There are stunning beaches and 7107 islands to choose.
You cannot help but picture the Philippines as island life. Generally laidback, stable and safe you are guaranteed to have a fantastic time soaking in the natural wonders, colourful history, tropical warm weather as well as the beautiful islands that are scattered all over the country. Aside from the language Tagalog, English is also widely spoken.
The country is hugely popular for its beaches. The best months to visit the beaches are between January to May, although it does get noisy between April and May because of the school holidays. Worst months to visit are October to December.
Boracay Island is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. The tranquil atmosphere with its exceptionally white and soft sand has been rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world. Simply fly from Manila to neighbouring Panay Island, and then take 20 minutes by boat to reach Boracay. Malapascua Island, situated at the northeast tip of Cebu Island, has been touted as the new Boracay with its crystal clear water and laidback resort-style while Bantayan Island, Cebu, is definitely not trailing behind, looking almost like paradise on earth. Palawan Island on the other hand, has become synonymous with spectacular dives so discover the seascapes and pristine beaches which are bathed in sunshine, for an unforgettable experience.
1 Bantayan Island, Cebu
2 Boracay, Aklan
3 Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley
4 El Nido, Palawan
5 Panglao, Bohol
Shopping is an experience you cannot miss. When it comes to handicrafts, there is a wide variety to choose from, such as place mats, abaca hats, coasters, shell wind chimes, bamboo trays and ceramic pots. Don’t forget to get some Philippine baskets, which are now being exported and found in many fashion capitals of the world, because of its unique design and streamlining. Woodcarving is another must-buy item when you visit the country. These handicrafts make great souvenirs for friends and relatives or even just as a memento of your visit to the country.
With the help of former First Lady, Imelda Marcos, the Philippines is no longer a stranger when it comes to shoes and bags. Marikina, Rizal is the traditional bag and shoes capital of the country, producing fashionable footwear with matching bags to keep up with the increasing demands of fashion items. For stylish yet inexpensive shoes, the Philippines offers a better buy than any other country in the world. You might also want to order custom-made shoes, if you are planning to stay longer.
Your shopping experience will not be complete without visiting shopping centres which offer equally great buys. For moderately priced items, there is the Araneta Shopping Complex in Cubao which has 2,000 stores to suit your tastes and preferences. For bargains and designer bags, check out the popular Greenhills Shopping Centre.
The famous Makati Commercial Center (MCC) in Makati is also another modern shopping district known to most locals and tourists alike. Shop till you drop at the selection of shops selling things ranging from everything you can think of and check out other shopping centres along the district such as Atrium Shopping Mall and Makati Cinema Square. SM City is also rising in popularity. This shopping haven allows shoppers the convenience of purchasing almost everything under one roof, which also includes an ice-skating rink for a good time with the kids.
Filipino cuisine blends influences from multiple continents. Colonists from Spain brought distinctly different cuisines that drew from both Spanish and Mexican variations. Paprika, saffron and olive oil were introduced to the Philippines as local subjects learned to cook for their colonisers.
The staple of Filipino cuisine is white rice, which is typically served on the side. Coconut milk is often paired with rice to make a rich and lightly sweetened combination. Dipping sauces are an important addition, especially with fried dishes with which you may be served a side dish of vinegar. A mixture of fresh-squeezed lime juice and fish sauce is often served with seafood.
Pork is also another obsession with Filipinos, like the famous pork sausages called longanizas. However, when it comes to the cuisines of Southeast Asia, the Philippines is better known for balut (half-hatched duck eggs) and the local fast-food franchise Jollibee than any major gourmet cuisines.
Par with the greens
With its excellent climate, beautiful landscapes and attractive golf facilities, the Philippines makes an ideal country for the game of golf. The Irish were the first to introduce the game to the Filipinos and a club named Santa Barbara was then established in 1908. Fast forward to the 21st century, and golf courses have now become a common sight in the country, especially since they are also largely affordable.
The most prestigious international and local tournaments like the Johnnie Walker Classic, the World Amateur Golf Championships, Asian PGA as well as the Philippine Open, which is one of the world’s longest running men’s golf tournaments, have all been hosted in the country.
Camp John Hay Golf Club
Loakan Road, Baguio City, 2600 Philippines
Tel: (074) 444 2131
Take your game to new heights at an altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level. Experience the challenge of one of the best golf courses in the Philippines. The Par 69 18 hole golf course was designed to live and breathe through its natural beauty which consists of hills, sparkling lakes, mature foliage and a towering pine trees a composition designed by Jack Nicklaus’ Golden Bear International. Prepare to be blown away by the picturesque and breathtaking view.
Bonifacio Drive Cor. Aduana St.
Port Area, Intramuros, 1002 Manila
Tel: (02) 527 6613/527 8594
One of the oldest golf courses around, the par 66 course is ideal for busy golfers as it can be easily played in just two hours, making it a great early morning, afternoon or even a short evening match. However, bear in mind that it can also be a real test of your short game with either water, out of bounds or both nearly on every hole.
With beautiful beaches, golf courses, shopping hangouts as well as interesting cuisines, you’ll be wondering why this archipelago nation has been overlooked for so long. Visit the Philippines and find out the country’s appeal for yourself!