Philippines

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Diving and beaches hog the headlines in the Philippines, but why not mix it up? Get creative: scale a volcano and then spend three days in horizontal position on a remote beach. Party till you drop on Boracay, then detox at a wellness center.

Things to do in Philippines

El Nido & Bacuit Bay

The highlight of Palawan, the Philippines’ crown jewel, is this surreal seascape, where you can kayak amid sea turtles and brooding limestone cliffs jutting hundreds of feet into the air.

, www.palawan.com
Tags: beach | family | things to do

Go Nuts with the Tarsiers

Two of the Philippines’ iconic tourist attractions – the Chocolate Hills and the fist-sized, monkey-like tarsiers – are within spitting distance of Nuts Huts, a backpacker oasis in the rainforest of central Bohol.

Chocolate Hills, Nuts Hills, Tarsiers, Bohol, Barangay Gotozon, Loboc, 011-63-920-846-1559, www.nutshuts.com
Tags: family | great value | things to do | wildlife

Learn to dive

Great rates, superb year-round conditions, and close proximity to Manila (not to mention a mischievous nightlife scene) make Puerto Galera the ultimate place to obtain beginner or advanced dive certifications. El Galleon has attractive diving/lodging packages.

Asia Divers/El Galleon, Puerto Galera, Small La Laguna Beach, 011-63-43-287-3205, www.asiadivers.com
Tags: nightlife | things to do | outdoors | diving

Learn to kite surf on Boracay

Steady northeasterly winds and shallow tropical waters make Boracay the ultimate kite-surfing destination. A 14-hour certification course at Hangin costs a fraction of the price of lessons in the US.

Hangin Kiteboarding, Boracay, Bulabog Beach, 011-63-36-288-3663, www.kiteboardingboracay.com
Tags: great value | water sports | things to do | outdoors

Rough it in the jungle

Learn jungle survival skills from indigenous Aeta tribesmen in the midst of the densely forested Bataan Peninsula. The Jungle Environment Survival Training Camp runs half-day and overnight trips and can tailor longer journeys.

The Jungle Environment Survival Training Camp, near Manila, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, 011-63-47-252-4154, www.subicbay.com.ph
Tags: things to do | outdoors | adventure

Sweat out a tour of Manila

Join Carlos Celdran and his boom-box for a flamboyant city tour. Get intimate with bustling Chinatown, explore the walled district of Intramuros, or howl your way through Carlos’ Living La Vida Imelda tour, which explores the former first lady’s psyche and visits some of her favorite haunts.

Celdran Tours, 011-63-2-484-4945, www.celdrantours.blogspot.com
Tags: family | things to do | culture | architecture | tour

Swimming with whale sharks

Dozens of butanding (whale sharks) gather in the waters off Donsol every year from February to June. Don flippers, mask, and snorkel and get up close and personal with these gentle beasts.

Donsol Visitors Center, Bicol, www.ecotourdonsol.com
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors | wildlife

Take a spa day

Enjoy an all-day spa treatment and feast on delectable vegan food at The Farm at San Benito, the Philippines’ most exclusive wellness center, located in the jungle south of Manila.

The Farm at San Benito, Batangas, 119 Barangay Tipakan, 011-63-2-884-8074, www.thefarm.com.ph
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | trendy | things to do

The Ifugao Rice Terraces

These centuries-old terraces are the Philippines’ most stunning visual treat. The most famous examples are at Banaue and Batad, but adventurous travelers will find spectacular specimens lurking throughout the Cordillera Mountains.

Banaue Tourist Information Center, Cordillera Mountains, 011-63-74-386-4010
Tags: hiking | things to do | outdoors

Wreck diving in Coron

Make the eerie descent to the sunken Japanese ships of Coron Bay, off Busuanga Isaland. Stay at Sangat Island Reserve to be closest to the wrecks.

Sangat Island Reserve, Palawan, Sangat Island, Coron, 011-63-919-205-0198, www.sangat.com.ph
Tags: things to do | outdoors | adventure | diving

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