Your Guide to Island-Hopping in Philippines

People who claim that paradise does not exist on Earth have never been to the Philippines. We have the most beautiful islands right at our fingertips in the Philippines archipelago!

Featuring world-class beaches with pristine blue waters and a rich biodiversity of tropical rainforests and mountain ranges to gorgeous coral reefs with a rich marine life, there is no other place to achieve a truly unique island experience than right in our backyard.

Not sure which island you should be heading to? Be spoilt for choice with this list of gorgeous islands in our Philippines archipelago, each offering something different from the others!

Palawan Island, Palawan

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Voted as the world’s most beautiful island for the second year running by readers of Travel and Leisure magazine, Palawan Island is undoubtedly no stranger to travellers. Dubbed as “every tourist’s dream destination”, many flock to this exotic island paradise for its crystal-clear blue waters, white sandy shores and amazingly rich underwater marine life. If you’ve never been there, it’s about time you went!

With its unparalleled beauty, Palawan Island remains a popular Hollywood filming destination. It has been featured in top-grossing movies the likes of Bourne Legacy and the James Bond film – The World is Not Enough. Palawan Island is undoubtedly an idyllic destination deserving of only the top spot.

Perfect for: Couples seeking a romantic getaway or group of friends looking to relax.

Recommended activities: Take the Underground River Tour to visit the famed Puerto Princesa Underground River.

Boracay, Alkan

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Boracay is THE place to be if you are looking party the night away! Boasting numerous water sports and an impressive number of gorgeous beaches with endless sand (including the most famous White Beach) alongside a plethora of restaurants and hotels for all budgets, you’d be thoroughly entertained from the break of dawn till late night.

Boracay is divided up into three “boat stations”. Station One, located in the north is known for its luxurious resorts and quietude. Station Two is also known as the “party” section, and Station Three is where most of the budget accommodations can be found.

With so many activities, ranging from scuba-diving, snorkeling or relaxing to a tranquil environment to a great nightlife with happy hours all-night long, gather your friends and get set for the party holiday of a lifetime in Boracay!

Perfect for: Bachelorette or bachelor parties, anyone looking for great beach parties.

Recommended activities: Learn scuba diving at the White Beach, where numerous PADI diving centres are located.

Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley

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Cagayan Valley’s northeastern island, Palaui Island, is often overlooked by many. Yet, those who had the luxury of visiting this island often describe it to be literally quite an untouched paradise.

Made up of volcanic debris, Palaui Island offers breath-taking scenery of rolling hills and undisturbed rich forests, serving as a haven for various species of flora and fauna. Do not expect to see any luxury resorts or hotels here – camping or homestay are the only options.

If you are the solo traveler in dire need of a digital detox, Palaui Island is the perfect island to escape from the city life and soak up the raw beauty of nature.

Perfect for: The solo backpacker or families with an adventurous spirit.

Recommended activities: Visit the seven-chambered Callao Cave, one of the best known natural attractions in the province.

Mindoro, Luzon

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Only a mere few hours from Manila lies the island of Mindoro, seventh-largest island in the Philippines. Yet, this island still remains undeveloped and much of it is wild and rugged with the exception of a few basic fishing villages.

Mindoro is divided into two provinces, Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental, with the latter being more developed and visited. However, do not be fooled by its seemingly bleak and desolated wilderness. Due to the protection of the island’s natural beauty, either by local or international decree, few Filipinos are aware of the incredible marine environment that Mindoro offers.

Featuring its world-class Apo Reef which is well-known among the diving community for its abundance of larger marine life (you can see sharks and rays there!), Mindoro boasts one of the best yet untouched dive spots in the world.

Perfect for: Diving enthusiasts seeking exotic dive destinations.

Recommended activities: Go scuba-diving at Apo Reef and spot marine life such as manta rays, black-tip and white-tip reef sharks.

Banaue, Ifugao

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Fancy being greeted by dramatic, mud-walled rice-terraces etched from all sides along plunging ravines? Head over to Banaue.

Considered to be the 8th Natural Wonder in the World by many Filipinos, this island is not only impressive for its rice terraces but for its misty mountains and sprawling plains as well.  Surprisingly, there are still various tribal groups that continue to live in relative isolation within the mountains. Banaue offers a rich cultural village experience for any traveller who wishes to marvel at the beauty of its incredible rice terraces

Perfect for: Families seeking a unique outdoor experience or couples seeking a quiet and relaxed getaway.

Recommended activities: Hike to the Banaue Viewpoint to photograph the rice terraces as well as tribesmen in native clothing.

Siquijor, Central Visayas

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Witch doctors and magic do exist here on the island of Siquijor. It is a mysterious otherworld of the unknown, both feared and revered by the locals. This island is known for its mountain-dwelling boroboro or “witch doctors” who brew traditional ointments for modern ailments.

Head to this island if you are in search of one, the Provincial Tourism Department and local residents here would be more than happy to provide you with a list of “official healers”. Should traditional ointments sound a little dubious, Siquijor also provides an alternative healing practice that comes in a form of ice-cold cocktails and a deckchair at any of its laid-back beaches or beach resorts.

Not into that sort of thing? The island also offers beautiful dive spots, stunning waterfalls, caves and forest walks all within its hilly interior. Just be careful not to wander into a witch doctor’s cave by accident!

Perfect for: Anyone seeking the mystical powers of the otherworld, or amazing dive-spots.

Recommended activities: Take a dip in Cambugahay Falls or if you are bold enough, jump off a cliff in Salagdoong Beach.

Bohol, Central Visayas

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Witness an unusual and surreal sight with Bohol’s most famous attraction – the Chocolate Hills. These unique-looking domes are essentially formed by coral deposits sculpted over a millennia of erosion. They are be either green or brown, depending on the season.

Bohol is also home to the world’s smallest monkey, the cute and elusive bug-eyed tarsier.

Besides the island’s two major highlights, Bohol also boasts pristine white beaches, a majestic marine life and an amazing jungle interior suitable for extreme sports. People call it, “God’s little paradise.” There is no phrase more apt to describe Bohol.

Perfect for: Families with young children or large group of friends looking for extreme water sports.

Recommended activities: Hike to Sagbayan Peak for a panoramic view of the Chocolate Hills or try stand-up paddle boarding on the Loboc River for the more adventurous.

Step into paradise with these stunning and unique islands that Philippines has to offer. With so many beautiful islands to choose from for your next holiday getaway, I’d say, don’t stop at one – why not pick all?!



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A carefree individual with an extreme passion for writing and traveling. She fuels her trips by writing for online shopping cashback site ShopBack Philippines.