The Philippines - Popular Attractions

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Luzon, where Metro Manila is situated. is the largest island in the Philippine archipelago and is home to almost half of the country's population. Because of its solid mass and the availability of roads and infrastructure, Metro Manila's environs and the many provinces a few hours' drive away are perfect weekend getaways. An overland tour is the most insightful way of getting to know Luzon.

North of Manila lies Baguio at 1500 meters above sea level, a cool mountain retreat known as the 'Summer Capital of the Philippines'. On the northeast of Baguio, one will find the majestic grandeur of the Banaue Rice Terraces, created more than 2000 years ago by the Ifugao people using a few primitive tools and their bare hands. La Union, washed by the placid waters of the South China Sea is a haven for water sports enthusiasts. Across the Manila Bay looms the island fortress of Corregidor, a tribute to the last bastion of freedom in the Pacific during World War II. Further south, the breathtaking length of Tagaytay Ridge affords a view of the world's smallest active volcano, Taal - a volcano within a lake within another volcano.

The rugged south coast of Luzon, around Batangas and around Puerto Galera on Oriental Mindoro, contain some of the best dive sites. The island of Palawan, described as the last frontier, is dedicated to ecotourism with stunning subterranean caves, unexplored dive sites, unspoiled beaches and verdant tropical jungles for trekkers.



Visayas, like emerald jewels scattered in the warm sea of middle Philippines, beckon with the allure of sun, sand and sea - ideal setting for island-hopping vacations; its dive sites offer ample opportunities for underwater explorations.

The charms of the Visayas lie not only in these modern-day pursuits, but also in the way the past blends with the present. The oldest cities and churches in the Philippines are located in the Visayas. In Cebu, go on a cultural tour of the many scenic attractions of this historic province, hunt for bargains in handicrafts, preserved foods and guitars, or delve into the roots of this oldest Spanish settlement in the country.

Kalibo in Aklan is the jump-off point to the island paradise of Boracay. Marvel at the Chocolate Hills of Bohol, then walk through its man-made forests, home of the rare endangered tarsier, the world's oldest insect-eating mammal



Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippines comprising 34% of the national territory. It is situated in the typhoon-free southern part of the country. It is a land of towering mosques and malong-clad women, where boldly-striped vintas ply the waters between houses perched precariously on stilts. Here, ethnic tribes weave glorious tales of brave warriors and haughty princesses into colorful tapestries and fabrics.

Mindanao is also a nature lover's paradise, with its picturesque plains and breathtaking highland lakes: a destination for flora and fauna. The adventurous traveler would probably wish to conquer Mindanao's vast mountain wilderness or explore the many forests and wildlife reserves. Mt. Apo in Davao del Sur is the country's highest peak. A plethora of waterfalls awaits the visitor to Lanao del Norte where the legendary Maria Cristina Falls, 100 feet higher than Niagara, may be viewed.

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