16.07.11 Philippines – the magical land of paradise islands!
Paradise bliss on the shores of the turquoise ocean on the white sand, which resembles powdered sugar, in the shade of coconut palms under the gentle tropical sun – all this is not an illusion, but reality! If you vacation in the Philippines!
Tours in the Philippines.
It has everything a tourist needs: and cool mountains with pine slopes, and snow-white beaches with hundreds of dive spots, and active volcanoes, and luxury spa hotels, and even bamboo bungalows on the ocean for a few dollars.
The Philippines (a country of 7,107 islands) is a unique place to vacation, both in the most upscale hotels with excellent service and in tropical bungalows alone with nature. If you want to become the full owner of a fairy-tale island for a few days, the Philippines is ideal for this desire.
The Republic of the Philippines is located in the western Pacific Ocean, between the southern tip of China and the northern islands of Borneo. The largest islands are Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol and Masbate. Most of the rest are very small and do not even have names.
The legendary volcanoes Apo (2594 m), Mayon (2462 m) and Taal (350 m) – the smallest active volcano on earth, man-made rice terraces, which are over 2000 years and are called the eighth wonder of the set, islands Palawan province, recognized nature reserve of world significance – all this will not impress any traveler!
Flora and fauna of the Philippines is considered incredibly rich and diverse. If you are lucky, you will meet a funny tiny monkey – tarsier, with huge, saucer-like eyes, the world’s smallest deer canchil (only 30 cm in height) and Philippine eagle, which is listed in the Red Book and is also one of the national symbols of the country. All these rare fauna inhabits the Philippines. As well as many other animals and birds.
The underwater world of the Philippine Islands is no less unique: you can see a variety of corals, colorful tropical fish, dolphins, tiger and whale sharks, sea turtles, dugongs. To see the dugong (a huge mammal from the group of sirens) is considered a great success.
More than a hundred ethnic groups live on the territory of the Philippines. Each has its own language, its own historical and cultural traditions. At the same time, the dominant languages are Tagalog and English. The latter is also the official state language. But at the same time many Filipinos speak Spanish… Filipinos are an unusual people. The legacy of Chinese and Malay cultures, as well as Spanish and American influences, have made Filipinos unique in their own way.
This country is known for its talented artists and musicians, as well as skilled craftsmen. Their work deserves the attention of visitors to the island nation. Traditional metal embossing, wood carving, beadwork, household and ceremonial objects and much more are on the list of must-have souvenirs that tourists take away from the Philippines. They take away and vivid memories of the local nature, distinctive culture and way of life. About cockfighting and the national dance with bamboo poles (tinikling). About arnis martial arts, kite festivals and sipa (a type of volleyball). Houses on stilts with carved eaves. Hilers who perform surgeries without the use of surgical instruments. And fantastic beaches.
The many activities that are offered in the Philippines, like almost everyone without exception. For active people – surfing, diving, tracking… For those who came to bask and enjoy the peace – the beautiful beaches and really ideal conditions for a complete relaxation… Plus – friendly, hospitable, excellent service and prices that pleasantly surprise Europeans…
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Philippines, Bohol. Philippine tarsiers (tarsiers).
The Philippine tarsier is a tiny animal that lives on several islands in the southern part of the Philippine archipelago, it is endemic and threatened.
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5 Philippine Islands in One Journey
We continue to tell you about beautiful islands around the world. From white-sand beaches and turquoise waterfalls to swimming with sharks and a sanctuary with cute longhorn monkeys, there are five ways to vacation in the Philippines.
Luzon Island. Manila.
For the unsophisticated tourist who is first time in Asia, the Philippine capital Manila will probably cause unpleasant emotions in the first minutes. The filth, the incredibly acrid “aromas”, people sleeping on the sidewalks, the crazy concentration of CO2 in the air, children beggars washing right on the roadway. There’s no point in staying long in stuffy Manila. All of the city’s attractions can be visited in a day.
Intramuros Fortress. Here you can feel the atmosphere of a real medieval Spanish city, visit the Casa Manila Museum and the oldest building in Manila – San Augustin Cathedral. You can get from any part of the city by cab or jeepney (local shuttle buses).
