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Authored by Liz Pekler

With its vast collection of idyllic beaches, mysterious caves, majestic mountains, and other natural wonders, the Philippines is a true haven for active vacationers and thrill-seeking adventurers.

Home to some of the most breathtaking vacation spots in the world, there are many reasons to visit the Philippines, though perhaps the most exciting are the truly unforgettable adventures that also offer the most epic adrenaline rush!

Whether you’re into extreme sports like surfing, swimming with whale sharks, or death-defying activities atop the country’s highest points, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.

For Your Inner Adrenaline Junkie: 7 Extreme Adventures in the Philippines

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Swim with Massive Whale Sharks

If you know anything about whale sharks, then you know that it’s perfectly safe to swim and interact with these gentle creatures. Though they belong to the shark species, with very large mouths that contain over 3,000 teeth, whale sharks pose no threat to humans, as they are very docile and friendly.

Knowing that your life won’t be in any immediate danger, you’ll find that swimming with whale sharks seems pretty tame compared to some of the other extreme activities you may have in mind.

Nonetheless, if you’ve never tried it before, it can still be a heart-racing experience to swim near an animal that grows up to 65 feet long and has a mouth that can seemingly swallow you whole with one gulp.

Visit Donsol Bay in Sorsogon to get up close and personal with the ocean’s most gentle giant. And of course the photos will be fantastic, so don’t forget to bring a good underwater camera!

Swim with Whale Sharks Philippines

Trek into the Heart of an Active Volcano

An active volcano, exploring the Taal Volcano in Batangas may just be one of the scariest and most exhilarating experiences you will ever have. But even if you aren’t seeking a possible brush with a fiery death, it’s still worth a visit simply for the sheer beauty of this wonderfully complex natural wonder. After all, where else can you see a lake within a volcano within a lake within a volcano?!

Taal Volcano has erupted over 30 times in the past few centuries, though we have not seen an eruption for decades. These days it’s a popular destination for tourists. Visitors typically ride a boat across the Taal Lake to get to the volcano island in its midst, which is then followed by horseback riding or trekking up the slope of the volcano to get to the crater rim.

This is then followed by more trekking down a steep slope to reach the Crater Lake within the volcano island, where you can swim in the lake, have lunch on the shore, and explore all the wondrous features (including steam vents, charred rock and scorched earth, boiling springs, geyser pits, and more) of the volcanic terrain—all while tempting fate, of course.

Taal Volcano Philippines

Ride a Bike While Suspended 60 Feet in the Air

There’s nothing like a leisurely bike ride while enjoying a light mountain breeze, right? But if that bike happens to be on a bunch of cables that are suspended high up in the air, it’s not going to be the relaxing experience that you’d normally expect from a typical bike ride.

The recreational activities at Eden Nature Park and Resort in Davao, which will have you riding a bike or swinging from a harness at extreme heights, are definitely not for the faint of heart (or for people afraid of heights). One of its most popular activities for tourists is the Skycycle, where brave souls get to ride a bike on a cable while 60 feet up in the air.

The park also offers other fear-inducing activities such as the Skyswing, which is quite simply a swing that’s hoisted high up in the sky and will have you swinging about 80-95 feet in the air.

Eden Nature Park and Resort

Go Canyoning

For active adventurers who love to explore, canyoning combines various extreme sports and other strenuous activities—which makes it perfect for adrenaline junkies.

If you’re interested in canyoning (or canyoneering) in the Philippines, there are many picturesque spots in Cebu, such as the Kawasan Falls or Montaneza Falls, that offer guided canyoneering trips that involve river trekking, rappelling, rock climbing, cliff diving, abseiling, and more.

Extreme Sand Adventures

Not a fan of extreme water sports? If you don’t mind the sweltering heat that comes with being in a desert, the La Paz Sand Dunes in Ilocos Norte is a great place to try out some extreme sports without getting yourself wet (except from sweat, of course).

At the La Paz Sand Dunes, tourists can enjoy thrilling activities like sand surfing or sandboarding down the sandy slopes, or enjoy 4×4 or ATV rides over the powdery dunes while enjoying a breathtaking view of the nearby ocean.

Sandboarding

Get Your Fill of Extreme Water Sports

Because of the abundance of beaches, waterfalls, and other glorious bodies of water in the Philippines, you can enjoy a wide variety of extreme water sports, including surfing, wakeboarding, kite surfing, jet skiing, and many more.

