Holidays to the Philippines offer a feast of fun, culture and history. This is a place of astonishing landscapes and paradise islands fringed with white sand beaches and clear blue waters.
Discover Manila’s fascinating past through the 16th-century castle of Fort Santiago and treasure trove of artefacts in the National Museum, before exploring its glittering modern malls, beautiful gardens and renowned Ocean Park.
Dive beneath the surface and find a world of colourful coral and shoaling fish at the island idyll of Cebu, where sweeping nature reserves and marvels such as the Cebu Taoist Temple await.
Extraordinary beaches are a huge part of the Philippines’ appeal, providing breathtaking vistas, glorious seclusion and world-class diving.
With some of the best wildlife spots on the planet and a rich, vibrant culture, there’s plenty to be explored on a holiday to the Philippines.
Lazy days on the beach, world-class diving, volcano treks and cosmopolitan cities filled with rich history – explore it all with a holiday in the Philippines.
From quiet coves to busy beaches lined with spots to dine or have a drink, this stunning nation has it all.
The island of Cebu is an excellent choice, with fabulous family-oriented beaches close to the airport and an expansive centre in Cebu City to explore.
Hermit’s Cove to the west is an especially serene and secluded spot if you’re truly looking to get away from it all, flanked by lush greenery and crystal clear waters.
The Philippines is known the world over for its diving and snorkelling. With calm, warm waters it’s a fantastic destination for beginners, while also offering challenges for more experienced divers.
The Palawan province around Puerto Princesa has fascinating World War Two wrecks, as well as colourful coral and turtles. There are some great sites within a couple of hours of Manila too, with both shallow and deep reefs.
Layag Layag Beach is especially rich in marine life – spot rays and dazzlingly bright reef fish.
Named in honour of King Philip II, the Philippines was the jewel in Spain’s crown from the mid-16th century to the end of the 1800s.
The colonial power left its mark across the country, with beautiful stone churches, grand countryside villas and fascinating old towns still to be found in the heart of today’s modern cities.
Head into Manila’s Intramuros district for a real taste of this historic grandeur, with its cobbled streets graced by horse-drawn carriages.
Cherished landmarks of the past lie just a short distance from glittering malls and theme parks – including the remains of Fort Santiago, the citadel built by Manila’s Spanish governor Miguel López de Legazpi.
Tour the manicured gardens complete with ornate fountains, then see a recreation of the cell that held Philippine national hero Dr José Rizal. He was executed in 1896 for plotting to overthrow the country’s Spanish rulers.
Holidays in the Philippines play out against some of the most beautiful backdrops you’ll find anywhere in the world.
You’ll have the chance to see dramatic volcanoes, emerald green rice paddies and sleepy sugar plantations.
Mount Apo, in the Davao region, is the country’s tallest mountain at more than 9,500 feet above sea level. There are some great treks up to its peak and within the surrounding national park.
In Silay, near Bacolod, you can step back in time to a world of grand mansions dotted among the sugar plantations.
The Philippines’ lively cities are full of fascination and fun. Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Manila is filled with gems well worth seeking out.
Head to the Makati district to visit cultural spots including the Ysobel Art Gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl and Ayala Museum Art Space.
Davao is home to the lively Bankerohan Market, where you can buy fresh local produce including the infamous durian fruit.
Don’t worry, the taste is much better than the smell of this spiky fruit – make sure it’s over-ripened to ensure you experience the sweet, citrus flavours.
Enjoy a city of both modern delights and vintage treasures with an elegant stay in the thriving capital.
Ideal for luxury holidays in the Philippines, the district of Makati is home to a number of high-quality five-star hotels, as well as being close to elegant parks, highly-rated restaurants, and some of the best shopping in the city.
If it’s serene landscapes you’re after – perfect for a romantic break in the Philippines – then Cebu fits the bill.
Sudlon National Park to the west is an area of spectacular beauty. The astonishing Sirao Flower Garden, meanwhile, will dazzle you with its carpets of bright red, yellow and blue flora, not to mention its quirky windmills.
An array of hotels and other accommodation options put you within easy reach of these wonders, as well as the many famous beaches.
Around a two-hour drive from Manila, the Batangas region is a fantastic choice if you want to combine several days in the city with relaxation on the beach.
Whether you want laid-back seclusion or a full-scale luxury resort, you’ll find it in Batangas.
The local currency is the Philippine peso. US dollars are sometimes accepted as an alternative payment method. ATMs are widely available.
The main language is Filipino, though English is the second official language and is widely spoken – especially in tourist areas. There are also numerous regional languages.
National holidays in the Philippines include Chinese New Year (January), the Day of Valour (April) and Independence Day (June). Manila and Davao also mark special city days.
In the cities, taxis or colourful jeepneys (shared taxis) are the best way to get around. A network of ferries connects neighbouring islands.
Filipino culture is rich and fascinating – blending the legacy of the Spanish colonial age and Roman Catholicism with ancient national traditions. You’ll also see influences from across Asia here.
The result is a rare and diverse heritage, reflected in the captivating churches and eye-catching temples, not to mention the delicious food, colourful atmosphere and upbeat celebrations.
Festivals are extremely popular in the Philippines, with even small towns having their own events. Filipinos are famously warm and welcoming and are happy to see visitors at any time of the year.
Before the Spanish arrived in 1521, the Philippines was a peaceful collection of islands populated by various tribes who lived mainly among the beaches and forests.
Spanish colonialism saw the country begin trading with the rest of the world, establishing the Philippines as a major sugar-growing nation, with stone churches, forts and walled towns quickly rising up from the landscape.
Spend some time visiting these amazing structures and understanding more about the history and culture of the Philippines.
The National Museum in Manila charts the history of the country and its people, from prehistoric times to the modern day.
Looking for a culinary adventure? You’ll be sure to find one in the Philippines.
The country’s rich food culture incorporates influences from both Asia and Europe. Meaning ‘marinade’ in Spanish, adobo is chicken marinated in garlic, soy sauce and vinegar.
Other traditional favourites include sinigang. This stew of fish or meat is served with rice and takes its flavours from a blend of fruit and vegetables such as tamarind, water spinach, aubergine and okra. For breakfast, try taspsilog – cured beef teamed with fried rice and a fried egg.
In the larger cities, particularly the capital Manila, you’ll find an increasing number of fine dining options, with stylish and contemporary restaurants springing up among the skyscrapers.
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