Drenched to the proverbial bone with glossy beaches and timeworn rice terraces, Philippines holidays promise an exotic escape set apart from other Asian destinations.
More than 7,000 islands, 150 languages and dialects and 350 years of Spanish rule have shaped the Philippines into a hotpot of cultures, cuisines and creeds.
One thing that sets the Philippines apart from its neighbours like Indonesia or Malaysia is its weighty Spanish influence, seen in crumbling colonial villas and an out and proud Catholic faith.
Whether you're relaxing on the white sands of Boracay, checking out the historic sites in Cebu City or shopping for Chanel in Manilla, Philippines tours are bound to delight.
Don’t miss these fiestas, amigos...
- Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo
- MassKara Festival in Bacolod
- Tuna Festival in General Santos
Capital city Manila is densely populated with multi-storey buildings, roaring traffic and constantly smiling locals. Manila may lack a certain traditional Filipino edge, but you can have your fill of heritage sights in the district of Intramuros or scattered across the Visayas island group at the heart of the archipelago.
Manila's bustling shopping district is packed with mega-malls offering bargain prices on luxury brands. Home to three of the world's largest shopping centres, the sheer volume of choice can astound even the most hardened shopper.
For those looking for an authentic flea market experience, Divisoria and 168 are the places to go, while the renowned SM Malls are likewise a shopaholic's dream.
Feel the sand between your toes at...
- Crystal clear Cebu city
- Surf-friendly Siargao
- The enigmatic El Nido
A perfect honeymoon destination, Boracay is a small island south of Manila. Regarded by many as one of the most picturesque islands in the world, Boracay's pristine beaches open onto a wide expanse of calm sea at its main stretch of sand, White Beach.
Dotted with high quality hotels, bars and restaurants, White Beach epitomises the best of what a relaxing tropical holiday is all about.
Settle back with a cocktail in a banana chairs, get a massage on the beach, and finish it all off with a romantic candle-lit meal on the sand as the waves lap gently at your feet.
The sunset over the water is a truly spectacular sight to behold, whether you're dining on the beach or taking a sunset sail as the sun dips below the horizon.
Scuba diving is also must in Boracay and other Philippines diving destinations as Puerto Galera, Coron and Apo Island. The marine life is active and vibrant, and there are many accredited diving courses to choose from.
Get your heart pumping and try...
- Kite boarding in Boracay
- Trekking Mount Apo in Davao
- Hiking up the Taal Volcano
For a change of pace, spend some time in Cebu – resplendent with charming churches, beachside walks, small surrounding islands, and charming rustic churches. Saint Nino Basilica, complete with an ornate ceiling fresco, is one place of worship that dates back to the early Spanish colonial era.
The Taoist Temple and Simala Shrine are similarly impressive. Cebu is one of the most developed regions in the Philippines and is a hub for industry and tourism.
If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle, take the short two-hour journey down to Kawasan Falls, where you can catch a raft underneath the water fall and swim in the crystal clear waters.
Swap your conventional transport for...
- A ‘jeepney’ ride in the urban centres
- A comprehensive island-hopping cruise
- A rickshaw ride from Point A to Point B
Catch a flight to the Philippines to grab a bargain, enjoy the scenic natural beauty, or take an Asian beach holiday with a difference.