“Living” North Cemetery (1721 Cavite, Santa Cruz, Manila, 1014 Metro Manila) . An incredible juxtaposition of the living and the dead in Manila’s famed North Cemetery. For every million dead there are 10 thousand alive and totally happy people. The fact is that in the Philippines, people are not buried in the ground, but in crypts, which are used as a home by the living. The tombstone becomes a table or a bed, and the relatives of the deceased charge a fee for renting the crypt. To get here a tourist must get a special permit from the local authorities and pay € 2 for one day to visit the cemetery.
SM Mall of Asia (Main Mall, SM Central Business Park Bay City, 123 MM, Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila) is one of the largest hypermarkets in the world. If you are a fanatic about shopping, this is the place for you! This is also the place to pick up some souvenirs at the end of your trip.
Language. Everyone speaks English.
Money Exchange. The best exchange rate will be in the airport in Manila.
Local communications. You can buy a local SIM card with unlimited Internet right at the airport for € 16.
Winter gear. The luggage room at Domodedovo Airport will charge €3.50 per day for each person. So you can carry them with you and store them at the local hotel for three weeks for only € 3.
Cabs. Traffic in Manila is terrible, so calculate the time with plenty of reserve. Cab drivers don’t always know their way around even in their own neighborhood.
Street thieves. In Manila, do not carry a phone in your hand or bag on your shoulder.
Palawan Island. El Nido
The Puerto Princesa airport is greeted by unfriendly posters that read, “Danger! Dengue!” – That’s how you’re warned about Dengue fever. The infection is carried by mosquitoes, so mosquito repellent (sold everywhere for €2) should always be with you. Puerto Princesa is a transit point, there is nothing to see here. You can get to El Nido for € 12 and 5 hours by minibus along a steep serpentine road. There is no need to look for transport, it will find you right outside the airport.
Tours. Everyone comes to El Nido to take tours. There are only four of them (called A, B, C, D). They all involve a group of tourists taking a boat ride on islands with white floury sand and blue water, snorkeling, kayaking, and dining under the open sky. Tours cost around €20.
Nacpan Beach (El Nido, Palawan) . You can get here in 30 minutes, renting a scooter or by tricycle. Come here for the scenic view and a standard beach vacation. On the way to the beach, you can check out Nagkalit-kalit waterfall.
Las Cabanas Beach (Taytay – El Nido National Hwy, El Nido, Palawan) . You can get there by tricycle in 10 minutes and € 2. On the beach a lot of cafes. You can ride a zipline for € 5.
Laundry. Given the peculiarities of the climate (high humidity, things do not dry), the local laundromats – the salvation for the tourist. Things are taken by kilogram. The cost of washing of 1 kg of things – € 0,5. Turnaround time is 1 day.
Shoes for the sea. If you plan to go on tours, special rubber slippers are a must. You can buy them on the spot for € 8.
The island of Cebu. Moalboal, Oslob.
Cebu is Manila’s twin brother. Dirt, traffic, high-rises and big shopping malls. From the airport you move to the bus station, from where you will make your way through the jungle and waterfalls to the famous whale sharks. The transfer from Cebu Airport to the South Bus Station is by cab for 40 minutes and €8-10.
Kawasan Falls (Badian, 6031 Cebu) . At the bus station you take the bus to Moalboal. The ticket costs € 1 and travel time is 4 hours. From Moalbola you can catch a bus to Oslob for the same price (€ 1). It takes two hours to get to the waterfalls. Kawasan Falls is a three-stage cascade of clear turquoise water from mountain springs, located in the jungle of the island of Cebu. There you can also take part in an extreme descent through the rapids (canyoning) for € 16 or just stand under the pressure on a bamboo raft for € 5.
Great Whale Shark (Natalio Bacalso Avenue, Oslob, 6023 Cebu) . The bus from the waterfalls to Oslob (where the great whale sharks live) costs 1 €, travel time 2 hours. If you ask the conductor, it will stop at the most convenient hotel.
