The Philippines is rapidly emerging as the must-see destination in Southeast Asia.

With its vast array of tropical islands, far flung beaches, festivals, abundance of wildlife, world renowned dive sites, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a wide range of accommodation options from backpacking to luxurious five star resorts, this is a destination that has something to offer every traveller.

Located just a short 8-9 hour flight away from Australia, the Philippines is making its way on to people’s bucket list of places to visit in 2019. Following an unprecedented rise in travellers to theregion, The Philippines Department of Tourism recently announced an increase in direct flights to the Philippines from major Australian cities, as well as the recent opening of a new, state-of-the-art and eco-friendly international airport in Bohol, and the addition of a second terminal at Cebu International Airport.

Boracay, Palawan and Siargao consistently receive prestigious awards, listing as the world’s best islands. Recently, Conde Nast Traveller’s ‘The Best Islands in the World: 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, saw the Philippines take out the top three spots with the island of Siargao not only making its debut into the awards, but also take out the top spot as top island in Asia! The awards also listed the beautiful islands of Boracay and Palawan as the second and third best islands respectively

Australian travellers are becoming increasingly more aware of the stunning beauty of the Philippines – a fantastic and diverse destination filled with a wide range of stunning natural beauty waiting to be discovered. No matter the budget, the Philippines offers something for everyone, especially those with a love of adventure, travel and passion for discovering unexplored destinations.

The Philippines is also particularly well-suited to couples who want to get away from it all. Offering the ultimate tropical paradise and multiple activities to do together, the Philippines covers a range of interests, and its islands and beaches provide one of the most picturesque backdrops to relax, dive and discover our tropical archipelago. With world-class resorts and hotels, delicious Filipino cuisine and a number of spa experiences, the Philippines is the perfect place for romance.

How to get to the Philippines

The Philippines is located just a short 8-9 hour flight away from Australia, easily reachable from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Philippine Airlines now flies non-stop from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, whilst Cebu Pacific Air flies nonstop from Sydney and Melbourne, and Qantas flies direct from Sydney to Manila. Other major airlines which fly to the Philippines with easy connections include Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong, Malaysia Airlines via Kuala Lumpur, Singapore Airlines via Singapore, Royal Brunei Airlines via Brunei and Thai Airways via Bangkok.

Top 10 things to do in the Philippines

  1. The beaches in the Philippines are the perfect escape. A private island awaits in Bicol Region’s Caramoan. Boat hire is available to take travellers from one island to the next, until they discover their dream getaway.
  2. Dive the Apo Reef – This is a diver’s chance to earn bragging rights. Sea creatures likely to be spotted include the hammerhead, whale shark and mantra ray.
  3. Surf in Siargao – A gem unknown to the average tourist, the tranquil island of Siargao needs no introduction to seasoned surfers. Most head to the wooden pavilion on Cloud Nine for the infamous Siargao break.
  4. Swim with whale sharks – The peak months of March and April are the best times of year to swim with these gentle giants.
  5. Volcanoes – Hundreds of active and inactive volcanoes dot the land, including sizzling peaks such as Mount Mayon. Travellers can book a private plane over the smoking mouth, or ascend these fiery mountains by foot, through lava-rock trails.
  6. Explore an underground river – Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park – One of the river’s distinguishing features is that it merges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The site also contains a full mountain to sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.
  7. Bacuit Archipelago – Take a short Bangka ride from El Nido to Bacuit Bay in Palawan. This archipelago thrills island lovers with imposing limestone escarpments, palm tree-lined white sandy beaches and coral beaches.
  8. Rice terraces of Banaue – these terraces were carved into the mountains of north-central Luzon by the Ifugao people so they could grow rice. World heritage listed, they’re impressive not only for their chiselled look but also because they were created about 2,000 years ago.
  9. Bohol Chocolate Hills, over 1,700 hills that change colour from vibrant green to brown during the seasons. The Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary features the tarsiers living in their natural environment across 124 hectares of forest.
  10. Sardine Run – Moalboal is widely considered to be a scuba diving mecca, with easy shore diving and numerous dive sites located along the beaches. There are around 15 dive sites here, however the sardines are easily the main attraction, forming huge clouds and creating different shapes in the water, providing incredible underwater photography opportunities.

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Kate Webster

Kate Webster is the founder and owner of Captured Travel Media. She is a world traveller, ocean lover and conservation warrior who is determined to make every moment count for not only herself, but the world around her. An editor and travel journalist, Kate travels the globe in search of vivid imagery and compelling stories that capture the essence of the people and places she visits. She is a passionate conservation advocate, sustainable traveller and always travels with reason and cause.