As the official tag line for tourism to the country states, "It's more fun in the Philippines." With its 7,000+ island geography, beautiful white sand beaches lined with clear sky blue water and abundant tropical landscape, why wouldn't the Philippines be more fun? The country is not just set up for abundant natural wonders, but its cities provide an eclectic cultural experience that is wholly unique. No matter where visitors choose to vacation in the Philippines, an irresistible and unforgettable adventure awaits.
Mapawa River Trek in Cagayan de Oro
Cagayan de Oro is made for the adventure travellers. Some come for the white water rafting, zip lining or just for the scenery; however, one of the lesser know activities in the area is river tracing. Cagayan de Oro only has one river tracing route, but it is one of the most stunning in the country. The Mapawa River Trek takes visitors over tall cliffs and through waterfall-shrouded caves as visitors follow the river. The route undergoes five waterfall challenges. The first few are easy enough to slide down with smooth rocks and clear deep pools at the bottom while others require a six metre leap of faith or a 30-metre rappel with water rushing down over your body. For those that love to hike and love to get wet, there is no better way to experiences the Philippines and cool off during the balmy summers.
Climb the Stairway to Heaven in North Luzon
A UNESCO World Heritage Sites and touted as the eighth wonder of the world, the Banaue rice terraces in North Luzon are a sight to behold. These verdant rice paddies are carved into the mountainside, resembling giant green steps nestled within a mountain rage, earning them the popular nickname "the Stairway to Heaven". What makes these rice paddies even more fascinating is that they are not the product of modern technology, but rather were carved by indigenous mountain people using primitive tools more than 2,000 years ago. These terraces provide such a perfect example of irrigation and permaculture that it should make modern farmers blush. Visitors can trek through the mountains to get stunning far away views or climb the paddies themselves and enjoy the local villages that still maintain an admirable dedication to the culture of their ancestors.
White Water Rafting the Chico River in Kalinga
The Philippines are filled with white water rafting experiences and rapids for every skill level. However, for the experienced white water rafter, they will find no bigger challenge than a trip down the Chico River in Kalinga. The Chico River excels in both difficult rapids and wild beauty, most of which has only rarely been spotted by visitors due to the river's violent and frothy waters. On a rafting trip down the Chico, visitors can also explore the Callao Cave and the church built inside the cave's dome or use the Chico as a jumping off point for the popular Our Lady of Piat pilgrim site. Visitors interested in white water rafting, but not confident about taking a trip down the Chico River can also try the easier nearby Pinakawan River in Tuguegarao.
Cliff Climbing in El Nido
For most who end up in the Philippines, they end up in the beautiful seaside village of El Nido. This little village is the resort town of the Philippines, featuring endless beaches all lined by clear blue water. However, towering above the village are tall, jagged limestone cliffs that just beg to be climbed. While lounging on the beach is a great way to unwind, there is no better way to get that adrenaline pumping than a fierce workout climbing to the summit of these tall, spike-summited cliffs. Every bump and graze earned while climbing the cliffs - and there will be a few - is worth it for the vista at the top. Not only can visitors look down at the small dot that is El Nido, but they can gaze almost endlessly out over into the South China Sea and the tiny islands within. However, visitors should aware that a climb of the cliffs is often not for the faint of heart. There are no ropes or harnesses, but there are still some pretty steep ascents.
Subterranean Underground River Park in Puerto Princesa City
Considered one of the New Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Subterranean Underground River Park outside of Puerto Princesa City is a must-see. Canoe tours take visitors inside the intimidating mouth of the cave and up four kilometres inside. With head torches and other lighting onboard the boat, visitors can mingle with some of the local cave bats and gawk at the massive rock formations within the cave, including the 300 metre high main cavern. Visitors travelling to and from the cave will also get a chance to experience some of the local simians as the boats glide pretty near to the shore. However, they should watch their valuables; the monkeys are well known thieves.