10 Famous Foreign Destinations in the Philippines (Top Lookalikes!)

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Everybody dreams of traveling around the world! Though it sounds impossible for most of us who live in third-world countries, please believe me when I say that it IS possible — take it from me who is living a life of travel despite being a non-rich Filipina who only holds a Philippine passport! (Foreign Destinations in the Philippines)

But of course… I understand that this can be a big leap or life change; so, if you are not ready or if you don’t have enough resources yet to start a traveling lifestyle as I do, it’s definitely alright!

Besides, did you know that traveling around the Philippines can already make you feel as though you are traveling to foreign countries?

Yes, it can! In fact, below are some of the 10 great and famous destinations abroad that you can actually “find” within the Philippines.

Truly, there won’t really be the need for your to travel too far because the country might just have it all!

NOTE: This is NOT an article that wishes to focus on comparisons or imitations in a negative light. I absolutely know that the Philippines has its own charm. I just wrote this post with the simple aim of demonstrating that the country can be VISUALLY diverse and this is not only due to the influences of other cultures or countries, but also mostly due to the incredible terrains and landscapes that the Philippines naturally has.

Foreign Destinations in the Philippines

BAHAMAS ~ Equivalent: Boracay, Samal & More!

Puka Shell Beach, Boracay

Photo by: Shutterstock

White sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, and breathtaking islands are NOT only found in the Bahamas! With over 7,107 islands, it’s undoubtedly easy to find a beach in the Philippines that will have the same (or better) qualities.

Truth be told, we actually have a lot of beaches that are voted as one of the bests in the world! Other than Boracay, Samal, and Siargao, you can find more of these pristine shores in Batanes, Bohol, Cebu, Caramoan, Palawan, Zamboanga, Zambales and more!

Things to Do in Boracay
Things to Do in Siargao

– – –

GREECE ~ Equivalent: Batangas & Local Hotels

Foreign Destinations in the Philippines: Fortune Island, Batangas

Photo by: Shutterstock

Not a lot of people know about the Fortune Island in Nasugbu, Batangas, and it’s a “secret” that needs to be told!

TRIVIA: It used to be a luxurious island resort, but today, it is an abandoned island that still holds a beauty of its own. One of the highlights in this place that is mainly visited by tourists is the structure at a top of a cliff that is an imitation of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece (as seen in the photo above).

If you rather want a piece of Santorini without spending a lot of money for an overseas flight, you can also just check in to one of these Greece-inspired hotels in the Philippines:

  1. Camp Netanya Resort and Spa in Batangas
  2. Bellarocca Resorts in Marinduque
  3. Balesin Island Cub in Polillo
  4. The Oia, Santorini of the South in Calamba
  5. Vitalis Villas in Ilocos Sur

As one of the lauded foreign destinations in the Philippines, these may not be the original but their resemblance to the blue and white-washed buildings of Greece can easily transport you abroad!

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CHINA ~ Equivalent: Cebu or Binondo

Foreign Destinations in the Philippines: Binondo Chinatown Arch

Photo by: Shutterstock

The Taoist Temple in Cebu was built in 1972 by the town’s Chinese community. As a center of worship for Taoism, it has a chapel, a wishing well, and a library (it even has a souvenir shop.) Another notable thing there other than the well-designed façade is the entrance to the temple which is like a replica of the Great Wall of China!

Otherwise, if you want to get a fuller experience of the Chinese community, go to Binondo in Manila. Established in 1594, this is said to be the oldest Chinatown in the world. Do some shopping here, have a food trip with friends, or time your visit and join the vibrant celebration during Chinese New Year!

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NETHERLANDS ~ Equivalent: Ilocos Norte

Bangui Wind Farm, Ilocos Norte

Photo by: Shutterstock

Windmills are one of the best-known icons in Holland (the Netherlands), and though we don’t have the older windmill types, we have an array of the more modern ones and they are found in Ilocos Norte’s Bangui Wind Farm.

