So how do you sum up the Philippines? An archipelago of 7,107 unique islands, home to volcanoes, tropical rainforest, paradise beaches, UNESCO World Heritage rice terraces, Spanish colonial architecture, vibrant festivals, a great music scene and some of the best diving in the world… (breathe) told you it is difficult!
Mabuhay! and Welcome to the Philippines, my native land. The Philippines, being an archipelago, offers countless of destinations to see, adventures to experience and activities to do. The country is blessed with a rich environment— lush forests, tropical islands, white sand beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains— and friendly, artistic and hardworking people who are always happy to welcome visitors and friends. When you come for a visit, be sure to stay for a long time so that you can enjoy the different exciting experiences that the country has in store for you.
The Philippines capital Manila is a city which actually comprises five cities – yes it is that big! The bustling city of Manila! One needs to explore deeper below the surface to discover its beauty. Intramuros (meaning Inside of the walls) is the Old Spanish Quarter where you can visit such landmarks as Fort Santiago and Cathedral Manila for a glimpse into the Philippines’ fascinating colonial history. Wandering around or taking a horse and carriage through the cobbled streets will make you feel like you have entered an ancient world. Museums vary from Historical ones, Science Museums, Art and can also be a 3D Art Museum. Amusement parks are everywhere. See the wildlife in Manila Ocean Park, or play like a kid to Star City a park similar to Disneyland. I have travelled a few countries in Indochina and honestly, I have never find malls as huge as we have in the Philippines. One must go to Mall of Asia (biggest mall in Asia) in Pasay to experience shopping galore. Nightlife in Manila is not to be missed. Explore Manila’s nightlife from Malate and Ermita’s nocturnal street scene, buzzing with lively clubs and gritty music alongside sleazy girlie bars to the posh and glamorous Makati City (also considered as New York City at Night) or Quezon City to seek out drum and bass DJ sets or sip the latest imported vodkas. If you will be lucky enough, you can get to party with famous International artists as a lot of Hollywood performers visits Philippines. Filipinos are musically inclined, so wherever you go there are some fantastic live music venues, especially in Manila with talented local bands singing everything from Filipino rock, to cover songs and traditional folk classics.
Let’s talk about nature. Philippines having 7,107 islands offer endless selection of beaches with fine powdery white sand and clean, clear and cool blue waters that you can even see the seabed. The many islands offer countless activities to travellers. From snorkeling, scuba diving, cliff jumping, parasailing, kayaking, surfing and a whole lot more. You will always see one of our beaches in the Top 10 best beaches in the world. CNN even have a list of world renowned beaches in the Philippines. Some of the famous islands are Boracay Island, Aklan; El Nido, Palawan; Camiguin Island; Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte; Puerto Galera, Mindoro; Nasugbu and Lian in Batangas; Ternate in Cavite,Panglao etc.
Trekking and hiking enthusiast will also love the Philippines. Banaue; considered as the new “Eight Wonder of the World” should be on top of the list. The total outline of this architectural wonder, or “stairways to the sky,” is about 13,500 miles long, or about half the globe’s circumference and ten times the length of the Great Wall of China making it to the “Top 3” in the list of Best Rice Terraces in the world by travel.spotcoolstuff. Another destination that should not be missed is Taal Volcano the World’s Smallest Active Volcano. It is described as “a crater within an island within a lake” because it stands as an island at Taal Lake. The lake was formed after the volcano, with used to be much larger, collapsed. Some of the suggested trekking destinations are Mt Pulag, Mt. Apo, Mt. Pinatubo, Mt. Cleopatras Needle, Batad etc.
No country in the world does festivals quite like the Philippines! Colorful street parades, loud ethnic drum beats, trumpets, xylophones, incredible sequined costumes, dancing, singing and just for giggles, a spot of cross-dressing thrown in. Yes! We Filipinos know how to party! Although most of the country’s festivals have deep religious roots in Catholicism, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t fun-filled fiestas and anyone can join in the celebrations. From Sinulog in Cebu, to Ati-Atihan in Kalibo and Dinagyang Festival in Ilo-Ilo City, there are over 100 festivals taking place across the archipelago during the year, so your trip is bound to coincide with an event of some kind. These events also mean “buffet”. Never miss Lechon, a Filipino pork dish, that’s best in Cebu. Even Anthony Bourdain names Cebu lechon the best! It is a suckling pig, roasted over charcoal. The meat is so unbelievably juicy and the crackling (the skin) is so wonderfully crispy, it’s awesome! So brace yourselves to the different Filipino dishes that will satisfy your cravings. Reminder, fiestas are really huge. Do your research beforehand – these authentic events are not to be missed!
The beauty of the Philippines would have to be the diversity of experiences that this country has to offer. Up North you have mind blowing rice fields and mountains, while down south you have world class surf. Not to mention the amazing place that is Palawan where you can stay in the houses of local fishermen. One can have the best diving experience in Cebu and Palawan, swimming through World War II shipwrecks and alongside with thousands of sardines and whale sharks. It is too many to mention. Apart from those, is the Filipino people. We are one of the most amazingly happy and friendly people. Everywhere you go in the Philippines you will feel so welcome by the locals. It was like being part of one big family. There are no language barriers for 90% of the population speaks the language. In fact, the Philippines is one of the best English Speaking Country outside Europe. You will have the most genuine smile from the locals, friendly invites that don’t intend to rip you off and friends for keeps. Just wear a smile and you will definitely be fine in the Philippines.
So there you have it. To sum it all up in one word, the best thing about the Philippines is US.
A Philippine getaway will definitely give you a bunch of friend request on facebook, follows on instagram and contact requests on skype, and all these things makes us the “Pearl of the Orient Sea”