We all crave a little slice of paradise on our holidays, but the Philippines is one of those select destinations where you can be sure it will deliver on the promise.
Take a journey through the exhilarating metropolis of its capital, Manila, and walk barefoot on the luxurious beaches of Palawan, before admiring the magnificent waterfalls and volcanic peaks of Mindanao. And that's just a taster of what’s on offer - it's fair to say that a holiday in the Philippines can offer a little something for everyone.
Rich in biodiversity, with a range of stunning landscapes and countless exquisite beaches, the Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, which can be roughly separated into three distinct geographic regions. These are linked by regular ferry crossings and internal flights so that, with a little planning, it’s possible for you to be trekking through dense jungle and traditional mountain villages one day, then soaking up the scenery at an exclusive beach resort the next.
Manila makes the perfect introduction to this endlessly fascinating country. Gleaming skyscrapers and a cosmopolitan cultural scene blend effortlessly with palatial Colonial-era Spanish mansions, and the ancient walled city of Intramuros.
Spend a few days exploring the capital before you head north or south for experiences as varied as the myriad islands. Trek the famous Chocolate Hills of Bohol or take advantage of the world-class diving and idyllic powder-soft beaches of the Visayas. Hike up to peer inside the crater of an active volcano, then soothe your muscles in a sumptuous spa or natural hot spring. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Hispanic city of Vigan, the vast subterranean river of Puerto Princesa, or the magnificent rice terraces of Banaue. Wander the bustling local markets in Cebu or snorkel peacefully with sea turtles and barracudas above the pristine coral reefs.
There’s simply so much to do here that the trick lies in understanding what you simply can’t afford to miss. Our Destination Specialists can help you craft a tailor-made itinerary that suits your tastes and makes sure you experience the best of the Philippines in your own way.
Things to love in the Philippines
What to do in the Philippines: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
The beautiful island of Bohol, in the southern Philippines, is famous for a striking natural feature - the Chocolate Hills. Along with conquering one of these, a highlight of any travels here is a visit to a tarsier conservation centre where you’re virtually guaranteed to see the tiny primates. Cuuute
Turtles and barracuda swim through forests of giant coral that rise from the seabed, schools of tiny fish glimmer in the light, and majestic manta rays glide through the shadows… If you dream of deep-sea scuba, or simply love skimming through the shallows, diving around Bohol lets you see the very best of the region’s underwater treasures, whatever your skill level.
Discover your Philippines
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The Selective difference
With us, you are taken care of from enquiry until your reluctant homecoming. Your holiday is designed by a specialist who knows your destination first-hand. Throughout your travels, you'll have expert personal guides where requested & our full logistical support. And, it goes without saying, we'll be waiting to hear all about it once you're home.
Our Brighton-based Destination Specialists spend each day working closely with colleagues and partners across Asia. This ensures we stay several steps ahead when designing inspiring holidays, staying up to date and overcoming obstacles, which means your holiday will be crafted using both local and international expertise.
The welfare of our destinations and their communities is incredibly important to us. We are focused on ensuring that your money makes a positive impact, as often as possible, by supporting communities and wildlife conservation through dedicated initiatives and by very carefully choosing our partners in Asia.
We may be partial to the occasional bad pun, but we don’t joke around when it comes to designing first class travel experiences. Over 90% of our clients rate us 5/5 after their holiday, and we're not ashamed to crack a proud grin on behalf of our award-winning teams in the UK and Asia.
We know your time is precious, before and during your trip. We want you to have a smooth and relaxing experience so that your main concern on holiday will be whether to order noodles or rice. There will be no hidden extras, and your holiday will be orchestrated seamlessly by your Destination Specialist plus our local guides and behind-the-scenes crews in your destination.
Explore the Philippines' highlights
Bohol & Panglao Island
Bohol is an island province best known for its remarkable beaches, coral reefs and other geographical formations such as caves, waterfalls and the enticingly named Chocolate Hills. The main island is easily explored and is surrounded by more than 70 much smaller islands, chief of which is Panglao Island, a diving mecca and nature reserve to the southwest.
Palawan & El Nido
Palawan is known as the Philippines’ ‘last ecological frontier’. Palawan is unspoilt, sparsely populated and studded with perfect white-sand beaches, but it’s much more than this. There are rugged mountains, teeming jungle, towering limestone karst cliffs, ultramarine lagoons and pristine coral reefs to explore too.
Located in the mountainous north of Luzon, the Cordillera region offers a chance to experience traditional tribal culture and adventures in stunning surroundings. Whether you’re taking in 2,000 year old rice terraces, trekking beyond the clouds or plummeting to the depths of a sacred cave, here you will find experiences that will undoubtedly form the highlights of your visit to the Philippines.
In the Philippines, you’re never more than 2 miles away from a beach! Its 7,100+ islands boast over 36,000 km of coastline, and some of the best diving in Asia.
Filipinos love to celebrate, and fiestas can be enjoyed in every town, barrio and city. Every area has its own patron saint, celebrated with its own festival.
The Filipinos have been ranked by Time Magazine as the highest selfie takers in the world. Get ready to say ‘cheese!’...
A unique and brightly coloured form of public transport, jeepneys were originally converted US military jeeps, but now all manner of vehicles are used, from cargo trucks to Humvees.
Patented by Filipino Roberto del Rosario in 1975, karaoke can be enjoyed - or 'enjoyed' - on most street corners. Sometimes even in supermarkets!
The Philippines flag can communicate whether the country is at peace or war. Blue at the top means peace; red at the top is bad news.
The Philippines boasts six UNESCO world heritage sites, including the 2,000 year old rice terraces of the Cordilleras.
Manila is the most densely populated city in the world, with 42,000 people per square kilometre.
Most foreigners will be referred to as ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’, irrespective of their age. The Filipinos are inherently polite!
Playing in the field
Anything you can dream of doing under or on the water is possible here! Scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, whale spotting, swimming with whale sharks…
Looking for more..?
Stories from our latest Philippines blog
13th October 2017
Off the beaten track in the Philippines: exploring the north
Much of the buzz around the visiting the Philippines focuses on the beautiful beach islands in the south, but the north of the country offers a wealth of experiences that take you to the heart of Luzon culture. Our Destination Specialists have picked out a few of their favourite ways to get off the beaten track in the northern Philippines…