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Philippines – Every Island is an Adventure
The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia in the Western Pacific Ocean, which is an archipelago with 7,107 islands. The country shares its borders with Palau, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam.
The people of the Philippines have diverse ethnicity, which also implies a multiplicity of dialects. That being said, the country is also one of the most populous in the world.
A Quick Glance into Early Philippine History
The earliest inhabitants of the country are Australo-Malenesian and are known as Negritos. They have inhabited the islands even before Europeans along with other settlers from neighboring countries. It is evident that even from the ninth century these early settlers had cultural and trading relations with people from India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Islamic communities were also established in various parts of the country, mainly on the southern areas of the country.
Spaniards arrived in the islands in the 16th century. Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, reached the islands on 1521 under the commission of Spain. He was later killed in a battle with Lapu-Lapu, a Rajah in one of the islands. Successive expeditions went on and Spanish settlements were established. Manila was brought under Spanish rule in 1571 while the rest of the archipelago was being reigned in and united for the very first time.
Spanish rule was marked by revolts at various periods in the country’s history even until the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. When the war reached the country, it only signaled a change of colonial masters and not independence. The proclamation of the first Philippine Republic in 1899 only lead to the Philippine-American War and was ended in 1901. The Philippine Commonwealth was later established but was interrupted during the Japanese invasion in World War II.
The Japanese occupation only lasted three years but left a massive devastation in its wake. The country was granted its long sought independence from US control in 1946.
Visiting the Philippine Islands
You should expect a generally tropical weather, which is usually hot and humid, when you visit the country. Temperatures in the Philippines average around 26 degrees Celsius. There are two pronounced seasons in the country, the wet and dry seasons. However, some destinations may not necessarily have distinguished seasons. The dry season is usually from March to May while the wet season runs from June to November. The wet season is marked by heavy rains and tropical storms. There is also a cold season running from December to February.
The Philippines has a lot of interesting dive sites all over the archipelago. The provinces of Palawan and Bohol alone have sites to excite and astound reef, open water, wreck, and cave divers. The beaches of Boracay and Puerto Galera have attained world renown and are popular destinations during the hot summer months. A hike to the mountain city of Baguio is warranted for those who are nostalgic for cold mountain air. The captivating Chocolate Hills is also another tourist site that has attained world fame.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the Cebu-Mactan International Airport are two of the busiest airports in the country with flights served from various domestic and international destinations. Other means of inter-island travel are passenger ferries, which are obviously cheaper.
There are a lot of accommodations available in the country especially in locations where tourism is a major industry. International hotels like the Shangri-La Hotel and Regency Hotels are around to cater to business or leisure needs. Restaurants around the country serve a dazzling array of different cuisines. You can mix and match different dishes at times making a gastronomic adventure of your very own.
Money changers are almost everywhere so you won’t have to worry about changing your money into the local currency. Major banks in the Philippines include Bank of Philippine Islands, Equitable PCI Bank, Philippine National Bank, and Metrobank. International ATM consortia like PLUS and Cirrus are accessible through local ATMs.
Warm Hospitable Greetings of Mabuhay
Visitors will surely experience the Filipino trademark of hospitality wherever they go in the country. Visitors will often be greeted with ‘mabuhay’, which denotes a warm hospitable hello that will be remembered long after the gesture was extended.
Comprised of 7,107 beautiful islands, the Philippines features a bevy of wonderful and popular tourist destinations. As a nation that primarily thrives on ecotourism, it is not surprising anymore that it has invested a lot of money and other available resources in beautifying as well as developing its various offerings. As the years go by, more and more people from the different parts of the world flock to this place in search for something that they can truly call home.
Through the joint efforts of the various local governments as well as their local residents, the different tourist destinations continue to flourish and blossom up to this very moment. Palawan, Bohol, and Boracay Island are just some of the many wonderful tourist spots that can be found in this country. Moreover, tourists and guests just cannot get enough of the spectacular beauty and features of places like Tagaytay, Puerto Galera, and Panglao. Furthermore, local and foreign visitors annually visit outstanding attractions like the Mayon Volcano, Banaue Rice Terraces, and Taal Volcano.
Tourism is just one of the major specialties of the Philippines because of its rich natural environment and surroundings. The different features and customary practices of places like Aklan, Baguio, and Ilocos Norte have shown the rich and colorful history of the country. At the same time, the clean and clear bodies of water in Davao, Zamboanga, and Pangasinan have provided tourists and guests enough reasons to return for more wonderful and memorable experiences in the future.
Based on statistics, the tourism industry in the Philippines continues to grow at a rapid pace. Since 2000, the trends are looking bright for the country, recording outstanding profits and revenues on an annual basis. One of the main reasons behind this positive trend is the continued support being provided by the Philippine government on localities and provinces to improve their natural treasures and attractions. Furthermore, local residents have continued to support the government’s plan to improve the general status of tourism in the country.
Furthermore, the Philippines is also known for hosting some of the biggest entertainment events. Since 2005, several countries have been taking an active part in the World Pyro Olympics, which has drawn a serious volumes of crowds and spectators year in and year out. At the same time, international beauty competitions such as the Miss Earth beauty pageant is held in a country where beauty and brains are greatly appreciated.
Additionally, tourists and guests should watch out for the other exciting places to visit in the Philippines. The beautiful and old churches in Intramuros, the highly industrialized business hub in Makati, and the sweet-looking Chocolate Hills of Bohol are main attractions that should not be missed. At the same time, the Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao, the Hanging Coffins of Sagada in the Mountain Province, and white sandy beaches of Boracay are major reasons why the Philippines is truly a place worth visiting.
There are several things to consider when finding good accommodations especially if you’re on a budget. Tourists should consider distance, cost, cultural familiarity, and crime rates among other things when looking for a place to stay.