FORCE OF NATURE
Adventure awaits you among the must-see marvels of the Philippines
DID YOU KNOW that the Philippines is made up of more than 7,000 islands? An archipelago divided into three main regions – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – the country is enveloped by the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Bashi Channel to the north, and the Sulu and Celebes Seas to the south. From remote tropical islands to vibrant cosmopolitan cities, the Philippines has something for every type of traveller, and its alluringly unique geographical make-up makes it a one-ofa-kind paradise begging to be explored.
A WAY WITH WATER
Together, the Philippine islands create an incredible stretch of coastline more than 15,500km long; wherever you find yourself exploring, you’ll never be more than two hours away from one of the country’s idyllic beaches. Its eclectic coast and crystalclear waters teeming with sealife have earned it a reputation as Asia’s diving capital, and offer unrivalled opportunities for underwater adventures. Dive among dazzling coral reefs in a World Heritage site, discover hidden World War II relics and swim alongside a mesmerising array of fish.
The Philippines’ waters are home to more than 500 species of coral, 21,000 species of shellfish and an astonishing variety of wildlife, from sharks, stingrays, octopus and moray eels to parrot fish, tuna, sweetlips and lionfish. Whether you’re a water-sports fanatic or prefer taking in the views from the shore – or a boat – the coast is irresistible to every visitor. The province of Palawan in particular is celebrated for its stunning seascapes and white-sand beaches, which make it a fantastic spot for snorkelling, and island-hopping is a must to experience the full beauty of this part of the Philippines.
LAND OF PLENTY
Abundant in natural treasures, the Philippines isn’t short of things to see and do inland either. In fact, the country was named the best place in the world for exploring Mother Nature in a study published by lastminute.com. In the province of Cagayan, you’ll find Claveria, a municipality encompassing emerald mountains, rugged, unspoiled coastline and lush jungle. Elsewhere, the seven-chambered Callao Cave is a sight to behold, while a scenic boat ride down the Pinacanauan River, a tributary of the Cagayan River that passes through the Peñablanca Protected Landscape and Seascape, is another must-do. For a captivating dose of history and culture, head to Cagayan’s capital, Tuguegarao City.
Other natural – and man-made – wonders that decorate the Philippines include the much-photographed rice terraces of Banaue and Bucari; Bohol island’s Chocolate Hills – grassy mounds that rise above the treetops and turn brown in the summer; hundreds of volcanoes, such as Mount Pinatubo and Mount Mayon (around
20 are still active); the Puerto-Princesa Underground River; and a mix of awesome limestone rock formations. There really is nowhere else quite like the Philippines.