The Republic of the Philippines is to the west of the Pacific Ocean in southeastern Asia. It consists of 7107 islands, that’s why it is considered an archipelago. The country includes three main divisions based on which the government is classified: Lulzen, Visayas, and Mindanao, with Manila as its capital.
Cultures and traditions are diverse throughout the islands of the Philippines, as it is one of the countries that combine eastern and western cultures and is influenced by Asian, American, and Spanish cultures.
The borders of the Philippines share with Taiwan a water border, which is the Luzon Strait to the north, while the western side shares a water border with Vietnam through the South China Sea. It is also separated from the southwest by the island of Ponyo by the Sulu Sea, and the Philippine Sea borders it from the eastern side.
The Philippines was established in 1565. It is famous for having a large number of islands, and cities, such as:
- Luzon Island: It is in the northern part of the Philippine archipelago, its capital is the city of Manila, and it is well-known for its rectangular shape and coastal plains that extend for more than 5,000 km. It includes many bays and lakes, such as Manila Bay and Lake Laguna de Bay.
- Manila: The Manila Islands are the most important among the other islands of the Philippines. Spanish colonial buildings tell you about one of the country’s most important historical periods, along with antique streets, churches, and religious institutions in the Baroque style.
- Makati City: The city is one of the country’s most famous cities. It is near Manila and is essential for being the leading financial center of the Philippines and the site of some of the country’s most essential and popular tourist attractions.
- The island of Mindanao: It has an area of 140,000 km² and is followed by five hundred islands. It includes the city of Davao, considered one of the most beautiful tourist cities in the Philippines due to its stunning mountainous coastal nature that is not without greenery, rare plants, and plantations of local tropical fruits that the southern Philippines is famous for.
One of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the Philippines in Davao is the towering Mount Apo, the People’s Park, the Durian Dome farms, and the Philippine Eagle Reserve.
- Mactan Island: It belongs to the Province of Cebu Island and is administratively divided into the city of Lapu Lapu and the municipality of Cordoba.
- The City of Cebu: Cebu is one of the best and most beautiful tourist cities in the Philippines due to its picturesque nature and exciting atmosphere. It attracts many tourists from all over the world to see archaeological and historical sites.
- The island of Palawan: It is between the Sulu Sea and the South China Sea, its capital is the city of Puerto Princesa, and it is one of the most visited places in the world. It is the most prominent tourist city in the Philippines, with its beautiful nature and many charming beaches, classified as the most beautiful in the world.
- Boracay Island: it is one of the best and most beautiful places for couples’ honeymoon holidays, its calm and charming beauty includes about 13 beaches.
It offers a holiday full of fun, enjoyment, and activity, where water sports make you lively with gentle sunbathing and transportation that mostly depends on sea and river cruises.
- Bohol Island: It is in the southern part of the Philippines. It is a forest, a large pasture of greenery and tropical plants that this spot is famous for, and it includes large caves with eye-catching rock formations.
- Vigan: It is considered a historical city in the Luzon region in the northern Philippines. It contains a cultural mixture of Chinese and Spanish influences made by settlers to the area.
The Philippines is famous for its important strategic location on the Pacific Ocean. It is also a unitary presidential state except for Mindanao, considered self-governing, and the president is elected by popular vote for one six-year term. Its members are elected for three years.
The ecological diversity in the Philippines is due to the broad coasts and rainforests. It contains nearly 1,100 species of wild vertebrates, more than 100 species of mammals, 170 species of birds, and many other species.
The reason why it was called the Philippines
The Philippines derives this name from King Philip II of Spain in 1524, when Spanish explorer Rui Lopez de Villalobos granted the islands of Leyte and Samar the name Filipinas after the Prince of Spain Asturias.
The names of the Philippines were changed multiple names throughout history, the first of which was after the Philippine Revolution. Then the Malolos Congress decided to establish the official Republic of the Philippines. After that, the rule of the American colonial authorities. The name of the Philippine Islands was given to the country. And the prevailing name from that moment became the name of the Philippines.
