The Philippines is an emerging Southeast Asian country named after King Philip II of Spain. It is a diverse country highly populated by Filipinos whose huge influences come from Western culture and is known for their hospitality. The country has 7,641 islands and a unique set of 109,581,078 individuals who can moderately speak English almost making language-barriers non-existent, a convenience for every wandering traveler.

A visit to this country should be included in your bucket-list when travelling in Asia. So, if this is the first time you're planning to visit Philippines, let us deep-dive into the top 3 places you should visit first. This list only recommends three sites following three island groups of the country, so you get to taste a bit of it all.

LUZON – Vigan City

If you have been to Spain, you will feel the same vibe when you are in this city. Vigan city is well-known for its preserved Spanish colonial and Asian architecture. You can see cobblestones still intact since the 1500’s when the Spaniards arrived in the country. Drinking wine on restaurants on cobblestone-paved sidewalks, riding on horse-drawn carriages, taking a tour on famous museums like the Crisologo museum which contains valuable memorabilia and period furnishings will take you back in time when the Philippines was a colony of the Spanish Empire.

Vigan City

VISAYAS – El Nido, Palawan

Synonymous with the word ‘Paradise,’ it is one of the best locations with superb beaches in the Asian region and is currently ranked #4 in Condé Nast Traveler's list of "20 Most Beautiful Beaches in the World." If you want to be one with nature and bring out the naturist in you while gazing at beautiful white sand, clear seawater, limestone caves, then this is the best place you will want to visit. Rivaling the popularly known Boracay in the Philippines, El Nido boasts of multiple islands that are still untouched and unexploited by rage parties and overpopulation. The place boasts of activities like kayaking, scuba diving, or just gazing into the sunsets and sunrise on the shore undisturbed and realizing what a beautiful world we truly live in.

MINDANAO – Hinatuan Enchanted River

Named as such from the poem ‘Rio Encantado, ’ which translates to ‘the Enchanted River’ by a Philippine diplomat Modesto Farolan. This is a place described as for lovers, you will find locals telling stories about mystical spirits and creature-like fairies that live in the river; it will make the inner-curious-traveler in you to wonder what this river looks like. The unfathomable crystalline blue depth with its deepest end so far to be discovered and measured to be as deep as the height of Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Spain with depth at 269ft and more still unknown. This river is truly one-of-a-kind. Tourists can take a dip in the famous blue waters at designated areas only with food and souvenirs also in the area. The best thing, you can still do island hopping after you visit the river with famous nearby resorts like Rock Island.

Wrapping it up, the Philippines is a vast archipelago for just a single visit. Hidden treasures await to be discovered every time you visit the country and it will be a challenge for a tourist to explore everything. So, are you up for a challenge?