Included the Philippines in your Southeast Asia trip this winter? At this point, you might be looking for some activities to fill your time in this island nation with excitement.
If you are stumped though, try these adventures in the Philippines on for size…
1) Swimming with the whale sharks in Dumaguete
If the thought of going cage diving with great white sharks sounds a bit too spicy for your tastes, but you’d still like to swim with some of the giants of the sea, then heading south to Dumaguete to swim with the whale sharks will likely be a far more appealing option.
Despite being part of a species that has attracted more than its share of notoriety for being efficient killers of the deep blue sea, whale sharks only crave krill.
Their interactions with humans range from indifference to occasional displays of kinship. Despite the latter, do keep your distance and observe these gentle giants as they go about their lives in peace.
2) Secret beach hunting in Palawan near El Nido
While there are many drool-inducing beaches throughout the Philippines, the ones found on the island of Palawan are especially beautiful.
While the easy to access ones are nice enough, self-described beach bums will want to hire an outrigger boat to take them on a tour on some of the most serene slices of paradise on the planet.
Framed and hidden by massive limestone spires and sea stacks, you and your friends will feel like millionaires – despite only spending tens of dollars on this entire experience.
Don’t miss the creatively named “Secret Beach” (accessed by a hole in a limestone cliff), which inspired Alex Garland to write his now classic travel novel, The Beach.
3) Scaling some of the Philippines’ most spectacular volcanoes
Find yourself more drawn to mountains? Being part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines is home to numerous scenic (and occasionally active) volcanoes.
While we don’t advise climbing one that could unload at a moment’s notice, there are a couple that are well worth scaling in their current state.
One notable peak is Mount Pinatubo, which unleashed chaos on many local people in 1991, and actually lowered global temperatures for a year or two, causing crueler winters than usual worldwide.
Today, the former epicentre is now filled with a crater lake that shimmers with a radiance that will reward the steep climb to its precipice, An easier option for those that are less active is the Taal Volcano, which is also closer to Manila than Pinatubo.
Known as one of the only places in the world where there is a volcanic crater within an existing crater (which is currently filled with water), boat rides and guided tours will make discovering the Philippines’ volcanic heritage easier and more efficient.