Discover unique architecture, vibrant fiestas, palm fringed beaches, emerald green rice fields, jungle covered peaks, smouldering volcanoes and mystical tribal villages.
Discover hidden gems on a holiday in the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,107 islands of which only around 1,000 are actually inhabited. Despite being part of Asia, it is starkly different thanks to 350 years of Spanish rule; this is most evident in the country’s strong Catholic faith, the unique Spanish-Filipino colonial architecture and the many vibrant fiestas.
With palm fringed beaches, crystal clear water, emerald green rice fields, jungle covered peaks, smouldering volcanoes, mystical tribal villages, colourful jeepney’s and a year-round temperate climate, the Philippines is a up-and-coming destination that mistakenly gets overlooked on the usual tourist trail through South East Asia.
The country’s capital, Manila, is a slightly chaotic mess made up of skyscrapers standing tall and proud amongst sprawling shantytowns, well-preserved 16th century architecture reminiscent of Spanish colonial rule, landscaped parks and snarling traffic congestion. Visit the historic heart of Manila in Intramuros for some of the best examples of heritage architecture in the city. Join the locals hanging out in Rizal Park where you’ll find street performers, a children’s amusement park and the beautiful Japanese and Chinese Gardens.
The many jewels in the crown of the Philippines though, are without a doubt her beautiful islands where you will find unspoiled beaches, incredible snorkelling and dense jungle waiting to be discovered. The Visayas are a gorgeous group of islands with ancient coral beds and high mountains. With seven large islands and several hundred smaller ones, the most popular in the group of larger islands are Bohol and Cebu. Visit the island of Bohol where you can see the adorable, rare tarsier monkeys with their big eyes and overall cuteness or the island’s famous Chocolate Hills, where 1,268 grassy mounds pop up over an area like giant mole-hills. The small island of Cebu is 196 kilometres long and no more than 32 km in width, with the second largest city in the Philippines. With a heavily populated city centre, most tourists leave it, heading straight for the island’s beaches and its many resorts.
The island of Boracay is the Philippines' answer to Thailand’s Koh Samui, with a lively nightlife, powder soft beaches and densely packed restaurants and shops. There are plenty of watersports and adventure activities on offer here and some spectacular and unique diving in secret lagoons for divers.
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