To be blunt – the Philippines is incredibly beautiful and photogenic! If you travel and love photography it’s an incredible place to visit and you’ll find you leave with hard drives and memory cards crammed full of tropical goodness!

I must admit that lately I’ve been pretty lazy on the travel photography front – maybe it’s being slightly jaded by some of the places I’ve travelled, maybe it’s because this latest trip was going over countries I’ve already visited…or maybe it’s just me being lazy!haha!

Whatever the reasons it all changed when I headed to the Philippines late last year – my cameras got a solid work out and I shot thousands of photos. Whether it was my GoPro Hero 4 being put through its paces in the ocean or my iPhone being pulled out of my pocket every few minutes there was so much going on that I couldn’t help myself!

So I thought I’d have a good trawl through everything and put together a photo essay of my favourite photos to hopefully inspire you to whack the Philippines on your bucket list and head there for some serious travel treats!

Enjoy – as also you can click on any image to enlarge it!

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Even as you fly into the Philippines you cant help but get stoked on the island paradise that lies below you – thousands of islands litter the blue ocean, surrounded by turquoise reefs…adventure awaits!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

If palm tree laced beaches is what you crave then the Philippines doesn’t disappoint – this empty stretch of sand on Siargao Island was the perfect spot for a sunset walk with my buddies.

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Swimming with whale sharks was one of my highlights on my first trip – a 4 hour bus journey from Cebu in a town called Oslob. I was stoked to put my freedive skills to the test to capture some pics of this incredible creatures!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

It’s hard to convey the size of these gentle giants – their mouths couldn’t easily fit you in whole!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Although I didn’t visit too many wtaerfalls whilst travelling around the ones I did hit up didn’t disappoint. This one – complete with lagoon – was on the way back from visiting the whalesharks and is a short moped ride off the main road. Well worth the short detour!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beachBelieve it or not this is one of the main beaches in General Luna, Siargao – empty and with perfect views!


philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

 I’ve never seen so many starfish whilst snorkelling! These bad boys litter the ocean around many of the islands and almost look fake!

 

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

The lagoon tour on Siargao Island was one of the best days of my trip. After meandering through the mangroves we stopped at this little wooden shack on stilts, it was slap in the middle of a lagoon and we had the whole place to ourselves for the entire day. Cooking up a BBQ, snorkelling and SUPing was a day well spent!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

One of the non stinging jelly fish at the lagoon! These crazy little things dotted the water and were pretty mesmerising to watch, especially given the water clarity!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Throughout the Philippines you’ll find some amazing accommodation, all without breaking the budget! This surf camp on Siargao was a few minutes walk from the ocean, situated amongst the tropical jungle and a double room cost less than £12 a night including breakfast! Bargain!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

or if you wanted to go a bit more up market £25 a night will get you this view – pool, palm trees and ocean!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach Yes, yes I know there’s heaps of underwater shots in this essay but look how inviting the ocean is! It’s like bathwater and perfect for a swim! 

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

 One of the best parts of the Philippines for me was the surf – Siargao was pumping whilst I was there! This is the world famous boardwalk at Cloud 9. If you surf it’s a great wave, if you don’t simply grab a beer and watch heaps of local and travelling surfers ride the waves – the perfect spot for sunset.

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Believe it or not this was a crowded lineup in the Philippines – most morning it was just me and my buddies enjoying the waves at sunrise. Some spots (like Cloud 9) do get crowded but if you’re willing to explore then there’s heaps of empty lineups to be found.

siargao surf camp learn to surf philippines

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Island hopping is going to be a running theme throughout your time in the Philippines and there are heaps of day tip options which take in a variety of islands, points of interest and budgets. Whichever you choose though you’ll  get views like this!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Serious – how insane is the water clarity here! Make sure you pack your snorkel!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

The island hopping trips are also a great way to meet heaps of fellow travellers, which is perfect if you’re travelling solo. If there’s a big enough group of you you can even charter your own boat.

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

If you can drag yourself away from the ocean for long enough there’s some great lookout points throughout the island too. This is one of the more famous ones (google the Philippines and it’s usually the top hit!) …if you’re wanting to see it for yourself Tour A from Coron stops here!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

My favourite day trip in the Philippines was Tour B from Coron which also took in a sunken Japanese wreck from WW2. The top of it sits at around 4m so it’s suitable for snorkelers…if you freedive it’s a great underwater playground to explore.

