Philippines Travel Guide

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Today’s travel article is about the Philippines, the place of intersection between Asia and Europe, the other South Asia, the place where two very different worlds collide.

In Philippines, you’ll encounter a melting pot of cultures, like Islam meeting Catholic traditions, a place still filled with animistic customs and Islamic rituals, an almost eerie melting pot of faiths, races and cultures which live in harmony, unlike almost anywhere in South Asia or in the world.

The heavy European influence in the Philippines is due to the Spanish conquistadors and it’s obvious almost anywhere, from the neighborhoods (barrios) to the names of towns and cities, to the menus in restaurants where the regular dish is pork and paella to places where seafood and noodles are common.

After the Spanish came the Americans, who imposed their view of the world and their values. Hence, while in Philippines, you’ll be able to enjoy the best of American culture, like the love of pop music, the chains of fast-food restaurants and the local buses converted from old Jeeps left behind by GI Joe in World War 2.

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The Philippines are comprised from more than seven thousand islands, have a land area of 300,000 square kilometers and a population of 107 million.

Basically speaking, the Philippines is a huge insular nation and it’s no surprise that most of its stunning attractions revolve in or around the sea.

In the Philippines you’ll be able to find some of the world’s most immaculate and beautiful beaches, offshore waters which can be described as a diver’s paradise, beautiful tropical fish, pristine coral reefs, whales, sharks and even old wrecks from World War 2.

But that’s not all, pretty far from it. If you get away from the sandy beaches, you can adventure into the jungle, or hike the mountains and volcanoes where you’ll discover mysterious caves, waiting for the intrepid traveler to explore them.

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The Philippines are obviously volcanic in nature and that’s evident wherever you lay your eyes upon: all across the land you’ll observe natural hot springs, crawling up from the bowels of the Earth, all across the Philippines, and there are even live volcanoes to be admired, like the Mount Mayon, where trekkers who are also adrenaline junkies can test their limits and live as dangerously as it gets.

There’s a dark side to Philippines, namely the sex industry  which developed with a little help from the GIs during the Vietnam War, but that’s easy to avoid if it bothers you.

Philippines have a glamorous night life , with hundreds of live bands performing high quality covers of basically any song you throw at them, and a place where the smallest and the most remote village has a karaoke bar.

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What to see and do in the Philippines

If you want to admire in real life a place that looks like the pictures on postcards, just visit the Bacuit Archipelago, a Paradise-like place, boasting its dramatic lime-stone cliffs, its white sandy beaches and crystal clear lagoons. You can rent a boat and spend your day in the sun, or snorkeling, fishing or whatever makes you happy. Later you can savor a great barbecue on the beach and admire the night sky.

The Calamian Islands are very interesting for diving aficionados, featuring an outstanding collection of World War Two wrecks, and if you’re looking for the quintessential paradise, just pay a visit to Boracay Island.

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Vigan is another place marked by World War 2, also while here you may explore the city’s colonial heritage.

 

If you like to swim with whale sharks, boy, just go to Donsol and have a once in a life time experience swimming with these huge fish.

Bohol is the home for world’s smallest monkey, the tarsier, and also for other fascinating natural beauties, like the Chocolate Hills.

Food and Drink in the Philippines 

The local staple is represented by seafood, pork meat, rice and relatively moderate spices. Specialties include roasted whole pig, oxtail stew cooked with peanut sauce and shrimp paste, fish or meat in sour broth, braised chicken and pork in soy sauce with garlic and vinegar, boiled/steamed/grilled/fried seafood with lemon, fish paste and native pepper. Drinks include locally brewed beers and Philippine rum.

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Visa Requirements

If you want to visit Philippines, you’ll require a valid passport , but no Visas.

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