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12 Thrilling Philippine Adventures You Need to Try At Least Once

by Marla Miniano-Umali
August 6, 2019

Travel in itself could already be a daunting experience. You leave your quotidian rhythm to venture into the unknown, pushing yourself way past your comfort zone, and risk getting lost in a maze of city streets and back alleys, or lush jungles and remote communities. You open up your routine to disruption, and yourself to danger. You allow yourself to be vulnerable, all in the pursuit of pure shores, majestic peaks, and sprawling landscapes; of exotic cuisines and the most fascinating cultures.

But for those born with a taste for adventure, simply wandering an uncharted town or lounging on an unfamiliar stretch of sand isn’t enough. For those who consider themselves more daring than the average tourist, excitement comes in the form of conquering their fears—heights, depths, flying, or the dark. It’s the hollowness in the pit of their stomach right before the free fall, or the unexplained feeling of a thousand eyes watching them from the shadows of a cave, that gives them life.

On Philippine soil alone, plenty of travel experiences rise up to meet the challenge. Here, we’ve handpicked 12 tours and activities perfect for adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies. Which ones will you be courageous enough to take on?

Skydiving in Zambales

INSTAGRAM: teamblackstarskydivers

Offering both tandem (the recommended option for first-timers) and solo (where you will be assisted via radio) jumps, Skydive Zambales in Iba is licensed by the United States Parachute Association to guarantee your utmost safety. Listen closely to your jump instructor’s directions, and make sure you’re really ready before you get on that plane, as the fees of ₱12,500 for solo and ₱17,000 for tandem are non-refundable. Though it comes with a steep cost, skydiving is a top bucket-list item for most adrenaline junkies, and those who have tried it swear it’s worth every penny.

Ultralight Flying in Pampanga

INSTAGRAM: sharyssepearl and abelbernabe

Imagine the wind whipping through your hair and the sun shining warmly on your face—but from an altitude of 1,200 feet, strapped onto the seat of a skeletal ultralight aircraft that leaves you far more exposed than a regular commercial plane. If that sounds more thrilling than terrifying to you, make your way to the Angeles City Flying Club in Magalang, Pampanga, where you can go on your Trial Introductory Flight with an experienced pilot who may even let you control the plane for a few seconds up in the air! As you soar above the treetops, don’t forget to look out your window to see the vast expanse of greenery down below—a reminder that we are all but specks in an immense universe.

Rates are computed according to the duration of your flight, starting at ₱1,800+.

Night Diving in El Nido

INSTAGRAM: palawandivers and fisheyeunderwaterproductions

After an awe-inspiring sunset, head underwater to shine a light on colorful schools of fish and strangely beautiful sea creatures as you embark on a nighttime dive at Nat-Nat in Cadlao Island, a sandy reef bursting with vibrant marine life off the coast of Bacuit Bay. Spot mushroom coral, nudibranch, sea turtles, yellow tail barracudas, yellow snappers, seahorses—with bioluminescence glowing all around you making it an even more magical sight—and even a rare cat shark if you’re lucky. This rich and shallow dive site is perfect for advanced open-water divers doing a night dive for the first time, with the required guidance of an instructor.

Palawan Divers’ package is priced at ₱2,400, inclusive of full equipment and snacks.

Skycycling at Eden Nature Park

IMAGE: Annicca Albano

Pedal your way through the sky balanced on a steel cable 60 feet off the ground at Eden Nature Park, a verdant 80-hectare mountain resort in Davao. The bike will tilt around slightly as you cross the 200-meter long wire (it’s safely tethered; don’t worry), but keep your cool and enjoy the ride and the view. Who knows, at only ₱200 a go, you might even find yourself lining up for seconds!

Surf Ziplining at Chocolate Hills Adventure Park

INSTAGRAM: cirquetwinz_lily_jasmin

Feel a different kind of stoke aboard The Wave Runner Surf Zipline, one of Bohol’s Chocolate Hills Adventure Park’s extreme sport attractions. As the first and only surf zipline in Asia, The Wave Runner doesn’t scrimp on excitement—and makes for a pretty cool, bragging rights-worthy Instagram post, too. They even give you a lei to wear around your neck so you can pretend you’re surfing in Hawaii!

