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The Ultimate Guide and Tips of Philippines Travel

Subic Bay

Guide to Subic Bay

Subic Bay was the site of the former US military base in the Philippines. Now, it is hailed as the Philippines’ best destination for ultimate sports and exploits and is a highly endorsed tourist destination in the country. The diversity and quality of the amenities, coupled with the scenic view and leisure pursuits in Subic Bay make a visit to Subic Bay an experience never to be forgotten. With so much to do and experience in Subic Bay, here are some of the more exciting things to do and where to go in this wonderful place:

Take a Zoobic Safari Adventure

In a caged safari vehicle, guests are given the chance to come face-to-face with a man-eating tiger feeding on a live chicken, pet and feed some rare and exotic animals in the petting zoo and experience the wonders of nature in this paradise-like setting.

 

Visit the Ocean Adventure Theme Park

This is an aquatic animal center that offers dolphin and whale shows several times a day, animal trick show, sea lion show and high dive show. A special treat to visitors is to swim and play with the trained dolphins.

 

Have a jungle survival experience

With an Aeta as a tour guide, a visitor is given a hands-on jungle survival experience while taking a hike within the Pamulaklakin Forest complete with lessons on jungle survival techniques from the Aeta guide.

Aetas are the indigenous people of the area that have preserved the lifestyle and cultural heritage of their forebears.

 

Experience the Tree Top Adventure

The Sofhor Tourism offers visitors some breath-taking and heart-stopping adventures such as “flying” through the jungles in between tree tops face down on a zip line, walking along the sky bridge, and rappelling 60 feet above the ground down to the forest floor.

 

The Best Things To Do in the Philippines

The Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands each with their own unique and distinct characteristics and diverse things to offer to a visitor. There are so many things to do, see and experience that for first-time visitors it can be very overwhelming.

To help first-time visitors maximize their time and fully enjoy their visit, here is a shortlist of the best things to do in the Philippines:

Things to do in Philippines

Island Hopping

Island hopping is undoubtedly the best thing to do in the Philippines since it is the best way to experience and see most of the country and be acquainted with its people.

Domestic airlines fly to most of the major cities and popular tourist destinations of the country. To most of the other islands not accessible by air, these can be reached by passenger ships and boats.

 

Nature Tripping

The Philippines is richly endowed with the bounty and marvels of nature that can only be found in the country.

Some of these are the scenic Taal Lake and Volcano, a volcano within a volcano, only an hour away from Manila; Mount Mayon, famous for its near-perfect cone found in the
Bicol Region; the Banaue Rice Terraces, considered by Filipinos as the 8th Wonder of the World, a man made steps to the skies.

The mystical Crater Lake of Mt. Pinatubo, created by its most recent eruption; the amazing Underwater River and Caves in Palawan; Whale Shark or “Butanding” watching in Donsol, Sorsogon and so many more.

 

Beachcombing and underwater adventure

Beautiful powdery white and pink sand beaches can be found in almost all the islands of the Philippines, from North to South, East to West.

Closer to Manila, in Batangas, Pangasinan, and Zambales can be found some of the finest beaches with resorts and other tourist amenities and accommodation for the visitors.

Farther afield are Boracay, Caramoan, Panglao, Dakak, and El Nido are just a few of the most renowned beaches in the country.

The Philippines is slowly becoming one the world’s best diving destination because of its numerous diving sites that are comparable to the very best in the world. Palawan( Honda Bay, Calamianes Islands ) is one province where the most fantastic dive sites can be found.

The same can be said of Mindoro where Puerto Galera, a favorite destination for both local and foreign tourists is located; Cebu, (Malapascua) Bohol ( Panglao) and many more.

 

Attend fiestas and festivals

Filipinos are fun-loving and fiestas and festivals are celebrated throughout the year in every corner of the country.

The some of the most popular festivals are the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan every 3rd Sunday of January; Maskara Festival, Bacolod City and Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo also in January; Pangbenga Festival in the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City, celebrated in whole month of February.

 

Travel Guide to Banaue

The Banaue Rice Terraces in the Ifugao Mountains of the Philippines is considered the “Eight Wonder of the World”. These are 2000 year -old hand-carved terraces planted with rice that stretch like stairs up to the skies. It is one of mankind’s most remarkable engineering accomplishments.

 

Batad – Banaue Rice Terraces

For travelers, both local and foreign who are desirous of visiting the Banaue Rice Terraces, there are numerous hiking trails that will lead them to some of the most spectacular views of man’s ingenuity and creativity.

It is one of the most splendid and awe-inspiring tourist destinations in the Philippines that foreign visitors should not miss.

 

Some of the sites worth visiting are:

  1. The Batad Rice Terraces – These are tiered terraces formed like an amphitheater
  2. The Mayoyao Rice Terraces – where the organic rice Tinawon of the Ifugaos are harvested.
  3. The Hapao Rice Terraces – Rice terraces that are stonewalled carved as far back as 650 AD
  4. The Kiangan Rice Terraces – Consists of two of the most renowned rice terraces famous for their visual impact and size, Julungan  and Nagacadan  Rice Terraces.

 

Going to Banaue, visitors can take the following air-conditioned buses that travel directly to the area from Metro Manila:

Dangwa Transit (Bus Company):  Dimasalang St., Sampaloc, Manila, Aurora Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City Auto Bus(Bus Company): España Blvd., Manila. There are also buses going to Banaue from Baguio City

 

Where to Go and What to See in Manila

Manila

Manila, a vibrant exciting city and one of the most sophisticated cities in the world is the capital of the Philippines. In spite of its frenzied traffic, pollution and high humidity, there is so much that Manila can offer tourists.

