Travel Guide – Philippines

  • banaue rice terraces
  • puerto princesa underground river
  • philippines Vacations
  • philippines City
  • boracay island

Introduction

Blessed with stunning beaches, year-round sun and some amazing natural wonders, the Philippines is no less than a paradise on this earth. A cluster of some 7000 islands, this archipelago is surely a must visit destination especially if you love adventure activities like surfing, snorkeling, diving and island hoping etc. The Philippines (named after a 16th century Spanish king) was a Spanish colony for almost 3 centuries, thus you can clearly see the Spanish influence on its architecture, food and even culture.

Although, the Philippines is cutoff from the Southeast Asia by South China Sea, yet this archipelago is a popular tourist destination. So, let’s begin our tour of this amazing island country.

Best Time to Visit

The Philippines has a hot and humid tropical climate. May to October is the wet season and November to April is the dry season. So, if you are planning to come here, do so in the dry season. As for the best time to visit, January and February are the best months as the weather is cool during these months. You can also visit the country in March, April and May. But these months can be really hot and humid.

How to Reach

By Air - Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila is well-connected to major international cities. Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu is the second major airport of the country. Many airlines like Cathay Pacific, Malaysian Airlines, SilkAir and Philippines Airlines operate daily flights from these airports.    
By Sea – Daily ferries operate between General Santos in Mindanao and Manado, Indonesia. You can also enter Philippines from Malaysia via ships (operating between these 2 countries).
Getting Around – Taxis, tricycles, kalesa & habal-habal, light rail, jeepney and state and privately run buses are the most popular modes of transportation for roaming around.

Top Tourist Attractions

Banaue Rice Terraces – No trip to Philippines will be complete if you don’t plan a trip to the famous Banaue Rice Terraces, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Filipinos (belonging to Ifugao tribe) carved these terraces around 2,000 years ago and that too without any modern tools. Even to this day, these terraces are used for growing rice and vegetables. Don’t forget to capture the magnificent view of these rice terraces (that look like giant steps reaching to the heaven) in your camera.

Boracay – This small island is home to some of the most beautiful award-wining beaches. When in Boracay you can indulge in adventure activities like cliff diving, parasailing, snorkeling, kite surfing, scuba diving and a lot more. You can also opt for a boat tour if you wish to see the breathtaking view of sunset or to explore the volcanic caves and remote lagoons of this magnificent island.

San Agustin Church – Built in 1589, San Agustin Church (located in Manila) is a must visit historical monument. Even after seven earthquakes and two fires, this church is still standing strong and is the oldest stone church of the country. The Mexican style interiors will surely leave you awestruck. The best part of this church is the gorgeous ceiling painted by Italian artists Giovanni Dibella and Cesare Alberoni in 1800s.

Puerto Princesa Underground River – If you love spending your vacations in the lap of nature, then you must visit the beautiful Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. Located on the northern coast of the Palawa Island, Puerto Princesa is truly one of the best natural creations. This river is protected within a national park and is the world’s longest navigable underground river.

The Chocolate Hills – These unusual geographical formations are scattered throughout the Bohol Island. These weird landscapes covered in green grass are one of the most popular tourist attractions of Philippines. During summers (or the dry season) these hills turn brown (because of the dried grass) making them look like a mound of chocolate.

Other Must See Attractions

  • Batanes
  • El Nido, Palawan
  • Lake Sebu
  • Apo Island
  • Mt. Kanlaon
  • Panglao Island
  • Danjugan Island
  • Caramoan Islands
  • Calaguas Islands
  • Biri Island Rock Formation
  • Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

Travel Tips

  • Having a trustworthy guide will be an added advantage.
  • Don’t travel too much South.
  • Dress according to the climate.
  • Avoid bringing valuables like a branded watch or precious jewelry.
  • It is customary in Philippines to leave a tip when rendered a service.
  • Be updated with the weather conditions.
  • Always be on time if you are invited for a social gathering.
  • You may have to shell out approx. Php 200 (USD $5) for a foreign card transaction at any ATM.
  • If you are planning to stay for more than 21 days, get a visa.
  • Always carry an insect repellant in your bag.
  • Casual clothing is acceptable inside churches and business offices. Avoid wearing shorts and slippers at dining establishments and hotels.

Interesting Facts

  • Philippines is the world’s leading producer of coconuts.
  • On Dec 24, 2002 world’s largest Christmas lantern was illuminated in San Fernando.
  • Philippine’s rice terraces are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Philippines has won at least eight major international beauty pageant titles.
  • Philippines is the seventh most populated country in Asia and the 12th in the world.
  • Philippines is named after King Philip II.
  • Philippines is the first Southeast Asian country to gain independence after World War II.
  • Philippines is the second largest archipelago in the world.
  • In Philippines it is considered rude to open gifts immediately.
  • Philippines is the only country in the world whose flag is hoisted upside down when the country is at war.
  • Manila is the world’s most densely populated city.
  • Philippines is home to Reticulated Python (the world’s longest snake).
  • Philippines is also home to the world’s smallest hoofed animal, the Philippine mouse-deer.
  • The anti-lock braking systems (ABS) used in high-end cars are made in Philippines.
  • Philippines is the text capital of the world.
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