Languages in the Philippines
There are many languages spoken in the Philippines, where the Filipino people talk about 171 languages, and most of these languages are commonly used in the Borneo island group.
The Philippine Constitution approved the adoption of English and Filipino as the country’s official languages in 1987, where the Filipino language is intended as the Tagalog language, and it is commonly circulated in Manila, the capital, and some urban areas.
Religion in the Philippines
Most Filipino people embrace Christianity; Christians constitute 90% of the total population, most Christians belong to the Roman Catholic community, about 80%, and the remaining percentage belong to all other Christian denominations.
The remaining people in the country are Muslims. They settle in some Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu archipelago regions and follow the Shafi’i Sunni sect. Muslims enjoy the freedom of religion there.
History of the Philippines
It all started when the Negritos inhabited the Philippine Republic in prehistoric times before the Estonians came to the Philippines, and then China took control of the country.
After that, Spain took control; after the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, the United States of America took control of the Philippines, and the Philippine Republic gained independence after World War II.
The economy in the Philippines
The country’s economy is ranked 48th in the world, and its exports depend primarily on electronics, semiconductors, transportation equipment, petroleum, copper, clothing, coconut oil, and fruits. It is also one of the first ten gold-producing countries in the world, and it occupies advanced ranks on the level of the Asian continent in the production of copper metal.
The Philippine economy was based on agriculture at the beginning of its era, but it has recently turned to industry. The country has more than 38.1 million people in the workforce, and approximately 32% of the population works in the agricultural sector.
Transportation in the Philippines
There are many means of transportation, such as buses, jeepneys, taxis, and three-wheeled motorcycles, and there is also a train service by three major railway networks.
There is sea transportation. It is on the Pacific Ocean and has many seas, islands, and rivers. As for air transportation, there is a major international airport and many other essential airports.
Weather in the Philippines
The Philippines’ climate is tropical, one of the wealthiest areas of biodiversity in the world, and the hot summer season is from March to May, and the rainy season in the country is from June to November.
The incredible dry season is from December to February, with temperatures ranging from 21 degrees to 32 degrees. They rise or fall from season to season. The coldest month is January, and the hottest is May.
If you decide to visit the Philippines one day, the best time to go there is during the dry season, when you will find the least amount of rainfall, and that allows you to go to the beaches and other regions’ smaller islands.
Things to do in the Philippines
Now we come to the essential part of the article, where the tourist sector is one of the primary resources for the economy of the Republic of the Philippines, as many tourist areas attract tourists. Tourism in the Philippines is a destination for lovers of scenic enjoyment; tropical mountain rainforests and waterfalls are fantastic tourist attractions.
Rizal Park in Manila
Rizal Park is one of the top attractions in the capital city. It is also called Luneta Park and is in the middle of the town. When you visit the beautiful park, you will see statues and monuments that tell you the history of the city of Manila.
Also, you will see the Monument of Rizal, built a century ago and includes the remains of one of the Philippines’ most celebrated heroes, Dr. Jose Rizal. The park also has many magnificent plants and flowers, such as the Narra tree, the national tree of the Philippines, and the local flora and fauna.
National Museum of the Philippines in Manila
The National Museum of the Philippines is an excellent place to visit to learn more about the country’s history and culture. It consists of four complexes and many collections and artifacts relating to art, archaeology, anthropology, zoology, biology, and natural history.
The museum gives you all the information you need about the Philippines and stories about the attractions in the city that you will be visiting.
Money Museum in Manila
The Money Museum is located inside the Philippine central banking authority, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. The exhibits inside there display the Philippine money over several decades. Also, you can find in the museum artifacts old coins and currencies that show the changes in cash over time.
The Intramuros is one of the oldest parts of the city. It is famous for its walled fortress. This part was during the period of the Spanish Colonial, a walled city, from the 1500s to the 1800s.
The wall is 3 miles long surrounding the neighborhood, and you can walk inside it and discover the place. It is one of the places you will love to visit, and having a guided tour is a nice thing to get to know more about the history of the place.