The City of Manila should not be mistaken for Metro Manila, a metropolis composed of several cities and municipalities, which the City of Manila is a part of. Here are some interesting places to visit in Manila.

 

  • Intramuros

This is the walled city of Manila where the influence of the old Spanish era can still be found. Intramuros was built to defend the city during the Spanish era.

Most of the old buildings within Intramuros were restored and converted into quaint restaurants, souvenir shops and museums.

Places to visit inside the walled city are The Metropolitan, Manila Cathedral, the Bahay Tsinoy, a museum of the Chinese heritage of the Philippines, some beautifuuly restored houses of the Spanish era and many more

 

  • Fort Santiago

A restored Spanish stronghold and barracks found inside Intramuros that has been converted into a park. A museum and shrine of Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ National Hero and dungeons and prisons can be found inside Fort Santiago.

 

  • China Town

This is the Philippines’ Chinese district and considered the oldest China Town in the world. It found in Binondo, a few minutes away from Intramuros, where a visitor can find everything Chinese from Peking Duck to Chinese herbal medications. The city’s busiest bargain market, Divisoria Market is located in this area.

 

  • Manila Ocean Park

A huge aquarium complex with an exciting collection of International and Philippine marine life complete with marine research facilities, restaurants and function rooms. It is located at the back of the Rizal Parks’ Quirino Grands Stand.

 

  • Malacañang Palace

This is the official seat of power and residence of the President of the Philippines. It sits on the banks of Pasig River and is a beautiful example of 18th century architecture

 

  • Paco Park

Paco Park is a secluded garden in the midst of the hubbub of Manila. Concerts are held featuring foreign and local classical artists in paco park.

 

  • National Museum

This is located in the old Senate Building, another example of 18th-century architecture and it houses an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia of the Philippines rich and varied culture

These are some of the more interesting places to visit in the city of Manila. Going around these places will be no hardship for any tourists since these are all located at a walking distance from each other.

For those who are not very keen on walking, there are jeepneys, taxis and even a horse-drawn carriage called a calesa to bring them there.

 

Philippines Food, Drinks & Nightlife

Philippines Food, Drinks & Nightlife

The Philippines is a country of people who celebrates life to the fullest. Filipinos love to eat and love to sing and dance.

Music is an integral part of the Filipino culture. This article will attempt to give a visitor to this country known as “Pearl of the Orient” some tips on Philippine dining and nightlife:

 

Filipino cuisine

Filipino cuisine is characterized by a delicate blend of flavors and culture influenced by Malay, Chinese, Spanish, American and Japanese cuisine. Every region has its own delicacy to boast of available in the best restaurants in Manila and the other cities of the country.

Rice is the country’s staple food. Seafood such as crabs, prawns, lobster, tuna, oyster and a wide variety of salt and fresh water fish is plentiful in the Philippines. Tropical fruits such as rambutan, lanzones, chico, mango, papaya, banana, guava, atis, guyabano and many more are also in abundance.

Filipinos have a sweet tooth and native desserts and “kakanins” such as bibingka, suman, puto-bumbong, kalamay, pili nut candies and the like are simply lip – smacking.

 

National specialties

  • Lechon – roasted whole pig, is the main fare during fiestas and any form of celebration
  • Sinigang – a fish or meat dish cooked in a delicious sour broth
  • Kare-kare – a stew made of ox tail and vegetable cooked in peanut sauce and served with fermented fish paste called bagoong
  • Adobo- pork and chicken braised in soy sauce, garlic and vinegar

 

National drinks

  • San Miguel Beer and other locally brewed beer
  • Tuba and lambanog – fermented coconut juice drinks
  • Philippine rum

 

Nightlife

Nightlife in Metro Manila is an experience. The Filipinos’ love of music is displayed in Manila’s and other big cities’ choice of entertainment. The best hotels have on show colorful cultural dances and songs, show bands, top local singers and performers, classical and contemporary piano players and string ensembles.

There are also high-tech discos, bars and stand -up comedy joints. At the numerous venues for the performing arts, cultural presentations and concerts of both local and foreign artists are presented on most nights. Casinos can also be found in Manila, Cebu, Pampanga, Zambales, Ilocos Norte Iloilo, and Davao.

 

Philippine Travel and Transport Tips

Traveling around in the Philippines is convenient despite the countries 7,000 islands. This article will present various ways and means to travel within the Philippine.

Philippines Airlines

By air

Most major cities and main tourist destinations are accessible by air. The Philippine Airlines is the country’s flag carrier and it has daily flights, and some times more than one flight per day, to major cities.

Other domestic airline carriers are Cebu Pacific Air, Air Philippines and Zest Air (formerly Asian Spirit). These domestic airline carriers have international flights mostly to some major Asian cities.

There are also other registered airline companies that are mostly chartered. Here are the websites of these airlines:

 

By Sea

Most of the big islands in the Philippines can be reached by sea travel. The inter-island shipping companies connecting these major islands/ports with first class accommodations are as follows:

 

By Rail

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) is the country’s national rail company that travels from Manila to the Bicol Region. PNR however, is under rehabilitation and its existing operation extends only from Manila to nearby southern provinces such as Cavite and Laguna.

