Manila&Environs;

The Capital of the Philippines, its heart and soul, is Manila. It set's the archipelago's rhythm and is pulsating hub that blends the Oriental with the Occidental, the quaint with the modern, the day-to-day norm with the extraordinary.

At the heart of Manila's history is Intramuros. It features the grand Manila Cathedral with its detailed stone carvings and stained glass mosaics; Fort Santiago, the site of torture chambers and dungeons; and the favorite wedding spot, the San Agustin Church.

Greater Manila, made up of 11 cities and 5 towns, is where the country's most prestigious business addresses and trendiest leisure establishments are found. Fashionable hotels, restaurants, discos, music bars, boutiques, and specialty shops converge around Ortigas, and Ayala in Makati, the financial capital of the Philippines.

Other major cities include Quezon City, also an entertainment hub as well as a government center; Marikina City, the shoe center of the Philippines; Paranaque City, known for its dry goods and seafood markets and restaurants; and Las Pinas City, which houses the world's only bamboo organ at St. Joseph's Parish Church.

Calabarzon, comprised of the five provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, is only a few hours away from Manila. The area boosts of great destinations and leisure activities for day trips or overnight getaways as well as export processing centers.

MuseumsThe u-shaped government belt within Luneta features the National Museum, the Museum of Filipino People, and the Department of Tourism building, future address of the Museum for Natural Sciences.

Tourist BeltA stone's throw away from Rizal Park are the districts of Ermita and Malate, known as Manila's Tourist Belt. Ermita is antique and art galleries, curio, and souvenir shops, while Malate is cozy cafés, music lounges, and performance theaters.

Sunset BoulevardRoxas Boulevard, which extends from Paranaque City to Manila, is the bay area from where one can have a view of the famed Manila Sunset. It is also lined with posh hotels, casinos, and lively nightspots. The Baywalk, a promenade along the boulevard, features bars and restaurants with nightly entertainment.

Food TripMetro Manila is one big gastronomic adventure. Fusion cuisine as well as authentic fare abounds in centers and hubs as well as alongside streets and off-the-beaten-track. To name a few, the Ilustrado Restaurant in Intramuros serves Spanish provincial cuisine; the Old Malate district is a favorite Watering Hole; while authentic Chinese cuisine can be had at Binondo.

Taal VolcanoThis enchanting volcano within a lake is the smallest in the world. Witness the splendor of the volcano with a panoramic view from the Tagaytay Ridge.

Corregidor Island: Corregidor Island is a small rocky tadpole-shaped island guarding the mouth of Manila Bay. It used to be a small fishing village, whose lighthouses and signal stations served all the boats of Manila Bay. During the American colonial period, American troops built full-ranged fortifications, including long-distance cannons, anti-aircraft artilleries, military camps, tunnels, underground commands center and hospitals etc. During the last Pacific War, Corregidor Island served as one of the most important strategic battlefields. Nowadays, Corregidor has become a monument in memory of peace and those soldiers who sacrificed for freedom. Meanwhile, Corregidor Island is also a tourism destination with high-end hotels and complete vacation facilities which is loved by the mass tourists.

Pagsanjan: Come to Pagsanjan to experience the most exciting drifting! Our experienced boatmen will take you through 16 rushing currents and the 3-hour journey will end at Pagsanjan Waterfall (also called Magdapio Waterfall).

Villa Escudero: Experience the charm of Philippine country life at Villa Escudero, you could try riding the water buffalo-pulled carts, tasting the delicious local cuisine by the waterfall, visiting the Villa Escudero Museum and living in the water cottages etc.

Boracay

Boracay is paradise for certified sun-worshippers all over the world. In fact, local and foreign tourists have made Boracay their yearly destination. Others have chosen to live on this haven.

Boracay can be found on the northwestern tip of Panay in Aklan, a province on the Visayas island known for its colorful Ati-Atihan festival.

Boracay's thousand-hectares boast of all the elements of a tropical heaven - crystal blue waters, powder white sand, liberal doses of tropical palms and flowering plants, and a healthy and diverse marine life.

Boracay has three little communities - Yapak in the north, Manoc-Manoc in the south and Balabag in between. Hilly elevations of up to 100 meters above sea level characterize Yapak and Manoc-Manoc. Intertwining trails link the small villages and lead to lush tropical jungles.

The culinary fare at Boracay is as diverse as the nationalities of its visitors. French, Chinese, Australian, Belgian, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Thai - are all fused into the native cuisine. Truly, Boracay, has become the premiere destination of beach lovers around the globe.

Water Fun: The beach beckons for some serious swimming, or just wading by the shore. For more active vacationers, windsurfing and parasailing gears are readily available. Go sailing with the help of locals acutely attuned to the rhythms of the sea.