I have been to the Netherlands and a lot of these modern wind turbines are speckled across the country — naturally, looking at Bangui’s Wind Farm reminds me a lot of this European country!

TRIVIA: This project is the 1st wind farm in the Philippines and considered to be the biggest in Southeast Asia!

– – –

LAS VEGAS ~ Equivalent: Manila

City of Dreams Casino Hotel, Manila

Photo by: City of Dreams

You don’t need to go to Las Vegas nor Macau because, with the dazzling variety of casinos and entertainment spots, Manila is surely becoming a prime destination for leisure getaways!

Add the opening of the 6.2 hectares $1.3B luxury complex, the City of Dreams in Roxas Boulevard and for sure, you don’t have to go to another gaming strip elsewhere other than the ones that are already in the city (especially around the Manila Bay area).

Other casinos that you could try in Manila are Solaire, Resorts World, Hyatt, and more! If you rather want to venture out of the capital, visit the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu for some fun at the slots.

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BRAZIL ~ Equivalent: Cebu

Sinulog Festival Dancers, Cebu Philippines

Photo by: Shutterstock

The biggest festival in Cebu: Sinulog! With millions of people every year, it can easily rival the scenes during the colorful Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This is basically an annual cultural and religious celebration that commemorates the Filipino’s acceptance of Christianity. Aside from being the center of the Santo Niño celebration in the Philippines, it has also become one of the country’s liveliest festivities as it lasts for 9 days! (The popular Sinulog Grand Parade that runs for 9 to 12 hours is held on the final day).

RELATED READ: All About Sinulog

Held every 3rd Sunday of January, make sure that you get to be a part of this glorious event; for that to happen, you have to reserve your accommodation way ahead of time since hotels in Cebu are usually packed at around such time!

– – –

MALDIVES ~ Equivalent: Palawan

One of the newest and most spectacular getaways in the Philippines: Huma Island — a Maldivian-inspired island resort that is nestled in Busuanga, Palawan. With over 81 villas, this place is sure to snatch your heart away! Another great thing about it? Unlike the Maldives, this one isn’t going to sink at all.

Apart from Huma, there is also another island in Palawan that can compare to the beauty and ambiance of the Maldives: Amanpulo in Pamalican Island.

As such, it should really be clear that with the abundance of islands in the Philippines, we can have just about every kind of island getaway that there can be.

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NEW ZEALAND ~ Equivalent: Batanes

Racuh a Payaman, Batanes Philippines Rolling Hills

Photo by: Shutterstock

Typically compared not only to New Zealand but to Austria, Ireland, Scotland, and even Cape Town as well, Batanes is a picturesque group of islands that is positioned at the northernmost part of the Philippines.

This is actually my hometown and I am absolutely proud of its beauty, its rolling hills, its dramatic cliffs, its vast pasture lands, and more! If you want to get to know more about Batanes, see my article below…

RELATED READ: Batanes Itinerary

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SPAIN ~ Equivalent: Vigan

Vigan Spanish Colonial Town, Philippines

Photo by: Shutterstock

The Philippines was a Spanish colony; therefore, it goes without saying that there are several lasting legacies of Spain in the country, one of which is architecture. With the exception of the numerous colonial parish churches designed by Spanish friars (that are scattered around the Philippines), you will also see the Spanish influence in other places:

  • Vigan: located in Ilocos Sur, it is a World Heritage Site and one of the few Hispanic towns left in the Philippines where its structures remained intact. Vigan was even recently regarded as one of the New7Wonders Cities in 2014!
  • Intramuros: the oldest and historic center of Manila. A National Historical Monument, it has 3-miles long of massive stone walls and fortifications that surround the entire district. It used to have a lot of structures that showed the best collection of Spanish architecture; however, after bombings during WWII, only one building, the San Agustin Church, survived the war.

For a another one of the foreign destinations in the Philippines that resemble Spain but isn’t exactly historical, you can head over to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar.

