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The Philippines is a country that has many natural wonders. There are, of course, the world-famous Boracay Beach and Coron Island in Palawan. But there are also other lesser-known gems like Baguio City’s pine trees or Manila Bay’s festivals and bars.
For those who want to escape from the crowded city life and indulge themselves in nature, these places should be at the top of your list!
1) Underground River, Puerto Princesa.
Before it became famous as an eco-tourism site, Palawan was the last frontier of western civilization. The area has been a hideout for pirates and was occupied by Japanese troops during World War II.
It was known under different names; it is now called Puerto Princesa City or Palawan’s capital city.
The city is home to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a famous spot in the country. It is one of the 7 Wonders of Nature and is listed as one of the top attractions in the Philippines.
The Underground river system comprises 9 different rivers altogether, with each having unique features and ecosystems. Accessing these take some effort, such as going down 4 flights of stairs and waiting for the boat to depart.
The river is surrounded by limestone walls that give off a green hue that resembles an emerald mine. It is famous for its geological formations, underground caves, abundant wildlife (alligators, crabs), and unique rock formations that looked like Medusa’s head.
2) Tinuy-an Falls.
These falls are located in Masbate and are among the 100 famous waterfalls in the Philippines. It is accessible from a resort village and sits on top of a mountain overlooking the town.
What makes it unique is its freshwater, unlike other falls, usually surrounded by murky waters because they pass through dirt or rocks.
3) Apo Island.
Located in Negros Occidental is the Apo Island, also known as ‘Bikini’s Paradise.’ Many movies have been shot here, and this island has hosted many celebrities such as Richard Gomez, Angel Locsin, and John Lloyd Cruz, to name a few.
The beaches are lovely but not so crowded. You can get there by renting a boat or a plane since the island is far from any airport and has minimal land transportation.
It is home to beautiful beaches, marine preserves, dive spots, and the longest-serving tourism officer in the Philippines (who was recently appointed as Tourism Secretary). It also has an abundance of corals that are considered to be the best in Asia.
4) Mount Isarog.
Mount Isarog is located in Nueva Vizcaya, the Philippines’ biggest province, with almost one-third of Luzon Island. It was designated as a protected area on March 16, 1997, under “Proclamation No. 934”, which converted Mount Isarog, Natural Park, into a national park.
It is only 4 hours away from the capital and provides a challenging climb for both novice and experienced hikers alike. It has one of the highest peaks in Luzon, with around 2,000 meters above sea level.
As you near the peak, expect to see clouds are surrounding you, making for an icy climb. The summit offers spectacular views and sights that require a few hours of trekking to reach.
5) Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.
The Tubbataha Reefs are located in the Sulu Sea, covering an area of 100,000 hectares. It is home to over 350 species of fish, 400 hard corals, and 500 species of mollusks.
Waves from the West Philippine Sea, Celebes Sea, and the Pacific Ocean hit this area, making it a unique diving destination.
The place is very remote but offers an exciting scuba diving experience only in a few locations globally. It was declared a natural park under “Executive Order No. 103” in 1993.
It was identified as a critical habitat and breeding ground for various species of marine wildlife such as fish, corals, turtles, and the dugong (a manatee-like mammal). It was also declared by UNESCO as one of the world’s most important biodiversity areas.
6) Chocolate Hills.
The Chocolate Hills are located in Bohol and are considered the most significant geological formation in the country. It can be seen from far as it rises out of a sea of green sugar cane fields, which earns its name.
The hills were formed through the eruption of lava underneath layers of bedrock that created these mounds.
Each mound represents a dormant volcano. You can climb up to the top, where a cross and Stations of the Cross are located for magnificent views of the surrounding areas.
7) Mayon Volcano.
Also known as Mount Pinatubo is an active stratovolcano and is considered the youngest in the Philippines (estimated to have erupted in 1660).
The volcano is a popular tourist destination and has served as the basis for many novels, movies, and poems.
It last erupted in 1993 and caused over 500 deaths due to lahar (a combination of volcanic debris and water) flows that buried entire towns.
8) Manjuyod Sandbar.
Manjuyod Sandbar is located in the Western Visayas region in the town of Manjuyod. It is a river beach with white sand that stretches for several kilometers and is about four miles long.
9) The Walla Falls.
The Walla Falls is located in Zamboanga del Norte at the foot of the Kitanglad mountain range. They are surrounded by lush pine trees and a large grassy area that adds to their beauty.
The falls have a total height of about 100 meters and have many levels, with the top being fed by two streams fed one from each side of the Walla River.
Many people visit this place for both nature and religious purposes. The falls are a short walk from the main highway, making them easily accessible to anyone interested in seeing them.
10) Lake Balanan.
Lake Balanan is located in Northern Samar and is surrounded by a thick tropical forest that serves as a habitat for several birds, fish, reptiles, insects, and mammals. This lake is almost like a 10-minute time machine back to the past, where it still looks natural and primitive.
