The Philippines is defined by its emerald rice fields, teeming megacities, graffiti-splashed jeepneys, smoldering volcanoes, bug-eyed tarsiers, fuzzy water buffalo and smiling, happy-go-lucky people.
Comprising of more than 7000 islands, located between the Philippine sea and the South China sea at the very eastern edge of Asia, and at certain times of the year you’ll get the feeling that you have all to yourself. The typical island boasts a jungle-clad, mountainous interior and a sandy coastline flanked by aquamarine waters and the requisite coral reef.
The country’s overwhelming Catholicism, the result of 350 years of Spanish rule, is its most obvious enigma. Vestiges of the Spanish era include exuberant town fiestas (festivals) like Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan, unique Spanish-Filipino colonial architecture, and exquisite, centuries old stone churches lording over bustling town plazas. Yet despite these outside influences, the country remains very much its own unique entity.
Things to Do?
- Beaches:“World’s Best Island”, rated by Travel + Leisure magazine. The beaches of Philippines are the perfect escape from those cold, icy, extra-long winters. One can rent a Kayak to paddle around the islands with, or get a guided boat tour, which usually includes a perfectly grilled lunch. The nightlife on Boracay Island, will get you partying hard with the crowds, while more secluded beaches bring you to more tranquil shores.
- Nature & Adventure: In Philippines, both the serious trekkers and lazy beach bums have a wide range of options to explore. Steal a view from the top, soaring by private plane over the smoking mouth, or ascend these fiery mountains by foot, through lava-rock trails. You can visit volcanic Camiguin, or mystical Siquijor and experience the contrast of sandy shores and deserted coastlines, private islands, isolated coves, and quiet bays. You can also prefer scaling the World Heritage Site of the Banawe RIce Terraces, a natural wonder better seen up close. or ziplining or seven stunning waterfalls in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. For Deluxe delights, Go glamping (glamorous camping) in one of Bohol’s top resorts, where activities include getting to know a tiny Tarsier. Watersports abound! Sailing in Subic Bay and Batangas; white-water rafting down Chico River; even the more extreme kitesurfing is growing more popular by the day in Bicol, Boracay, Coron, Cuyo, and windswept Pagudpud Peninsula — the country’s northernmost tip.
- Lifestyle:From the thrift shopper to the splurger, Indonesia has got something for everyone. Bargains to hunt and haggle for at street market stalls all over the country. Brand names to collect at year-round sales in malls. Cheerful staff who greet you at every turn. In this country, shops are open from morning till late at night, and especially on weekends. Many of the industrial areas of big cities like Manila have back-to-back bars and restaurants lining the streets, to draw in a buzzing crowd of young professionals after working hours. Overnight tourists will find the quirkier side of fun in places like Quezon City, while urban dwellers and business travelers have time to relax in the posh hotels that fill Makati. It’s a quick walk across the street for great-value shopping in the ever-busy Greenbelt mall stretch. Feeling fancy? Move on over to Resorts World in Pasay City, with its flashy casino lanes, six-star hotels, theater musicals, and big-name outlets. Just make sure you’ve brought your shiniest shoes and lucky charms.
- Dining:Kick back with ice cold drinks at the percentage of the price you’re used to while watching the sunset at Manila Bay. Or experience hearty Filipino dining at a restaurant or bistro. At dressed-down dampas, you can order fresh crustaceans by the kilo, straight from the market stalls, and then place your order with the restaurant kitchen. For the Filipino, the family meets around local dishes cooked with love, passion, and plenty of soy sauce. Comfort food is on the menu, and meat, seafood, and vegetarian fare is all here in abundance. Of course, so is rice. From organic markets to eat-all-you-can buffets to exotic eats, your Filipino food trip is sure to be an unforgettable fun-filled experience! Sarap! (Delicious!)
- Water Activities: From the gentle clear water of Boracay to the gigantic surf breaks of Siargao; you’ll find the island, the beach, the shore that’s just perfect for you. Philippines is an aquatic playground for any water sports whether be it wakeboarding, kitesurfing, parasailing or sailing. Some amazing reefs though – like those in Anilao, Calamianes and Cebu islands – are just a shore entry away. Sit down to launch as soon as you strip off your wetsuit. Just a dip proves that the seas of Philippines are home to the planet’s most diverse marine life – from the largest to the tiniest – and some of the strangest ocean species known to man.
Courtesy: Lonely Planet & Philippines Informatory website