Philippines, an archipelago of 7,107 islands and known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas, can surely be one of the top destinations for tourists. With friendly locals, perfect beaches, interesting diving spots and world heritage sites, Philippines offers travelers more activities, more sights, more fun.
Top Travel Destinations in the Philippines for 2014
I have often been asked for suggestions as to what places to visit, where to go, where to stay, which is better and which is best – in the Philippines. My answer- it depends. It depends on the purpose of your trip. It depends on your preference. It depends on how long you intend to stay. Nevertheless, the call for suggestions goes on.
So I have decided to come up with my list of top travel destinations in the Philippines for 2014, based on my preference .
Boracay, world-famous for its powdery white sand beaches, is a tropical island in the Philippines located approximately 315 km (196 mi) south of Manila and 2 km off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It is undoubtedly one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. The island is approximately seven kilometers long, dog-bone shaped with the narrowest spot being less than one kilometer wide, and has a total land area of 10.32 square kilometers. South-facing Cagban Beach is located across a small strait from the jetty port at Caticlan on Panay island, and the Cagban jetty port serves as Boracay’s main entry and exit point during most of the year. When wind and sea conditions dictate, east-facing Tambisaan Beach serves as an alternative entry and exit point.
- Boracay was awarded in the “Travelers’ Choice 2011″ by Trip Advisor as the second best beach (out of 25) in the world.
- Boracay made a debut appearance on the Top 10 Islands list in the Travel + Leisure travel magazine World’s Best Awards 2011, ranking fourth.
- In 2012, Boracay has been named as the best island in the world by Travel + Leisure.
Puerto Princesa Underground River or Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
The 8.2-kilometer river, said to be the longest navigable underground river in the world, winds its way underneath a mountain range, through the St. Paul Underground River Cave, and then goes out into the South China Sea. The journey through the cave system alone is 24 kilometers long.
The entire area where the Underground River is located is actually a national park and a model of biodiversity. More than 800 plant species, including almost 300 trees, 195 bird species, 30 mammals, 19 reptiles, and eight bat species call this area home.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Among the world heritage sites in the Philippines, the Rice Terraces of the Philippines Cordilleras have such a powerful presence that makes them one of the most outstanding places in the country. Lying high in the Cordillera mountain range, their setting cannot be replicated anywhere in the lowland tropical landscape of the Philippines – or even anywhere in the world, for that matter.
High in the remote areas of the Philippine Cordillera mountain range, scholars believe, slopes have been terraced and planted with rice as far back as 2,000 years. Mountains terraced into paddies that still survive in varying states of conservation are spread over most of the 20,000 square-kilometer land area (7 percent of the total land mass of the Philippine Archipelago) that is in the Northern Luzon provinces of Kalinga-Apayao, Abra, Benguet and Ifugao. The improbable site is found at altitudes varying from 700 to 1,500 meters above sea level, where terraces are sliced into mountain slopes with contours that rise steeply.
The capital of the Philippines – its heart and soul — is Manila. It sets the rhythm of life in this archipelago and is a pulsating hub that blends the Oriental with the Occidental, the quaint with the modern, the mundane with the extraordinary.
Manila was born out of the ashes of a once flourishing Malay settlement by the banks of the Pasig River. In 1571, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi established the Ever Loyal City of Manila which, until 1898, was the seat of Spanish colonial rule in Asia. He built the city within walls and called it Intramuros.
An anchor tourist destination, Manila is the very core of the 7,000 times more islands that make up the Philippines. It is a center for the performing arts in Asia.
Photo Credit: Rates To Go
Cebu is the traveler’s fantasy of a tropical island come true – balmy weather, pristine beaches, crystalline waters, and luxurious resorts with all the frills of modern living.
The island-province of Cebu was where the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in the name of Spain in 1521. But even before Cebu became the Occidental gateway to the Orient, it was already a popular entry point among Asian merchants.
Cebu has since blossomed into a choice tourist destination, with many leisure establishments taking full advantage of its sea-valley-and-mountain location.