Of course, there are different destinations for every activity. For surf lovers, the best beaches to visit for some truly tasty waves are those in Baler, Pagudpud, Siargao, and La Union. For wakeboarders, there are some amazing wakeboarding parks in the Philippines, such as the Republ1c Wakepark in Calamba, Laguna and the CamSur Watersports Complex in Camarines Sur, Bicol.

Boracay, the famous party beach of the Philippines, is also a great spot for extreme water activities such as parasailing, kite surfing, jet skiing, cliff diving, wind surfing, and more.

Watersports Philippines

Take to the Skies

If soaring through the air is more your thing, there are many places to quench this thirst in the Philippines. For instance, you can learn to fly a plane at the Angeles City Flying Club in Pampanga, where flying lessons on ultralight planes are offered. You can choose between three plane designs: open cockpit, closed, or half-enclosed.

If falling out of the plane appeals more to you, you can cross skydiving off your bucket list at the Skydive Greater Cebu Skydiving Center in Santa Fe, Cebu, which is an affiliate dropzone of the Skydive Greater Kankakee, Illinois in the U.S. It offers tandem skydiving for first-timers, solo diving for the more experienced, and skydiving lessons.

You can also try solo or tandem paragliding with Air Sports Adventure Philippines at various fly sites all over the country including Carmona, Cavite (end of October until April), San Mateo, Eastside of Manila (June until October), Safi Ranch, Sarangani (year-round flying), or Naravacan Outdoor Adventure Hub (NOAH), the Bali of the North (November starts 9 months/year flying).

Conclusion

Visiting the Philippines is a treat for both extreme and non-extreme travelers alike. Should you ever decide to visit this beautiful country, make sure to educate yourself and read up on some tips and tricks on making the most out of your trip.

And if you do decide to go for some heart-pounding activities, make sure to bring a good camera (an action camera would be best), so you can fully document your amazing adventures!

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Liz is a travel photographer with more than 10 years of experience in the field. Being a freelance blogger enables her to help photography beginners and enthusiasts to tell wonderful stories of their travels as seen through their lenses. It also allows her to share her thoughts about another advocacy of hers: social equality and change.

Photo credits: Whale sharks by Janey. Taal Volcano by Vadim. Skycycle by Eden Nature Park and Resort Facebook. Watersports by lalaine22shoots.

    39 Comments

  1. I had no idea there was so much adventure tourism available in the Philippines. I do want to swim with the whale sharks one day and it looks like a great place to do it, they come in so close to land there!

    • Absolutely – are you heading to TBEX Toni? Looking forward to my first Philippines trip! :)

    • Hi Toni! There’s definitely a lot to do in the Philippines, for sure. Hope you get to swim with the whale sharks soon! :)

  2. I am not really an adrenaline junkie, but there are a couple of activities on the list I won’t mind doing at all. I have always wanted to swim with sharks and see whales. I will probably see the whales before I swim with sharks though. The other is visiting the active volcano. Like the sharks and whales, I am fascinated by volcanoes.

    • Truly is a country with options for adventure for everyone :) Hope you do have a chance to travel to the Philippines soon … you’ll love the experience of swimming with whale sharks, and if you’re fascinated by volcanoes, this is definitely the place to be! Happy travels :)

    • I’ve always wanted to swim with sharks, too. Not sure if I’d have the nerve though! Hope you can get to do some of the awesome activities on this list. The Philippines is gorgeous! :)

  3. I had no idea that riding a bike in the air was even possible. I think that hiking in an active volcano is more my thing.

    • Right!! Definitely the only place in the world that I’ve heard of that runs with this activity! If you’re a fan of hiking volcanoes, the Philippines is a great place to be :) Happy travels Chrysoula!

    • Hi Chrysoula! The bike thing is definitely an exhilarating experience. Thanks for reading :)

  4. Love the post!!
    When planning a trip to the Philippines, most of the people can only picture pristine beaches, crystal clear sea, and top resorts… But the Philippines has so much more to offer, from extreme sports to agricultural experiences. It’s a beautiful and diverse country. I have been there a few times and never get tired of it!
    Cheers,
    Nat

    • Thanks Natalie! So glad you’ve had fabulous experiences in the Philippines too! Are you heading to TBEX this year? Perhaps I’ll see you there! :)

    • Thanks for reading, Natalie! :) I agree, the Philippines is beautiful! I love traveling there every chance I get!

