Our Top 10 Islands in the Philippines

With 7000 islands, picking the best islands to visit in the Philippines could be pretty overwhelming. Unless you’re planning to stay for a few months, there are only a limited number of islands you’re likely to visit. Some islands are easily accessible through ferries and flights. However, there are some which are so remote that it takes 3 to 4 different modes of transport to get there. So if you’re looking for the best islands in the Philippines, not too remote, yet gorgeous in every aspect, this article is your go-to guide.

Each of these top 10 islands in the Philippines helps you discover how unique, vast and beautiful the country really is. All these islands have different types of tourism setups and adventures to indulge in. The one thing they all have in common is the friendly locals and unforgettable experiences. Make sure these top 10 islands in the Philippines make it to your list of places to visit for the ideal itinerary.

top 10 islands in the philippines The Philippines is an archipelago consisting of some of the most beautiful islands you have ever seen.

1. Batanes

The perfect escape while basking in the midst of nature and the definition of a tropical paradise, Batanes definitely tops our list of the best islands in the Philippines. Batanes is actually a group of 10 adjacent islands that make up the province of Batanes. Amongst these, the island of Batanes is definitely our favourite.

Because it’s harder to get to, the island has minimum tourists and untouched beaches. Batanes is the northernmost group of islands in the Philippines, over 150 kms from the tip of Luzon. Getting to the island is a challenge itself, but that’s what makes the visit even more worth it. There are flights from Manila that get you there but they’re expensive and often unreliable due to unforeseen weather changes.

The islands of Batan, Sabtang and Itbayat are the inhabited ones. You can tour around these by renting a bike. More importantly, apart from empty white beaches and beautiful coasts, the warm-hearted locals are the absolute highlight. This is why Batanes is an adventure worth embarking on. 

batanes philippines Made up of green mountains, sprawling hills, lagoons and beaches, the beauty of the Batanes will truly leave you speechless.

2. Palawan

Palawan is a series of breathtaking islands. Which include El Nido, Coron and Balabac. During the peak season, Palawan has tons of tourists visiting the island and rightly so! All the islands are paradise on earth. It has everything, white beaches, and island-hopping tours to excellent dive spots. Apart from this, there’s much more to experience on this island from waterfalls and treks

There are daily flights to El Nido and Puerto Princesa and you can even take a ferry from Coron directly to El Nido. If you want to make the most of your time in Palawan, the best time to visit is between November and June. But make sure you time it well according to the best time to visit the other destinations on your itinerary.

palawan philippines Palawan is one of the most gorgeous islands in the Philippines and it simply cannot be missed.

3. Siargao

Siargao is one of the best islands in the Philippines for surfing. Siargao is wonderful green paradise with endless roads surrounded by palm trees and stunning empty white beaches. Moreover, you can find cute little spots to grab fresh fruit bowls, warm coffee and some amazing traditional Filipino food. Apart from being a perfect getaway, Siargao also has quite a few diving spots and island-hopping tours. You can get direct flights to Siargao through Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.

When it comes to surfing, the best time to visit the island is from August until November, when the winds are swelling up the tides. But if you’re just looking for a relaxed getaway, then you should probably come here between January and May.

siargao philippines Siargao, also known as the surfing capital of the Philippines is where you can find some stunning beaches and landscapes.

4. Bohol

Bohol is an island covered by a dense and marvellous jungle. It is a convenient 2-hour ferry ride away from Cebu city. We recommend spending multiple days here, as there’s tons to do. You can rent a motorbike and ride around the entire island, stopping at many local villages. From stunning waterfalls, to the lovely Loboc river, Bohol literally has everything for a adventure tourist. Bohol is very popular for its Chocolate Hills and the smallest mammal in the world, the tarsier. Albeit a little touristy, spending time in Bohol is worth it and it deserves to be on our top 10 islands in the Philippines.

chocolate hills philippines The exotic chocolate hills are a geological formation in the Bohol Province that have unique and scenic characteristics.

5. Boracay

Many parts of the Philippines are known for their relatively inexpensive nightlife. There’s no better place to experience this other than the party-island of Boracay. After sunset, people from all over the world gather on White Beach and party through the night.  Beyond the partying, it is one of the whitest beaches with crystal blue water. It is one of the most popular destinations amongst tourists, but the beach is long enough to find your silent spots. Diving is amazing here and we recommend going to the site of Yapak. Although, it is physically intense and not recommended for beginners.