Fort Santiago in Manila
Fort Santiago is considered one of the most important historical sites in Manila. It was built in the 16th century and aimed to protect the Intramuros, the oldest part of the capital city. You can also go to the visitor center for more information about the fort, and there you can see the bullet markings still visible on the fortress walls.
Robinsons Place Mall
The Robinsons Place Mall is where you can have a pleasant shopping, have a good meal, and go there after you finish your tour and have a great time there. It includes many stores where you can find everything you need, such as clothing, cosmetics, bags, and food.
The mall is significant, so it will take some time to explore its stores.
Manila Ocean Park
It is a beautiful adventure in the Manila Ocean Park, one of the famous places to visit in Manila for families. When you visit the place, you will see the Sharks and Rays Encounter, Trails to Antarctica, and the fish spa, beside exhibits of birds and other animals.
San Agustin Church in Manila
The Agustin Church is one of the most famous churches in the country, it was announced as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it has a great history that you can see in its building.
The church was designed in Chinese and Spanish styles and was rebuilt many times after battles and natural disasters. If you are an architecture lover, then it is a perfect place for you, where the guides there can help you to know more about the details of the church that you may overlook on your own.
Quiapo Church in Manila
Quiapo Church is one of the oldest Catholic Churches in Manila. It is also well-known as the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, and the square surrounding the church is very crowded, making it a perfect place to visit, especially for locals.
It is one of the top attractions in the city, where many people come to the square and visit the church to pray and have a great time in the area.
Take a Ride in a Jeepney
As we said in the last part, Jeepney is one of the leading transportation in the Philippines, and it is an exciting experience you would love to try. It was made of World War II U.S. army jeeps that have been transformed into colorful and beautiful cars.
Jeepney is considered a national symbol in the country, especially in Manila, the capital city. While riding, you will see the colorful décor on the car as chaotic as the town’s traffic and the random stops to let people on and off.
Mayon Volcano in Albay
The Mayon Volcano is located in the Albay province on Luzon Island, one of the famous attractions in the Philippines, and it is an active volcano with a height of 2,400 meters. Nature trails surround the volcano, and you can see wildlife and much more.
The perfect time to visit the place is from March to May, away from the rainy season, and to climb the volcano, you should get a permit, but be careful because the way to the top is complicated through the forest.
Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna
The Pagsanjan Falls is in the Pagsanjan Gorge National Park, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Philippines, and on your way to the falls, you will see the spectacular nature surrounding you.
There you will be able to swim in a natural pool and through caves, and one of the exciting things to do in the falls is head downstream at a fast pace through large rocks and churning water.
Shipwreck Diving in Coron
It is the perfect place for divers, where you can explore the sunken ships on Sangat Island in Coron, and it is considered the best diving site in the world. The wrecks are at different depths, making them suitable for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The shipwrecks are from World War II, they became home to many kinds of fish species, and many of the wrecks are from an attack on the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1944. If you go diving, you will see the Akitsushima Maru warship, Irako Maru, and the Kyokuzan Maru.
Coral Garden in Coron
The Coral Garden is the perfect place to find the coral and fish species, it is on Coron Island, and there you can do some activities that you will love, like snorkeling and diving, and it allows you to see the shipwrecks.
Hanging Bridge in Sevilla
The Hanging Bridge is on the island of Bohol, specifically in Sevilla. It is built of bamboo swings and is 40 meters long on the Loboc River.
It is considered an excellent adventure to make where you can beat the fear of heights if you have, and the bridge received some safety reinforcements due to its popularity with tourists.
Hanging Coffins in Sagada
The Hanging Coffins are in the northern Cordillera Mountains, which many people didn’t see before, and some of these coffins date back some centuries old. It takes much time to visit the place, requiring physical stability and narrow paths to reach the coffins.
Chocolate Hills in Bohol
The Chocolate Hills is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, where more than 1,200 small mountains emerged above the ground many centuries ago. It is a geological wonder on the island of Bohol.
