Top Attractions in the Philippines

The Philippine Tarsier in Bohol

Originally published: January 20, 2014

Having explored 39 different countries in the past, I was finally able to explore my own country last month together with the Singelresor group. We started in Banaue in northern Luzon, then we flew to Cebu for our Cebu/Bohol trip and then back to Manila. Our itinerary was somehow limited due to the fact that the Swedes could only fly with PAL operated flights within the Philippines so Sabang's underground river (one of the seven wonders of the world) as well as the world famous beaches of Boracay were not included. I am happy I was able to visit Boracay though during my trip to the Philippines in 2007. To all visitors, Filipinos and foreigners alike, here are my suggestions on the top attractions when visiting the Philippines. Enjoy!


Rizal Park: Popularly known as Luneta, Manila's iconic park covers 16 hectares of open lawns and ornamental gardens. It was in this park that Jose Rizal, the country's national hero, was executed by the Spanish colonial authorities.

Fort Santiago, Intramuros: This is Manila's premier tourist attraction. Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned here in the final days before his execution in 1896.

Manila Cathedral: This Roman Catholic Basilica is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. It also serves as the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila.

San Agustin Church: A Roman Catholic church located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros, it is designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Dinner with Dance Show at Barbaras: We had our farewell dinner here and I have to say, it was one of the best shows I have ever seen. The performers are really world class so make sure you include this in your itinerary.

Cultural Center of the Philippines: It was established to preserve, develop and promote arts and culture in the Philippines. Its resident companies include the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philippine Madrigal Singers among others.

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial: With a total of 17, 206 graves, it has the largest number of graves of any cemetery for US personnel killed during World War II.

Mall of Asia: The shopping mall has a land area of 42 hectares and is the 11th largest shopping mall in the world.

Lake Taal: This is truly a marvel to see. From Tagaytay, you can have a view of Taal Volcano, rising out of the middle of the lake 600 meters beneath you.

Banaue and Sagada

Banaue Rice Terraces: Known as the "eighth wonder of the world", these 2000 year old terraces is never to be missed when travelling to northern Luzon.

Lumiang Burial Cave: Some of these coffins have been here a long time while others came as late as 1980.

Sugong Hanging Coffins: These coffins are suspended from the cliff face. The rough road to get here is not easy but it is worth it.

Cebu and Bohol

Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary: The tarsier is one of the world's smallest primates. It can fit in the palm of your hand yet leap 5 meters. It can also rotate its head almost 360 degrees and move its ears in the direction of sound. And if luck is on your side, you could also meet the Tarsier Man himself, Mr. Carlito Pizarras when you visit the sanctuary.

Blood Compact Shrine: This is a landmark at the site of the first international treaty of friendship between the Spaniards and the Filipinos.

Loboc River Cruise: This was one of the best parts of the whole trip... floating restaurants with live band and excellent food.

This is an extra when you do the Loboc River cruise, a whole clan singing and dancing to welcome the tourists. They are phenomenal so don't miss it!

Philippine Taoist temple: Located in Beverly Hills Subdivision in Cebu, about 300 meters above sea level, this temple is open to both worshippers and non-worshippers.

Magellan's Cross: This Christian cross was planted by the Portuguese and Spanish explorers as ordered by Ferdinand Magellan, the first European to come to the Philippines in 1521.

Basilica Minore del Santo Nino: This is the oldest church in the Philippines, established in 1565.

Fort San Pedro: The fort which has served as an army garrison, a rebel stronghold and a prison camp was built in 1565 under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, conqueror of the Philippines.

Heritage of Cebu Monument: This work of art by national artist Eduardo Castrillo showcases the significance and symbolic events in Cebu's history. A must see place!

Casa Gorardo Museum: It is the home of Juan Gorordo, the first Filipino bishop of Cebu. Inside you can see the Filipino lifestyle between the period 1860 and 1920.

Cebu Island Hopping Tour: Snorkeling is at its best at Hilutungan and Nalusuan Islands.

Chocolate Hills: This is one of Bohol's premier tourist attractions, a series of majestic grassy hillocks that span far into the horizon.

Simply Butterflies Conservation Center: Housing a small exhibit of butterflies, be sure to have a guided tour. I remember having a really nice guide for our group that day.


Boracay: Who wouldn't know this island famous for its white sand beaches? This is paradise....and I could live here forever!

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