The Philippines Luxury Travel
An archipelago of 7000 islands, the Philippines lies in the Western Pacific of Southeast Asia. The location of this country is such that it sits on the ‘Ring of Fire’ which comprises around half the world’s 550 active volcanoes. Philippines itself is home to 20 active volcanoes. Being a nest of active volcanoes makes it a country with rich reservoirs of minerals and the second largest gold deposit in the world. Philippines comprises a coastline of about 36,289 kilometers, which makes it the 5th longest coastline in the world.
The country is a melting pot of cultures and celebrates all the festivals of Christian, Muslim and Chinese holidays in a big way, observing these as national holidays. Being also the world’s third largest Catholic Nation, the Filipinos still practice Catholicism strictly. Christmas is celebrated in a grand way from September to Epiphany. Filipinos are sweet and upbeat and welcome visitors in a warm way. Filipino and English are the official languages here.
What the country is the emerald green rice fields, pristine beaches, tropical rain forests, smoldering volcanoes, chocolate hills and breathtaking flora and fauna. To complement this, the country is rich in its culture and heritage. Being one of the most striking aspects of its tradition is that divorce is illegal in the Philippines. Replete with natural wonders, historical landmarks, and unlimited attractions, the Philippines make an idealistic destination for travelers who seek adventure, nature and unique culture.
The capital of the Philippines is at once a global mega city and a smattering of neighborhood localities. It is composed of 16 cities, with three main hubs: Manila, recently considered the most densely populated city center in the world; Quezon City, the government center and home to some of the country’s world-class universities; and Makati, the business district.
Created by the Spanish colonial government in the 16th century, Manila was governed by Madrid through Mexico, prompting historians to declare these three cities as the original Global Cities. What remains of the original walled city of Intramuros is today a popular tourism draw. But not far away are contemporary entertainment enclaves built on reclaimed land at the Manila Bay.
The Philippine metropolis offers top-notch shopping, performing and visual arts, cultural immersion, and rest and recreation. It is also a convenient jump-off point to nearby destinations — such as the lakeshore towns of Laguna de Bai known for their exquisite arts and crafts — and, as the country’s transport hub, to the rest of the archipelago.
What to Do in Manila
- Try the bamboo bike tours or ride the calesa (horse-drawn carriage) within the walled city of Intramuros.
- Hop on and off double-decker jeepneys with Jeepney Tours.
- Join one of the walking food tours, such as the Binondo Food Wok in Manila’s Chinatown and the Makati Food Walking Tour.
- Have your fill of Filipino food: lechon (roasted pig), adobo (meats stewed in vinegar and spices), and sinigang (sour soup) are favorite delicacies with countless variations throughout the country.
- Dive into Metro Manila’s vibrant nightlife. Some of its clubs and bars have been recognized in the Top 100 Clubs List in the past years.
- Go bar-hopping in very happening bars and clubs in Greenbelt, Makati and at the Bonifacio Global City.
- Visit Bonifacio High Street, the kilometer-long retail playground in Bonifacio Global City and discover one-of-a-kind diners, gallery-designed offices, fashionable boutiques, chef-owned restaurants, a talk-of-the-town urban amphitheater, interactive art pieces, and many more.
- Enjoy the Kultura Filipino Dinner and Cultural show at Barbara’s over wine and craft beer paired with legendary Filipino street food: balut (duck embryo), fishballs, and isaw (grilled chicken innards).
For several years now, Palawan in the Philippines continues to take pride of place in the annual “best” lists of such upscale travel magazines as Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and National Geographic Traveler.
And for the best of reasons: this archipelago of 1,780 islands and islets offers one-of-a-kind tropical adventures and astonishing vistas, including limestone bluffs rising from the sea, secluded sugar-fine white beaches, awesome scuba diving sites, and swathes of coral reefs and virgin forests, among other superlative treats.
What’s more, this island-province straddling the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea is not beset by tourist overcrowding…yet.