The hills are green most of the year; it was also once under the ocean, and it was named the Chocolate Hills due to the color of the green turning into chocolate-brown, especially during the dry season.
Many paths lead you to the top, where you can see a magnificent view from there, and while walking along the route, you will see beautiful flowers.
It is an excellent place to visit on your way to the Chocolate Hills and enjoy the beautiful nature surrounding you while riding a small traditional wooden boat local people use for fishing.
There are large thatched-roof floating boats that you will find in it, a large dining room, live music, and dance performances in traditional Filipino dress.
Taal Volcano in Talisay
Taal Volcano is an active volcano on the island of Luzon, specifically in the center of Taal Lake, and you can go to the crater by boat from the city of Talisay. The ship will take you across the lake then you will hike to the rim of the crater.
When you get off the boat, you will find many trails that you can take, like the Spanish Trail, which takes you to the top of the volcano, and from there, you will see some beautiful views. Also, there is Kenney Trail you can take if you want to avoid crowds and rest along the way.
Mines View Park in Baguio
Mines View Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the Philippines, where you can see a lot of fantastic views from the top, such as the city of Baguio, the mining city of Itogon, and the gold and copper mines.
While your visit to the park, you can learn more about the Philippines’ culture and feel that you are a Filipino by wearing the traditional costume of the Cordillera people carrying the men’s shield and spear or the women’s embroidered dress.
Burnham Park in Baguio
Burnham Park is in Baguio, and it was named Burnham after Daniel Hudson Burnham, an American Architect who made plans for the city, and there you can make many things in a skating rink and football fields. Also, there is a shop where you can rent a bike to discover more about the park while riding it.
Another thing you can do is rent a paddle boat in the lake in the park made by man, and you will see some beautiful flowers in the park that you will like.
Eden Nature Park in Davao
The Eden Nature Park is considered a natural reserve located at the foot of Mount Talomo and contains many kinds of wildlife, such as plants and flowers. Also, there are more than 200,000 trees, forests, and pines, and besides that, there are rare and unique animals, birds, insects, and many other natural features.
Sugba Lagoon in Siargao
The Philippines is full of many magnificent lagoons, and one of the most famous lagoons in the country is the Sugba Lagoon on the island of Siargao. The place is full of many activities you can do, whether it is snorkeling, diving, water sports, and more, and also it is a perfect place for relaxing and having a great time there.
You can take a boat from a nearby city like Del Carmen or General Luna to go to the lagoon, and if you are not afraid of heights, you can try cliff jumping from the area above the lagoon.
Jungle Training in Subic Bay
The place was well-known since there was an American base on Subic Bay. It is on the island of Luzon. It was used to train the Navy Seals by indigenous Aetas to survive the jungle. Nowadays, it is still used as a training center to stay in the wilderness by the natives.
Ayala Center Cebu
One of the places the city of Cebu is famous is where the shopping centers are a great place to get to know about the country’s culture and customs by mixing with local visitors and eating meals in the restaurants or malls.
Ayala Center Cebu is full of many shops selling different kinds of goods and merchandise, and even you can have a nice meal in one of the restaurants located there while watching the green spaces surrounding the mall.
The Cebu Taoist Temple
The Cebu Taoist Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in the Philippines. It is located 300 meters above sea level and was built by the Chinese living in the temple’s surrounding area.
When you visit the temple and take the 81 steps to the top, you will see many worshipers, and each of the 81 steps represents one of the 81 chapters of Taoism scripture, and since the Chinese built it, you will see that the temple was designed to look like the Great Wall of China.
Batad Rice Terraces in Banaue
Another adventure you can try doing when you visit the Philippines is visiting the Batad rice terraces, especially at sunrise. It is a perfect place for taking some beautiful pictures. Some of these terraces date back 2,000 years old.
When you visit the place, you will see that they are carved by hand into the mountainside and created vertical farming fields, and you will find rice and vegetables planted there.
The beautiful nature in the Philippines makes you want to discover everything in the country. One of these things to discover and explore is bird watching and seeing beautiful species that you might not see in any other part of the world.
