Travel Tips for the Philippines

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Things to See and Do in the Philippines

Historical and Cultural

  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites : See the spectacular Banaue Rice terraces in Batad and be fascinated at how it was built, see the only successful laid out plan of a European colonial town in Asia; Vigan. The Baroque churches (the Inmaculada Concepción in Manila, Nuestra Señora in Ilocos Sur, San Agustín in Ilocos Norte and Santo Tomás in Iloílo) of the Philippines will amaze you about the European Baroque architecture.
  • Churches and religious sites : See the Basílica de San Sebastián in Quiapo; the only all steel church or basilica in Asia. A visit to a city's cathedral is worth it.
  • Historical Sites : Intramuros, Rizal Park and Blood Compact site in Bohol are worth seeing and will give you a glimpse of the history of the country.
  • Metro Manila offers plenty of Museums worth visiting and is considered among the bulwarks of culture in the Philippines.

Natural

  • Beaches : Swim through the blue waters of Boracay and El Nido, sunbathe at the beaches of Puerto Galera and Pagudpud.
  • Coral reefs : Dive the Tubbataha Reefs National Park and see the spectacular collections of marine life and corals. Anilao also offers good options.
  • Wildlife and Plants : Rare animals that can only be found in the Philippines and most of them are endangered and threatened. Philippine Monkey Eating Eagle; The largest eagle, Tarsier; a small animal that looks like an alien and can be found in Bohol, Carabaos and Tamaraws; water buffaloes only endemic in the Philippines, aside from these animals, some species of rats, bats and water pigs are also endemic in the Philippines. Endemic plants like orchids like the Waling-Waling one of the rarest flowers in the world as well as one of the most expensive in the world. Visit the website of PESCCP (Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project) for more information.

Adventure and Others

  • Malls and Shopping : The bustling urban streets of Metro Manila, have fair options of bargain centers and malls, shop in the second and fourth largest malls of the world; SM City North EDSA and SM Mall of Asia.
  • The Resorts World Manila is a luxurious casino integrated resort in Newport City, Manila.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is spectacular in the Philippines. There is a great variety of dive sites and most if not all of these have at least a handful of PADI-accredited diving schools where you can obtain your license. Costs (of both lessons and equipment) are likely to be cheaper here compared to places like Australia, the Caribbean or even in nearby Thailand and Malaysia.

Martial Arts

Eskrima or Kali is Filipino martial art that emphasizes in using swords and sticks, it was used in films such as' Equilibrium, training centers and schools that teach Eskrima are mostly found around Metro Manila.

Tertiary Education and ESL

Many foreigners such as Europeans, Chinese, Americans and Koreans choose to study and finish university in the Philippines because compared to other countries, Universities here are inexpensive and offer the same system the Americans apply (however most schools follow K-10, international schools follow K-12 standards), major schools such as University of the Philippines, De La Salle University, Ateneo University, Far Eastern University and Adamson University are just some of the major universities with many provincial branches in the country.

The country is also a hub for people seeking to learn English mostly Chinese and Koreans, there are many English learning centers around the country predominantly around Metro Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, Baguio and Taguig City, as well as all significant financial, commercial and provincial capitals. It is one of the largest hubs in learning ESL in Asia. Other international schools in the Philippines are also found and usually operated by British and other European diplomats, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and American immigrants and diplomats.

Other Activities

  • Aerial Sports - An annual Hot Air Balloon festival is held in Clark, Angeles in Pampanga, other than Hot Air balloons on display, people gather in this event to do sky diving, many activities are also held other than sky diving and hot air balloons. The Festival is held between January and February.
  • Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines, don't miss the PBA and UAAP basketball tournaments.
  • Bentosa and Hilot are Filipino alternative ways of healing, Bentosa is a method where a cup cover a tea light candle then it flames out and it drains out all the pain on the certain part of the body, Hilot is just the Filipino way of massaging.
  • Board Sailing - Waves and winds work together making the country a haven for board sailors. Boracay, Subic Bay and Anilao in Batangas are the main destinations.
  • Caving - The Archipelago has some unique cave systems. Sagada is one popular destination for caving.
  • Dive - Blue, tranquil waters and abundant reefs make for good diving. Compared to neighboring countries, diving in the country is cheaper.
  • Festivals - Each municipality, town, city and province has their own festival, either religious or in honor of the city or a historical reason.  
  • Golf - Almost every province has a golf course, it is a popular sport among the elite, rich and famous.
  • Medical Tourism - The Philippines supplies the world with many medical professionals with large numbers leaving the country every year for a better future abroad. This is indicative of the quality of medical education and medical tourism is on the rise too. Most come from America and Europe as compared to their home countries, healthcare here is much cheaper; as much as 80% less than the average price abroad. Most of the hospitals suggested for medical tourism are in Metro Manila. Alternative medicine is also popular with spas, faith healing and other fringe therapies widespread throughout the archipelago.
  • National Parks - National parks number around 60-70, they include mountains and coral reefs.
  • Mountain Biking - The archipelago has dozens of mountains and is ideal for mountain bikers. Bikes are the best mode of transportation in getting around remote areas. Some options include Baguio, Davao, Iloilo, Banaue, Mount Apo and Guimaras.
  • Rock Climbing - Apo Island, Atimonan, El Nido, Puting Bato, Wawa Gorge have the best sites in the archipelago for rock climbing.
  • Sea Kayaking - Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur, Palawan, Samar and Siargao are popular.
  • Spas are popular, with many options, Spas are found near beaches, financial capitals etc.
  • Trekking - Mountain ranges and peaks offer cool weather for trekking and it might give you a sight of the beautiful exotic flora and fauna of the country. Mt. Kanlaon and Mount Pulag are good trekking spots.
  • Visita Iglesia - Visita Iglesia (Visita is Spanish for Visit, Iglesia is Spanish for Church; Visit Churches) is the practice done by mostly Filipino Roman Catholics to Churches, holy sites, shrines, basilicas etc. If you are religious try this, if you love art and architecture; churches are the best way to define what Filipino architecture.
  • Whitewater Rafting - One of the best, if not the best, whitewater rafting experience can be had in Cagayan de Oro City, a city in the northern part of Mindanao. Also, Davao is emerging as the Whitewater rafting capital in Mindanao, if not in the Philippines.

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