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Top Philippine Destinations

 

Metro Manila

According to the Philippines Department of Tourism, more than 1.4 million tourists visited Metro Manila in 2009. Nearly one million were foreign visitors interested in the city that in years before WW-II was affectionately referred to as the "Pearl of the Orient."

Makati, is the high-end shopping, entertainment and financial center of Metro Manila. This area is popular with locals as well as foreign visitors who enjoy all of the excitement of high society and safe, elegant shopping and dining in the midst of an otherwise chaotic megalopolis. 

The Mall of Asia (MOA) is built on a reclaimed landfill area directly on the Manila Bay. This mall attracts approximately 200,000 daily visitors and has been dubbed the largest mall in Southeast Asia. A hugely popular combination indoor and outdoor shopping space, this super mall contains Asia's largest collection of diverse consumer shopping designed for the middle class and family oriented crowd. At MOA you’ll find a plethora of pleasantries and diversions to fill an entire day.  These include a multi Cineplex, bowling alley, ice rink, along with numerous coffee shops, and restaurants.  Stroll the boardwalk area in at night to find entertainment and drinking establishments to complete your day. 

Metro Manila Hotels

Metro Manila's Intramuros

In Metro Manila you'll find the remnants of an old Spanish city called Intramuros.  This was originally a 16th century walled fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasion. Unfortunately, it was destroyed at the end of World War II as the Americans put an end to the Japanese occupation. This amazing historic city was initially built exclusively for the wealthy of the Philippines. The state buildings, churches, courts, hospitals and the cobblestone streets still remain for tourists to enjoy

Intramuros
 Courtesy Flickr - CC License - Rafael Minuesa

Cebu

Cebu is a long, narrow land mass located in the central region of the Philippines chain of islands. This island is known for its plentiful bounty of exotic tropical fruits such as coconut, pineapple, mangosteen and durian. Cebu Island is so narrow that in some areas you are able to travel from one coast of the island to the other in a matter of an hour or so. The coastal region offers inspiring views of limestone plateaus and coastal plains. This island is the home of the oldest Spanish established city in the Philippines, Cebu City, where visitors can experience a plethora of cultural artifacts. 

Cebu City's slogan is inviting: "The most livable city for all." The city government proactively empowers government intervention programs that help to ensure clean and orderly streets in Cebu City. This is where you'll find an advanced and fully-developed infrastructure and many big-city amenities in what is the second largest city of the Philippines behind Manila. Many expats find Cebu the preferred large-city location of the archipelago, with modern and clean streets, abundantly affordable produce and a kind and loving populous. 

In that Cebu is the landing place of Magellan and his crew, and his subsequent death by the native leaders, this city is rich in culture and history, maintaining a number of incredible museums. 

This is where you can see the world famous Magellan's Cross placed by Spanish and Portuguese explorers as ordered by Magellan when he arrived in Cebu in 1521. The Sinulog commemorates the Bisayan people's Catholic origin, and their receipt of Roman Catholicism. This is a major festival with a massive street parade featuring participants dressed in colorful, bright, handmade costumes dancing to the rhythm of loud drums and local musicians. This festival is promoted as a major tourist attraction.  Many visitors make an annual trek to the Philippines for this event.  There is a festival queen and other award contests featuring subjects from many other parts of the country.

A separate and isolated island connected by a couple of bridges from Cebu City is Mactan Island. This island is one of the major tourist destinations of the Cebu region, maintaining many fantastic and impressive scenic spots and attractions. Mactan is a coral island offering some of the best water sport activities in the Philippines such as diving, snorkeling, island hopping, sailing, and jet skiing—along with numerous cultural activities. It is one of the most successful economic, tax-free zones for businesses in the Philippines. Here there are many Japanese-owned companies and a massive furniture and musical instrument industry producing guitars, ukuleles and other instruments.

The Philippines Department of Tourism reported that more than 1.6 million visitors arrived in Cebu in 2009; this included approximately 990,000 domestic visitors. Cebu City is served by Mactan-Cebu International Airport, located on Mactan Island. This is the second busiest airport in the Philippines island nation.

Cebu Sinulog Festival
Courtesy Flickr - CC License - Constantine Agustin

Clark Resorts and Economic Zone

Clark is one of the Philippines most recent new zones for fun, leisure and business. Clark is more than your typical vacation spot.  Here you can have your pick of world-class golf courses, theme parks, water parks, wakeboard facilities, Filipino and U.S. Military museums, duty-free shopping, hotels, resorts, horseback riding, casinos and fine dining restaurants. This vacation getaway offers Manila residents a restful and entertaining escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Foreigners are discovering this former U.S. military base turned family multi-fun zone. Situated in the central Luzon region and connected to Manila via the NLEX main arterial highway, this haven of lush green fun and entertainment offers something for every member of the family.

Philippine and Southeast Asian business owners and corporations utilize this wonderland of adventure and peace as a corporate meeting and teambuilding Mecca. 

Some popular attractions are the U.S. style Fontana Water Park where you can spend the entire day sliding down and basking in uniquely themed water features. This is a Filipino favorite that offers relief for you and your troop as a cool-down escape from the tropical heat. Dinosaur Island is the latest attraction where you can interact with and even get chased by a variety of realistic, animatronic, robot dinosaurs. 