Climbing Mt. Pulag

INSTAGRAM: jaidomingo and jayritzcornista

Traverse the “playground of the gods” in a challenging but life-changing experience that will leave you humbled and triumphant in equal measure. The highest peak in Luzon and the third highest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Pulag presents a formidable trek with incredible rewards: thriving mossy forests, dwarf-bamboo grasslands, and a majestic view of the sun rising over a sea of clouds, the light casting a soft golden glow on everything it touches.

Trail Adventours’ package costs ₱4,300 and includes roundtrip transportation from Manila to Baguio and Baguio to Mt. Pulag, homestay accommodations, meals, registration and environmental fees, and an adventure guide.

White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro

INSTAGRAM: bmybisnar

The City of Golden Friendship is popular not just for its warm and hospitable people, but as the white water rafting capital of the country as well. Ride the rapids down the Cagayan River along with 5 other adrenaline junkie friends, and be prepared mentally and physically for all the whirlwind twists and turns. Steel yourself for the flips you’ll inevitably encounter and the resulting scrapes and bruises, too—they’re part of the experience and make for some great laughs afterward.

Great White Water Tours’ Basic River Rafting Course starts at ₱1,200.

Canyoneering at Tison Falls

INSTAGRAM: lpcooper91

If your idea of fun involves a little danger and a lot of physical exertion, canyoneering is the perfect activity for you. Hike for two grueling hours with Planet Action Adventure through a remote mountain range to get to Tison Falls in Moalboal, Cebu, then abseil into the canyon before you jump off a rock into the cool, crystal clear pool of freshwater waiting to break your fall. Tison is more challenging to navigate than the popular Kawasan Falls, but will likely be less crowded and more serene in return.

Parajumping at Dahilayan Adventure Park

INSTAGRAM: jesfilparaz and kuyaroylem

Jumping off an 8-storey cell tower may not be for the faint of heart, but at Dahilayan Adventure Park in Bukidnon, you can test your limits with the Skytower Base Jump, the highest parajump launch area in the country. The buildup is probably a lot more nerve-wracking than the actual jump, but once you (literally) take that leap of faith, your heart pounding as you free fall, you’ll be so glad you did.

Snorkeling and Kayaking in Coron

INSTAGRAM: daleesha

Probably the most relaxed item on this list, there’s still something quite exhilarating about finding yourself out at sea, the ocean looming mightily all around you, carrying a myriad of mystery in its depths. Tribal Adventures’ Ultimate Coron Kayak Day Trip starts at ₱2,400+ per head and involves paddling through mangroves in a special fiber glass sea kayak to Tagbanua Lagoon and Hear a Pin Drop Lagoon, then onto Kayangan or Barracuda Lake to snorkel or free dive. The iconic Twin Lagoons, Banol Beach, Skeleton Wreck, Bat Cave, and Siete Picados are part of the breathtaking journey as well, depending on weather conditions.

Nighttime Standup Paddleboarding in Bohol

INSTAGRAM: wan.d.e.r.lust

Picture yourself perched precariously atop a standup paddleboard as the nighttime darkness swirls around you, carefully cruising down the stretch of the Abatan River with the full moon and the delicate light of fireflies gently guiding your way. It’s a bit eerie, especially if you’ve seen one too many horror movies, but wonderfully mystical as well, and will make for a great story to tell back home.

SUP Tours Philippines’ Night Safari SUP Tour starts at ₱950 per head.

Spelunking at Lobo Cave

INSTAGRAM: eazytraveler

In Samar, the Caving Capital of the Philippines, nooks and crannies abound for you to squeeze yourself into—definitely not for the claustrophobic nor those with a paralyzing fear of the dark. Armed with sheer guts and your trusty headlamp, explore the narrow pathways, small chambers, and secret caverns of Lobo Cave, considered the most beautiful cave in the country for its stunning rock formations and intricate crevices. It’s muddy, damp, cramped, and downright spooky, every shuffle and sigh magnified by your imagination running wild, but there is light at the proverbial end of the tunnel, and a sense of satisfaction bestowed upon those who willingly embrace the unknown.

Trexplore Adventures’ package is priced at ₱3,000, and is inclusive of transportation and guides, caving gear, food, and documentation.

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About Marla
Marla Miniano-Umali is the former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan Philippines, Candy Magazine, and Summit Books. She has written four YA novels and two short story collections, and co-authored two poetry anthologies—including the travel-inspired The Maps that Contain Us. She likes long drives, snack pit stops, and adventures on and off the page.

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