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

Not part of a tour, no a tourist hot spot – this was simply taken on a toilet break stop en route from Puerto Princesa to El Nido. Everywhere is a postcard in Palawan!hahaha!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach The locals are super friendly throughout the whole of the Philippines and I was stoked to see some still spear fish in the traditional way – including hand made spear, goggles and fins! I’ve got massive respect for their hunting skills underwater.

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

The result of an hours spearing! Seafood is a huge part of Filipino life. I don’t eat seafood anymore since going vegetarian but almost everyone who did east it said it was epic and super fresh!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

 See I do venture from the ocean sometimes! This is the entrance to the Underground River, just north of Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island. It’s a world heritage site and one of the new natural wonders of the world. It’s a bit of a trek (a solid day and a lot of waiting around) but well worth a visit.

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

The only spot I actually got to scuba dive due to the seasons we were out there was El Nido – and there’s some great dive sites around. It’s a bit of a trade off though a wet season has the best diving conditions, whereas the dry season brings in the plankton blooms and reduces the visability ALOT!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

More lagoons and selfie goodness! This is the Big Lagoon on Tour A from El Nido – it was actually pretty busy there that day – I just bailed off the boat first and stormed ahead to avoid having heaps of people spoil my pictures!haha!

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

The Philippines is also the only place I’ve visited so far where I’ve shared the ocean with a pig! This dude just wanted to cool off in the midday sun, can’t blame him either.

 

philippines in photos travel backpacker siargao palawan cebu beach

The Philippines is definitely all about island time and for me a lot of ocean time – so be prepared to spend your days being salty, sun tanned and relaxed…not that you’re really going to complain about any of it!

Well I hope some of the pictures have tempted you to add The Philippines into your trip, it’s well worth a visit and I’m already eager to head back there for a third time!  If you’re looking for some tips on the best places to visit in the Philippines check out this post!

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28 Responses

  1. Jaimee

    I’m in the Philippines at the moment and I have to agree with you. It is a beautiful country. Some of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen anywhere! I definitely plan to come back some day and see the places I’ve missed. The 30 day visa on arrival is just not enough time.
    Jaimee recently posted..Tuol Sleng and the Killing FieldsMy Profile

    Reply
    • Chris

      Where have you checked out so far Jaimee? Yeah 30 days wasn’t enough for us either so we spent a month in Bali and then headed back again!

      Reply
    • Chris

      You should go Raisa – some super cheap internal flights and it’s well worth it! Loved the whale sharks :)

      Reply
  2. Suzette Bishop

    Great post man. Just returned from 2 years travelling and the Philippines was the jewel in the crown for me, just the most spectacularly beautiful place. I’m glad it hasn’t been destoyed by tourism the same way Thailand has.

    Reply
    • Chris

      Stoked you liked it Suzette – indeed I’m glad I’ve visited before it blows up and gets heaps popular!

      Reply
  3. Jereme

    I stumbled upon your blog and I must admit I felt jealous Hahaha I’m Filipino and have traveled extensively overseas but never in my own country. I left as a child but surely Your adventures in the Philippines enticed me to go!

    Reply
    • Chris

      Stoked to hear I’m tempting you to travel your homeland a bit more Jereme – its an epic place to explore!

      Reply
      • karla

        this post is so cool! well we love having tourists like you who appreciate the place! come back soon!

  4. mj

    I’m from Philippines but I mostly traveled to other countries. Looking at these pics makes want to explore my own country. Thanks much. See you soon Philippines =D

    Reply
    • Chris

      I’m heaps jealous you’re from there MJ – it’s an amazing place to explore!

      Reply
  5. Alroy

    the easiest way to extend your 30-day Philippine visa is to avoid Manila City’s long queue at the immigration centre, and simply fly out of Metro Manila and go to provincial cities (Cebu, Dumaguete, Davao, et cetera) and have your visas extended at the city halls. that’s what I did when a British mate stayed over for over a month in my home city.

    Reply
  6. cebu safari

    Great post, Chris! I am a Filipino but my list of places I wanna travel are mostly foreign countries. Your post makes me redo my list and travel more in the Philippines to help my fellow Filipinos with their livelihood. Thanks for the insight!

    Reply

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