The Philippines is an island nation located in the Western Pacific. The region boasts one of the world’s longest combined coastlines due to the nation’s seven thousand tropical islands. These islands have beautiful coral reefs and spectacular diving, wildlife like whale sharks and dugongs, and mountainous tropical rainforests. Filipino people are smiling, warm, and generous. Flights can be found to Manila or Cebu, and interisland travel is easy to find via plane, car, train, or ferry. Here is a look at some of the best places to visit in the Philippines:
A visit to the Crisologo St region of this town is like a step back to colonial times. Horses pull carts along cobblestone streets, and dark-wood mansions flank the sides, as a reminder of the grand life that many enjoyed in this colonial Spanish trading post. At the time, many goods like beeswax and gold were traded to China for exotic Asian items. Today, the main income for this port is tourism, though the splendor from its trading history remains. The town has two hearts, a shopping center in the North, and a business district in the South. Tourists will enjoy the museums that have been created from several mansions, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Mestizo district.
The huge orange eyes and tiny fingers of the miniscule tarsier serve as the spokesmodel for the island of Bohol. Just a short trip from Cebu, this area is one of the few remaining homes for this tiny primate. The unique geologic oddity of the chocolate hills serves as the second draw for the non-divers to the region. The unique mogul-like hills come with a legend of being formed by the rocks thrown by an angry giant. Most of the visitors to this region are, however, here to partake in the breathtaking dive opportunities that the region has to offer. It is the jumping off point for the marine reserves off of Pangalo and Pamlican islands.
This Asian megacity is the capital of the Philippines, the fly-in point for most tourists, and a bustling opportunity to appreciate bounds of culture new and old. From tall gleaming buildings on the skyscraper gazing tour to the turn-of-the century landmarks on the self-guided downtown tour, there is much to see in Manila. Food, whether from a street cart or high cuisine restaurant, is excellent and diverse, representing much more than the blend of Spanish, indigenous, and Chinese heritages that have found their way to this island nation. There is never a bad time to go to Manila, as there are almost two-dozen annual festivals to keep the city celebrating.
Located in the province of Sorsogon, a place of pristine beaches, stunning waterfalls and unexplored caves, the sleepy fishing village of Donsol is the place in the Philippines to see whale sharks. They like tropical waters, which makes Donsol Bay a great habitat for them. The protected species migrates through Donsol between November and June, with the numbers peaking between February and May. This huge fish is not shy about approaching boats; indeed, some carry scars from encounters with propellers.
One of the best places to visit in the Philippines, Palawan is an island province that stretches from Mindoro to Borneo between the South China and Sulu seas. Puerto Princesa, which is close to large karst formations with an underground river, is the provincial capital. Coron Reefs on Busuanga Island is a popular diving spot, drawing divers who want to explore Japanese shipwrecks from World War II. Another popular destination is El Nido, a town sandwiched between towering limestone karst cliffs and the beautiful Bacuit Bay.