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Discover the Philippines – A Hidden Asian Gem

One of the reasons the Philippines is not as popular as it might be for those living in the United Kingdom is that until very recently there were no direct flights to the Philippines, and it is simply not as easy to get there as it is for some of better known tourist destinations.

For those who are willing to make the effort to discover the Philippines, the country has a lot to offer its visitors.

Beautiful white sandy beaches

For beach lovers the Philippines makes the ideal destination as it boasts some of the best white sandy beaches in the world. From the delights of every Filipinos favourite destination of Boracay to the less commercialised beaches in Palawan and Cebu, the Philippines has idyllic sandy beaches to suit all tastes.

Manila Culture

The Philippines has far more to offer than simply glorious beaches. A visitor to the Philippines will find themselves immersed in a country with a long and glorious history. In the capital Manila the Malacanang Palace built in the 18th century now serves as the Philippine Presidents official home and should certainly form a part of any tourists itinerary. Equally important is Intramuros, the old walled city, which formed the historic governing capital of the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period. This area is now home to a variety of shops, restaurants and museums.

Banaue Rice Terraces

There is plenty for the interested tourists to see outside of the bustle of the busy capital, Manila. One attraction that no-one should miss is the rice terraces at Banaue. These are rated as a world heritage site by UNESCO and have been in continuous use for more than 2000 years.

The terraces were first constructed by Ifugao tribesmen on the hills by Banaue to form an irrigation system. Tourists today continue to puzzle at the ability of these tribesmen to build the terraces using only the primitive tools available to them.

Discover the natural wonders of the Philippines

If natural wonders are more to your taste than man-made achievements then you could do a lot worse than heading to Tagaytay city. Here you will find lake Taal, in the centre of the lake is volcano island home to one of the most popular Philippine attractions for tourists.

Not too far away from Tagaytay are the Pagsanjan falls, another natural attraction that shows the nature of the Philippines at it’s best. The best way to reach these falls is to take a wooden canoe from any of the tourist resorts on the Balanac or Bumbungan rivers. The ride, which may take more than an hour, gives you a fine view of the Pagsanjan gorge until you reach your destination just behind the Pagsanjan falls.

One other popular attraction for those looking to discover in the Philippines is Chocolate Hills around Carmen, and Sagbayan in Bohol. This group of conical hills is made up of around 1700 hills or mounds the biggest of which is nearly 400ft in height. The hills are covered in grass but derive their name from the brown colour that the grass turns during the long Philippine dry season. These hills have become a well known tourist attraction, with several being developed in tourist complexes.

Peter Townsend