Beach Combing:There are over a dozen beaches dotting the islands: White Beach, Diniwid, Alinghai Beach, Manoc-manoc Beach, and Cagban Beach, among others. Work on your tan, read a book, relax and have a massage. White Beach, probably the most famous stretch in the country, features bright, fine sand and clear, shallow waters.

Nightlife: Spend the last hours of the day at any of Boracay's bars and discos. Beer in hand, you can dance on the sand with brilliant fireflies. If this seems too rowdy for your taste, take a stroll on the moonlit beach.

Bat Caves:Explore the bat caves of Yapak, preferably with an experienced guide and take photos of these night creatures.

Kar-Tir Seashell Museum: Located at the village of Ilig-iligan, Kar-Tir features an interesting collection of seashells, woodcarvings, pottery, hand-woven articles, and traditional costumes from all over the Philippines.

Cebu

Cebu is the traveler's dream of a tropical island come true: balmy weather, pristine beaches, and luxurious resorts with all the frills of modern living. The island-province of Cebu is where the sweetest mangoes can be found and where Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan planted the Cross of Christianity in the name of Spain in 1521.

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 present in the metro to cater to every tourist's whim.

Magellan's Cross: On April 14, 1521, Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross to mark the spot where some 800 natives were baptized into the Catholic faith. The original cross is now encased in a hollow hardwood cross and can be found in a roofed kiosk along Magallanes Street.

Sinulog:The Sinulog is Cebu's biggest fiesta in honor of the Infant Jesus or Senor Santo Nino held every third Sunday of January. In a choreographed movement, tribes clad in dazzling costumes hold aloft images of their patron. The prayer-dance is synchronized to the beat of drums and shouts of "Pit Senor! Viva Santo Nino!”

Bohol

East of Cebu is Bohol, with its rolling hills and plateaus and crystal springs and beaches. The country's tenth largest island, it is a picturesque province replete with ancestral homes and centuries-old churches. Bohol is home to the world-famous Chocolate Hills and the world's smallest monkey, the Tarsier. Other equally exotic flora and fauna can be found in the province's forests.

The site of the 1565 blood compact between Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, Bohol's historicity is evident in the province's relaxed, laid-back pace. Excavations in acient burial grounds reveal artifacts dating back to China's Tang Dynasty, revealing strong trading ties with the Chinese long before the Spanish set foot on Philippine shores.

Chocolate Hills: Consisting of 1,268 haycock hills with heights ranging from 40-120 meters, the Chocolate Hills is one of nature's wonders. The dome-shaped, grass-covered limestone hills dry up and turn brown during the summer, transforming into rows and rows of rounded, chocolate "kisses”.

Smallest Monkey: In Bilar, a 3-kilometer man-made forest is sanctuary to the province's endangered species, including the tarsier, the world's smallest monkey.

Palawan

Known as the country's last frontier, Palawan has managed to preserve its fascinatingly natural habitat through the years. Situated north of Mindoro and north of Malaysia's Sabah Island, Palawan is the country's largest province spanning 1.5 million hectares. An ideal breeding ground for tropical flora and fauna, Palawan has more than a thousand islands and islets where monkeys, squirrels, bear cats, and zebras thrive with wild tropical plants and corals.

Palawan's population follows the same pattern. The province has attracted peoples of all backgrounds and it is said that today's Palawenos are a fusion of 81 different cultural groups. Foreigners, too, have grown to love this quiet province.

Palawan consists of about 1,769 islands; the Calamian Island group to the north, the Cuyo Islands group to the northwest, and the Balabac-Bugsuk group to the southwest. For the laid-back trip, Honda Bay is an ideal destination. From there, you can take your pick of your own little hideaway from Cowrie Island and Pandan, to La Isla Bonita and Isla de Nagusuan.

WildlifeCalauit Island is a 3,700 hectare game preserve and wildlife sanctuary alive with indigenous species and African wildlife including giraffes, zebras, and gazelles. Sea turtles, sea cows, and a variety of marine life nestle on its shores.

Underground RiverBeneath the St. Paul Mountain lies a quiet underground river which snakes for about 8-kilometers before opening up into a clear lagoon flowing into the South China Sea. The Park also features the exciting Monkey Trail with its series of wooden paths to the forest.

Tabon CavesThe oldest known habitation site in Southeast Asia, the tabon Caves, unearthed a skull that dates back to 22,000 years ago.

BeachesVisit the Balsahan or Tagbarung Swimming Resort, Kalis Point, or better yet, get a taste of El Nido. El Nido features black marble caves, tabletop corals, fantastic marine life, and the requisite white sand beach. Named after the swallow's nest which proliferates in its mountain caves, El Nido also features one of the most delicious samplings of the freshest seafood in the land.

