The Philippines has grown to become one of Southeast Asia’s most popular destinations. An archipelago of over 7,000 islands, you can bet that there are lots of places to visit, including two that are repeatedly voted “Best Island in the World”! From the Chocolate Hills of Bohol to the paradise on earth that is El Nido, check out the five most beautiful islands in the Philippines.
Coron is not just one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines, it’s been dubbed the world’s most beautiful island! We think it’s a fitting accolade. A part of Calamian Islands in the Palawan province, Coron is beautiful on the surface, but the deeper you look the more breathtaking sights you will find.
To get here, you can take a flight or ferry from Manilla or El Nido. It is best enjoyed by hiring a private boat, and you can spend your days beach hopping, snorkelling, diving to Skeleton Wreck or suntanning on the boat’s deck while the captain grills your freshly-caught fish. If you get sick of island hopping, settle down at Coron Town where you can do some hiking, take a dip in hot springs, or just chill out at one of the cafes in town. We recommend a minimum of three days to really enjoy the best of what Coron has to offer.
2. Matinloc Island
Matinloc Island is the biggest of the 45 islands in El Nido. It has an interesting history and used to be a spiritual haven. When you enter the island, you can see abandoned sculptures of Jesus and Mother Mary.
The island is also home to a secret beach, which is surrounded by steep rock walls and inaccessible by boat. To reach it, you have to dive underwater through a narrow crevice in a rock wall. At noon, the sun streams in through the opening, reflecting a play of light and shadows on its limestone walls. Many tour companies make a stop at Matinloc Island for lunch. You can also choose to stay on the island as well, but Matinloc Resort is the only resort here. You can snorkel, kayak and hike. The resort also organizes spa sessions, romantic dinners, bottom fishing and sunset cruises.
Known for their adorable tarsiers and Chocolate Hills, Bohol is one of the most beautiful islands in the Philippines where natural beauty is combined with man-made structures. You can spend one day trekking in the jungle while admiring colonial architecture on the next.
As Bohol is the 10th largest island in the country, the list of things to do is almost endless. The best way to properly explore the island is to rent a scooter or hire a private driver. Bohol is a little different than the other islands in the Philippines. Here, it’s more about jungle life and waterfalls than sandy beaches and clear blue water. Apart from visiting the tarsiers and seeing the 1,200 hills that make up Chocolate Hills, in the middle of the island you will also find many beautiful rice paddies, lush mountains and epic waterfalls. It’s worth it to spend at least two to three days here to discover its beauty!
Although the charming island of Siquijor is quite close to the southern coast of Cebu and Bohol, it’s not so popular amongst tourists (yet), and it’s the perfect island to go to if you want to escape the crowds.
Pristine beaches, dramatic waterfalls, colourful corals and warm locals are just some of its highlights. Cliff diving at Salagdoong Beach is one of the most popular things to do here, where you can plunge from 10 metres into the crystal clear water below. Another must-visit is Cambugahay Falls – a three-tier waterfall with ropes and swings and many pools to swim in. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful places in Siquijor for you to unleash your inner child. Try to come early! Even though Siquijor isn’t overcrowded, Cambugahay Falls is a popular spot amongst the people who do visit.
Siargao has been growing in popularity over the last few years. It is the surfing capital of the Philippines, and surfers come from all over the world to catch the perfect Cloud 9 swell. There is a wave for surfers of all levels, but there is still lots to do whether you surf or not.
Regular beach lovers and travellers are discovering Siargao’s inland charms. Magpupungko Rock Pools are one of the most popular spots. Rock pools are exposed at low tide with epic coves, caves, and many cliff jumping spots. If you get the tides right, this is a truly magical spot. Tak Tak Waterfall, although 1.5 hours away from General Luna is also well worth the drive. Siargao is a largely untouched landscape with an undeniable natural beauty. It’s no wonder some are even calling it the new Palawan!