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InternationalTravel.ai - 9 Best Cities in Philippines & Best Time of Year to Visit 2024
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The worldest largest Chinatown Arch, Manila, Phillipines


9 Best Cities in Philippines & Best Time of Year to Visit

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: If you're planning a trip to Philippines, here are the 9 Best Cities in Philippines & Best Time of Year to Visit.

The Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, is not only known for its stunning beaches and natural wonders but also for its vibrant cities. Each city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity, providing travelers with a rich and diverse experience. From the bustling streets of Manila to the serene landscapes of Davao, here are nine cities in the Philippines that travelers absolutely love.

Manila

As the capital city of the Philippines, Manila is a bustling metropolis that offers a mix of Spanish colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers. Intramuros, the historic walled city, is home to Fort Santiago and the stunning San Agustin Church. For shopping and dining, head to the Mall of Asia, one of the largest malls in the world. The National Museum of the Philippines is a must-visit for history buffs, showcasing the country's rich heritage. Rizal Park, also known as Luneta, is a historical urban park where you can relax and enjoy the open space.

When to Visit: The best time to visit Manila is between December and February when the weather is cooler and drier. Avoid the rainy season from June to September. The Manila Day celebration in June is a great time to experience the city's culture and history.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the chance to watch a cultural show at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, where you can witness traditional Filipino dances and music performances.

Where to Stay & Eat: For accommodation, the Manila Hotel offers a luxurious stay with a rich history, while Makati Shangri-La provides modern comforts. When it comes to dining, try the local cuisine at Barbara's Heritage Restaurant or enjoy international dishes at Spiral in Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

Cebu City

Cebu City, known as the "Queen City of the South," is a blend of urban vibes and rich history. The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses the oldest religious relic in the Philippines. For a panoramic view of the city, visit Tops Lookout. Magellan's Cross is another historical landmark worth visiting. The city is also a gateway to some of the country's most beautiful beaches and diving spots located on nearby islands.

When to Visit: Visit Cebu City in January to experience the Sinulog Festival, a vibrant and colorful celebration in honor of the Santo Niño. The best weather is from December to May, which is the dry season.

Travel Tip: Make sure to explore the Cebu Taoist Temple, not only for its religious significance but also for the stunning views of the city it offers.

Where to Stay & Eat: The Henry Hotel offers a unique boutique experience, while Marco Polo Plaza provides upscale accommodations. For dining, Rico's Lechon serves the city's famous roasted pig, and La Vie Parisienne offers a taste of French cuisine and pastries.

Davao City

Davao City is known for its natural attractions and urban convenience. It's the home of the Philippine Eagle Center, which conserves the majestic national bird. Mount Apo, the highest peak in the country, is a haven for trekkers. For beach lovers, Samal Island is just a short ferry ride away, offering pristine beaches and clear waters. The city is also famous for its durian fruit, which you can try at local markets.

When to Visit: The Kadayawan Festival in August is a great time to visit, showcasing the city's indigenous culture and bountiful harvests. The best weather is from November to April, which is the dry season.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the chance to visit the Davao Crocodile Park, where you can see not only crocodiles but also other exotic wildlife.

Where to Stay & Eat: Seda Abreeza offers a contemporary stay in the heart of the city, while Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao provides a beachfront experience. For dining, Jack's Ridge offers a great view along with delicious local dishes.

Baguio City

Baguio City, known as the "Summer Capital of the Philippines," is famous for its cool climate and lush pine forests. Burnham Park is perfect for leisurely strolls and boating on the lake. Session Road is the city's main thoroughfare, lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants. The Mansion, the official summer residence of the Philippine President, and Mines View Park are also popular attractions. The city's public market is a great place to buy fresh produce and local handicrafts.

When to Visit: The Panagbenga Flower Festival in February is a must-see event, but to avoid the crowds, visit during the off-peak months of June to November. The weather is pleasantly cool throughout the year.

Travel Tip: Visit the BenCab Museum to see the works of Benedicto Cabrera, a National Artist of the Philippines, and other contemporary Filipino artists.

Where to Stay & Eat: The Manor at Camp John Hay offers luxury accommodations with a scenic view, while Café by the Ruins provides a rustic dining experience with a menu that highlights local ingredients.