There are several ways to see whale sharks:
1. View from a boat. (€ 10). The cheapest and most boring option. You just watch the feeding from the boat.
2. Swim with sharks. (€ 16). From the boat you jump into the water. From there you can do whatever you want – swim, dive, take pictures, look into the huge mouth, lie on the bottom or hang out on the boat, looking at the beautiful sharks swimming by. Freediving with whale sharks is also included in this option.
3. Diving. (€ 25). You dive to the bottom and look at the silhouettes swimming overhead. The sharks are near the surface almost all the time, so divers look wistfully from the bottom, unable to maneuver between the huge fish.
The whale shark swim lasts 30 minutes. A mask and vest are included, and flippers and underwater video footage are extra.
Bus. There are no bus stops as such. Therefore, to stop the bus, you need to raise your hand. It is better to ask the conductor to show you right away where you have to get off.
From Oslob you can sail to Bohol Island. Travel time is 5 hours, cost €15, transportation is a motorboat with a canopy. People come to Bohol to do scuba diving and wander in nature reserves. And even if diving is not part of your plans, the journey among the endless rice fields and rooster farms will not leave anyone indifferent. A visit to the reserve with the longhorn monkeys and the chocolate hills is considered a must for all tourists who get here. And once you’ve explored these places, head back to Cebu to fly to Boracay Island from there. You can get to Tagbilaran port by jeepney (local shuttle buses) in 30 minutes and €2. The journey to Cebu on the comfortable ferry Ocean Jet for € 11 will take two and a half hours.
Philippine Tarsier Sanctuary (Loay Interior Road, Loboc, Bohol) . Tarsiers, aka tarsiers, are primates, but look like small lemurs. They live only in Southeast Asia (Philippines, Indonesia) and are listed in the Red Book. From Alona Beach to the reserve with tersiers about 30 km. You can get there by scooter. Rent a scooter for a day will cost € 6, gasoline at € 2. For the opportunity to look at cute animals you will have to pay another € 3. The reserve is open from 9 am until 16 pm.
Chocolate Hills (Loay Interior Road, Loboc, Bohol) . The hills are called chocolate hills because of their brown coloring in the spring and also because of their unusual shape, which resembles giant-sized truffles. From the reserve with tersiers to the hills is about 40 km. Entrance to the observation deck € 3.
Scooter rental. When renting a scooter you will be asked to leave your passport or driver’s license as a deposit. Don’t leave the documents themselves: better to make photocopies in advance and give them back.
A waterproof cover. Since the rains in the tropics are unpredictable, it makes sense to buy a waterproof case for your phone and documents.
Boats. It’s important to know that the bigger the boat you’re sailing in, the farther from shore it stops. Prepare to walk a couple of dozen meters to the shore waist-deep in water.
Boracay is the most touristy island in the Philippines. Come here mostly for beach holidays. The island is very small (7 km by 1 km), so travel by transport is very short and inexpensive. The center of the island is filled with hotels, and the perimeter are free beaches. However, for the next six months, the island will not be available to tourists.
White Beach (Balabag, Malay, Aklan Province 5608) . A calling card of the island. Regularly gets into the top ten beaches in the world. Along the coast many cafes and hotels. The beach itself is crowded, with white sand and smooth entrance to the water.
Puka Beach (Puka Shell Beach, Maley, Aklan) . In contrast to the White Beach is quite deserted. Along the beach you will find a couple of cafes and almost no tourists. There are no hotels nearby either. The waves on this beach are always high. You can get here from White Beach with a tricycle for €2.
The beach Bulabog Beach (Bulabog Beach Malei, Aklan) . A specialized beach, home to kite surfers and windsurfers. Along the beach there are many schools with Russian speaking guides, who will teach you the basics of parachuting for a couple of days and € 60. You can reach the White Beach on foot in a couple of minutes.
Talipapa fish market (D*talipapa Maley, Aklan) . Shrimp, crabs, lobsters, scallops, fish, sea urchins – not a complete list of goodies sold here. There are many small cafes around the market where the seafood you buy will be cooked to your liking. For example lobster will cost you €16 and cooking it will cost you €2. It is worth noting that the prices here will be much lower than in the cafes and restaurants on the White Beach.