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banaue rice terraces, philippines
Banaue rice terraces,

Philippines Travel Fast Facts

Getting there: regular flights from major cities to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila and Mactan-Cebu International Airport on Cebu Island.
What to see:
Manila, Mindoro Island, Palawan Island, Boracay, Cebu Island, the Chocolate Hills, Luzon and the Banaue rice terraces
Currencies: Philippine peso
Official language(s):
English, Filipino

Spread out over more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines evokes visions of long stretches of white sandy beaches, volcanic mountains and fertile valleys, populated by warm and welcoming Filipinos who are truly happy you've come.

As it is located to the north of the Malay Peninsula, a major ethnic group throughout the islands is Malaysian, with influence still felt by the Chinese. A more pervasive influence remains with Spain who named the islands in 1565 after King Philip II. Spanish rule lasted until the Philippine Revolution of 1896.

Today, a trip to the Philippines usually begins in the capital city of Manila. Here, visitors often head straight for the city's famous Rizal Park, surrounded by sophisticated shops and restaurants, bustling and colorful markets, and historic museums. The Intramuros, or old town, is another must see nearby for a trip back to the city's colonial past.

For outdoor adventure, Mindoro Island lies just south of Manila, offering crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches, as well as a colorful coral reef on the northern coast, perhaps bested only by the famed diving and snorkeling spots found on Palawan Island.

Boracay, Philippines
Boracay usually makes the list of
Top 10 best beaches on the planet.

Heading 200 miles south of the capital also lies the legendary island of Boracay featuring a shoreline that regularly makes it to the list of Top Ten list of best beaches worldwide.

Cebu Island, vying as one of the most popular overall tourist destination in the Philippines, also offers world class diving as well as history (here is where Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magallen first landed in the 16th century), and nearby attractions including Bohol's famous Chocolate Hills, so named for their color and chocolate drop shape.

Of course, no visit to the Philippines would be complete without a trip up north to Luzon where lies the chiselled, centuries-old rice terraces of Banaue (pictured above right.)

DID YOU KNOW? Philippines Travel Fun Facts

Shop 'till you drop.

• In the Philippines you can shop 'til you drop at three of the world's largest shopping malls: SM Megamall in Manila, SM North Edsa, and SM Mall of Asia located in Bay City, Pasay.

• Beachcombing in the Philippines? There are some 12,000 species of seashells to be found -- including the “Conus Gloriamaris" -- the rarest and (and most expensive to buy) seashell in the world.

• Don't be surprised if you see Filipinos non-stop texting on their cell phones. With an average 350 to 400 million text messages a day, they hold the record for more texts sent than the US and Europe combined!

• During Holy Week, the largely Catholic country is famous for celebrating Good Friday with parades of flagellants and "live" crucifixions staged in San Fernando de Pampanga.


More about Philippines tourist attractions around the Web:

Elsewhere on the Web, discover more information on the best times to go, what to see, where to eat and stay, colorful facts on annual fairs and fiestas, along with stunning photos that only give a hint of what awaits on a visit to the Philippines ...

WOW Philippines - The official government tourism site with an extensive guide to top historic, cultural, natural & wildlife attractions, hotels & restaurants, event & festival calendar, tour packages including honeymoon and wedding, general travel tips, statistics and trivia.

Philippines Travel Guide - Good overview of top attractions including how to get there and get around, photos & maps, special places of interest, festival calendar, travel tips.

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