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From the cosmopolitan metropolis of Cebu City and the white-sand beaches of Mactan to the electric-blue waters of Kawasan Falls and the whale sharks of Oslob, it’s easy to see why Cebu Island is one of the Philippines’ top destinations.
Surpassed only by Manila in size, the Philippines’ second city combines colonial architecture and mountainous surrounds with a burgeoning cultural and culinary scene. As the gateway to both Bohol and Cebu Island, Cebu City impresses with chic rooftop bars and intriguing museums.
Davao City is a gateway to Mindanos, one of the Philippines’ largest islands, and home to Mt. Apo, one of the highest mountains in the archipelago. In Davao City, lovers of durian can eat their fill beneath a sculpture dedicated to the pungent fruit.
The biggest island in the Philippines, Luzon is also one of the most diverse—it’s where mountain peaks and volcanoes meet miles of coastline, and indigenous culture melds with Spanish colonial history. You can relax at the beach in Pagudpud, hike with locals up the Batad Rice Terraces, ride in a horse-drawn carriage in Vigan, and snack on street food and dance the night away in Manila. You’ll need a few days and a bus pass, but you’ll be glad you stayed.