The lake’s water has an attractive color, with some areas appearing milky white while others have shades of blue and green. This unique color comes from algae that thrive in the sediment at its bottom.
The lake’s depth has never been measured, but it is estimated that its depth can reach up to 15 meters.
11) Sohoton Cove in San Vicente, Palawan.
Sohoton Cove is located in San Vicente, Palawan, on the western coastline of Mindoro Island and facing Coron Bay, where mountains meet the sea. The cove has white sand and calm waters.
According to legend, Sohoton is where the last Spanish governor-general of the Philippines, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, left in search of China on March 27, 1565, but never reached its destination.
12) St. Paul Underground River.
The St. Paul Underground River is located in the town of San Pablo City, Laguna. It has three chambers connected by narrow passages where sunlight can barely shine through, but you can see really well with the proper equipment.
Tourists can traverse the entire series of courses on foot and get to see different chambers such as Cathedral Cave, Discovery Chamber, Paradise Chamber, and Echo chamber.
13) World War II Underground Hospital in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
World War II underground hospital is located in Vigan City, northern Philippines. Built by the Japanese Army, it served as an underground hospital and garrison.
This place is interesting because there are still old documents that were left behind by the Japanese soldiers.
It also has many hiding places, so you can see how they hid from the Americans during World War II. You can also have a panoramic view of Vigan City.
14) Mount Kanlaon.
Mount Kanlaon in the province of Negros Oriental is one of the most prominent mountains in the Philippines. It has a height of 2,465 meters above sea level and is often referred to as “ILOILO’S MOUNTAIN OF HEAVEN” or simply “HEAVEN ON EARTH.”
It has an active crater lake and is surrounded by dense tropical forest, making it a haven for wildlife. There are also many small vegetable farms surrounding the mountain, which contribute to agricultural development in Negros Oriental.
15) Bulacan Walled City Historical Complex.
The Buacañg Walled City Historical Complex was once an essential bulwark against Muslim and Chinese invaders during the pre-Spanish era. The walls of this bulwark were crafted from hewn blocks of volcanic rocks and stones.
16) Mount Pulag.
Mount Pulag is located in the province of La Union, north-central Philippines. At an altitude of 2,922 meters above sea level, the mountain is considered the “highest point in Luzon” and the highest peak of the Philippines. It’s also referred to as Mount Peak or ‘Mt.’ Pulag.
Mount Pulag has several springs, some located a few meters below its summit. Its abundant supply of water makes it one of the country’s most important sources of irrigation.
Several rivers that serve as natural resources like the Putting Bato River, Sumaguing River, Sibalom River, Pasil River, Polis River, and Kabuyao River originate from the mountain.
17) Sunken Cemetery in Baras, Rizal.
The Sunken Cemetery is located in Baras town of Rizal province.
It was built during the Spanish colonial period in the Philippines.
The structure has been declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Historical Institute because of its unique architecture.
18) Rice Terraces in Ifugao Province.
The Banaue rice terraces are located in the province of Ifugao, northern Philippines. It is an important cultural property and tourist attraction. Like the Iguazu Falls, it is also one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011.
19) Hundred Islands National Park in Romblon Province.
The Hundred Islands National Park is located in the province of Romblon, southeastern Philippines. It’s composed of 99 islands scattered off the coast of Romblon in three clusters, namely, Calayan Islands (north), Odton Island Group (center), and Romblon Islands Group (south).
The archipelago lies along solid currents, which run between Mindoro, Batangas, and Masbate.
20) Taal Volcano.
Taal Volcano is located in the province of Batangas, Luzon Island, Philippines. It’s one of the country’s active volcanoes, rising about 1,000 meters above sea level.
It’s considered one of the most active volcanoes in the region because it has erupted around 48 times in recorded history.
21) St. Nicholas of Tolentine Cathedral in Tagaytay, Cavite.
The San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church stands on top of a hill in Tagaytay City overlooking Taal Lake and Volcano Island. It’s one of the most beautiful church structures built during the Spanish colonization era in the Philippines.
22) Anawangin Cove ( white beach ).
Anawangin Beach, also known as White Beach or Diniwid Beach, is located on the island of Boracay. The beach has white fine sand bars and coral reefs that are great for snorkeling. It’s not uncommon to see a lot of jellyfishes in the area as well.
23) Twin Lagoon in Jimenez, Zambales.
In Jimenez, Zambales, the Twin Lagoon is a shining example of the power and might of nature. It’s composed of two unique bodies of water connected by a small channel that separates them into twin islands.
The blue lagoon on one side and another clear, white lagoon on the other make this place so unique that it was featured in a part of the Plot of the blockbuster movie Titanic.
24) Maasin, Southern Leyte.
It is located at the heart of the 3rd District of Southern Leyte, Philippines. It has a population of about 50,000 inhabitants and boasts of beautiful white sandy beaches.
It is one of Leyte and the Philippines’ most famous tourist destinations for its fine white sand and clear water. Among the most famous beaches are Bulabog, Put-i, and Mahaba.