The Best Islands for Adventure in the Philippines

If you’re looking for an underrated destination to explore, the Philippines should be high up on every adventure seeker’s list. Home to over 7,600 islands, the Philippines offers top surfing breaks, stunning treks, and spectacular dive sites.


Photo © Anna Faustino

The Best Islands for Snorkeling & Diving

The Philippines has many incredible dive sites including those off Cebu Island, a one-hour flight from Manila. From here, you can also explore dive sites off smaller islands including Moal Boal, Bantayan Island, and Malapascua. Moal Boal is famous for the so-called “sardine run” where you can snorkel or dive with a school of more than a million sardines off the beaches of Panagsama. Malapascua is famous for thresher shark sightings and offers a great opportunity to see these magnificent creatures.

Fly to Coron Island, in Palawan, and head to Coron Bay to dive on and explore seven sunken WWII shipwrecks. As you swim through the massive engine rooms and above desolate ship decks, you’ll be swimming alongside large groupers or friendly turtles. On the north of the island, Barracuda Lake has ethereal, alien-like underwater caverns to explore.

Snorkeling in the Philippines. Photo credit:

The Best islands for Trekking & Hiking

Luzon Island is the biggest and most populous in the Philippines and is home to the capital, Manila. It's also the location of some great treks. Mt. Pulag, north of Manila, is the second-highest peak in the Philippines and can be summited on a two-day trek: the reward is sunrise views as you stand high up above the clouds.

Other day hikes that you can do from Manila are Mt. Batulao, southwest of Manila, Mt. Pico de Loro and Mt. Pinatubo. Head to Northern Luzon by bus, and spend a few days trekking through the remote rice terraces and villages of Banaue, Batad, or exploring the ancient cave networks in Sagada.

The Best Islands for Water Sports

Wakeboard parks can be found near Manila at Lago de Oro, Republic1 Wakeboard Park. If you want to venture a little further, you can also visit the popular Camsur Waterpark Complex that's on the island of Camarines Sur, which is accessible by overnight bus or a flight from Manila.

On the stunning island of Siargao, you can enjoy fantastic surf on the infamous Cloud 9 Reef. There are also surf breaks at La Union, Baler, and Zambales on Luzon.

The Philippines is beautiful to sail around; you can charter your own vessel by speaking to local boatmen to take you island hopping. If you want to take your sailing experience to the next level, you can also join sailing events including the 10-day Philippine Sailing Challenge, every November.

Wakeboarding in the Philippines. Photo credit: Anna Faustino

The Best Islands for Ziplining

Ziplining is very popular in The Philippines with many parks across the country. Glide above the clouds as you zip your way from tree to tree. While in Bohol, visit E.A.T Danao, an eco-adventure park home to long ziplines and insane canyon swings. At the Chocolate Hills Adventure Park, you can pedal your way across a zip line on a bicycle.

Want to find out more about the Philippines? Listen to the World Nomads podcast. Hear about village life on the islands - stunning treks - incredible dive sights and the street food dish testing the toughest of stomachs.

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1 Comment

  • Oliver Fabricante said

    Very informative and the write up is organized.

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