Arguably the most famous heritage town in the Philippines, Vigan City was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. Take a walk around and you will see why it is such a special place, immaculately preserved structures, cobblestone pathways and kalesas or horse-drawn carriages are all part of the city’s charm. There are many historical sites in the vicinity, too, such as the beautiful Bantay Bell Tower (beside St. Augustine Church) and the Padre Burgos House (Burgos St), the ancestral home of Filipino nationalist José Burgos.
This small town in the Mountain Province is definitely one of the most beautiful places here. It is the perfect “out of town” getaway if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life. Eight hours away from Manila, Sagada is where you can find challenging caves, magical waterfalls, and exotic dishes.
Another National Historical Landmark, Taal is often overshadowed by other more illustrious heritage cities like Vigan. But explore the streets of this unassuming town and you will be amply rewarded with intriguing ancestral houses and mansions, many of which are open to the public.
Daraga is a quaint market town located in southeast Luzon. This rural town sits in the shadow of Mount Mayon, with Daraga Church perched dramatically on a hill overlooking the volcano. Constructed in 1773, the church was built using volcanic rock and features some intricately sculpted reliefs on its columns.
In the early 19th century hundreds of people sought refuge in the church during a devastating eruption of Mount Mayon, but were killed when lava engulfed the building. The remains of the church look quite haunting against the backdrop of green fields and towering Mount Mayon.
Banaue is best known for its striking rice terraces, which surround the town on all sides. Located 216 miles north of Manila, Banaue is one of four towns in Ifugao province that comprise the UNESCO-recognized Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras.
Ifugao’s ancient rice terraces are unique for their high altitude. The terraces, which follow the natural curve of the mountains, were introduced by the Chinese more than 2,000 years ago. Bordered by mud walls, the highest of these impressive terraces is set more than 4,900 feet above sea level.
Located about an hour away from Manila, Tagaytay is defined by its commanding views of Taal Volcano, the smallest volcano in the world. Taal Volcano is not actually located in Tagaytay, but the town’s elevation makes it the perfect spot for admiring this famous peak. It is also possible to take a boat ride across the lake and hike up the volcano for a closer look. With its cooler temperatures and picturesque natural scenery, Tagaytay is a well-loved place for locals to escape the city and enjoy some fresh air. Horseback riding, cycling, and picnics are all popular activities here.