Boasting not just one but two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Palawan is a treasure trove of wildlife and biodiversity—and gentle, friendly people welcoming you to its thrilling seascapes and mountainscapes.
Palawan has a lot to offer for adventure seekers out there. From fun water activities such as snorkeling and diving to exciting island hopping and caving, the island has what it takes to keep any outsider want to stay.
What to Do in Palawan
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, at the St. Paul Mountain Range on the main island’s western coast, some 80 km. from the city center of Puerto Princesa, is the best way to start your Palawan adventure. You can paddle-boat your way through this underground river, which has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also included in the New-7-Wonders of Nature.A great side trip to the underwater river ride is a traipse to nearby Ugong Rock. The more adventurous travelers might wish to squeeze through its holes and cracks to reach the top of this 75-foot limestone formation jutting up the sea.Off Coron town in Busuanga Island are the Coron Reefs—ancient limestone cliffs quietly cradling seven lakes. The reefs not only teem with an amazing aquatic wildlife but they also offer dramatic dive sites: a dozen World War II Japanese shipwrecks, which Forbes Traveler Magazine selected as among the top 10 scuba sites in the world.
When you’re in an archipelago within an archipelago (a quarter of the 7,200 islands in the Philippines can be found in Palawan), you can have your fill of island-hopping, swimming, boating, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, hiking, caving, and camping in the great outdoors. You can go fishing, or pick sea shells in the shallows, or harvest sea weeds—and eat them, too. Or watch the locals scamper up sea-battered cliffs to harvest yummy birds’ nests.
Bohol is more than just the world-famous Chocolate Hills. But, yes, the hills are a must in your bucket list — if you want to imbibe how the world is truly filled with the grandeur of the One up there.
Then there are the tarsiers, those teeny-weeny, cutesy primates you can cuddle in the palm of your hand.
The 10th largest of the Philippines’s 7,200 islands, Bohol is an island-province with one city, 47 towns and 75 component islands strewn about it. That’s one too many incredibly amazing treats in a single travel package.
Pristine white beaches. Dive sites teeming with marine life. Jungle adventures. A bee farm eats-capade. Colonial stone churches. And people whose happiness are expressed memorably in their music, dances, visual arts and theater.
What to Do in Bohol
- Succumb to the magic of night kayaking in Maribojoc town and let the fireflies enchant you as they twinkle up your path.
- Take the whale-and-dolphin watching tour at Pamilacan Island, which includes swimming and snorkeling, aside from a picnic stop.
- Savor the teeming underwater world by scuba diving around such exquisite islands as Panglao, Pamilacan, Cabilao and Balicasag.
- Indulge in paddle boarding at the Loboc River. If you are more adventurous, you may wish to go upstream, where a waterfall awaits.
When Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler named Boracay the best island in the world, they were only reiterating what the world’s wild party people — that’s including the island’s fire-eating dancers — have known all these years: Bora is where it’s at!
The main action is at the White Beach, a 4-km stretch of white sand so fine you can inhale it when you lie down for some good old skin tanning. On this stretch are bars and restaurants and hotels and shopping centers that ensure endless, exciting people traffic.
The Philippine government temporarily closed Boracay for six months for “rehabilitation,” and reopened it with stern guidelines ensuring ecological sustainability. Now, it’s back to being the number one tourist attraction in the archipelago of 7,200 islands.
A very happening island destination in Asia and the Pacific, Cebu offers idyllic beach getaways and popular diving spots, thrilling eco-adventures and extreme sports, heart-stopping Instagram-worthy festivals, and state-of-the-art shopping and nightlife.
This island-province throbs with history, too. Its capital, Cebu City, is the oldest city in the Philippines. Said to be the “cradle of Christianity in Asia,” it takes pride in its homegrown saint, San Pedro Calungsod.
