11 best things to do in the Philippines for adventure nerds

Are you planning your Southeast Asia backpacking adventure? Sure, you may have covered the big contenders, the classic lap through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. But what about the Philippines?

Think white sand beaches, amazing marine life, thrilling adventure, fantastic hostels and a chance to meet the world and make unforgettable memories. I mean, sounds okay I guess? To help you get the most out of your trip to this incredible country, we’ve picked 11 of the best things to do in the Philippines for adrenaline seekers.

Feeling inspired? Keep scrolling to find out how to experience all these incredible things yourself…

1. Swimming With Whale Sharks In Donsol

Best Things to Do in Philippines - Swimming With Whale Sharks In Donsol

Diving with whale sharks isn’t as scary as it looks ?@2passospelomundo

Meet the BFG of the ocean up close and personal! Donsol, located in the coastal province of Sorsogon, offers thrill seekers the opportunity to dive with the world’s largest shark; the Jaws-dropping whale shark. Growing to the hefty size of a school bus, these mind blowing creatures may seem scary, but actually they feed primarily on plankton, so you can stop panicking now! This fin-tastic experience doesn’t have to compromise your morals either, because in Donsol they practice ethical shark diving and avoid baiting or feeding the animals. Diving with whale sharks is one of the classic things to do in the Philippines, so go on, dive in!

2. Paddle Boarding Down The Loboc River

things to do in the philippines stand up paddleboarding @kingingit

Stand up paddle boarding down the Loboc River ?@wearekingingit

Paddle Boarding isn’t exactly the most graceful activity, but floating down the tranquil Loboc River surrounded by Bohol’s luscious Jungle landscape somehow makes losing your balance seem a little more appealing… This is easily one of the best places to visit in the Philippines and an experience you’ll never forget. Embark on an extensive 8 hour tour with a friendly local instructor to guide you along the way, we even picked up some useful Filipino phrases! Ignore TLC and start chasing the breath-taking waterfalls at the end of this stunning tour.

3. Island Hopping All Day Long

Best Things to Do in Philippines - Island hopping and snorkelling in Cebu

Hopping between islands ?@stacieskinker

The Philippines boasts over 7000 islands, (no that is not a typo), and some of the most insane beaches in the world, making island hopping an obligatory part of any visit. Explore stunning lagoons and discover curious fish and sea creatures as you make your way around some of the most spectacular beaches in the Philippines. Cebu Island and Pamilacan Island are particularly impressive, but we’ll tell you more about that later…

Snorkelling is an absolute must in El Nido with dramatic limestone cliffs contrasting the soft sand and clear waters. Stumble upon the enchanting secret lagoon, only accessible at low tide, but shhh… you didn’t hear that from us.

4. Scooting Through The Countryside

Best Things to Do in the Philippines - Rent a scooter and explore the countryside

Scooting along the open roads of Polangui ?@ohnoh25

The coolest mode of transport when backpacking through Asia? Scooter motorbikes of course! Enjoy total freedom and gain a true taste of the Philippines by getting off the beaten track.

Typically, the locals are super friendly and happy to stop for a chat and help you if you get lost. Grab a helmet, hire a scooter and glide through the rolling countryside, (stopping for a Selfie on every corner please!)

5. Canyoneering in Cebu & Kawasan Falls

Best Things to Do in the Philippines - Canyoneering in Cebu & Kawasan Falls

Canyoneering in Cebu is SO much fun ?@krgoh

Step up your adventure with a spot of canyoneering in Cebu. This high energy activity involves walking, climbing, swimming AND abseiling through the canyon’s gorgeous creeks and flowing streams. You’ll go with a group and have the chance to work as a team to navigate the canyon. Starting at the Canlaob River on Cebu Island and finishing at Kawasan Falls, this tour definitely leaves the best ‘til last!

Kawasan Falls is Insta-ready at all times, (no filter needed), and is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. The beauteous falls feature water so intensely blue you really have to see it to believe it.

6. Ziplining In El Nido

Best Things to Do in the Philippines - Ziplining In El Nido

THAT VIEW ?@corrisen

Just a short way from the palm tree-studded Las Cabanas Beach, you’ll find the start of the El Nido Zipline. You’ll be treated to a bird’s-eye view of the tropical treasures below… and some high-speed flying along a 750-metre zipline! So be prepared, this isn’t for the fainthearted.

If you’ve got a preference for adventure travel, then you’ll love these hostels just for adrenaline junkies.

Zoom between two islands brushing the tips of the palm trees with your outstretched toes. Helmets are essential and be sure to wear comfy clothing to avoid any, err, uncomfortable situations…

7. Kayaking Through El Nido’s Lagoons

Best Things to Do in the Philippines - Kayaking Through El Nido's Lagoons

There’s an El Nido lagoon for every taste  ?@millizenkei

There are so many stunning lagoons in the Philippines, but some are harder to find than others. El Nido Secret Lagoon is one of these hidden gems and is tucked away through a small rocky cave… definitely not one you would just stumble upon. Expect intricate rock formations and those crystal blue waters that the Philippines are so known for. It has a true virgin feel, (oh behave!) and is a wonderfully undisturbed natural spot.

Next, dodge the jellyfish on your way into the El Nido Small Lagoon in which you’ll find charming hidden caves full of mysterious wonders.

8. Water Sports On Pamilacan Island

Best Things to Do in the Philippines - Water Sports On Pamilacan Island

Get your snorkelling fix on Pamilacan Island ?@caribbeanhummingbird

Any aquatic life enthusiasts will have a whale of a time Snorkelling and Kayaking around Pamilacan Island. Surround yourself in a remarkable rainbow of colourful fish as you snorkel around this tiny island.

You might even be lucky enough to swim with dolphins, and we’re not talking about a SeaWorld swimming pool with two sad flippers. Oh no, my friend! We’re talking schools and schools of majestic dolphins swimming around in their natural habitat.

9. Bitchin’ Beaches In The Philippines

Relaxing in a hammock on a white sand beach in the Philippines

Paradise found ?@wearekingingit

With so many islands to explore, the Philippines gifts travellers with an abundance of beguiling beaches. Yes, we’ve already told you about a number of fabulous beaches but the Philippines’ coastline is so b-e-a-utiful that it deserves its own bullet point!

Some beaches are making bigger waves amongst tourists than others such as the wonderful White Beach. True travel fanatics should wander away from the guidebook and discover a few of the lesser known, but just as charming beaches. Chat to locals and other travellers to uncover some lovely ocean origin stories.

10. Helmet Diving In Boracay

things to do in the philippines helmet diving @shararararrrr

Getting friendly with the colourful fish ?@shararararrrr

Think of Helmet Diving as Scuba Diving’s younger, edgier brother. Channel your inner Little Mermaid as you stand on the ocean floor surrounded by your fishy friends under da sea! The weightless helmet allows you to move freely and admire the brightly coloured array of coral and tropical fish inches from your face. Head to Boracay Beach where you’ll be joined by an underwater photographer snapping pics that will induce envy in any avid traveller!

What are some of your favourite things to do in the Philippines? Any other secrets we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Hostels in the Philippines | Cheap flights

About the author

Aimee and Craig aka Kinginit grew up in a small town in Wales. They fell in love and now travel the world together, making videos and being crazy. Follow their adventures on Youtube for a regular dose of travel-envy.

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