Cebu Island is a tropical paradise of sun, sand and sea. It’s also known for its production of musical instruments, producing some of the finest guitars, banjos and ukuleles in the world.
Republic of the Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,000 tropical islands, located on the volatile Pacific Ring of Fire. Whether you’re looking to take in the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean along the coastline, visit tropical forest-covered mountains or explore the culture and people of the country’s growing urban centres, the Philippines offers a wide variety of sights and experiences to enjoy.
Currency: Peso (PHP)
Language: Filipino, English
Government: Unitary Presidential Constitutional Republic
DID YOU KNOW?
- The Philippines is home to the world’s longest accessible underground river system.
- Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno was named by the Philippine Congress as the “Greatest Filipino Athlete of all time.” His sport is professional bowling.
- Filipino hunters invented the yo-yo, which was originally a weapon, in the 16th century.
- 488 of the 500 known coral species in the world can be found in the Philippines.
- The Philippines obtained the world record for largest papal crowd when Pope John Paul II visited in 1995 and offered mass in front of an estimated four million people.
- The Philippine flag is hoisted upside-down when the country is at war.
- The Philippines is regarded as the ‘text capital of the world.’ Between 350 and 400 million SMS are sent daily by the country’s 25 million cell phone users (that’s more than the U.S. and Europe combined).
- Karaoke was invented in the Philippines.
The Philippines experiences a hot and humid climate most of the year due to its tropical maritime location. There are four zones of weather throughout the country and while seasons are generally not very pronounced, they are divided primarily based on whether the climate is wet or dry. The average temperature year-round is 26 degrees Celsius, with May being the hottest month and January being the coolest.
- Hot dry season – March to May
- Rainy season – June to November
- Cool dry season – December to February
The Philippines originated as a peaceful maritime country in the Asian Pacific and had regular trade with its neighbours such as Japan and China. This trade also brought many cultural influences to the archipelago such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. In 1521, the Philippines were colonized by Spain, and Manila—which is the Philippines capital—became the capital of the Spanish East Indies. Spain’s colonization ended in 1898 when it signed the Treaty of Paris with the United States, making the Philippines America’s first and only colony. In 1946, the Philippines would finally be granted true independence as recognition for its role during World War II, in which Filipino soldiers fought alongside American troops in such campaigns as the battle of Bataan. Today the country has a presidential system of government and is the third-largest English speaking country by population.
BANAUE RICE TERRACES
The man-made platforms carved into the side of mountains that make up the Banaue rice terraces have been called the eighth wonder of the world. The mountains were carved into the shape of steps 2,000 to 3,000 years ago to facilitate rice farmers, and are still being used today.
In central Philippines, on Bohol Island, rests the Chocolate Hills: a series of more than 1,000 perfectly symmetrical hills that rise around 30 metres above the ground. At the end of the dry season the hills are typically coloured brown, which is how they earned their moniker. To this day geologists are still puzzled by exactly what formed the Chocolate Hills.
Combining the tropical paradise of the Pacific Ocean with the luxurious resorts and modern living of the west, Cebu City is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines. Visitors are welcome to enjoy any of the comfortable resorts along the beach or venture inward to the second largest metropolis in the country for shopping and urban play.
VIGAN CITY HERITAGE VILLAGE
Unique to the Philippines, Vigan City is a remarkable area that still houses much of the architecture built there by Spanish colonists in the 18th century. When visiting Vigan City tourists are able to experience some of the unique old world attractions the city has to offer, such as its jar factory and the district of Calle Crisologo, where many of its oldest buildings can be found.
There is much to do and see in the capital city of Manila as travelers are welcome to enjoy everything from the beautiful Manila Bay to the presidential Malacañang Palace as they take in this unique and captivating city.
This place is blessed with unsullied fine talcum powder sand beaches and known as one of the finest beach destinations in the world. Loads of tourists come to Boracay to be able to experience the clean white sand, water sport activities and crystal clear waters.
Palawan’s exotic beauty is second to none. Palawan features white sand beaches, underwater rivers, scenic rock formations and magnificent caves. Home to more than a thousand islands, Palawan is a refuge to many exotic flora and fauna that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
WORLD PYRO OLYMPICS
Every year since 2005, the Philippines has hosted the World Pyro Olympics. This is an annual competition between the most prestigious fireworks companies in the world. The competition takes place every December.
The colourful Pahiyas Festival honours the patron saint of farmers, San Isidro Labrador. It’s also a time to make kiping—a traditional wafer that is used as both a decoration and a tasty snack.
From glowing white sand to gorgeous blue water, we look at some of the best beaches in the world.
The dazzling 2,000-year-old Banaue Rice Terraces in The Philippines are hand-hewn steps leading to the sky. But modern culture is threatening the future of this ancient UNESCO World Heritage site, called the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
In the Philippines, singing a pop song and busting out dance moves are a way of life for locals – and there’s no need for karaoke and several cocktails to encourage the behaviour.