Archeological HuntsGo down Cuyo Island and visit the Cuyo Spanish Church Fort with its massive ten-meter high and wide walls. Archeologists have also unearthed stone-age tools, Chinese burial jars, and ancient ornaments in Palawan's numerous caves.

Subic&Clark;

The Subic Bay Leisure Zone, a 37,000-acre virgin triple-canopy rainforest with wildlife and rare marine life, is a destination one should not miss. The former US Navy facility was vacated in 1992 and is now among Asia's emerging tourist destination.

Trekking through the tropical rainforest on foot or on horseback accompanied by native guides is both a challenge and delight. One can enjoy the numerous beaches, or go camping, or just take a tour around the zone.

At the end of an adventurous day, one can recharge in a comfortable air-conditioned hotel room, or go all the way by spending the night inside a tent in the wild.

LeisureAccommodation at Subic Bay Leisure Zone includes world-class hotels and resorts, residential units for larger family groups, and campsites for the outdoors-type. Choose from a wide selection of delectable cuisine guaranteed to satisfy the most discriminating palate - a marvelous blend of East and West, exotic and subdued - to suit your every mood.

ActivityApart from a jungle tour, there's a complete selection of aqua sports, including yachting, water skiing, windsurfing, sailboarding, coral & shipwreck diving, jetskiing, fishing, and more.

Adrenalin RushA grand prix race track offering driving lessons is available for the brave and the daring. For those who want to try their luck, Subic has a host of casinos. First class videoke clubs are available for those who just want to sit back and sing to their heart's content.

Duty-Free Shopping:
Value for money shopping is offered at Subic Bay's duty free shops and malls whether you're looking for famous international brand names in jewelry, clothing, liquor, electronics, home decors, sports gear, luxury goods, or even food items at bargain prices.

Puerto Galera

Puerto Galera is a small town on the northeast coast of the island of Mindoro in the Philippines. Though it is a quiet little town, it is a popular summer destination in the country. People come here from all over the country and the rest of the world for its wonderful beaches and fun water activities. Others also come here for its nearby forests, waterfalls, and dive spots.

This coastal town has certainly a lot to offer to all kinds of tourists. It offers great snorkeling and diving spots dotting the area. Nature is carefully preserved with UNESCO designating Puerto Galera as a Man and Biosphere Reserve, so you will certainly find some of the best and most diverse coral reef diving spots in the whole of Asia.

If you tire of diving and snorkeling, you can enjoy the numerous bars and restaurants that are spread all over this coastal town. Most foreign tourists flock to Sabang Beach while local tourists prefer the livelier atmosphere of White Beach. The latter boasts of uncontrolled development with new restaurants, bars, and other establishments sprouting left and right.

To maximize your vacation and your stay, you can try all sorts of activities like swimming, strolling around this sleepy Philippine coastal town, boating, hiking, island hopping, trekking, beach volleyball, sun bathing, jet skiing and much more.

Puerto Galera is certainly a whole new experience. The view is unforgettable. In truth, the whole place is simply unforgettable.

Bicolandia

Bicolandia, Bicolandia, the home of the 'oragons'

Oragon is a Bicol word which simply means 'the best.' And Bicolanos are known for it.

The Bicol peninsula makes up the southeastern tip of Luzon dotted by Isarog, Asog, Malinao, Mayon and Bulusan, all mountains and volcanoes dressed by streaming rivers and verdant forests, surrounded by waters teeming with marine products and adorned by golden rice fields that feed the Bicolanos.

It has diverse culture and dialects observed in six key provinces and seven cities, namely Albay, Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate and Sorsogon, with the cities of Iriga, Legazpi, Ligao, Masbate, Naga, Sorsogon, and Tabaco.

It is a convergence of colorful and animated pageantry of festivals such as the Pinyasan and Bantayog of Camarines Norte, Boa-boahan and Kaogma of Camarines Sur, Kamundagan and Penafrancia of Naga City, Tinagba of Iriga City, Magayon of Albay, Ibalong of Legazpi City, Tabak of Tabaco City, Kasanggayahan of Sorsogon, Sosogon of Sorsogon City and Rodeo of Masbate.

Reverred by most Bicolanos is 'Ina,' the Lady of Penafrancia in Naga City which attracts throngs of believers and devotees from all over the country, even from the global community. Ina unifies the Bicolanos who for long years now have survived the wrath of strong typhoons that devastated its rich farmlands and tourism destinations.

