Photos and Info provided by Philippine Tourism
Resplendent with natural and cultural wonders, the Philippines is truly a unique destination that is both exotic and international. Blessed with a tropical climate that lures visitors all year-round, the Philippines has a wide array of destinations within the destination, with Filipino legendary hospitality that always comes with the warmest smiles. The Philippine culture is rich in customs and traditions reflecting the complexity of its history through a combination of cultures and foreign influences. Filipino hospitality is legendary and the attitude towards foreigners is said to be exceptional that even the humblest home can serve as a shelter for a tired and hungry stranger.
Influences on Filipino cuisine from foreign cultures helped to create an interesting blend flavored by a rich variety of herbs and spices found all over the islands. Tropical fruits and vegetables grown in the mountains and plains, along with fish, meat and poultry are a major part of the Filipino diet…and rice is a staple!
Filipino legend says that when the gods created the first Philippine island they had “so much fun” they decided to create 7,000 more! And what better time to begin to visit and explore just a few of the popular destinations you wouldn’t want to miss in the Philippines than right here in our Winter Holiday issue! So pack some warm weather clothes, here we go!
An exciting, colorful and complex metropolis, metropolitan Manila is made up of 14 cities and 3 municipalities. It is the political, economic, social, educational, and cultural hub of the Philippines. Historic, bustling, and awe-inspiring, Metro Manila is a blend of cultures and flavors that offers endless servings of places to see, sights to behold, and experiences you will never forget.
In the heart of Manila is “Intramuros”, the walled city built in 1571 during the colonization by Spain, comprising European buildings, churches, and a fort. Here you’ll see the grand Manila Cathedral, seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, along with the baroque church of San Augustin, which can be found on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Along the northern bank of the historic Pasig River is Chinatown, a symbol of the long history of Chinese presence in the Philippines long before the arrival of the Spaniards. Today, it is an important business center and a primary bargain shopping destination.
Nightlife in Manila offers everything from dazzling cultural shows and events to dance clubs, casinos, entertainment lounges and fashionable cafes. Our top 3 “must-do’s” when in Manila include a stroll along Roxas Boulevard to catch the famous Manila Bay sunset, a walking tour of Binondo, Manila’s Chinatown, and shopping for handcraft bargains in the market under the Quiapo Bridge.
The country’s oldest city and the seat of Christianity, Cebu is known as the Queen City of the south, a city with a rich, historic past. Cebuanos are proud of their cultural and historical heritage, a legacy which has endured through the centuries…from the time the great explorer Ferdinand Magellan first planted the cross on Cebu’s shores.
From what began as a busy trading post in 1521, Cebu has evolved into a highly urbanized metropolitan center which now serves as a focal point of growth and development in southern Philippines.
In contrast to its bustling metropolis and glittering nightlife, the rest of Cebu, together with its 167 islets and islands, is lined with serene white sandy beaches, where you just might find yourself staring quietly out to sea for hours. Cebu is also known worldwide for its fantastic diving grounds.
Our top 3 “must-do’s” while enjoying Cebu include seeing the cross Ferdinand Magellan planted way back in 1521, view amazing bird life at the Olango Wildlife Sanctuary, do some shopping at the incredible markets of Carbon, Guilla, or Taboan.
One of the most beautiful island provinces, Bohol is blessed with undulating verdant hills, waterfalls, serene rivers, mangrove forests, undisturbed wildlife, luminous white sand beaches, and picturesque offshore islets. Bohol boasts an undersea panorama of stunning coral gardens vivid with tropical marine life. And with more than one hundred caves in its mountainous interior, Bohol is ideal for spelunkers and trekkers.
As a historical and cultural destination, Bohol’s 16th century watchtowers and ancient coral stone churches with gilded altars and priceless icons are truly amazing attractions. Their historical significance extends way back to 1565 and the Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
A natural wonder you will find in Bohol are the 1,268 perfectly cone-shaped, grass-covered hills that turn brown during the summer months. Hence, they are named the Chocolate Hills.
Our top 3 “must-do’s” in Bohol include swimming with a passing school of dolphins in Cabilao, enjoying a fascinating boat ride in the serene waters of Loboc River, and catch a performance of the world-famous Loboc Children’s Choir.
Dazzling powder-like sand beaches lined with palm trees, splendid sunshine, and warm crystalline waters…this is Boracay. The best part of the island is the four-kilometer White Beach. Hailed as the “finest beach in the world”, its sand is so fine, it feels like walking on kilometers of baby powder!
Days can be spent simply lying on the beach or joining in the dozens of activities available near the ocean’s roar. Nights are for indulging in the tropical party lifestyle, where the dress code is strictly informal.
Boracay has an undeniably easy atmosphere feel where walking barefoot is the rule, rather than the exception. Even the discos have the beach for a floor, giving dancing a whole new twist. Having a soothing massage under the shade of a coconut tree beside the shoreline is a common sight.
Our top 3 “must-do’s” in Boracay include trekking or biking to the quaint interior villages, take a sunset cruise in a paraw, Boracay’s signature sailboat, and be sure to sample some of the local food favorites: chori burger, charbroiled chicken, and a halo-halo sandwich.
The more than 1,780 islands and islets of Palawan can be described as a bewitching landscape of storied lagoons and bays hiding ancient shipwrecks, unchartered mountains, mangrove swamps, along with hidden pockets of lush forest and deserted islets ringed by kaliedoscopic sea gardens. The island province of Palawan has been declared as a nature sanctuary of the world. It is surrounded by a coral shelf that abounds with a varied, colorful marine life. It boasts an exotic flora and fauna, including the bearcat, mousedeer and the scaly anteater, that are found nowhere else.
Palawan waters are among the best in the world, not only for diving, but also for fishing. It is in these waters where one can find the sea cow, “dugong”, known as the world’s rarest marine mammal. It is also in Palawan’s waters where rare golden pearls are cultured.
Asian Fusion’s top 3 “must-do’s” in Palawan include seeing the astonishing seascapes of El Nido Island, catch a glimpse of the Philippine Eagle, the world’s largest, in Malagos, and take an unforgettable subterranean river tour at the Puerto Princesa National Park, listed as a World Heritage site.