One of the best places to watch the beautiful birds is in La Mesa Eco Park, popular among avid birders looking for barred rails, little egrets, osprey, and migratory. Also, in the Luzon area, the Angat Watershed Reserve is considered an excellent place for bird watching, with Angat Rainforest and Ecological Park located nearby.
Cliff Climbing in Palawan
It is a one-day trip to try a new adventure on the beautiful cliffs of El Nido. It is a unique thing to try there when you climb on the limestone outcroppings and see some magnificent views of the beauty of the Philippines.
One of the most famous places to climb is Mount Taraw, which is 750 feet high, and from the top, you will see the lovely countryside and water views. Also, you can hire a guide who can take you along the trails and knows the road perfectly. Remember taking much water with you, and wear hiking boots.
Take a Tour of the Corregidor Island
It is one of the best places you can visit in the Philippines. It played an essential role in World War II, where many battles took place, and many relics were left behind, such as tunnels and bunkers used as hideouts, weapons, barracks, and artifacts.
If you love to know more about World War II history, then make sure to visit the Pacific War Memorial with a tour guide who will take you on a ferry from Manila to the island.
Underground River in Puerto Princesa
The Underground River on Palawan Island is inside the Subterranean River National Park and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will take a boat and discover 5 miles of water running below the ground, where you will go inside a cave surrounded by vertical limestone cliffs.
You will be able to see ancient stalagmite and stalactite formations, and besides that, see the wildlife that lives along the river that flows into the South China Sea.
Vigan city is one of the most famous cities in the Philippines, the streets of Calle Crisologo are the most famous in it, and it is in the Ilocos district. There you can take a tour, explore everything about the city, and see the small vendor shops where you can find many things to buy, like souvenirs, from bags to baskets and pottery.
Best Beaches to Visit in the Philippines
As most of us know, the Philippines includes the most beautiful beaches in the world, and most people from all over the world come to the country to enjoy its beaches; here are some of the famous beaches you can visit to have a great time with family and friends.
White Beach in Boracay
One of the best beaches where you can have a great time with your family or friends, there you can find many things to do like riding a boat, water sports, and snorkeling which is popular there.
The beach is also considered one of the most beautiful in Asia. It is a perfect place to relax and enjoy the crystal water with the white sand.
Saud Beach is in the north of the Philippines, specifically on the island of Luzon, characterized by its blue water, pristine beach lined with coconut trees, and clean sand. It is away from crowded places, and it is perfect for families.
It is one of the most magnificent beaches in the country on Coron Island. It is an excellent place for swimming and diving, and as we said in the upper part, the island is famous for shipwreck diving and viewing marine life. The water in it is clear and fantastic, and you can climb to an upper part to see a perfect view from the top, and don’t miss going on a boat tour to explore the beauty of the nature surrounding you.
Pearl Farm Beach
Another famous beach you can visit is renowned for the pink hue of the sand, deep blue water and reefs in the area, and a nice place to practice water sports such as kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and flyboarding.
Honda Bay is in Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island, it is well known for snorkeling and swimming, and there are many water sports you can try, such as jet skiing and wakeboarding. You can also enjoy the beachside lunch of fresh seafood from one of the local vendors.
Alona Beach is located in the southwest part of the island of Bohol. It is considered another famous spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving. It is also well-known for being a popular place for dolphins and whales, and tourists love visiting this beach and having a great time under the sun.
Puerto Galera Bay
Puerto Galera Bay is a UNESCO-protected area south of the capital city of Manila. It has a unique ecosystem in the bay, making it a perfect place for treatment for tourists.
The bay is so vast that you can practice watersports, swimming, snorkeling with the coral reefs, and diving. The Blue Resort is where you can have a great time seeing the waterfront villas.
Buena Suerte Beach
It is one of the gorgeous beaches in the world, not only in the Philippines. To reach the place, you must take a flight that is worth visiting. The beach is characterized by the sand changing into coral at dusk. It is an excellent place for divers to see cliffs, caves, waterfalls, and many coral reefs.