First off, can we just address the fact there’s a place called the Chocolate Hills in the Philippines? Despite its name (and everyone’s hopes), the Chocolate Hills are not made of chocolate; instead, it is just a gorgeous, vast area made up of over 1,776 perfectly formed limestone hills, which is definitely worth checking out! Though the Philippines is most well known for having beautiful beaches, delicious food, and an extremely hospitable people, it’s also a great place for adventure travel in Asia. Begin your adventure in the Philippines and your adrenaline will be pumping in no time!
If your ideal picture of an adventure abroad is taking a leisurely “dip” in the pool, the Philippines may not be the place for you. For the rest of us, there are plenty of adventure travel opportunities and destinations in the Philippines, so just take your pick.
Don’t just speculate the Philippines’s vast and colorful marine life through a looking glass at the Manila Ocean Park; take a scuba dive into the ocean and get some face to face contact with the fishes (bonus points if you find Dory or Nemo!). If you’ve ever wanted to hike to the top of an active volcano, this may be your one chance. Manila is home to the world’s smallest active volcano, but don’t let the word “smallest” get you down; it’s still spooky, awesome, and smokey. A hike to the very tip of the volcano only takes an hour, and you’ll be greeted by gorgeous views and fresh air.
Speaking of fresh air and great views, there’s no better way to enjoy both of these at the same time than by going up. Parasail and skydive in Davao, a city that is known for being “clean and green.” Hope you’re not afraid of heights, because parasailing and skydiving are definitely not for the weak-stomached. If you’re ready for the thrill, you can get a 360 panoramic view of your breathtaking surroundings. Not very many people get to say they flew up high with the Philippine Eagles themselves! After a day of crazy adventures, stop by one of Davao’s many famous food markets and try some fried lumpia (similar to Asian spring rolls) or pork barbeque if your stomach is feeling a little adventurous, too.
Adventure Travel in the Philippines
Get the thrill of a lifetime and travel to one of the most underrated countries in the world by backpacking, going on a safari adventure, or hiking in the Philippines. Not only will you have the opportunity for adventure in your home country, but you’ll also get to travel around to other provinces in the Philippines and experience the adventure activities each one is known for.
Backpacking trips in your home country may be pretty neat, but backpacking in the Philippines will take your adventure to a whole different level. Backpack through the Bomod-Ok Falls to experience the rush of roaring masses of sparkling waterfalls, or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, backpack through the hanging coffins of Sagada. This intriguing landmark branches from members of the Igorot tribe that have long practiced the tradition of burying their dead in hanging coffins that are nailed to the sides of the cliff facing high above the ground; ready for your daily dose of creepy?
Carabao, monkeys, and mongooses, oh my! If you want to get up close and personal with all things furry, four-legged, and somewhat dangerous, then you’ll want to add safari adventure to your adventure bucket list. Explore areas that only the brave and courageous will venture to, and if you’re lucky you’ll find yourself face to face with some of the Philippines’s wildest animals. Just be sure not to try to take a baby lemur or monkey home with you, because its very protective mama might be lurking nearby.
Hiking to the tops of volcanoes and all around mysterious mountains is already thrilling enough, but what about hiking in and out of caves? Sumaguing Cave is a great underground adventure where you could explore the glittering gems and smooth rocks native to the Philippines, but also get the thrill of being underground and depending on a small source of light to find your way through.
Costs & Affordability
Be prepared to embark on more than enough adventures and excursions to fill your plate, because the cost of living in the Philippines may be significantly lower than your home country. An entire meal at an inexpensive restaurant is only less than $5! “Um, I’d like to order about 5 plates of your pancit and fried rice please?” A Coke costs less than $1, and milk is a little over $5.
However, even though the Philippines is an inexpensive place to live, it is still recommended to save up some extra money a few months before you embark on your adventure. It’s always good to save up for a rainy day and who knows, you might decide to stay a few extra weeks to take a couple of more skydiving jumps!
Accommodation & Visas
Accommodation is usually provided through adventure travel programs in the Philippines, which could mean you’ll be staying in homestays, apartment, houses, or dorm-style housing. Housing arrangements are just another perk of traveling through an organized program versus on your own. It will save you money, time, and the hassle of finding a reliable place to live throughout your travels in the Philippines.
A visa is required to travel to the Philippines only if you intend to stay for longer than 30 days, because almost all foreign travelers are given a free tourist visa upon arrival for stays of 30 days or less. However, if it quite easy to go through the visa process for up to 6 month stays, just be sure you budget an additional $75 to $200 for the various extension fees. Most adventures in the Philippines last only for a few weeks, so acquiring a visa shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Find out more about acquiring a visa in the Philippines through GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
As a very underrated country, many travelers don’t know all the benefits that adventures in the Philippines can have. One important benefit is that all of the islands within the Philippines are in fairly close proximity to one another. Therefore, if you’ve got a thing for waves, sand, sun, and travel, you’ll be able to island hop quickly and easily. Each island is also very different from the next, so each one has iconic places for exploration.
Despite how seemingly perfect the Philippines is, it does have its cons, such as its notorious traffic and crazy drivers. While you’re in the Philippines, be sure to think back to the time when you were five years old and your mother told you to stop and look both ways before crossing the road (thanks Mom). Or just avoid the heavy traffic altogether by getting out of the city and into the thick, jungle wilderness, where the only congestion will be in the tree tops!
Take your adventure in the Philippines to the remote, yet equally as beautiful and adventurous, corners of this archipelago. Hike the natural steps of the impressive Banaue Rice Terraces, sprint across the white sand beaches of Boracay chasing sea stars, or climb the smoldering Mayon Volcano. Grab your passport and backpack and let your adrenaline-craving instinct guide you through your adventures in the Philippines.