This is the Philippines’ first-ever heritage resort that houses Spanish-era structures and old-traditional Filipino houses. The entrance fee is a bit expensive (at P1,500/head during weekdays and P1,850 during weekends) but it is worth it especially when you witness the beauty and uniqueness of the whole place.

TIP: You can get a discounted ticket to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar if you book online.

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VIETNAM ~ Equivalent: Palawan

Foreign Destinations in the Philippines: El Nido, Palawan (Secret Lagoon Beach)

Photo by: Shutterstock

I bet you know what Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam looks like, so it would be apparent to you how El Nido and Coron are very similar to it, thus making it a part of this list of lookalikes or foreign destinations in the Philippines!

Full of majestic limestone cliffs, beautiful lagoons, exquisite islands, and white sandy beaches, these Philippine destinations are a paradise of their own that you really don’t have to travel so far just to experience a perfect getaway! (Thailand’s southern beaches can also be an equivalent for the beauty that you can find in Palawan).

Traveling with Children to the Philippines? Check out the Philippines eTA for Children Requirements guide that will explain everything you need to know about the electronic visa waiver for minors.

• • •

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How I Afford to Travel the World (Vlog)

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Hey there! I am Aileen Adalid.
At 21, I quit my corporate job in the Philippines to pursue my dreams. Today, I am a successful digital nomad (online entrepreneur, travel writer, & vlogger) living a sustainable travel lifestyle.

My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Aileen,

    Your country has so much range it’s about ridiculous. Amazing! What a cool idea too. I know of no other land or country on earth which can pull this off. Maybe a cool beach with some highlands as well as a fab urban area, but each comparison really is close to the real thing. That’s why the Philippines is such an inspired nation. I find the people to be so nice, friendly and inviting too. I noted this before but I had scores of friends from your land in my home state of New Jersey. Awesome friends, and always spoke of how beautiful their native land is. I need to make it there eventually, I’ve been saying it, but I see a trip after I leave here in Bali. We’re so close anyway, right?

    Thanks Aileen!

    Tweeting from Bali.


    • Aileen

      Hey Ryan, thank you for your feedback! I am amazed by my own country too, and this post made me miss it a lot! I’m very glad that our people have gave you warmth and I also hope you get to see our country! Indeed, you are reaaaally close, Ryan! Do it! ;)

  2. Neri Ann

    I love this post! Hopefully I can go to this places in the future with the kids!

    • Aileen

      Thanks Neri! Here’s to hoping that you will! :)

  3. Jaya

    I had the chance to go to Fortune Island twice but then I always had to work on those weekends!! Reading this made me want to plan a different destination each weekend! AHHH! Bitten by the travel bug because of you, Aileen!! Haha, definitely saving this so I can refer back to it when I plan my next trip! <3

    • Aileen

      Aw, then the next time it comes, grab the chance, Jaya! ;) And aww, thank you!! Here’s to hoping that you get to travel more! Let me know! ♥

  4. Helen B.

    Oh my g! Need not to go and leave the country. Our beloved Philippines is truly beautiful. I so love this post! Thanks :)

    • Aileen

      Haha yes, exactly, Helen! :D I’m glad you liked this post! I had so much fun making it and it truly made me remember how beautiful our country is!

  5. Aiza C.

    Yay Philippines! I’m back from Samal and Surigao! :) So I still have the travel bug. I’m thinking Batanes is more like Ireland. The cliffs are comparable to Cliffs of Moher. :D

    • Aileen

      That’s awesome! I bet you had a great time, Aiza! And for Batanes, thanks for that comment! It does look like Ireland too; I’ll mention it in the article. Gracias!

    • Zita Hornillos - Tabuso

      Yes your right…BATANES is like Ireland, especially the West of Ireland. Am proud Ivatan from Mahatao but I live & work here in Dublin…Irish citizen too but am always an Ivatan.

      • Aileen

        Hey Zita! I am actually an Ivatan too and I’m traveling now in Belgium! ;) Plus I know a few Tabusos back in Batanes!

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