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.
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.
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.
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.