Sep 07 '00
(Updated Sep 07 '00)
The Philippines is full of beautiful islands to choose from
Not enough time, not enough time.....
The Philippines is best known for its beautiful island paradises
and there are many to choose from. Here are my top choices with
a description of each.
Arguably one of the Philippines' best beaches, this popular destination
site is highly recommended by almost everyone who has been there.
It's been frequently ranked as one of the world's Top 10 Beaches.
Why? Boracay is known for having the finest, whitest sand around,
and its crystal clear waters make for a top quality beach. The island
is relatively small, everything is within reach, food is great and
entertainment is awesome. It's one of the more expensive places
in the country to visit though, and it takes some effort getting
there. From either Manila or Cebu, you will take a 30-45 minute
plane ride, 2.5 hour bus/van ride and a 20 minute boat ride to the
elusive island. It's well worth it though and I highly recommend
a trip there.
Best features: breathtakingly beautiful
beach, great restaurants, offers a multitude of sports and recreational
activities, beautiful people, wonderful parties, wild bars/clubs,
ideal for romance, excellent massages!
becoming "too touristy", during certain months the beach
is full of seaweed, not so accessible, sandfleas abound, more expensive
than other Philippine destinations, no cultural places of interest,
and generally, not as nice as it was years ago.
for: almost anyone. Boracay has something to offer to everyone,
from sports, bars, and entertainment.
Among the stars who've been on its sands are Brooke Shields and
Jean Claude Van Damme.
Last say: A definite must-see.
It's a destination everyone can enjoy.
Coined the Philippines' last frontier, Palawan is filled with rainforests
that extend to the seashore, miles upon miles of white sandy beaches,
pristine water that abounds with tropical life, and awe-inspiring
natural scenic wonders. It's known as the haven of Philippine Wildlife,
teeming with all sorts of animals from monkeys and bearcats to mousedeer
and sea cows. Palawan is the country's largest province, which makes
traveling within the island quite tedious. The jump off point is
usually Manila. Easiest way to get there is by plane to Puerto Princesa
(1 hour), where you take a bus or van ride to your destination.
Unlike Boracay, Palawan sports numerous beaches on all sides of
the island. There is an unbelievable variety of things to do and
places to visit in Palawan: the underground cave, Tubataha reef
and the surrounding forests. The island is well known for its world
class diving spots. The popular Tubataha reef is said to rival Australia's
Great Barrier Reef.
Best features: unbelievable
variety, beautiful beaches, everything under the sun from rock climbing,
scuba diving to nature watching, world class dive sites, a protected
environmental zone, unspoiled nature, more private and secluded
than most tourist destinations.
expansive island, much inter-island travel is required to see the
sights, one of the more expensive Philippine destinations, night
life is not too hot
Perfect for: explorers, nature
and animal lovers, beach lovers and those with a flair for adventure
Interesting facts: Jacques Costeau named it one of his
favourite travel destinations; Top Hollywood stars such as Tom Cruise
and Nicole Kidman often visit "Amanpulo” - one of the
most exclusive and beautiful resorts in the world which costs about
$500 a night.
Last say: Highly recommended. Much
to see and do. My personal favourite.
Known for its world class reef breaks, Siargao is the ultimate surfer's
mecca. Most popularly known is a point called Cloud NINE, often
rated one of the best surf sites in the world. Cloud Nine is known
for its "perfect waves" and draws professionals and neophytes
alike from the world of surfing. Popular surf champions, such as
Kelly Slater, often frequent the island and have been known to leave
a surfboard or two behind for the locals. For the more tentative,
Siargao is also a great place to lounge by the beaches and bask
in the sun. Many tourists become hooked to the rural charms of the
city whose 17 islands and its surrounding waters beckon you to return.
To get there, take the comfortable 3 hour fastcraft ride to Surigao
and a ferry to Siargao. Alternatively, there is a 45 minute plane
ride directly to the island from Cebu. Siargao's vacation spots
are not commercially developed yet so it remains to be a special
hideaway of rustic charms and beauty.
excellent surf, great beaches, inexpensive, unspoiled, the 27-mile
long white sugar-fine sand strip of Gen. Luna, Cloud Nine, International
Worst features: hard to reach,
no cultural places of interest
Perfect for: Surf
goons, beach lovers and adventurers who want to try something different.
Interesting facts: The world's top surfers travel
all this way for its famous waves.
Last say: Siargao
is not very well known, and this is its greatest appeal. Its sites
and attractions remain to be one of the best kept secrets where
unspoiled islands and beach hideaways are concerned. I highly recommend
The Queen City of the south, Cebu is the second most developed city
in the country after the capital Manila. It's a well rounded destination:
modern city with the pretty beaches only 30 minutes away. Cebu is
a must see when you're in the Philippines. Aside from having much
to offer, it's the jump off point for great destinations in the
Visayas region such as Bohol and Siargao. Most tourists lodge in
one of the beach resorts on the Mactan island and take day trips
into the city for nightlife, sightseeing and shopping. Cebu is well
known for its places of cultural interest which include the LAPU
LAPU shrine, Fort San Pedro and Magellan's cross. Although the beaches
aren't as beautiful as those of Palawan and Boracay, they are definitely
worth visiting. Cebu is also popular for its dive sites in Moalboal.
If not for any other reason, go to Cebu to eat! They have great
delicacies which I HIGHLY recommend such as lechon (roasted pig),
puso (rice in banana leaf) and seafoods like baked mussels, scallops,
and fish of various kinds.
Best features: friendly
people, reasonable prices, great food, interesting history and culture,
modern city with nearby beaches, easy to get around the island
Worst features: city is rather congested and polluted,
beaches are not what they used to be
those who want a mix of cosmopolitan and tropical holiday
Interesting facts: among the Philippine islands, Cebu has
frequently been named the best place to live in
say: If you want a little bit of everything, travel to Cebu.
Access to other Visayan destinations is convenient from the island.
Only two hours by fast-ferry from Cebu, the island of Bohol is a
popular tourist site. It offers unspoiled beaches, underground caves,
scuba diving sites and the famous chocolate hills. Bohol is also
the home of the tarsier: the world's smallest monkey, an animal
indigenous to the Philippines. The quaint town of Tagbilaran holds
the country's oldest church, a beautiful large, stone edifice that's
visited by Filipinos from all over the country. Lately, more and
more tourists have been coming for whale and dolphin watching. These
gentle giants can be seen all year round, especially during warmer
months. Bohol easy to get to, not as busy or touristy as places
like Boracay, and a lot more inexpensive.
Best features: pristine waters, good beaches, scuba diving sites,
warm people, cultural places of interest, laid back lifestyle, very
inexpensive, whale watching
Worst features: beware of jellyfish!
Perfect for: those who opt for a more laid back and tranquil
atmosphere by the beach
Interesting facts: home of the tarsier, the world's smallest
Last say: Captivating beaches and scuba diving
will be your reason for travel to this little island.