Metropolitan Cebu, the country’s second biggest metropolis, is the political, economic, educational and cultural center of the Visayas. Hotels, shopping malls, entertainment halls, casinos and golf fairways are ever present in the metro to cater to every tourist’s whim.
The rest of Cebu’s 166 islands and islets are fringed with sandy beaches and sapphire-clear waters teeming with marine life, perfect for divers.
Photo Credit: Davao Rooms
“Kadayawan sa Dabaw” is Davao City’s premier festival and showcases the natural and cultural bounty of the land.
A movable feast in August, the week-long merrymaking highlights the manifold tribal cultures of the region which are vividly expressed in traditional songs, dances, games and crafts. It is also on this occasion when a lively trade fair, capped by a flower-and-fruit float parade, takes place. Street dancing and popular entertainment complete the celebration.
Agriculture-based industries thrive in the Davao region. A major exporter of bananas, citrus, mangosteen and other tropical fruits, it is also the biggest producer of cultured flowers in the country. Its surrounding waters are rich sources for commercial fishing.
The world’s largest city in terms of land area, Davao covers all of 244,000 hectares.
Pool Villa of Pangulasian Island Resort. Photo courtesy of El Nido Resorts
El Nido (officially the Municipality of El Nido) is a first class municipality and managed resource protected area in the provinde of Palawan. It is about 420 kilometres (260 mi) southwest of Manila and about 238 kilometres (148 mi) northeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan’s capital. According to CNNGo, it is the Best Beach and Island destination in the Philippines- for its “extraordinary natural splendor and ecosystem.”
El Nido Resorts is a group of eco-resorts located in the El Nido-Taytay municipalities in northern Palawan, Philippines. It is currently comprised of Miniloc Island Resort and Lagen Island Resort in El Nido, Apulit Island Resort in Taytay, and the newly opened eco-luxury property, Pangulasian Island Resort in El Nido. It has received numerous international awards as testament to its green practices and commitment to sustainable tourism, including the prestigious ASEAN Green Hotel Standard in 2010 and the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award in 2009. More recently, El Nido Resorts was a winner in the Sustainable Hotel Award – Sustainable Destination Category, the PATA Gold Award – Environmental Education Programme in 2011, and the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards – Community Benefit Award this year.
Photo Credit: Trip Advisor
The foremost asset of Oriental Mindoro, Puerto Galera is blessed with one of the world’s most beautiful natural harbors. Known as the Pearl of Mindoro, it is world-famous for splendid beaches, coral reefs, and exquisite dive sites for new and experienced divers alike. There are shallow coral gardens, interesting rock formations, and colorful species to watch, like crabs, shrimps, sea anemones, moray, and trumpet fishes.
Tubbataha Reef National Park
Photo Credit: Best Tourism
Tubbataha Reef National Park is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Rising from the volcanic depths of the Sulu Sea in the western Philippines, these magnificent atolls encompass an astonishing diversity of marine life. The park is an underwater sanctuary where nature thrives. Tubbataha is the Philippines’ only marine natural park and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a place of global importance being preserved for future generations of humankind. Tubbataha supports an unparalleled variety of marine creatures. Colorful reef fish crowd corals growing in the shallows while sharks and pelagics haunt the steep drop offs to the open sea. A team of rangers are stationed on the reef year-round and, from March until June, divers visit Tubbataha to experience the wonders of this unique underwater world.
Photo Credit: Tartaruga’s Hotel
In the Northern part of the Philippines is a beach reputed to have the longest contiguous white sand with mighty waves and strong winds that can compare to Hawaii. Wind and wave surfing are the outstanding activities that Pagudpud beach offers its very discriminating clientele. Not to mention the inviting views, clear blue waters, and white sand. Pagudpud promises its visitors a magnificent experience in a secluded paradise.
Honestly, there are so many travel destinations in the Philippines that is on my list but have limited them to top 10 for this post. Philippines is such a beautiful country to visit. Come and experience the fun.