 

By Land

Bus

In Luzon Air-conditioned De-luxe buses are available from Manila to other cities and towns to the South and to the North. For buses going to the South (Batangas, Laguna, Naga City, Legazpi and as far as Samar and Leyte) the integrated bus terminal is located at the Araneta Center in Quezon City.

For buses going to the north, Baguio City, Subic, Ilocos provinces, bus terminals are mostly found in Quezon City. There are also air-conditioned buses and vans connecting towns and cities in Mindanao and the Visayas islands such as Cebu and Iloilo.

 

Transportation in towns and cities

  • Taxi – Metered taxis are available in most big cities such as Manila, Cebu City, Naga City, Cagayan de Oro City, Davao, Iloilo City
  • Buses – Air-conditioned and non-aircon buses are available in Metro Manila and other big cities
  • Rapid Railway System – The Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Metro Railway Transport (MRT) operates in Metro Manila
  • Jeepneys – These are locally made vehicles that are the most common means of transport within cities, including Manila and towns.
  • Tricycles/Pedicabs – motorbikes with sidecars/bicycles with sidecars are cheap transport means for short distances
  • Car hire – Available through big hotels in Manila and other big cities
  • Regulations and documentations – Legal driving age is 18 yrs old and an International Driving Permit is required from foreigners while a National Driving License for local drivers.

 

Philippine Festivals in May

pahilippines festivals may
Image Credits: escapemanila.com

The merry month of May is the liveliest and most fiesta/festival filled month in the Philippines. In the month of May almost every town and city celebrates a fiesta to honor their patron saints or to celebrate the month of the flowers or a bountiful harvest. Here is some of the more popular fiestas/festival in the month of May:

 

  • Pista’y Dayat

Pista’y Dayat is a thanksgiving celebration for a bountiful agricultural yield and plentiful fishing harvest held on May 1. This festival is characterized by Mass and fluvial procession held in the beaches of Pangasinan, a province in Northern Philippines.

 

  • Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo

Every town city, village or even small barangay communities celebrate the Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo during the month of May. Beautiful ladies and their handsome escorts all garbed in the most colorful and fashionable gowns parade around the town after a nine-day novena in Honor of the Holy Cross.

The Reyna Elena, the star of the procession, supposed to represent the Queen Elena of Spain, is escorted by her “son” Constantine in her search of the Holy Cross. Other “sagalas” are equally beautiful girls or ladies representing other biblical and historical characters.

 

  • Carabao Festivals

This festival is a tribute to the carabao, a water buffalo and a farmer’s help in plowing the field. Carabaos pulling gaily decorated and colorfully carts full of the agricultural produced parade around the towns of Angono. Rizal and Pulilan, Bulacan, towns very close to Metro Manila every May 14. This is also a celebration in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers.

 

  • Pahiyas

This is another festival in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. Pahiyas is held in the towns of Lucban, Tayabas, and Sariaya, Quezon, a province south of Metro Manila on May 15.

This festival is characterized by houses decorated in kiping, a thin, colorful, leaf-shaped rice Krispies and other agricultural products such as vegetables, coconuts and the like. There are also processions, parades and musical extravaganzas in the town plaza to truly liven up the occasion.

 

  • Obando Fertility Rites

This is a very important festival for childless couples since it is said that if couples dance in the streets of Obando ( a town in Bulacan) and beg for a child, almost always that wish is granted. The Obando fertility festival is held from May 17 to 19 and is also a celebration of the feast days of San Pascual Baylon, Nuestra Señora de Salambao and Sta. Clara.

 

Philippine Festivals in June, July & August

The months of June, July and August are rainy months. But not even the rains can dampen the Filipino people’s enthusiasm and joy of life. The festivals continue.

 

JUNE

  • Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival

This is a month long cultural and religious festival held in the month of June in Tacloban, Leyte and highlighted by the Pintados Festival Ritual Dance, the Leyte Kasadyaan Festival, and the Pagrayhak Grand parade.

Pintados means painted or tattooed and the dancers participating in the festival colorfully and artistically paint their bodies, arms and legs to look like armors of old. This festival is a showcase of the rich cultural heritage of Leyte and Samar and culminates in June 29 to celebrate the feast day of Sto Niño the Leyte.

 

  • Parade of Lechons

The feast of St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of Balayan, Batangas, in June 24 is celebrated by the people of Balayan with a parade of “lechons” or roasted pigs gaily dressed in outrageous costumes. After the parade the people feast on the lechons.

 

JULY

  • Paaway sa Kabayo

PaawaysaKabayo is held twice a year, on July 25th and December 25th in Tanjay, Negros Occidental. It is a horse fight, a thrilling, exciting but more often bloody bout among male horses for domination over a female horse. A hundred horses are prepared and trained to perform in these horse fights.

 

  • River Festival in Bocaue

The Bocaue River Festival is held every 1st Sunday of July in Bocaue, Bulacan in honor of the “Krus ng Wawa” the miraculous Cross of Bocaue. This is characterized by a fluvial procession where the “Cross” is placed in a pagoda with hundreds of devotees that douse each other with the water from the river.

 

AVGUST

  • The Rajah Baguinda Festival

This is a historical and cultural festival held in the 2nd week of August in Jolo, Sulu. It is a three days of festivities memorializing the arrival of Rajah Baguinda, the man responsible for the dissemination of Islamism in the country and to support the Sultanate Government in Sulu.

 

  • Kadayawan Festival in Davao

Celebrated on the 3rd week of August in Davao City, this festival is held to celebrate the bountiful fruits and orchid harvest in the province. The events include a trade fair, a fruit and flower show, parades, sports activities, street dancing and the Search for B’yanengKadayawan.

