Spotlight on The Philippines
There are plenty of natural wonders in the Philippines - dramatic waterfalls, beautiful beaches, ancient rice terraces, hills resembling chocolate drops, reefs teeming with aquatic life. The real natural wonder of the Philippines is its outgoing people, who are puzzled by loners and prefer company nearly everywhere they go. The Bayanihan communal spirit holds Filipinos together, and they extend it to visitors as well. The Philippines is the country to make friends and learn about people. Travel can be risky in the southern islands and in some rural areas, but the majority of the Philippines - particularly the tourist areas - are considered safe for travelers.
Manila is the heartbeat of the Philippines. Multi-faceted, multi-layered, lusty and lively, it is the seat of government and center of arts and education. It is a city of contrasts and contradictions. Here streets pulsate with life at all hours; within its boundaries live the richest and poorest in the country. Occupied over decades by Spanish, Americans, British and Japanese, East meets West, giving the city a unique character. The Walled City, a medieval fortified town, was the heart and soul of the country for more than 300 years. This city fortress, surrounded by moats and turreted walls 30 feet thick, was known as Intramuros and comprises Fort Santiago, Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church - suggested priorities on any visitor’s itinerary. Manila attracts migrants who arrive from throughout to study or seek work. The cosmopolitan air in this fascinating city comes from its substantial Chinese and other foreign communities, busy port, multi-national corporations and constant flow of tourists. Other sights to see include Manila Cathedral, the Coconut Palace, and the National Museum.
Romblon - Amid beautiful landscapes and seascapes, Romblon offers beaches, snorkeling and hiking. It is often called Marble Island; the marble deposits form the basis of Romblon’s local industry. The port town, a quaint mixture of colonial-style architecture and nipa-roofed houses, is surrounded by steep bluffs and noted as one of the safest natural harbors in the Philippines. Major points of interest include a lively market, the 1726 cathedral with its fine interior and the hilltop Fort San Andres - a navigational station for the Weather Bureau with a lookout over town and nearby beaches. Browse through the many workshops and stores and check out the various souvenirs crafted from marble. A 25-mile road circles the island, with a good part of it requires hiking without a tricycle or jeep. Romblon’s pristine state is its primary attraction.
Corregidor Island is a small rocky island in the Philippines about 48 kilometers west of Manila which is stragetically located at the entrance of Manila Bay. This island fortress stands as a memorial for the courage, valor, and heroism of its Filipino and American defenders who bravely held their ground against the overwhelming number of invading Japanese forces during World War II.
Cebu - On April 8, 1521 Ferdinand Magellan landed in Cebu and opened a trade route that is still followed today. The cross Magellan planted here still stands and has become one of Cebu's most recognized and famous landmarks. Colonized by Spain in the 16th century, many houses, churches and municipal buildings still stand from that era. Aside from historical landmarks, the area is home to beautiful beaches that are perfect for snorkeling, diving and windsurfing.
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