here and the residents are extremely welcoming; should sightseeing not be your cup of tea, simply unwind on one of its many beautiful beaches or relax by the sea!

Chavayan offers some excellent opportunities for exploring Idjangs – fortifications built by Ivatans to protect themselves against typhoons. Similar to castles, some Idjangs may even allow climbers access for spectacular views over sloping landscapes.

Batanes is best visited during its dry season from February to early June when temperatures are generally warm and sunny. Be sure to bring light clothing as well as rain gear just in case it does rain, and don’t forget the food: although Batanes may not be known as a culinary destination in general, its many delectable dishes such as Adobo are sure to please any palate; other tasty choices include Chicken Turmeric Tinola Tinola Lunes Venes Fried Fish with Banana Trunk as well as Uved balls are delicious options as well.