 

philippine festivals
image credit: explore.traveloka.com

Philippine Festivals in September and October

The months of September and October are still rainy months in the Philippines. In fact, these are considered typhoon months. But the fiestas and festivals in the Philippines continue despite rains and inclement weather. These are the more notable fiestas and festivals in the months of September and October:

 

SEPTEMBER

  • T’Boli Tribal Festival or Lemlunay

The Lemlunay is a bona fide T’Boli Tribal Festival held every September 16-18 in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. The festival is a celebration of tribal rituals in the midst of gong sounds and native music. The festivities culminate at the town plaza with cultural dances and ethnic sports such as horse fighting are presented.

 

  • Feast of Our Lady of Peñafrancia

Every 3rd weekend of September the Bicolanos and other devotees from all over the world honor Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia, the most revered patroness of the Bicol Region. It is held in Naga City and is highlighted by a fluvial procession along the Bicol River, parades, exhibits, beauty pageants, cultural shows and sports fest.

 

OCTOBER

  • Maskara Festival

This is a Mardigras like the festival held in Bacolod City every October 19 to celebrate Bacolod City’s charter day. Maskara Festival is a day of fun and gaiety highlighted by a colorful street dancing of gaily masked and costumed revelers. Sports competition, carnivals, cultural programs, beauty programs and sports competitions are also held.

 

  • Ibalong Festival

This is a celebration of Bicol’s heritage as told in the “Ibalong” epic held on October 19-22 in Legaspi City where the majestic Mayon Volcano is located. Heroes of the Ibalong epic such as Batlog, Handiong and Oryol and villains of the story are personified by merrymakers wearing masks and colorful costumes parading in the streets of the City.

 

  • La Naval de Manila

La Naval de Manila is held every 2nd Sunday of October in the parish of Sto. Domingo, Quezon City. The image of the Nuestra Señora de La Naval is brought in a well lighted and colorful procession in honor of the Virgin Mary.

 

Philippine Festivals November & December

In the months of November and December, Filipinos continue their year-round festivities. Christmas is the most celebrated event in the Philippines. As early as September, radio stations start airing Christmas carols, housewives bring out home Christmas decors and the shops begin to stock up and display every item related to the season.

Homes, streets and highways, shopping malls and most public and private buildings in the urban and rural areas are brilliantly decorated with lights and lanterns. Christmas in the Philippines is a celebration like no other. Here are the most famous festivals in the months of November and December:

 

November

  • Higantes Festival

Higantes Festival in Angono, Rizal is actually a celebration of the feast of San Clemente, the town’s patron saint. It is held on November 22-23 where a festive parade/procession has San Clemente, magnificent in his papal vestment, as the main star.

Pahadores, male devotees garbed in colorful native costumes, shod in wooden clogs and bearing boat paddles, and Higantes, giant effigies made of paper mache, escort San Clemente in this joyful activity. The later part of the activity is a fluvial procession at the Laguna de Bay to bring back the image of San Clemente to his church.

 

  • Grand Cordillera Festival

This is an annual gathering of mountain tribes to celebrate life held in Baguio City, the country’s summer capital. It is a week-long celebration in the month of November characterized by tribal rituals of thanksgiving and dancing.

 

December

  • Marian Procession

The month of December starts with a grand Marian Procession to commemorate the feast of the Immaculate Concepcion of the Blessed Virgin Mary held every December 8 in the walled city, Intramuros, Manila. More than 60 different images of the Mother of God in all of her manifestations are the star of the glittering procession. These 60 images come from parishes all over the country.

 

  • Pagdidiwata

Pagdidiwata is a thanksgiving festival of the Tagbanua, natives of Palawan held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan every December 8. The festival is characterized by food offerings, tribal rites and dances to the souls of their dead and their deities.

 

  • Bikol Pastores

This is a Christmas celebration held on the 18th of December where young men and women called Pastores dress in vibrant colored shepherd costumes dance in the streets of Legazpi City, Albay joyfully singing and chanting “Pastores a Belen” (Shepherd on their way to the manger).

 

  • Giant Lantern Festival

San Fernando, Pampanga celebrates Christmas with a grand Giant Lantern Festival on Saturday before Christmas Eve with a giant lantern competition.

These giant lanterns are beautifully and artfully colored and designed, huge, an average of 40 ft in diameter and with thousands of light bulbs that pulsate, sparkle and “dance” in an intricate loop pattern. This festival earned for the City of San Fernando the title “The Christmas Capital of the Philippines”.

 

  • Binirayan Festival

The biggest and most celebrated “fiesta in San Jose, Antique held December 28-30. This is a joyous commemoration of a segment of Philippine history, the arrival of the first Malay settlement in the country and characterized by vibrant pageants performed in the beaches of Malandog and Maybato. The end of the old year and the start of a New Year is met by the Filipinos with a big bang. It is something to experience to be believed!

 

You can check month by month Philippines Festivals here: https://explore.traveloka.com/guides/festivals-philippines

 

Hypnotic Sagada – The Hidden Jewel of the Philippines

The Philippines is a country of 7,107 islands famous for its breathtaking and lovely beaches. But this tropical paradise is also a land of picturesque but active volcanoes, mysterious caves and undulating hills and towering mountains.