Iloilo City

Iloilo City is a charming destination known for its Spanish colonial churches, old houses, and delicious cuisine. The Jaro Cathedral and Molo Church are architectural gems that history enthusiasts will appreciate. The Iloilo River Esplanade is perfect for leisurely walks, while the Iloilo Business Park showcases the city's modern development. Don't miss trying the famous La Paz Batchoy, a local noodle soup, at the La Paz Market.

When to Visit: The Dinagyang Festival in January is a vibrant celebration with street dancing and colorful costumes. The best time to visit is from December to May, during the dry season.

Travel Tip: Take a walk along Calle Real, Iloilo's historic downtown street, to see beautifully restored heritage buildings and shop for local goods.

Where to Stay & Eat: Seda Atria offers modern accommodations in a convenient location, while Netong's Original Special La Paz Batchoy provides an authentic taste of the city's signature dish.

Bacolod City

Bacolod City, the "City of Smiles," is known for its friendly locals and MassKara Festival, a celebration filled with colorful masks and street dancing. The city's landmarks include The Ruins, a stunning remnant of a sugar plantation mansion, and the San Sebastian Cathedral. For a taste of local culture, visit the Negros Museum. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the Mambukal Mountain Resort, which offers hot springs and waterfalls.

When to Visit: The MassKara Festival in October is the best time to experience the city's vibrant culture. Visit during the off-peak season from June to September for fewer tourists and lower prices.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the chance to try Bacolod's famous chicken inasal (barbecued chicken) at Manokan Country, where you'll find a row of eateries specializing in this local delicacy.

Where to Stay & Eat: L'Fisher Hotel offers comfortable accommodations, while 21 Restaurant serves up a mix of local and international dishes in an elegant setting.

Vigan City

Vigan City is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its well-preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture. Calle Crisologo, the city's most famous street, is lined with ancestral houses that have been turned into museums, shops, and restaurants. Visit the Syquia Mansion Museum to get a glimpse of the lifestyle of the Filipino elite during the colonial era. The Vigan Cathedral and Plaza Salcedo are also notable landmarks.

When to Visit: The Viva Vigan Festival of the Arts in May is a cultural event that showcases the city's heritage. The dry season from November to April is the ideal time to visit for good weather.

Travel Tip: Experience a traditional mode of transportation by taking a ride on a kalesa, a horse-drawn carriage, around the city's cobblestone streets.

Where to Stay & Eat: Hotel Luna is a unique boutique hotel that also houses an art gallery. For dining, Café Leona offers a variety of local Ilocano dishes with a twist.

Tagaytay City

Tagaytay City is a popular getaway due to its cool climate and stunning views of Taal Volcano and Lake. People visit for the scenery, outdoor activities, and the fresh produce available at local markets. Picnic Grove is a great spot for families, offering horseback riding and zip-lining. For a more relaxing experience, visit the serene grounds of the Tierra de Maria shrine or enjoy a meal with a view at one of the many restaurants overlooking the volcano.

When to Visit: The best time to visit Tagaytay is during the cooler months from December to February. Weekdays are less crowded compared to weekends when many locals visit.

Travel Tip: For a unique dining experience, try the bulalo, a local beef marrow stew, at Mahogany Market, where you can enjoy it fresh and at a reasonable price.

Where to Stay & Eat: Taal Vista Hotel offers a classic and comfortable stay with a panoramic view of the volcano, while Antonio's is one of the finest dining experiences in the city, offering gourmet dishes in a beautiful garden setting.

Dumaguete City

Dumaguete City, known as the "City of Gentle People," is a laid-back destination with a rich cultural scene. The Silliman University campus is a landmark with its old-world architecture and inviting atmosphere. Rizal Boulevard is a seafront promenade perfect for leisurely walks, especially at sunset. The city is also a gateway to nearby natural attractions such as Apo Island, known for its marine sanctuaries and diving spots.

When to Visit: The Sandurot Festival in September celebrates the city's diverse heritage. The best time to visit is from November to May, avoiding the rainy season.

Travel Tip: Take a trip to the nearby Manjuyod Sandbar for a unique experience of walking on a pristine stretch of sand in the middle of the sea during low tide.

Where to Stay & Eat: Atmosphere Resorts & Spa provides a luxurious stay close to nature, while Lab-as Seafood Restaurant offers fresh and delicious seafood dishes by the seafront.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC is one of the Founders of InternationalTravel.ai and serves as Co-President of Expat Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange and InternationalTravel.ai, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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The worldest largest Chinatown Arch, Manila, Phillipines

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