  5. WOw, great post and didnt know P’Pines offers this sort of tourism. I am always up for an adventure :)

    • Hope you have the chance to visit soon! :)

    • There’s definitely lots of adventure to be had in the Philippines! Thanks for reading, Danik :D

  6. This is definitely my kind of trip!! Would LOVEEEE to swim with whale sharks. As a surfer we normally don’t appreciate being in the water with sharks, but with this specie it would be a beautiful experience. Also, entering an active volcano… how crazy is that! Will definitely save this one for later.

    • Whale sharks seems to be the big pull for a lot of people – I’ve seen footage of surfers and paddleboarders unassumingly going about their day and then this massive shadow of a whale shark appears underneath them – so amazing!!

      Definitely the exception to the rule in terms of being in the water with sharks :D

    • Hi Marlene! Have you tried checking out the surf spots in the Philippines as well? I heard that there are some really awesome beaches for surfing. :)

  7. It’s incredible just how much the Philippines offers. Quite amazing actually. I’m thoroughly intrigued by the sky cycling and the sand adventures. I’ll be in the Philippines next month and will try one of these adventures. Thanks for showcasing the diverse options.

    • Hi Rosemary! Does the Philippines next month mean you’ll be at TBEX? If so, see you there!

      Safe & happy travels X

    • Hi Rosemary! Since you’re interested in sky cycling, you may want to check out Baguio, too. There’s a place there called Tree Top Adventure that offers all sorts of activities that are pretty scary (but in a good way). http://www.wheninmanila.com/tree-top-adventure-baguio/

  8. What places are good for responsible tourism as far as swimming with whale sharks?
    I used to want to do it, but then I’ve read so many bad stories about the way it’s done that I”m not so sure it is a good idea any more unless you find the right place to do it.

  9. This is an awesome list of activities! I had no idea about the fact that people could ride a bike while suspended 60 feet in the air, but it sounds perfect! I would love to try all of them!

    • Great destination if you’re looking for some unique adventure activities for sure!

    • I hope you get to try them, Bella! There’s also a place called the Masungi Georeserve (which I’m hoping to check out the next time I’m in the Philippines) where you get to lie down on a giant hammock suspended high above the forest!

  10. Lately, I have found myself reading a lot about the Philippines and now all I want to do now is leave where I am and go there! I have a strong feeling that within the next few months I just might be in the Philippines.

    • It’s starting to become a pretty hot destination! Such a diverse range of things to see and do, you could spend years exploring and still not be bored! :)

    • Hope you get to go soon, Jazzy! I personally love it there. I’ve even spent some time in Manila, which is notorious for the traffic and the crowds, but there are some pretty cool things to see and do there as well. And the people are awesome. Shy, but friendly and accommodating! :)

  11. I didn’t realise there were so many adventure activities. I’ve already booked in a day trip to see the TAAL volcano but will definitely have to do some research on the whale sharks. See you at Tbex as well!

    • Hope you can fit in a volcano trek as well as the whale sharks while you’re there Cristal :) See you next week!

    • Have fun on your trip, Cristal! Thanks for reading :)

  12. Loved swimming with the whale sharks. Excellent post, I’ll keep the rest in mind for my next trip to the Philippines

    • Glad you had a fabulous time Tanisha! The whale sharks are such majestic creatures aren’t they!

  13. Helloooo. Awesome post. Would it be possible to repost this on explora.ph? We’ll link you of course :)

    • Hi Michelle, thanks for reaching out. You are welcome to repost this on your website – however pay attention to the photo credits (at the end of the post) as if you’re using the same photos they will need to be correctly credited, and may not be able to be used for commercial purposes. Thanks!

  14. I’ve never heard of hiking above an active volcano is available in the Philippines, even though I’m from Philippines lol. Also, I have always wanted to swim with sharks and see whales. Totally love your list of extreme adventures! There’s a new Safari in the Cebu, you might wanna check it out. There’s a lot of amazing adventures awaits there!

    • Glad we could inspire some new ideas for you Zaireen. Thanks for the heads up on the Safari in Cebu – I’ll have to check it out on our next trip :)

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