In the northern part of Luzon, the country’s biggest island is the Cordilleras and nestled in this soaring expansive mountain ranges is hypnotic Sagada, a small municipality in the Mountain Province of the Philippines.

image credit: www.pinoyadventurista.com

Sagada, Cordilleras, Philippines

Sagada is best characterized by awe-inspiring cloud-shrouded, pine-covered colossal mountains, amazing but lovely rice terraces, sparkling clear cool rivers and streams, spectacular waterfalls, magnificently mysterious caves, and the proud and gentle Kankanaey people and their rich culture.

 

Sagada

Time was when only the backpackers know of this beauty secret of the Cordilleras, but recently more and more tourists, local and foreign have discovered Sagada and what it has to offer its visitors.

Popular activities in this quaint little town include cave and waterfall exploring, rappelling, nature trekking and hiking, spelunking, the simple joy of sunrise and sunset watching, communing with nature and intermingling with the friendly Kankanaey people.

 

Some of the spectacular sites in this secret jewel of a town:

  • The interconnected caves of Sumaguing – The Sumaguing caves has wonderful stalagmites and stalactites formations with such quaint names and description such as The Chocolate Cake, The Kin’s Curtain, the Crocodile and other interesting and naughty names of these limestone formations.

 

  • Lumiang, the burial cave – Sagada is well-known for its hanging coffins, a customary way of burying the dead by hanging the coffins at the entrance of a cave ( not practiced anymore), one such cave is Lumiang.

 

  • Graceful rice terraces – Sagada has its own share of this “stairway to the sky”, a series of steps carved out of the mountainside and planted with rice.

 

  • Bomod-ok Falls and Bokong Falls – the Bomod-od falls or the big falls is a beautiful towering cascade of water pooling down a cool placid pond where tourists dice in for an invigorating splash after a strenuous mountain hike. Bokong falls are the smaller falls.

 

  • Dap – ay – a longhouse where children are brought at the early age of 5 and where they are educated by the village elders and where they spend their childhood until the time they are ready to get married. Separate dap-ay for boys and girls are maintained in the village of Demang..

 

  • Kiltepan – a mountain top to watch the most beautiful and breathtaking sunrise.

 

  • Lake Danum – for the most lovely sunset and bonfire afterward

 

Sagada has so much more to offer such as an underground river, its traditional pottery and weaving industry, a museum of native crafts and artifacts and a hosts more of places and activities that will interest visitors.

 

Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park

tubbataha reef philippines
image credit: www.nationalgeographic.com

The Tubbataha Reefs could very well be the Garden of Eden had the garden been underwater. It is a unique aquatic formation rising from the volcanic depths of the Sulu Seas and located in Palawan, Philippines.

The Tubbataha Reef is made up of two coral atolls, the North and South Reef separated by an 8-kilometer wide channel and a rare example of an atoll reef with an extremely high concentration of aquatic species; the North Reef serving as a nesting place for marine turtles and birds.

The Tubbataha Reef has been designated as an underwater safe haven and natural park and is the Philippine’s first National Aquatic Park. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an area of worldwide significance that is being preserved for future generations of the human race.

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park protects 130,028 hectares of pristine coral reefs and the habitat of an unmatched diversity of marine life including brightly colored reef fishes crowding the corals growing in the shallower part whereas pelagic and sharks can be found in the precipitous drop offs and swimming to the open seas.

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park’s two coral atolls or islets are virtually uninhabited although some fishermen seasonally take shelter on the islets.

Being considered as the best dive site in the Philippines, experienced divers frequently visit Tubbataha for its magnificent coral walls, the habitat of manta ray, great jacks, Moorish idols, clown fish, hawksbill tortoises, and moray eel. Tubbataha is also the sanctuary and stopover for migratory birds such as terns, frigate birds and boobies.

 

Tubbataha Reefs Marine Life

Aquatic tourism enthusiasts, as well as foreign and local tourists, continue to flock the Tubbataha Reef known also as the Jewel of Palawan. The Tubbataha Reef is an entry in the search for the “7 Wonders of Nature in the World” and was chosen as one in fact.

 

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, a province in the Philippines.

It is a major biodiversity conservation park of the Philippines. It is characterized by a magnificent karst or limestone topography that includes a long underground river that runs directly to the sea, forested areas that serve as the habitat for a copious variety of indigenous birds and animals.

The underground river of Puerto Princesa is alleged to be the longest negotiable underground river in the world and one that people can appreciate and enjoy.

It is one of the finalists to the Search for the New 7 Wonders of Nature and the cause of pride of the Filipino people. An amazing feature of the underground river is that it meanders through a cave before running directly to the South China Sea

Inside the cave of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park are amazing stalactite and stalagmite formations and a number of large caverns and chambers.

At the mouth of the river is a clear lagoon enclosed by ancient massive trees with roots growing right into the edge of the water. Tourists will be amused by the antics of monkeys, squirrels and other gentle animals that inhabit the cay.

Some of the thrilling activities that visitors can enjoy in the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park include rock and mountain climbing, river tour of the meandering underground river, swimming, beach hopping, bird watching, hiking and trekking and even planting mangroves.

Touring the underground river is a unique experience. The imposing stalagmites and stalactites will surely amaze the visitors and the bats living in the caves will make the adventure more thrilling, they are a bit creepy but not really harmful and life-threatening.

 

Underground River

There are very friendly and helpful boatmen that will steer the boats for you and regale you with the history, attractions and other stories about the place.