Laoag/Vigan

Ilocos Norte, the northwestern tip of Luzon, is wedged between the steep Grand Cordillera Central in the east, the rugged Ilocos Mountains in the northeast, and the Ilocos Range in the South.

The centuries old churches that dot every town of Ilocos are testimonies to the colonial past. They formed part of the nucleus of the plaza complex town planning instituted by the Spanish colonizers.

With a coastline that stretches to 90 statute miles, Ilocos Norte is blessed with rich marine life (shells, giant turtles, seaweeds, starfishes, tuna, and a variety of more fishes).

Below Ilocos Norte is Ilocos Sur, located along the western coast of Northern Luzon, bound by Abra on the northeast, Mt. Province on the east, Benguet on the southeast, La Union on the south, and the China Sea on the west. Ilocos Sur's topography has elevations ranging from 10 to 1,700 meters above sea level.

Though unmistakably foreign in form, the churches of Ilocos Sur reflect a distinctly Ilocano character. The hardiness and strength of the Ilocanos are reflected in the massiveness and sturdiness of the structures.

Old ChurchesSpanish colonial churches are a must-see in Ilocos Norte. The Paoay Church, originally built between 1699-1704, displays ingenuity in the use of corals, mortar, bricks, and molasses. The Laoag Cathedral, massive, short, and barn-like, was constructed between the 1650's-1700's. Watch out for the Sinking Bell Tower. Dingras Church, set in the midst of expansive rice fields, was built by natives in the 1680 using red bricks. Ilocos Sur's famous churches include the St. Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral, Bantay Church, Sta. Lucia Church, and the Sinait Church.

BeachesFort Ilocandia Resort and Hotel is situated in the midst of fetching sandhills in coastal Calayab, Laoag City. Some 26 kilometers south of Laoag City is Currimao, lined with beautiful beaches dotted at times with corals. The white beaches of Pagudpud, the farthest end of Ilocos Norte towards the Laoag-Alacapan Road, are a veritable paradise.

MuseumsIlocos Sur's national museum, the Padre Jose Burgos House, contains the memorabilia of the martyr-priest Jose Burgos and Ilocano artifacts, as well as the ethnic arts of the Tinggians. The Magsingal Museum is a repository of Ilocano heritage, featuring collections of pottery and porcelain artifacts.

Ancestral HousesKamestizoan District in Vigan is replete with ancestral houses with ancient tile roofs, massive hardwood floorings, balustrades, and azoteas in varying Spanish-Mexican-Chinese architectural styles.

Davao

Davao's topography dazzles with a variety of picturesque landscapes. Fruit plantations and orchid farms, mantle volcano-fed hills and valleys. Virgin forests nurture rare wildlife. Coral islands lie on mirror flat water. And the country's highest peak, Mt. Apo, magnificently lords over the hinterland.

Just as enchanting is its brilliant tapestry of harmony, woven from the diverse cultural threads of its people. In Davao, the contemporary fuses with the traditional as migrant settlers from all over the country peacefully co-exist with a sizeable expatriate community and numerous ethnic tribes who continue to live as they did centuries ago.

Davao is home to the majestic Philippine Eagle, the country's national bird and considered the largest eagle in the world. It also boasts of the most priced Philippine orchid species like the Vanda sanderiana and some of the most exotic fruits like Durian and Mangosteen.

Davao is an anchor tourist destination, a natural haven for both sedate and daring pursuits. It is the jump-off point to satellite destinations on the island of Mindanao.

Sub Title:Island Garden City of Samal: The Island Garden City of Samal is a group of islands in the Davao Gulf. The largest, also called Samal, has a number of excellent resorts, including one that was once a pearl farm. There are also many fine beaches, with good opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Maragusan:With its cool mountain weather, Maragusan in the province of Compostela Valley is Davao's traditional summer capital. The ethnic Mansaka community lives in the coffee-growing valley amidst waterfalls and cold springs.

Kidapawan: The provincial capital of North Cotabato, Kidapawan City is two hours by bus from Davao City. It is the main gateway to the ascent to Mt. Apo and hosts the 10-day Kalibongan Festival, a showcase of old ethnic rituals, songs, dances, and sports of the Manobo and other Mindanao tribes.

Davao Oriental: The province of Davao Oriental has at least 40 tourist spots. The town of San Isidro is home to Tinagong Dagat (or Hidden Sea), a mysterious lake; the highest waterfall in the country, the 338-meter high Aliwagwag Falls, is found in Cateel; in the old town of Caraga is a moss-covered 17th-century church.

General Santos City: GenSan is the tuna capital of the Philippines, where over 2,400 species of marine can be found, including the yellow-fin tuna, skipjack, and mackerel. GenSan can be reached by a 3-hour bus ride from Davao City.