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Why visit the Philippines: the archipelago of a thousand faces?

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Martí Micolau
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In Southeast Asia, 7000 Islands Stretching over 1800 km from north to south and 1000 km from east to west form the Philippine archipelago. This tourist destination, which is not the most popular in the region, nevertheless has many treasures for Western travelers: varied cultural influences, paradisiacal beaches, geological curiosities, primitive nature ... And to complete this stay in the Philippines , a few days in Manila allow you to indulge in the joys of shopping or nightlife in bars and restaurants. Why visit the Philippines? Here are its main strengths:





Spanish influence from the Philippines

The Philippines has a rich history which left visible traces in the current culture or architecture of the country. Thus, the Philippines was part of the Spanish colonial empire from 1565, after their discovery in 1521 by Fernand de Magellan. At the end of the 1946th century, the Philippines was sold by the Spaniards to the Americans, but the country also experienced a short period of Japanese occupation during World War II, before its independence in XNUMX. An astonishing melting pot!

Filipino Church

Manila to start your trip to the Philippines

For western travelers, the main gateway to a vacation in the Philippines is Manila, the country's capital. Located on the island of Luzon (the largest in the country), Manila has the title of “the most densely populated city in the world” with its 1,6 million inhabitants concentrated on approximately 38,5 km²! It is therefore from Ninoy Aquino International Airport that you will probably begin your stay in the Philippines, before taking a shuttle or a taxi to reach the heart of Manila City.





Visiting and going out in Manila

To enjoy your trip to the Philippines, you need at least 2 weeks, knowing that 3 really allow you to make a very complete tour of the archipelago. In Manila, to start, you can visit the National Museum to have a global view of the history of the country, then stroll through the colonial district of Intramuros, founded by the Spaniards. To see: the Saint-Augustin church, the cathedral and Fort Santiago. Manila also has an authentic Chinatown as well as a quite remarkable cemetery to the north of the city. Finally, to the south, the districts of Ermita and Malate are home to bars and restaurants. An ideal place to go out and party, just after admiring the sunset over Manila Bay ...

Dream beach in the Philippines

Marvel at the nature of the Philippines

By staying on the island of Luçon, direction Banaue and its rice fields in steps, typical of the terraced culture found in various Asian countries. This is a good point that should answer your question: Why visit the Philippines! Secondly, head for the mountainous region of the central cordillera, around Sagada. From there, we discover the wonders that the nature of the Philippines has to offer to visitors. Underground rivers, hilly landscapes and a local “curiosity”, an ancient funeral rite: coffins hanging from the side of a cliff!



Chocolate mountains and dream beaches in the Philippines

Why visit the Philippines in the central Visayas region ? Because it is made up of several islands! But we find the most interesting sites in Bohol, with the chocolate mountains or the tarsier reserve, a tiny mammal typical of the region. Cebu Island is also unmissable for its paradisiacal beaches and monuments: the Magellan's Cross, the Basilica of Santo Nino and Fort San Pedro. Depending on the time available, you can complete your vacation in the Philippines by exploring the Palawan region and in particular the municipality of El Nido, to discover the perfect beaches and lagoons to end your stay in peace.



Chocolate Hills

Philippines: a cheap stay

The very many trips involved in visiting the Philippines inevitably generate many hotel reservations. Fortunately, this usually doesn't turn out to be too expensive. Indeed, the cost of living is not very expensive for Western tourists and hotel infrastructures (hotels, resorts, lodges, etc.) are sufficiently developed to find rooms where they can sleep at the last minute without any problem. The low cost of living is also an attractive argument for dining and shopping.


Turtle in Apo

Pratical information

  • Saint-Martin Tourist Office : The tourism department has many offices in different regions of the country. The national tourist office is located in Manila. Also visit the Philippines Department of Tourism website
  • Passport and visa : No visa is required for European Union nationals for a stay in the Philippines not exceeding 21 days. Only a valid passport is required.
  • Health & vaccination : No vaccine is mandatory but taking a treatment against malaria is strongly recommended depending on the regions visited.
  • Money and change : The currency of the Philippines is the Philippine Peso (PHP).
  • When to go? In the Philippines, the dry season (to be preferred) is from December to May and the rainy season from June to November.

Transports


    • Getting to the Philippines: from Europe, the main gateway to the Philippines is Ninoy Aquino International Airport, located near Manila.
    • Getting around in the Philippines: Due to the many trips to be made from island to island, we can recommend the boat and the plane to get around the Philippines. On dry land, it is preferable to travel by taxi or with a driver due to the sometimes poor condition of the roads and the frequency of accidents.
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