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The Best Islands to See in the Philippines: A Traveler’s Guide

The Best Islands to See in the Philippines: A Traveler’s Guide

The Philippines is home to over 7,000 islands. When you take that into consideration, it’s really no surprise that the Philippines has earned its nickname as the Pearl of the Orient Seas. It’s not just that the country has an abundance of islands—it’s also got some of the most exquisite ones in all of Asia, and quite possibly the world! If you want to get the most out of your time in this incredible archipelago, make sure to check out these five islands while you’re there.


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Home to one of Southeast Asia’s few Chocolate Hills, Bohol is also famous for its beautiful white-sand beaches. Besides its natural offerings, a popular tourist attraction is Ita Tina Beach where you can surf, snorkel and relax. Get there early on weekdays though as it quickly fills up with people during weekends. The best time to visit is from November to April. You’ll be able to see all the islands without getting too hot.


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Inquire within each hotel as they will help you with booking surf lessons, day trips and other excursions. You will have a great time surfing, scuba diving and experiencing the culture of a little known gem of a country.


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A lovely surprise, Siquijor is unlike any other island you’ll see. With one foot in Catholicism and the other rooted firmly in mystical beliefs, visiting this island will be an experience you won’t soon forget. One of the most famous rites is a blessing for those seeking to escape from evil spirits – this can be found at Barangay Anawangin and includes a series of prayers, singing, candle lighting, smoking herbs and offerings.
A visit to one of these islands can make your trip complete!


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Once upon a time, a brave Viking sailed from his homeland of Norway and discovered Cebu. The Vikings were fierce warriors that conquered the European continent; their conquests can be seen on nearly every map from Northern Europe to Great Britain. They built settlements along rivers and coasts and traded with local tribes while they conquered others with their longships that stretched one hundred meters long and had up to 60 oarsmen.


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Known as one of the best beaches in the world, Boracay Island has also become a hotspot for party-seekers and night owls. Whether you’re looking for pristine sands or lively bars, Boracay will meet your needs. In order to stay safe when visiting, be sure to avoid areas with public sex workers and drug use.


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Located at the western end of the archipelago, Palawan is blessed with one of the most dramatic coastlines in Asia. The scalloped islands rising from turquoise waters, often pounded by monsoon surf, could be a postcard cliché come to life. But there’s much more than this here; after all, where else can you swim alongside sea turtles and frolic amid limestone cliffs? Venture into the heart of Palawan and you’ll find dense forests that shelter some of the country’s last remaining tribespeople. You can also visit Tarsier Research and Conservation Center, where these enigmatic primates – renowned for their bulging eyes – live among lush foliage

Mindanao (General Santos City)

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Mindanao is the southernmost major island of the Philippine archipelago. In Spanish, it was named las Islas del Poniente, meaning the islands of the west. Despite being part of Muslim country, Mindanao is an island full of adventure and amazing opportunities for travelers.
The landscape ranges from scenic rolling hills and mountains to flat savannahs and coastal lowlands. Interesting tourist attractions are not hard to find here.

Leyte Island
Located in Eastern Visayas, Leyte Island offers travelers and residents alike a few reasons to visit. This little-known and overlooked island is home to some of the best beaches, hottest coffee spots, a restaurant that counts President Duterte as a regular guest, and much more.
A guide for visiting Leyte Island by car and taking advantage of both its natural attractions (including white sand beaches and picture-perfect nature) as well as its food scene is included below!

Samar Island
Long, skinny Samar Island is one of the oldest inhabited islands in Southeast Asia. With a rugged, uninhabited coastline that offers perfect surfing waves and beautiful coral reefs, Samar has long been a favorite getaway for international travelers. At the center of Samar sits Tacloban City, which was largely destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) in 2013. It’s worth stopping by as you pass through to see what’s being done with the recovery process—a few signs of hope are starting to emerge.
In Eastern Samar Province, Mount Tapyas dominates the scenery with its impressive volcanic cone.

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