With over 7000 islands, there are no lack of things to do when you travel the Philippines. Most people start in Manila to wander the breezy parks, soaring skyscrapers, old colonial homes, and lively bars and nightclubs. From here, the choice is whether to go north to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Banuae rice fields, a stunning range of stepped rice hills spiraling down the mountains in emerald green swirls, or south to the Visayas and Mindanao, where amazing beaches lie waiting for intrepid travelers to stroll the deserted sands.
Cebu and Boracay lure in droves of tourists every year for their amazing white sand beaches and ocean side seafood restaurants and barbecues. Batangas and Donsol are prime Philippine diving spots where underwater explorers can visit fascinating wrecks, and swim next to whale sharks. And Palawan is as of yet unspoiled with pristine beaches and crystal clear lagoon, although that may change soon now that the breathtaking rock formations and underground river of Puerto Princessa Subterranean Park have been named one of the official 7 natural wonders of the world.
In addition to fabulous sights and natural wonders, the Philippines has an incredibly diverse mix of people, with over 100 different ethnic groups, and a rich cultural heritage of Asian and Western fusion in the arts, food and history of the region. Catholicism reigns supreme here, as do traditional animist religions, and it is easy to find festivals, celebrations and ceremonies year round on the numerous islands. In addition, besides speaking the national language of Tagalog, many Filipinos speak English, especially in the bigger cities, making this an easy place to travel around.
Foodies will love the excellent dishes on offer around the country, ranging from traditional adobo soup, a meat stew with vinegar and soy sauce as a base, garlicky rice and noodle dishes influenced by the Chinese, and hearty pastries, soups and breads, remnants of the Portuguese, Spanish, and American presence. And nearly everywhere you go, delicious street food can be found in almost any town and city, along with fresh tropical fruit, delicious seafood and icy cold San Miguel beer.
With such incredible diversity in people, landscapes, food and culture, travel in the Philippines is never dull. And if you find yourself getting bored, simply move on to the next island for a completely different experience.