Today, Cebu is a global hub for business and design. International luxury magazines turn the spotlight on Kenneth Cobonpue’s cutting-edge bamboo furniture and Monique Lhuillier’s intimate fashion apparel. Phone calls from around the world are processed in Cebu’s thriving BPOs, better known locally as call centers, staffed by highly educated graduates from Cebu City’s top-caliber schools and universities.
What to Do in Cebu
- Go to Oslob town and dive with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the world.
- For extreme sports enthusiasts, strap yourself up and walk on the see-through glass floor at the edge of the 38th floor of the Crown Regency in downtown Cebu City, some 127 meters up the street. Or take the zip line that swings you 500 feet up in the air.
- Have a beer at the Tops Lookout above Lahug district. It has a breathtaking view of the city, the sea and the neighboring islands.
- Do some island hopping! Try the twin Camotes Islands or Bantayan Island, whose fiesta is on Good Friday.
- Try scuba diving at, say, the marine sanctuaries at Hilutungan and Nalusuan, and get up close and personal with thresher sharks and mandarin fish, among others.
Once known as the largest city in the world, Davao City has now slipped to second place — and that’s still quite a global badge of honor, too.
Consider: In the Asean growth corridor called the BIMP-EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area), the Philippine point of entry is not Manila but Davao City.
It is the home of the monkey-eating Philippine Eagle, whose wing span is a mind-boggling stretch.
Here, you can climb the highest peak in the Philippines, Mt. Apo. Along the way are unbelievably generous harvests of tropical fruits, foremost of which is the durian, from the Malay, meaning, “the thorny fruit.”
We haven’t even mentioned the beaches. And the mouthwatering seafood. Plus the sizzling nightlife.
What’s more, Davao City throbs with its world-class multicultural diversity.
What to Do in Davao
- Climb Mount Apo. At 10,311 feet above sea level, this is the highest peak in the Philippines — welcoming backpackers and mountaineers from all over the world.
- Bask in the very happening nightlife at Matina Town Square, where you can catch performances by the legendary Kaliwat performing arts group and the all-female Mebuyan band, named after the local goddess of fertility.
- Have your fill of durian coffee at BluGre Café.
- Try the sinuglaw (grilled meats mixed with bite sizes of raw fish seasoned with vinegar and spices) and grilled tuna jaw at the eateries along Roxas Avenue.
- Savor superb culinary delights at Balik Bukid, Saging Repablik, Rekado, Tiny Kitchen, Marina Tuna, Cecil’s Snack Inn and Bakeshop, Swiss Deli, Claude’s Le Café de Ville and Lachi’s Sans Rival Atbp.
Tourists can visit the Philippines without a visa if staying in the country for 21 days or less; provided tourists have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months and a return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside the Philippines. If you wish to stay longer you must obtain a Visa Extension either before your trip from a Philippine Consulate or Embassy. Or, once in the country, you may obtain it from the Bureau of Immigration.
Nationals from countries (click list) who are travelling to the Philippines for business and tourism purposes are allowed to enter the Philippines without visas for a stay not exceeding twenty-one (21) days, provided they hold valid tickets for their return journey to port of origin or next port of destination and their passports valid for a period of at least six (6) months beyond the contemplated period of stay. However, Immigration Officers at ports of entry may exercise their discretion to admit holders of passports valid for at least sixty (60) days beyond the intended period of stay.
Upon Arriving: Visitors are allowed to bring in duty free personal belongings, two cartons of cigarettes or two tins of pipe tobacco and up to one liter of alcohol. Balikbayans have separate rules and should check with the Embassy or Consulate in their home city.
The currency in the Philippines is the Peso (PhP) and the Centavo. 100 centavos = P1. Coin denominations are: 1, 5, 10, and 25 centavos, P1, and P5. Bill denominations are : 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1, 000 pesos.
Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced.
Most large stores, restaurants , hotels and resorts accept major credit cards including American Express , Visas and MasterCard. Traveler’s checks preferably American Express are accepted at hotels and large department stores. Personal checks drawn on foreign banks are generally not accepted.
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