2019’s Best Places in the Philippines for Backpackers

  • Aug 29, 2019
  • By Miles Malferrari


It’s good to appreciate what you already have. This includes going through your own country and exploring the different neighboring provinces. Not only would it be easy since you already speak the native language, but it could also help you do some soul-searching by going back to our Filipino roots and cultures. Here are some of the best places in our great country for backpackers. 

1.     El Nido

Located in the Palawan Islands, El Nido is one of the best examples of how pristine and magical Philippine beaches can be. Visit the ‘Hidden’ and ‘Secret’ islands (and there are islands named after those words, by the way) or climb Mount Taraw, the highest peak on the island. Visit Asia’s best kept secret too: The Bacuit archipelago. It spoils you with blue lagoons, limestone cliffs, and the Dilumacad Underwater Tunnel.

2.     Cebu

Port capital. Don’t miss the beautiful Basicila Minore del Santo Nino, the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary and Fort San Pedro. You could also try visiting the Kawasan Falls in Badian – a great spot for some canyoneering and cooling off from the heat. You can also appreciate the Spanish architecture since this is the first ever province to experience the Spanish occupation.

3.     Bohol

Two simple words: Chocolate Hills. A popular destination known worlwide, these are over 1,200 rounded hills covered in green grass that turn brown during the dry season. They aren’t made of chocolate of course but the landscape it provides makes you feel like you’re on an alien planet. Legend says that the hills were formed by 2 feuding giants hurling boulders at each other, until they grew tired and became friends instead.

4.     Boracay

Recently re-opened by the Philippine government, Boracay is back and in full force. Head to the central island once named ‘The Second-Best Island Destination in the World’. White Beach is the main hub for parasailing and diving. A huge plus is the Mermaid Swimming Academy because what more could you ask for than to become a Mermaid for a day? If you’re looking for a quieter spot, there’s Diniwid Beach or try out Bulabog in the east for some wind and kite surfing schools.

 5.     The Cordillera

For those who love land and trekking, take up the Cordillera mountain range in North Luzon. There are over a hundred hills with different expert levels to choose from. Explore enough and you’ll run into the famous Ifugao Rice Terraces and Banaue Rice Paddies. You could even overnight at one of the nearby villages called Tam-awan Village and learn all about their culture.

6.     Camiguin Island

Relatively untouched by tourism, this stand-alone island located in the south of the Philippines is small but home to seven volcanoes. It offers numerous hiking trails through the wild landscape, a sunken cemetery you can dive through, hot and cold springs, and a trek through the jungle. It’s true you can walk around the island twice or even thrice in a day, but you will never run out of things to do.

In setting out on any of these adventures though, don’t forget to always think of your safety. Remember, there’s always a risk when you backpack around the world, let alone our own country. Give yourself (and your friends and family) peace of mind by making sure you have an HMO plan that has several hospitals and doctors available no matter where your wanderlust takes you. It prides us to say that all these provinces we mentioned have nearby hospitals and doctors available. For a full list of accredited hospitals and doctors, check through our HMO partner, Etiqa (formerly AsianLife) here.

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