To be in the Philippines is to be in two places at once, both for its Spanish and American influence (it was a colony of both countries), as well as for its location (in the south of the country it crosses the Wallace line, the geographical boundary that separates the regions of Asia and Oceania). Walking through its avenues you will feel that you could define it with a thousand opposing words.
The naturalness of wealth:
The Philippines, an archipelago of 7,107 islands , is the result of miscegenation between different countries, cultures, customs and traditions for centuries.
Despite being made up of islands, it is the twelfth most populous country in the world and one of the richest in biodiversity. With these credentials, how can they not want to visit it?
If you are looking for a destination that mixes a little of everything, you are on the right path. Most islands in the Philippines are mountainous, so the “nature” part is covered. These areas are mostly pure rainforest and of volcanic origin. Hikes on its trails should not be missing from your travel guide.
Maybe, during the trip, you can see some specimens of unique animal species that live here. What you are sure to see and touch will be the bamboo (there are 54 different species!), The coconut trees (many Filipino populations live from commercialization) and mahogany. Rest assured that the trip will be enriching.
And if we talk about enrichment, you may be lucky enough to “find” some nugget of gold. And not by chance. The Philippines is the second country in the world with the largest gold deposit after South Africa.
Although if you are the minor metals, this country also has one of the largest copper deposits in the world. In other words, everything that glitters is gold here.
Changing now of scope, if you approach the coastal areas you can also enjoy the sighting of one of its more than 2,400 species of fish or its more than 500 types of coral . In fact, Apo Reef is the oldest in the country and the second largest in the world. In Philippine waters the cultivation of pearls, crabs and algae is also maintained.
The origins of the Philippines:
Once you get involved in the matter and knowing that this country has never boasted of its natural riches, despite having more than enough reasons for it, let us remember its cultural origins.
Did you know that his name, “Filipinas”, comes from the name of King Felipe II of Spain ? It was during an expedition in 1542 when the explorer Ruy Lopez “re-baptized” the islands of Leute and Samar as the Philippines. Currently, the official name is “Republic of the Philippines”. Three centuries were enough to establish a Hispanic culture that still exists today. Mainly in religion, mostly Catholic, but also in its architectural legacy, and in names and surnames. Maybe you know a relative very, very, very distant during your visit here. The Americans “donated to the cause” the English language, spoken by all.
Philippines under the sea
The average annual temperature in the Philippines is about 26 degrees. January is the most temperate and ideal month if you do not want to become dehydrated during your visit, and May the warmest, only suitable for travelers accustomed to the perennial humidity and sun.
Like any paradise that boasts, the Philippines has many beautiful spots that are essential to visit during your stay here. One of them is the island of Boracay. Considered the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure magazine , its main tourist attraction is the 10 kilometers of fine white sand beaches. Among them is the “White Beach”, the true paradise in capital letters.
Holding this title is not free and Boracay is now the most visited island in the Philippines. Of course, it is still one of the most exclusive destinations in the country and the world, at the height of others such as Bali or Phuket. We recommend visiting it from November to May so that the experience is totally rewarding.
If you are looking for a bit of adventure in addition to the beach, you should visit the Bacuit archipelago. Uploaded to a bangka (wooden boat), you can enjoy a landscape composed of limestone escarpments, beaches with palm trees, hidden lagoons, reefs and islands after islands where you can even spend the night. There are several types of tours that you can hire depending on the destinations you want to see and the food in the boat itself is usually included.
Essential to take with you fins, tube and glasses to practice snorkel. We assure you that what you see under the sea will be hard to forget.
If you like to snoop through water, you can not leave the Philippines without snooping on the island of Coron . Authentic treasures sunk under its waters are a championship advertising claim for divers from all over the world.
Relics such as the Japanese freighter Olympia Maru, which lies buried in the ocean floor and is full of balloon fish and giant tortoises; the Skeleton Wreck, a sunken Japanese ship; or North American projectiles of the Second World War, they make up a singular showcase that you will love.
Philippines Street View
Returning to put your feet on the ground, you should not miss the chance to get closer to the Chocolate Hills in Bohol. It is a rock formation composed of 1,268 green hills shaped like cones, all of the same size, which are transformed into mountains of chocolate when the sun changes the color of its vegetation from green to brown. Even today we do not know either their origin or how they were formed so similar to each other, but their strange disposition, somewhat of science fiction, has earned them the status of World Heritage by UNESCO.
Continuing with magical places, another of the images that you must capture with your retina is that of the rice terraces of Banaue. Considered one of the eight wonders of the world, they were built more than two thousand years ago by the indigenous tribe of the Ifugao. Its network of springs that channel the water of the subtropical forests creates a perfect irrigation system that is worth contemplating.
Manila: the chaotic capital
Although the Philippine capital was the second most devastated city after Warsaw during the Second World War, the fact is that visiting the Philippines and not getting close to knowing it is a first-time traveler’s mistake.
The first and most important when it comes to travel through this city of 15 million people is to get a jeepney . These unique vehicles, American jeeps inherited from the Second World War, are easily recognizable by the intense and garish colors of their body and the phrases about God written in all of them. Moving on board one of these cars is, in itself, a very important reason to visit the city.
Your first destination should be the old town or Intramuros . Getting out of here, you can walk it to the main avenue, General Luna Street, which crosses the neighborhood from north to south.
Indispensable to hire a guided and dramatized tour of the Fort Santiago. The comedian Carlos Celdrán narrates, in a very funny and witty way, the history of the Philippines and Manila and will help you to know a little more the origins of this city. Among many other anecdotes, you can know that Spain sold the colony to the US for $ 200,000, and you can get some typical souvenirs at La Monja Loca store, located at the end of the route.
If your legs still respond and you want to continue investigating the heritage of the Americans, you can visit the American Cemetery in Fort Bonifacio. It is the largest American cemetery outside the US and buries more than 17,200 servicemen. Each of its tombs has a white marble cross, creating an amazing landscape. Despite what it may seem, it is a fresh, green and well-kept park, located in the middle of an environment of huge skyscrapers. A curious picture that you should immortalize as a tribute to the fallen.
The Malate neighborhood , one of the most bohemian of Manila, may be another of the tour stops. In its streets there are some genuine Filipino bars where you can taste typical dishes and, of course, karaoke venues where you can compete vocally with local talents. And after this hard day of tourism, nothing better than ending with a massage.
The zone of Makati welcomes several specialized places where you can let yourself grope at a great price.
To conclude the evening, you should opt for a dinner with the best insured views. In the Makati neighborhood you have the Black Bird restaurant, an old airport control tower where you can recover from the swing of Manila tasting delicious local dishes. After quenching your thirst and hunger, the track will be clear to land in one of the many bars that are in the city or in any of the luxury hotels at a good price located in the area.