 

Island Garden City of Samal

Island Garden City of Samal

Samal is a tiny island off the shores of Davao. The Island Garden City of Samal also called IGacoS was created with the unification of three municipalities of the City of Davao. With the creation of the Island Garden City of Samal, the three former municipalities now become its districts, District 1 –Babak, District 2 Samal and District 3 – Kaputian.

The Garden City of Samal has two main islands, Talicud Island and Samal Island with other smaller islands such as Big Liguid, Malipano and Little Liguid making up the garden city. It is approximately 34 km. long and 15 km. wide and distinguished by mountain ranges, flatlands and beautiful coastline of around 116 km in length.

Completing the picturesque topography of the Island Graden City of Samal are two major rivers, Tagbaobo River and Binoling River and one beautiful lake, Bagsak Lake. The beaches of the Island Garden City of Samal are its very precious treasures. White sand beaches framed by tall swaying coconut trees and copious mangroves ring the island.

Most of these beaches are unspoiled and well protected in spite of the beach resorts that could be found lining its shores. These beaches are almost always deserted making it a wonderful place to relax, unwind and enjoy the bounty of nature.

Located in this tiny pacific gem of an island is the well celebrated Pearl Farm Beach Resort, originally an authentic pearl farm cultivating the best South Sea pearls and other kinds of pearls and is at present a world-class beach resort.

Other wonderful and exceptional resorts that tourists can stay in are Paradise Island, Camudmud, Chemas, Costa Marina, Kaputian, Isla Reta, Blue Waters and Mayumi.

The Island Garden City of Samal is only a short boat ride away from Davao City. This is a big convenience for those who want to spend their vacation with the amenities of a big city coupled with several relaxing days of peace and quiet in a beautiful and exciting island-like Samal.

 

Things to Do & See in Batangas

Batangas

Batangas is a province in the Philippines located in the island of Luzon and is one of the most popular tourist destinations close to Manila. It has numerous beaches and superb diving spots just a few hours drive from Manila such as Anilao, Matabungkay, Punta Fuego and Laiya.

When thinking of what to do in Batangas the first thing that comes to mind is the beaches; swimming, snorkeling, wakeboarding, diving, and other beach activities. But Batangas has so much to offer its visitors other than the beaches and some of them are outlined below:

 

Amazing Nature in Batangas

  • Beach hoping and diving

Of course beach hoping or resort hoping is the first recommended thing to do in Batangas. As mentioned, Batangas has numerous beaches and beach resorts with amenities and facilities ranging from the very basic to world-class.

 

  • Nature tripping

Climb Mt. Maculot, one of the highest mountains in the area to test your stamina or Mt. Batulao for a breathtaking view of the surrounding area. Worth a visit is Seven Falls for the nature lover.

 

  • Laiya, San Juan, Batangas

Revisit the past
Batangas is rich in historical and cultural sites, there is the Malabrigo Lighthouse in Lobo and the Punta de Santiago Lighthouse in Calatagan, both ancient but still functional. Old ancestral houses that are converted into a museum for colonial art and artifacts.

Ancient churches such as the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and Infant Jesus built-in 1857 in Batangas City and the Basilica de San Martin de Tours built-in 1750 found in the town of Taal

 

Watch the Races

The Batangas Racing Circuit is located in the town of Rosario. Motorcycle and car racing aficionados both local and foreign troop to Rosario for the exciting races held here.

 

Go Bird Watching

For the bird lovers, the best places for this activity are the towns of Lian, Nasugbu, Calatagan, San Juan, Mataas na Kahoy and Lemery.

 

Visit the town of Taal

A picturesque old sleepy town situated on top of a hill with plenty of historical sites, a world-class hand embroidery industry where you can buy a hand-embroidered Barong Tagalog, a native formal men’s wear made from jusi and piña cloth, and get a feel of how life was in the olden days.

 

Things To Do In Cebu City

Cebu City
image credit: en.wikipedia.org

Cebu City, the second most important city in the Philippines is also the oldest city founded in the Spanish era. It is situated in the eastern coast of Cebu Island and has the 2nd largest International Airport in the country. Cebu City is the center of Metro Cebu, a political subdivision that includes the cities of Talisay, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue.

 

  • Santo Niño Basilica – Cebu City

Cebu is an exciting and progressive city with so much to offer its visitors. It is known as the Queen City of the South and is a thriving metropolitan area with all the amenities and comforts of a big and modern city.

But Cebu City also takes pride in its abundant gifts from nature such as a myriad of beautiful white sand beaches, some commercially developed but most are pristine and untouched; and cultural and historical sites that tell of its rich cultural heritage. There is so much to see and do in Cebu City and here are only some of them:

 

  • Hit the beaches

One of the foremost attractions of Cebu City to foreign tourists is the lovely white sand beaches that are accessible from the city where swimming, snorkeling and even diving are the best.

 

  • Go nature tripping

Two of the most interesting destinations for the nature lovers close to Cebu City are the Cave busay and Kawasan Falls. Cave Busay has a 300 meters tunnel that ends in a pool of cool water with stalagmites as its roof.

Kawasan Falls is a three-level gush of pure cool mountain water that falls in a cool spring amid lush rich tropical vegetation and fantastic scenery. Both are very extraordinary experiences.

 

  • Go back in time

Visit some of the historical sites of Cebu City that tell of its rich cultural heritage such as the Magellan Cross, the site of the first Catholic Baptism in the Philippines. Fort San Pedro, a smaller Intramuros in Cebu City; Basilica del Sto.

Niño, one of the oldest churches in the country; and Casa Gorordo Museum, a well preserved Spanish home converted into a museum with an interesting collection of Spanish and Filipino artifacts and paintings.

