The Philippines is a unique country. Not only geographically but also culturally and spiritually. Beyond its undeniable physical attributes, this country has a certain peculiar air that captivates all who know it.
The Philippines is an archipelago made up of 7.107 islands that owes its name to King Felipe II. Its nature is magnificent and powerful: peculiar rock formations, paradisiacal beaches, imposing volcanoes ... But its virtues are also other because this country is well known for the hospitality of its people and its rich gastronomy with a Hispanic touch included.
If you are thinking of traveling to the Philippines, here are some reasons why this country is a great alternative to popular Southeast Asia.
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The Philippines is not overcrowded
Unlike other parts of Asia, the Philippines still does not receive many tourists so it is quite an exclusive destination. There are still many places to discover such as Snake Island or Entalula Island, in Palawan.
The beaches are paradise
The Philippines has some of the most incredible beaches and islands in the world (after all, it has more than seven thousand) and in its clean and crystalline waters you can see the most varied species of animals swimming. The spectacle that you will discover under its waters is really beautiful: sea turtles, whale sharks, coral gardens…. Whether diving with a bottle or snorkeling you can contemplate its beautiful marine wealth.
The bottom of the sea is amazing. Boracay's White Beach is one of the country's star beaches, the colorful reefs of Mindoro and Tubbataha are spectacular as are the coral gardens of Anilao. The most daring can even live the experience of swimming with whale sharks in Donsol.
For those who prefer a more relaxed plan, it is possible to dive to find hidden treasures such as the relics of the Japanese ship Olympia Maru.
The Philippines is perfect for traveling with friends or as a couple
It is a great place to meet in company and delve into its essence. Here travelers can swim with sharks, explore desert islands, dive in extraordinary places, climb volcanoes, enjoy views of ancient terraced rice fields, or venture into the jungle to meet tribes.
A very hospitable country
Filipinos are very caring people who are immediately interested in the people they meet. Their character is open and friendly so it is easy to start a conversation with them and get to know them more closely.
Tagalog is not difficult to learn if you are good at languages. When the Spanish arrived in the Philippines, the indigenous people had no words for many things such as the hours or the days of the week. That is why they adapted the Hispanic sounds to their language. Some examples are fork, jan, or car.
Philippine cuisine is highly influenced by both Southeast Asian and Hispanic cuisines. As a general rule, Filipinos eat three meals a day: almusal (breakfast), tanghalian (lunch) and hanupan (dinner), although in the afternoon they also have an aperitif called meryenda, which is based on buns or chocolates.
Rice is the essential ingredient in Philippine cuisine as it is eaten with every meal And they love it so much that even American fast food restaurants serve it up with hamburgers.
In Philippine cuisine, the Spanish left their mark throughout their three centuries of colonization by introducing ingredients such as tomatoes, corn, and garlic. as well as elaboration techniques among which stews, marinades, marinades and the preparation of sausages stand out. In fact, there are even Filipino chorizo!
As traditional dishes we can mention the malabon pancit, whose base is noodles, onion, pepper and tomato; the suman, rice balls wrapped in banana leaves; and kare kare, an oxtail stew with fish sauce.
Many desserts are made with the delicious Filipino mango, which as a curiosity, became part of the Guinness record as the juiciest and sweetest fruit in the world. Although probably the most popular dish is the halo-halo that contains a medley of ingredients with sweet potato, chickpeas, coconut, rice, caramelised banana and crushed ice.
Philippines for ecotourists
Tourists who come to the Philippines do so with the intention of living unique experiences such as swimming with sharks, exploring desert islands, diving in extraordinary places, climbing volcanoes, enjoying the views of ancient terraced rice fields or venturing into the jungle to meet them. of tribes.
For example, Bohol's Chocolate Hills (made up of 1268 symmetrical mountains) and Banaue's rice terraces (built over two thousand years ago) are landscapes that seem out of another world.
In addition, the more adventurous will enjoy taking an excursion to any of the volcanoes scattered throughout the archipelago. Some examples are the imposing Mount Pinaturbo or the Taal volcano, the smallest in the Philippines.
City dwellers will enjoy the Philippines too
Manila, the capital of the Philippines, is a city of enormous contrasts. Here the modern mixes with the traditional, poverty with wealth and the conventional with the exotic.
The American influence in the Philippines is evident although traces of Spain are still perceived in Manila, be it in every street, square, church or museum. In this way, it is very curious to walk through the streets of Tetuán or Dasariñas as well as visit the first Asian university which was founded by the Spanish (Universidad de Santo Tomás) or read commemorative plaques in Spanish.
During rush hours it is advisable to avoid traffic and take a walk around the inner city walls, which allow us to soak up the Spanish past of the Philippines. Here the traveler will find numerous artisan shops and large interior patios in which to take a break from the chaos of cars that is experienced outside.
Some of the Most interesting places to visit in Manila are: the University of Santo Tomás, the Fort of Santiago, the Manila Cathedral, the Church of San Agustín or the Sanctuary of San Antonio, among many others.