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Philippine Tourist Sites 


The Philippines offers a variety of places to visit and activities to do that would perk up and make every tourist's stay truly enjoyable and memorable.

Dining anywhere in the Philippines is an experience travelers can never forget because it is one of the greatest pleasures of the Filipino people. The exotic dishes spread out on the Filipino table are a blend of Oriental, Spanish and local culinary delights.

The Philippines is also a shopper's paradise, not just for designer items with familiar names and logos, but more especially for hand-made goods, skillfully crafted by local townsfolks, and natural gems such as the treasured South Sea pearls.

Diving in the Philippines is simply one of the best in the world. The beauty and variety of the country's coral reefs and underwater topography await diving enthusiasts. Fishing has also increasingly become popular among adventure anglers.

A safari tour provides the opportunity to visit a game refuge center in Palawan to observe wildlife which otherwise may be seen only in Africa. Other activities that interest a number of adventurers are spelunking, mountain trekking and bird watching. Golf is also an activity many cannot do without.

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Manila, the country's capital, is a delightful mix of old and new: of age-old traditions and modern-day attractions; centuries-old buildings and gleaming high-rise structures; quaint street stalls and modern shopping malls; stately museums and discotheques and bars.

The Spanish colonizers founded the Manila in 1571. That same year, the Spaniards laid the foundation of Intramuros, the Walled City, as the seat of State and the Church. History echoes within the walls of this fortress-complex, and a tour of this landmark provides the visitor a deeper understanding of Manila's rich heritage.

Among the attractions in Intramuros are: Fort Santiago, the headquarters of Spanish military and impregnable prison to thousands of Filipino patriots and revolutionaries, including the country's national hero Dr. Jose Rizal; Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church, two of the oldest churches in the country which are filled with extensive collections of religious artifacts; and Casa Manila, a reconstructed 19th century mansion replete with 16th to 19th century furniture and furnishings.

Near the wall of Intramuros is Rizal Park, a place of relaxation for Filipinos. Rizal Park is a wide expanse of manicured lawns and spouting fountains, with an open-air concert hall, the Chinese and Japanese Gardens, a children's playground and a skating rink. The remains of Dr. Jose Rizal lie within the cornerstones of the monument that bears his name.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is the arts center of the country. It is the favored venue for ballet presentations, concerts, stage plays and similar performances. Within the complex is Coconut Palace, a living testament to the Filipinos' architectural genius. The entire structure is made almost entirely of coconut materials. Also within the CCP Complex are the Philippine International Convention Center and the Philippine Center for International Trade and Exhibit. While at the CCP Complex, visitors must not miss watching the spectacular sunset at Manila Bay.

Modern high-rise buildings characterize Makati, the business district of Metro Manila, with its sprawling shopping malls, rows of gourmet restaurants and exclusive sports clubs. The Ayala Museum's dioramas depicting various periods in the history of the Philippines place visitors in a time warp across centuries of Filipino civilization.

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Baguio City, the summer capital of the country, is set apart from the rest of the country because of its pine trees and cool temperature averaging 68F or 20C year round. It is located in the Cordillera Mountains, five hours away from Manila by land.

Tourists can visit the many beautiful spots in Baguio City starting with Burnham Park and Wright Park. Baguio is also home to the Philippine Military Academy, the "West Point" of the country.

Nestled deep in the heartland of the Cordillera mountain range are the Banaue Rice Terraces, dubbed as the "Eight Wonders of the World". The terraces were carved out of the mountain ranges centuries ago by the oldest mountain tribe in the area, the Ifugaos. Measured from end to end, the terraces stretch a total length of 22,400 kilometers.

A side trip to Sagada, either on the way to or back from Banaue, is recommended. The Sagada area is dotted with caves, many of which were the burial sites of the Ifugaos. There are also lakes and waterfalls where visitors can swim.

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The provinces which hug the northwestern slopes of northern Luzon are Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Nowhere is Spanish influence more evident than in these two provinces.

More and more visitors are discovering the beauty and charm of Laoag, the capital of Ilocos Norte. Laoag boasts of an international airport and a number of world-class resorts, one of which has a sprawling 18-hole golf course. Paoay, Currimao, Batac, Dingras and Sarrat are the other places of interest in Ilocos Norte. The churches of Ilocos Norte stand out over all the province's attractions. These include the Cathedral of Saint William, the Paoay Church and the Church of Sta. Monica.

Spanish influences are even more pronounced in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Spanish houses built in the 16th century still line the streets of the old city. A trip to the Ayala Museum will provide the visitor with details on the province's glorious past.

Coming from or going to Baguio or Ilocos, the traveler passes through La Union. This province is a favorite destination for beach lovers and the jump-off point for scuba diving in Lingayen Gulf.

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Palawan, dubbed the country's "Last Frontier", is a mini-archipelago of virgin islands and the home to rare species of flora and fauna. It is located between Mindoro Island and Malaysia's North Borneo.

Puerto Princesa, the capital, is the province's main gateway. The St. Paul's Subterranean National Park is an 8-kilometer long underground river. Caves studded with stalactite and stalagmite formations will fill the tourist with awe. Wildlife abounds in the sanctuary of Calauit Island in northern Palawan. Declared a game preserve in 1976, Calauit is home to a rich mix of exotic African game and endemic Philippines animals.

