Monday, February 26, 2018

Top Cities in the Philippines


top cities buscalan philippines

              During my one-month tour of the Philippines I traveled across a lot of the country, visited many of the islands, and stayed in a lot of its major towns.  Some of the towns were simply stop overs to other things, but others demanded my attention.  Here is a list of my top 7 favorite cities in the Philippines and how they rank. 



 

white beach boracay philippines
White Beach in Boracay

 

Food:★★★★★

• The food here is first-class, but much of it also has a first-class price.  The beach walk has an array of hotels that have restaurants with seating on the beach. There is also an array of other restaurants along the beach and D’Mall area.

Nightlife:★★★★★

The nightlife here is like none other in the Philippines.  The beach walk becomes a party zone with fire throwing shows, live music, bars serving happy hour specials, some hotels setting up clubs on the beach, and you can even sign up for a pub crawl excursion. 

Beach:★★★★

The long, white sandy beach is a perfect place to relax or have some fun in the sun.  You can even join one of the beach volleyball games.

Adventure:★★★★

The beach may be a party but the calm, crystal clear water offers an array of water sports and activities.  Take to the skies in a parasail, go tubing or windsurfing, or dive under to visit all of the marine life these waters have to offer.

Cons:

The beach, though nice, is very crowded.
The food is on the pricier side.


 

el nido town palawan philippines
El Nido

 

Food:★★★

El Nido may not have a street food scene like some of its rival cities, but the market still offers up some good examples of Filipino street food.  My personal favorite was the Dynamites.

Nightlife:★★★

With hundreds of tourists filing through this lively city there is always fun to be found in one of the many bars or hostels.  Any one of them will surely have a happy hour where you can share a drink with the many backpackers visiting the town.

Beach:★★★★★

The beaches here are second to none, but you will have to take an excursion to see them.  With crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, and an abundance of fish and coral you are sure to find your favorite beach.  A couple of my favorites are Secret Beach and Hidden Beach. 

Adventure:★★★★

With excursions there is always adventure.  With many of the tours you will have to swim to your destinations from the boat or time the waves to enter through secret caves. 

Cons:

The town can be a little crowded with tourists during peak season.
Though it has very nice beaches in the area, they are only accessible by excursion.


 

quezon park dumaguete philippines
Quezon Park in Dumaguete

 

Food:★★★★

 Here you will find the best tempura seafood in the Philippines.  Every night along the Rizal Baywalk you will find lines of stands set up selling this delicious specialty.

Nightlife:★★★

• Though not as lively a city as the others you can still take it easy as you walk the Rizal Baywalk at night and enjoy the street food or kick it up and visit one of the many bars that line the bay north of the Baywalk.

Beach: 🛇

• There is no beach here, but you can enjoy the Baywalk.

Adventure:★★★★

• Again, adventure here is all in the excursion and Dumaguete has one of my favorites.  Visit Harold’s Dive Shop and book an excursion to snorkel or dive with sea turtles at Apo Island.

Cons:

None


 

coron philippines
Coron

 

Food:

• There were not a lot of restaurants here and due to the fact that the town winds down at night there wasn’t a lot of street food either.  They do have some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten though.

Nightlife:

• A few of the hotels seemed to have bars that may draw in the tourists that file through there, but other than that there wasn’t much going on here after dark.

Beach:★★★★

• Like El Nido there are no beaches in town but you can get to them by either excursion to Coron Island or a short tricycle (moto with a side car) ride.

Adventure:★★★★

• In Coron you can find adventure both by excursion to CoronIsland, where you can find snorkeling/diving in the inland lakes or hiking through the rainforest, or by a hike up Mt. Tapyas to get an aerial view of the area.

Cons:

The town pretty much shuts down at night
We found it fairly hard to find anyone who sold beer (took us six stores before we found a place that sold it).


 

tagbilaran bohol philippines
Tagbilaran

 

Food:★★★

• Tagbilaran is a fairly big city so there a lot of food options available here.  A big draw to the area are the floating restaurants in Loboc, but you must take a bus to get there.

Nightlife:★★

• Being a big city, you can always find something to do.  You can visit one of the many bars around town.

Beach:★★★

• There may not be any beaches in the town itself but take a short ride south and you will find Panglao Beach, a popular spot for tourists visiting the area.

Adventure:★★★

• The town did have any adventurous things in it, but many people use it to take day trips out to see the Chocolate Hills or to do any of the adventurous activities in Loboc.

Con:

The floating restaurants are a great experience, but they are about an hour bus ride to Loboc.


6. Cebu

 

chinese ngohiong crab cake cebu philippines
Nngohiong and crab cakes at Chinese Ngohiong

 

Food:★★★

• A large, sprawling city, Cebu has any type of food you will want.  My personal favorite, and a must try to anyone visiting Cebu, is the ngohiong at Chinese Ngohiong (they are nothing but delicious).

Nightlife:★★

• Cebu, like all large cities in the Philippines, has many bars and clubs to enjoy.  If you are wanting something more laid back or want to try some great craft beer, head out to the Turning Wheels Brewery and visit their new taproom.

Beach: 🛇

• No beach

Adventure: 🛇

• Though you won’t find much adventure in Cebu itself, many people use Cebu as a jumping off point for many of the adventurous activities in the area like diving with thresher sharks or Whale Sharks.

Con:

A very large town so you will have to pay for a taxi or figure out the jeepney system if you travel to some of the sights.


 

subterranean river puerto princesa palawan philippines
Entrance to the Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa

 

Food:★★★

• Not a hugely large city (you can easily walk from place to place), but it does have all of the chain restaurants and more.  My personal recommendations are to try the Crocodile Sisig or to take a walk out to the Baywalk at night and eat at one of the great restaurants there.

Nightlife:★★

• You can easily visit any of the local bars that dot the town or take a stroll down the Baywalk, but if you are wanting something different then the other towns then visit Palawe├▒o Brewery, the 1st women-led brewery in the Philippines, and try one of their many great beers or coconut rhum that they make there.

Beach: 🛇

• There is no beach here, but you can enjoy the Baywalk.  

Adventure:★★

• Adventure in Puerto Princesa is in the excursions.  You can take the boat through the subterranean river or ride the zipline or bamboo bike in Ugong Rock.

Cons:

None


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