Nayong Pilipino offers a walk through Philippine history and the island's diverse culture. This is an interesting and provocative theme park offering a chance to experience the Philippines in a unique and informative way. From replica homes of former revolutionary leaders to native villages, this teaching theme park is the perfect place to better understand the land of 7107 islands.

Clark Freeport Zone - Philippines

Subic Resorts and Economic Zone

Subic Bay is loaded with things to do and unique sights to see. Subic is a valuable deep water port historically used by the U.S. Navy as a major repair and refurbishing facility of giant naval warships. The Subic Freeport and Economic Zone was formed after this expansive naval base was vacated by the U.S. in 1991 after the Philippine Senate failed to renew the country's Military Bases Agreement. 

Today Subic Bay supports a multitude of leisure, fun and business activities. Sailing, jet skiing, cable zip line adventure parks, wild animal safari's, survival training camps, mountain hiking and exploring, animal encounters, whale and dolphin shows are only a few of the things to do.  Eco, and adventure-tourism now are all part of Subic's pristine and diverse ecological area. Subic offers an additional variety of attractions and accommodations including, theme parks, luxury beach resorts, go-cart racing, casino gambling, white beach sun-tanning, discount duty-free shopping, seaside night clubs and great restaurants. 

One popular attraction Filipinos never miss on a trip to this fun zone is Zoobic Safari.  Here you can experience a guided African style wild tiger adventure. Another hugely popular facility in Subic is called Tree Top Adventure. This thrilling adventure tourism park will challenge your fears with numerous high zip lines, tree drops and other exciting experiences all set in the deeply-forested tropical Forest area of Subic. 

Subic Bay Freeport - Yacht Club
Courtesy Flickr - CC License - Jun Acullador

Carmarines Sur

Enjoy the Philippines newest and fastest growing adventure tourism spot. Carmarines Sur welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors a year, including over 1.2 million domestic travelers.Travelers to this previously undiscovered Philippines treasure will be treated to dramatic coastlines and islands that greet the traveler with gorgeous limestone formations, pristine and secluded white sand beaches and a hefty variety of adventure sports. 

Carmarines Sur is fascinating and different in that it is home to two dormant volcanoes (Mount Isarog and Mount Asog). These powerful reminders of mother nature offer outrageously beautiful and adventurous trails with vistas that will cause you to think you are on another planet.

If you are looking for the latest and greatest in adventure tourism, then you'll have to try the Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC). This world-class facility was Host to the 2008 Wake Park Championships.

Camarines Sur Philippines
Courtesy Flickr - CC License - Shubert Ciencia

Camarines Sur Cliff Diving

The terrain and coastal formations of Camarines Sur lend themselves nicely to some spectacular cliff diving spots. This is a growing and truly dangerous sport for those with the greatest level of daring.  That few seconds of free fall with the wind rushing by your face and your heart pounding. The perfectly formed rock formations in the Caramoan Peninsula are perfect for cliff diving. Dozens of dive spots are available for the ultimate thrill seekers. Guides on the island suggest two of the most ideal spots - one for the faint-hearted and another for the bravest of the brave.  Just remember the inherent dangers of such a sport and take lessons from an expert before attempting.

Maybe it’s time you try something different and daring in your travels of the Philippines.  This newly discovered Philippines hot-spot is making the rest of the country and Asia jealous with envy. 

Cliff Diving in the Philippines

Baguio City

High in the mountains of Central Luzon is a lofty town with a population of approximately 320,000 people.  At an elevation of approximately 4,900 ft, Baguio is proud to claim one of the coolest climates in all of the Philippines. It has long been a popular getaway for politicians, celebrities and wealthy business owners looking to escape the sweltering heat of Manila. Today, with an ever growing middle class in the Philippines, Baguio is a weekend getaway for many more.

U.S. military officers and enlisted men alike would pick this town for relaxation and rejuvenation during the American military days. Camp John Hay was originally established in 1903 after President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order designating it. The base was originally established as a communications station, but in reality, it was more accurately used for rest and relaxation for U.S. Military and Department of Defense officials. 

The facility has been converted to a worthy and western style mountainous tourist destination in the years post military. Here you'll find a master-planned community with executive lodging, quality restaurants, convention centers, bars, night clubs, golf courses, luxury estates, and even American style log homes for sale. 

The Mansion House in Baguio is the official summer residence set-aside for the President of the Philippines when he/she needs to get away from both the political and atmospheric heat surrounding the Manila Presidential Palace. Built in 1908, destroyed during WW-II and then rebuilt, this historic piece of Philippines architecture stands to this day for the enjoyment of the highest office of the Philippines and for Tourists who wish to visit the Mansion House's museum which contains a significant amount of presidential memorabilia of historic significance.

According to the Department of Tourism, of the 770,000 visitors who traveled to Baguio in 2009, only about 40,000 were foreign visitors. In this mountainous getaway you find exhilarating hiking trails and a much more laid-back and relaxed lifestyle. You'll even find cowboys and horsemen in these parts of the Philippines.  Don’t be surprised to find your cab driving signing along to the tunes of Merle Haggard or Garth Brooks. 

Baguio City Philippines
Courtesy Flickr - CC License - Katrina Javier

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