 

  • Dance the Sinulog

One big tourist attraction of Cebu City is the Sinulog Festival held every 3rd Sunday of January in honor of El Señor the Sto Niño where both locals and tourists dance to the Sinulog beat dressed in their most colorful and fabulous costumes.

 

  • Shop till you drop

Visit Carbon Market, an open expansive street market where everything can be had very inexpensively.

 

  • Eat your heart out

Cebu City is home to Talisay Lechon, the best-roasted pig this side of the world; Puso, rice cooked while wrapped in coconut leaves; and the freshest and luscious seafood in eateries and diners in Sutukil.

 

Tagaytay City Review Things to Do

Tagaytay City
image credit: /www.vigattintourism.com

Tagaytay City is only an hour and a half away from Manila, the capital of the Philippines but, what a difference! Tagaytay City is cool, clean and simply enchanting. It is considered the most pleasant city in Asia.

Come to Tagaytay and fall in love with the cool, tranquil and peaceful surrounding and the spectacular view of this city which is the closest to paradise one can find.

In spite of the almost somnolent ambiance of Tagaytay City, there are simply just too much to do and to visit that it really is difficult to make a start.

 

Here are some tips on what to do and where to go to Tagaytay City”

  • View and Visit Taal Volcano

Taal Volcano is the main attraction of Tagaytay City. It is presumed to be the smallest active volcano in the world and it rests serenely in the middle of a blue placid lake. People don’t realize, however, that the lake is actually the mouth of a bigger volcano and the tiny volcano is a volcano inside a volcano.

Surrounding the lake is a series of ridges, which is actually the rim of the bigger volcano, and where hotels, inns, picnic groves and private houses are situated with a fantastic view of the lake and the tiny volcano. It is a sight to behold!

The best and most magnificent view of the Taal Lake and Taal Volcano though can be had from the “Palace in the Sky” or “People’s Park in the Sky”, the uncompleted mansion of a former Philippine President.

The view from its observation deck offers a whole panorama of Taal Lake and Taal Volcano to the south, the Laguna de Bay to the east and Manila to the north. If you are not content in just viewing Taal Volcano from one of the hotels, inns and picnic groves on the ridge, then arrange to “visit” the volcano island. This will take at least half a day going there and back.

 

  • Play Golf

Tagaytay City boasts of two of the best golf courses in the country, the Tagaytay Highlands and the Orchard Golf Club.

Tagaytay Highlands is a first-class estate development that has a whole range of leisure and entertainment facilities such as outdoor and indoor swimming pools, a driving range, bowling alleys, movie houses and 29 five-star restaurants.

While the Orchard Golf Club has two golf courses designed by golfing legends Gary Player and Arthur Palmer. The courses are built around and within a wildlife and bird sanctuary and it abounds with native flowers and birds.

 

  • Take a chance at the tables

For those who like to gamble or even just to try their luck at the tables or the machines, The Casino Filipino Tagaytay is the place to go.

 

  • Eat your heart out

Tagaytay City is a place where the most exotic, the gourmet and healthy restaurants can be found set in the most idyllic backdrop of mountain, lake and cool fresh air.

 

Things to Do in Davao

Davao

Davao is located in Mindanao Island, Philippines. It consists of Davao City and four provinces, Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. This region is blessed with nature’s beauty and bounty. A visit to the Philippines will not be complete without a glimpse of Davao.

 

Here are some suggestions on what to do in Davao:

  • Explore Davao City

Davao City is the largest city in the Philippines and in Asia and the 5th richest city in the country. It has all the amenities of a big city such as 5-star hotels and restaurants and eateries serving fresh seafoods that are to die for without the hustle and bustle characteristics of a big city.

  • Visit the Pearl Farm

Once an actual pearl farm cultivating some of the rarest South Sea pearls from oysters transported from the Sulu Seas, this beautiful slice of paradise with a powdery white sand beach is now a popular tourist destination. It is located on Samal Island and can be reached by a short boat ride from Davao City.

  • Scale the heights of Mount Apo

Mount Apo is the highest mountain in the Philippines. A climb to Mount Apo takes 3 to 4 days of the leisurely hike. It is not really mountain climbing but offers a great work out.

Cross clean clear rivers, view a wide variety of plants and flowering plants, come across hot springs and lakes, shelter in huge rock overhang and be greeted with one of the most spectacular sunsets when you get to the top. Bring a raincoat or warm clothing since it gets pretty chilly during the evenings.

 

  • Say hello to the monkey-eating eagle

A visit to Davao is not complete without a visit to the Philippine Eagle Nature Center, a reservation and breeding center for the monkey-eating eagle, a dying breed of eagles endemic to Mindanao and the mountains and forests of eastern Philippines. Along the way, feasts on a wide variety of fruits such as durian, mangosteen, and lanzones.

 

What to do in Bicol

The Bicol Region is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines because it is home to Mount Mayon, an active volcano with an almost perfect cone, and some other attractions unique to the Bicol Region.

Its natural beauty, historical and cultural heritage, warm and friendly populace, scrumptious delicacies and a progressive and aggressive tourism development had attracted both domestic and foreign tourists to this part of the country.

 

Here are some of the things you can do in Bicol:

  • View Mayon Volcano

Mount Mayon, an active volcano, is known worldwide for its near-perfect cone. The best viewing site for this beautiful volcano is from the Cagsawa Ruins.

