As the capital of the Philippines, Manila will be most's first
glimpse of the country, and doesn't usually impress. Once
the 'pearl of the orient', this urban sprawl, a conglomeration
of 17 towns and village joint together during the Marcos reign,
Manilla is now crowded and polluted the city bursts at the
seams and hugs the outlines of Manila Bay. There are
not many sights to see here although the city boasts an array
of colonial architecture and an entertainment industry left
over from the days of R & R trips for American soldiers
during the Vietnam war. It's a hugely multicultural city,
but trapped in the 3rd world.
The chocolate mountains of Bohol
Tucked into the northern mountains, Baguio is a hill station
that has been a popular escape from the heat of Manila, and
was once Marcos territory. The famous rice terraces of Banaue
are nearby. Baguio's main attraction is The Mansion, summer
residence of the Philippine president; Bell Church, Baguio
Cathedral and the Crystal Caves, an ancient burial site.
One of the fastest growing island economies, the capital is
a mini Manila clogged with increasing amounts of traffic.
The island has a lot of beaches and even some water sports
like scuba diving, but it is the jumping off point for a lot
of islands nearby so you may find it useful for catching ferries.
There is also a 16th century fort here, 'san Pedro', the oldest
of its kind in the country.
A small island, Boracay boasts one of the worlds prettiest
beaches with white sand and good water sports available, like
scuba diving. It is extremely popular so it may be wise if
you're looking for solitude to give it a miss in the high
season of November to January when the place fills up.
An island east of the Visayas, Leyte is one of the poorest
provinces in the country. It's famous for being the spot where
General Macarthur landed in the early 1940's, where he declared,
"I shall return.' He and the US army did in 1944 and
retook the Philippines from Japanese control during World
Home of the Philippine sugarcane industry, the island is named
for the Negrito ethnic minorities that lived here; wealthy
barons built huge estates on the island as fortunes grew during
the American colonisation period. It is now considered to
be the centre of the cockfight breeding industry.
The island is famous for the Chocolate Hills, which are best
seen in the dry season. There little 100ft high hills are
made of limestone, so called because they look like giant
The island of Mindanao is the second largest in the
country, and it is mainly Muslim. It's the calls to prayer
in the mosques that will be most remembered and will contrast
sharply with the presence of churches throughout the rest
of the country. The Philippine Eagle makes its home
in the forests around the town.
Capital city of the island of Palawan, Princessa is laid back
and friendly. It's a good place to organise transportation
to the southern parts of this isolated and least explored
One of the worlds best dive sites is located here on the western
coast of Palawan. With over 800 species of coral found in
the country, this is one of the most beautiful places to see
it and the multi coloured fish that call it home.