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7 must-visit places in the Philippines for first-time visitors

By Guardian Nigeria
06 March 2023   |   1:40 am
A visit to the Philippines can be an incredibly fun experience, as long as you know where to go and what to do once you get there.

A visit to the Philippines can be an incredibly fun experience, as long as you know where to go and what to do once you get there. With over 7,000 islands, the Philippines can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan in place or book a hotel in Cebu before arriving.

Whether you’re travelling on business or going on a canyoneering experience, this list of seven must-visit places in the Philippines for first-time visitors should help you get your bearings quickly and easily, so that you can focus on truly enjoying your time in this exciting country.

7 Must-Visit Places in the Philippines for First-Time Visitors

Malaybalay, Bukidnon

Malaybalay, a city in Bukidnon Province, is one of the fastest growing cities in Mindanao. With its more than 100 business establishments, it has become a booming trade and commerce centre for this part of the island. At 4 degrees latitude north and 7 degrees longitude east, it is strategically situated between Davao City to its south and Cagayan de Oro City to its north. The white water rafting destination of Sumilao Canyon is just 70 kilometres away from the city. The Southern Bukidnon Agricultural Development Centre at Tagoloan, about 3 kilometres from Malaybalay, produces various types of food crops and livestock products like beef cattle, chicken eggs, native chicken breeds (Bokis) and carabaos. There are so many attractions around here that you will not be able to finish exploring them all during your stay.

San Fernando, La Union

Many people skip over this part of Luzon, but San Fernando is full of heritage, culture, and food. Though relatively unknown to outsiders, this city has a wealth of things to offer visitors as well as residents. It’s a fun place to stop for a day or two if you’re travelling between Manila and Vigan or visiting nearby Ilocos Sur Province. Make sure you don’t miss the church in front of City Hall. Built from 1734 to 1748 by Jesuit missionary Diego Oropesa, it’s one of the oldest churches on Luzon.

Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija

Cabanatuan City is a municipality found on the southeastern part of Nueva Ecija. The city is marked by sprawling residential areas and plenty of farmlands that make up more than 70% of its territory.

Cebu City, Cebu

When one visits Cebu, it’s a must to visit their many historical sites and landmarks, including Magellan’s Cross. Magellan’s Cross is a popular landmark that commemorates Juan Sebatta or Miguel Lopez de Legaspi who first landed in Cebu. Magellan’s Cross stands at 25 feet tall and is located near Fort San Pedro which was built by Spaniards in 1757 to protect themselves from pirates.

Davao City, Davao del Sur

This coastal city is called the surfing capital of Southeast Asia and home to one of the country’s most active volcanoes. The province is a hotspot for those wanting to experience Filipino culture with a healthy dose of adventure, including scuba diving and zip lining. Those visiting Davao City must make time to visit Magsaysay Park, an outdoor amusement park that has not just rides but also live crocodiles.


Of all the regions in the Philippines, Pampanga is most suited to first-time visitors. Along with its lush rice terraces and unique cave paintings, this region also offers historic landmarks like Barasoain Church, Rizal Shrine, and St John’s Cathedral. In nearby Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ), shoppers can find world-class brands from local designer favourites to global labels like Kate Spade New York.

Manila, Metro Manila

Metro Manila is the centre of commerce, education, and employment in the Philippines. Situated right on the shoreline of Manila Bay, it’s sometimes referred to as a gateway to Asia. The northern part of Metro Manila is more suburban with hills, waterways, and golf courses while Makati City and Bonifacio Global City are upscale central business districts. Quezon City is where you’ll find most universities and colleges while Pasay is home to Manila International Airport.