The steeple of the Cagsawa Church is the only remaining reminder of the structure that was destroyed during one of Mount Mayon’s destructive eruption in 1814.

 

  • Swim and play with whale sharks

Donsol, a tiny town in Sorsogon, one of the provinces in the Bicol Region, and an hour’s drive away from Mt. Mayon has been a favorite destination for both local and foreign tourist.

Donsol offers its visitors a unique experience of interacting; swimming, snorkeling and playing with the gentle and playful whale sharks, known to the locals as “butanding”.

 

  • Visit CamSur

The province of Camarines Sur (CamSur) has made its name in the tourism world because of CWC or The CamSur Water Sports Complex, the site of much international competition on wakeboarding.

The complex has two manmade lakes, one dedicated to the sport and another for various water sports and recreation. The idyllic islands of Caramoan known for its stunning white sand beaches can also be found in Camarines Sur.

 

  • Explore Naga City

Naga City is more of a big town, with the facilities and amenities of a city, sans its noise and traffic. Naga City is where the world-renowned Penafrancia Festival is held every third week of September. The said to be the miraculous image of Our Lady of Penafrancia is enshrined in a beautiful Basilica located in Naga City.

Yummy Pili nut delicacies that are only found in the region can be had at very reasonable prices in the City’s public market and other pili nut stores. Come to Bicol and be charmed.

 

Baguio City – The Summer Capital of the Philippines

Baguio City

Baguio City, high up on the Cordilleras Mountain Rangers, North of the Philippines is also called “The City of Pines.” It rises above the sea level by 1,500 meters, the reason why its climate is very different from the other parts of the country.

On average, it is 8⁰C cooler than the rest of the country and never go hooter than 26⁰C at any time of the year. Since it is shielded by the Cordillera Mountain Range, typhoons that are a common occurrence in the Philippines, seldom visit Baguio City.

There is a cool and pleasant feeling as you climb up Kennon Road or the Naguilian Highway as you approach Baguio City.

The sweet scent of pines gently wafts in the air even before you see the trees. A delightful welcome to the this lovely City of Pines Baguio was once the summer vacation and recreational place of the Americans who invaded the country in the early 1900s.

They established Camp John Hay, now a premium tourist attraction and destination of the city with a world-class resort and 18 hole golf course. Other than Camp John Hay and its cool and refreshing weather, there are more reasons why tourists, both local and foreign flock to this unique city.

 

Here are some of these reasons:

Asin Hot Springs

Soaking in a hot spring in the cool atmosphere of Baguio City is quite an experience. It only takes a 45 minutes jeepney ride from Session Road to reach Asin Hot Springs. Here pools of bubbling sulphuric water, some even reaching boiling point will give you a much-needed relaxation after an 18- hole round of golf.

 

Burnham Park

Burnham Park is wooded parkland with a man-made lake, the center of activity at Burnham Park where tourist can go boating and enjoy other water activities. Biking, tennis basketball and simply relaxing with a good book are also activities visitors will enjoy at Burnham Park.

 

Camp John Hay

Camp John Hay is a 250-hectare prime property in Baguio City. Once an American installation for American officials and troops, it now has been developed into a premium tourist destination with a world-class hotel, 18-hole golf course called the Camp John Hay Golf Course and Club House complete with a butterfly sanctuary, private vacation houses, a museum, convention center, and other tourist facilities.

Baguio City has more delightful attractions and activities to offer its visitors. A visit to this beautiful city is an experience to look forward to.

 

Top Philippines Dive Sites

Top Philippines Dive Sites

The Philippines is a tropical country consisting of over 7,000 islands. It is located in Southeast Asia in the Western Pacific. Since the Western Pacific is recognized as having some of the most temperate waters on earth, the waters around the Philippines abound with corals and coral reefs.

These coral reefs are the reason why the Philippines is considered one of the world’s best diving destination. Four of the more popular diving sites in the country are as follows:

 

Anilao, Batangas

Anilao is only 140 kilometers away from Manila. It’s very proximity to the premier city of the country makes it an ideal destination for weekend diving excursions. Diving in Anilao is largely in shallow gardens and coral slopes amid sandy areas between Anilao and Maricaban Island. Cathedral, a roofless grotto is the most popular diving site in Anilao. The perfect time to dive in Anilao is between November and March.

 

Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro

Using the Batangas Pier as a jump-off point, Puerto Galera is only several minutes away from Anilao. It is a natural harbor with numerous sheltered coves with white sandy beaches and verdant surroundings.

There are at least two dozen diving sites in Puerto Galera that are rich with marine life that provides great occasions for photography. The best time to dive in Puerto Galera is from March to October

 

Busuanga, Northern Palawan

Busuanga, the largest island in the Calamian Group of Islands is the jump-off point to some of the most fascinating dive sites in the country. What attracts divers to Busuanga are the identified 12 wreck sites around Coron Bay, another island of the Calamian.

Added attractions for tourists in Busuanga are the limestone cliffs dotting the waters around Busuanga and the tiny islands that comprise the Calamian group of islands blessed with secluded coves and beautiful white sand beaches, some with mystics like freshwater lakes and hot springs. The best time to dive in these sites is from October to May.

 

Malapascua, Cebu

Malapascua is one of the more preserved diving spot and tourist destination in the Philippines. It has been discovered by tourists and divers only very recently, thus living in this tiny island is quiet and very laid back. There are a few resorts and dive operators to serve the need of tourists and divers but not much activity.

 

3 Responses
  1. Boswell Hessellund

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