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Discover the Philippines

Manila panorama

By Mike Gonzalez (TheCoffee) (own work), via Wikimedia Commons.

The Philippines is known for its idyllic beaches in the beautiful South Pacific. However, beyond the vibrant coastlines and varied landscapes, there is more to the Philippines than meets the eye.  The friendly inhabitants, the inexpensive cost of traveling, the constant festivals and delicious food, make the Philippines one of the most pleasant places to vacation.  Whether you are drawn to eventful outings in the city, or you’d rather explore nature, the Philippines is the best-kept-secret of Pacific Islands, and may be just the perfect holiday place for you.

Renowned for their welcoming attitude, one rarely meets a Filipino person without being greeted by a warm smile. The Filipinos exude kindness, as it is deeply embedded in their cultural to show guests genuine politeness. Most Filipinos are Christians (nearly 80% profess to be Catholic or Protestant) and are a devout and humble people, with reverence for their God and respect toward others. They do not solicit anyone for money or badger visitors into purchasing their wares. Scamming or hustling rarely occur and services provided by taxi drivers and the like are conducted honestly more often than not. Another bonus is virtually everyone in the Philippines speaks English; so there is no struggle with a communication barrier. English is the language taught in schools; so the literacy level of locals is excellent. So for vacationers wanting insight on the best nearby restaurant, asking a local will likely get you a clear and friendly response.

The Philippines is the second largest archipelago in the world, consisting of nearly 7,000 islands, making for ample shore space. These picturesque beaches are rarely crowded, and some stretch on for what feels like miles, while others have private coves and inlets to explore. The sea-side colors are dynamic: from blinding white beaches to the luxuriant blue waves and dark rock formations jutting out of the water. Every day ends with a gloriously-hued sunset, colored ruddy orange or pink by the humidity of the atmosphere.

Docking area to underground river in the Philippines

Docking area to underground river by Matikas 0805 – own work, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Philippines also provide multiple prime places to go shopping in the cities or in village markets.  The the prominent city of Manila is home to 5 of the world’s 20 largest shopping malls.  These expansive structures have conveniently free WiFi, reasonable prices on both local and foreign brands, and are designed with aesthetically soothing modern interiors.  Shopaholics will find ample opportunities to browse and may end up with their hands full of Filipino keepsakes or popular brands in no time.

Another benefit to visiting the Philippines is that going out for a night on the town is not an expensive endeavor. A movie in theater ticket costs about US$3 to US$7 per person and entry prices into nightclubs are much lower than other Asian countries. The night life in the Philippines has been voted to host some of the best venues by Americans traveling abroad; so you are bound to have a good time with Filipino people and other vacationing foreigners. Whether it is a taxi ride costing a couple of dollars, a delicious meal for two under $10, or a even renting a studio apartment with prices ranging around US$15 to US$20 a day, you can afford to have a marvelous time for a fraction of the cost.

The numerous festivals and events in the Philippines also draw many tourists to various informative and colorful occasions. Whether for religious feasts or cultural celebrations, there are always entertaining events happening in the Philippines as festivals occur every month.  Some events highlight the natural resources of the land. Examples include a festival dedicated to the bamboo plant, which takes place in Las Pinas or the countless flower-blossom events that are held across the Philippines multiple times a year.

Both history and religious heritage are important to the Filipinos; so there are many faith-based festivals honoring Catholic holidays and saints, such as the Sinulog Festival of Cebu City.  This festival is nine days long, and commemorates the Filipino’s transition from pagan beliefs to Catholicism. At Christmastime, there is an entire festival dedicated to enormous lantern making and lighting in San Fernando. Whatever the reason for the festivities, these events always provide a lively and an insightful glimpse into the heart of the Filipino people.

One of the most engaging aspects of the Philippines, is the unparalleled beauty of nature.  The terrain varies from mountains, to lakes, caves, beaches, rice farm terraces and even volcanoes.  Agri-tourism is on the rise and the Philippines is a fascinating location to examine how rice is grown on the emerald hillside terraces.  In the Ifugao province, the Banaue Rice Terraces adorn the hills with shelf-like ledges where visitors can witness how the grain has been irrigated and cultivated in the Philippines for centuries.

Nature lovers will have endless exploration options, whether they prefer trekking through the land or going on excursions at sea. Hikers can explore the wonders of Filipino landscapes, such as the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, which look like Hershey’s Kisses, venturing out to the Mt. Pinatubo Volcano or tunneling through deep caves in the Visayan Region. If you are lucky, you might see a tarsier, the tree-dwelling animal that looks like a mouse and a monkey combined.  Water sports lovers can swim in the shallow sea, go deep-sea diving to investigate mysterious shipwrecks at Subic Bay or paddle out on canoes to discover hidden coves and unique vegetation along the extensive coastlines.

Pana Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines

Pana Banaue Rice Terraces, via Wikimedia Commons..

Whether you plan to travel to the Philippines to relax on the beaches, explore the lavish terrain or enjoy the inexpensive yet refined city life, your trip to these stunning islands is sure to be a memorable one. At Panda ® Online, we strive for excellence and are eager to help you plan the trip of a lifetime to this remarkable part of the Pacific.


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