The Tabon Caves in Southern Palawan are acknowledged as the "Cradle of Civilization" of the Filipino people. Nestled in the mountainous cape of Lipuon Point, the 29-cave complex is a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts and the fossilized bones of the Tabon man. A skull of the Tabon Man was carbon-dated to be 22,000 years old.

Dive spots in Palawan are plentiful, with each site offering a unique array of marine life. The Tubbataha Reefs are among the world's best dive spots.

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The province of Cebu, the second international gateway to the Philippines, lies in the middle of the Visayas islands group. Cebu is composed of 167 islands with Cebu City, the province's capital, being the oldest city in the country. Thus, it is fondly referred to as the "Queen City of the South'.

Cebu's coastline has a host of resorts. The more luxurious resorts have complete diving equipment and offer diving lessons. Facilities for windsurfing, hobie cat sailing and jet skiing are also available. Mactan Island has the largest concentration of resort establishments in Cebu.

Among the excellent dive spots in the province are Buyong Beach, Moalboal, Pescador Island and Badian Island. Historic attractions in and around the city include Magellan's Cross, planted by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to mark the spot where the first Filipinos were baptized, and the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño which hosts the oldest religious relic in the Philippines, the icon of the Sto. Niño (Child Jesus).

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Also in the Visayas is Bohol. This picturesque island is most famous for its Chocolate Hills. Over a thousand limestone mounds are spread throughout the towns of Carmen, Butuan and Sabayan. It is also the home of the tarsius monkey (smallest monkey in the world) and was the site where the Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and the island's chieftain, Sultan Sikatuna, forged a treaty of peace between the two peoples with their own blood.

Like Cebu, Bohol offers a wide range of resorts, especially in Panglao, and dive spots teeming with rich marine life. Foremost is Balicasag Island, 45 minutes away from Panglao by pumpboat.

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The province of Aklan in Western Visayas lays claim to two great attractions - the Ati-Atihan festival and Boracay Island.

Every third week of January, the streets of Kalibo, Aklan come alive as the townsfolks celebrate the historic barter between visiting Bornean datus and the native aborigines. Called Ati-Atihan, the festival is a wild, Mardi gras festival where revelers blacken themselves with soot, don aboriginal costumes and dance through the streets to the hypnotic beat of hundreds of drums.

Boracay Island is the other crowd drawer of Aklan. The main attractions of its beach are the crystal clear waters and powder white sand with texture as fine as confectioner's sugar. The stark beauty of this 7-kilometer long island is found nowhere else in the country.

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Davao in the island of Mindanao is composed of three provinces and one city. Davao City, its capital, is the largest city in the world in terms of land area covering 244,000 hectares. It is also serviced by an international airport.

Close to the city is Mt. Apo, the highest peak in the country, rising 10,311 feet above sea level. Mt. Apo is also home to the rare monkey-eating Philippine Eagle.

A tour of the city and its outskirts will bring the visitors to Dabaw Etnica, a settlement of the Mandaya tribe; Dabaw Museum, with its display of tribal artifacts and costumes; and the Taoist and Lon Wa Buddhist Temples. Tourists also trek to the Greenhills and Derling Orchid Farms where Davao's orchids blossom and bloom. The waling-waling orchid reigns supreme over other varieties in color and size.

Visitors are also welcome to play a round of golf at the Apo Golf and Country Club. Its 18-hole course offers a panoramic view of the region.

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The Philippines is the pioneer in the convention industry in the Asia-Pacific region. It was the first in the region to host the International Monetary Fund-World Bank annual meetings in 1976. The Philippines is a favored convention destination with its excellent facilities, experienced support services and a hospitable working environment. With its rich culture and heritage, the Philippines also provides the perfect backdrop for incentive travel.

There are nine major convention sites in Metro Manila, complemented by 57 de-luxe and first class hotels located within the major business and commercial centers of the metropolis. The largest convention site, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), has a multi-level plenary hall which can accommodate up to 4,000 people. It also has 14 meeting rooms and a press area.

The holding of conventions is not limited to Metro Manila for there are more than 10 other convention destinations spread throughout the islands. Smaller business meetings may be held in the many hotels and resorts in the country.

The Philippines is also a perfect destination for incentive travellers. Filipino creativity and imaginative flair, spiced with their characteristic love for fun, make for theme tours that are sure to delight visitors. Incentive packages which highlight the various destinations and attractions of the Philippines are available.

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For particulars, please contact the Consulate's Tourism Office or the following:

Department of Tourism
DOT Building, T.M. Kalaw Street
Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines
Tel. : (632)523-8411 to 30
Fax : (632) 521-7374
URL:  www.tourism.gov.ph

Philippine Convention & Visitors Corporation
4th Floor, Suites 10-17
Legaspi Towers, 300 Roxas Blvd.
Manila, Philippines
Tel.: (632) 525-9318 to 32
Fax: (632) 521-6165/525-3314
Email: pcvcnet@mnl.sequel.net
URL:  www.dotpcvc.gov.ph

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