Ah, the Philippines. The world’s second largest archipelago (just behind Indonesia, fact fans) is famed for its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and incredibly friendly people. Sound good? Well it’s about to get even better, because this beautiful country has so much to offer.

Often overlooked by backpackers on the South East Asia trail, the lack of other travelers is actually all part of what makes the Philippines so incredible.

Warning: this Blog post will probably make you want to grab your passport and book some flights. Now get over there before everyone else does.

Philippines

1-Watersports Heaven

Being surrounded by water, it should come as no surprise that the Philippines is a bit of a haven for watersports junkies. Diving, surfing, wakeboarding, kitesurfing – if you want to try any of them, this is the place to do it. For surfers, the ultimate mecca is Siargao Island and the Cloud 9 surf break. If you’re more of a spectator, the island is also home to the annual Siargao Cup surfing competition, which makes for pretty awesome viewing. The surf is most definitely up, dude.

2-Party On Boracay

The beautiful island of Boracay is renowned for its impossibly white sandy beaches, and the raucous parties that take place on them. You might think that the tourism here would have taken away some of the island’s charm, but fear not, it remains firmly intact. Chilling out, meeting fellow travelers, and generally having a good old time– you’ll find it all on Boracay. This actually might be paradise…

Boracay

3-Taste The Chocolate (Hills)

Hills that look like mounds of chocolate? Before your mouth starts watering, the Chocolate Hills of Bohol only look like chocolate, but they’re a pretty spectacular site, nonetheless.

Sciencey types can’t agree on why the hills are the color they are – theories range from two giants throwing sand and stones at each other, to the slightly more sensible ‘mix of limestone and clay’ theory. Either way, the Chocolate Hills look pretty damn good to us.

4-Get Lost In the Rice Paddies

You know those photos you’ve seen of the lush, green rice paddies that seem to go on forever? You’ll find them for real in Batad. This tiny mountain village has breathtaking views over the Ifugao rice terraces, so spectacular that they’ve been given UNESCO World Heritage status. A truly unique experience.

rice terraces

5-Have A Whale Of A Time

From June to November, Donsol Bay in the island of Donsol is home to spectacular whale sharks. The best part? There’s the opportunity to snorkel with them. This is an incredibly unique experience to get up close to these gentle creatures. Do. Not. Miss.

Have you been to the Philippines? We want to know all about your experiences in the comments thread below!