The Bulabog and Puka Shell Beaches are much more peaceful and you can enjoy the light blue water there. Boracay is accessible by boat from the towns of either Caticlan or Kalibo (which are in turn, accessible by air from Manila, Cebu, etc).

Boracay philippines The charming island of Boracay is where you can experience the best nightlife in Philippines.

6. Camiguin

Camiguin is a gem of an island located south-east of Bohol and off the northern coast of Mindanao. With 7 volcanoes dominating this island’s landscape, there are also quite a few hot springs as a result of this, making the island perfect to relax. Camaguin is really small and it shouldn’t take over 2 days to explore. Not only is this island blessed with great beaches but there are cold springs and waterfalls too. We highly recommend swimming in the refreshing waters of Katibasawan Falls, probably in the afternoon when it’s the warmest. Mt. Hibok Hibok, a volcano, has a rejuvenating hot spring nearby and you must visit, along with the scenic White Island beach.  With so much to do, it has a definite spot on our list of top 10 islands in the Philippines.

The best way to get to Camaguin is by air. But you can also take a ferry from Bohol (north) or Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao). Once here, you can rent bikes, cars and vans or use public transport to get around.

camiguin island philippines The Camiguin island is the perfect getaway destination that has a little of everything.

7. Cebu

A large island in the center of the archipelago, many tourists go to Cebu and frankly, we’re not surprised. There are hundreds of waterfalls all over the island – several of which are hidden and you need to trek to get there. Canyoneering in Kawasan Waterfalls is probably the most sought-after activity among tourists who don’t have much time on this island. Cebu is also home to Moalboal which is a small beach town. Here you can witness the yearly Sardine Run, and if you get lucky you could also see whale sharks.

top 10 islands in the philippines The island of Cebu has so much to offer, including some of the most spectacular waterfalls.

8. Coron

Technically, Coron is a part of Palawan but it’s an island that deserves its own spot on our list  of top 10 islands in the Philippines. There are some fantastic dive spots, and exploring the underwater mysterious rock formations of Barracuda Lake is an experience by itself. Island hopping around Coron to Bulog and Banana islands is magnificent but this can get a bit expensive too. Experienced divers should definitely explore the reefs of Coral Garden. Relaxing in the waters with the view of cinematic, tall limestone cliffs around Coron Bay is incomparable. If you do go to Coron, don’t miss out on the Maquinit Hot Springs too.

The best time to visit Coron is between November and June. And it’s easy to get here, with frequent direct flights or overnight ferries from Manila.

coron philippines Coron, one of the most photographed destination in all of the Philippines, offers breathtaking sights that should not be missed.

9. Apo Reef Islands

Diving here, and witnessing the colourful biodiversity of Apo Reef is something you’ll never forget. If you’re in the country to dive, you have to get to Apo Reef Island. There’s a reason that it’s one of the best dive spots in the country and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can’t really stay on the island but you can choose to live on board, which is basically sleeping aboard the boat and then just jump off to explore the reef. Popular choices to live are on the coast of Sablayan (on Mindoro Island, one of the closest major islands to Apo Reef), or on Pandan Island. You can get here on boat from Coron or Sablayan.

apo reef - top 10 islands in the philippines Apo reef is the largest contiguous coral reef in the Philippines and undoubtedly one of the best dive spots.

10. Negros

Negros Islands are lesser known but a hidden beauty of the Philippines nonetheless. Honestly, it’s not really hidden, since it’s one of the largest islands of the country. But you won’t find large herds of tourists visiting here, like the other places and islands. There are tons of beautiful diving spots around the island, especially from the funky town of Dumaguete. Sipalay has multiple beaches which are hidden gems. Mt. Kanlaon, an active volcano, offers a different experience of the rugged interiors of Negros and the underwater coral gardens makes Negros worth your time! You can get here through ferries from Cebu or flights to Bacolod City on specific days.

negros island - top 10 islands in the philippines The Negros island is a hidden beauty of the Philippines, untouched by hordes of tourists.


Narrowing down on the top 10 islands in the Philippines was a task; if we had to, we’d pick at least 20 islands. Batanes, at the top of the list, is one of the favourite islands of our co-founder and Philippine expert, Harsh Sonawala. But the Philippine islands have so many amazing places to visit, to the point that not even all locals would be aware of certain islands. If you’re looking to visit some of the lesser known hidden gems, get in touch with us, because we can definitely help you plan your offbeat island hopping vacation! Travelling in the Philippines is indeed something to wrap your head around, as are details like acquiring a visa, and navigating the currency. However, it’s all worth the planning, so click on Plan Your Trip to get started!

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