Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Visiting the Philippines but not sure where to go? There are so many islands and so many cities to choose from. Here are 5 great Philipines destinations to help narrow it down a bit.

Cebu or the "Queen City of the South" is the oldest city in the Philippines, the first Spanish settlement and home to some of the country's most iconic heritage buildings. When exploring the city there is a great sense of historical legacy and culture. Uncover the city's past and visit some of these historical landmarks.

Basilica del Santo Nino - A church dating back to to the early 1500's and the country's oldest religious relic, a statue of the baby Jesus. A beautiful old building with striking murals and painting on the ceiling.

Magellan's Cross - The cross was planted by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, symbolising his intention of bringing Christianity to the locals. The cross is now in such a delicate state it is encased in tindalo wood. There is a mural in the building sheltering the cross depicting the cross being planted.

Fort San Pedro - is the smallest Spanish outpost and was built to repel Muslim invaders in the 1700's.

Casa Gorordo Museum - In a quiet residential area is this newly renovated museum originated from a private home built in the 1850s. This gives a glimpse into life during the Spanish era. There is an admission fee which includes a tour and a cafe in the forecourt.

Tops - This lookout is located on Mount Busay and at this site you will find a view of the entire city. The best views are found during dusk and dawn. It is suggested that biking up the mountain is the best way to experience this mountain top. Your accommodation in Cebu will be able to provide information about where to rent bikes.

Bohol is a very popular tourist destination, mainly because of the beaches, resorts and interesting land formation. Bohol is also the home of the Tarsier Monkeys which fit into the palm of your hands.

Tarsier Research and Development Center - This is the place to go to see the Tarsier Monkeys in their natural habitat.

The Chocolate Hills - These grass covered limestone domes are Bohol's most famous attraction. The hills turn a shade of brown during the dry season and start to resemble mounds of chocolate. Two of these hills have been developed for tourism. There are two resorts that offer a viewing deck for visitors to take in this intriguing phenomenon and the usual tourist accommodation facilities and services.

Baclayon Church - is the oldest church on Bohol Island. This well preserved edifice was declared a national historical treasure in 1995. Part of this building date back to the 16th century.

Mahogany Forest - On the way to Chocolate Hills you will pass Bilar, the home of a man-made Mahogany forest. It is striking because of the way the trees are placed. The reason for the existence of this lush greenery was to prevent soil erosion. Nowadays it is a popular tourist spot for the locals. The trees tower over the road creating a jungle-like atmosphere.

Island Hopping - A popular activity for visitors of Bohol is island hopping. There are a few islands around Bohol Island that offer dophin and whale watching, snorkelling, scuba diving, coral reefs, marine life and eco-tourism. Popular islands are Panglao, Pamilacan, Balicasag and Virgin.

Boracay with it's white sandy beaches, tropical climate and blue waters is one of the most popular beach destinations in the world. The island is located about an hour's flight from Cebu or Manila. White Beach is the most popular location on the island, to escape all the tourists Puka and Bulabog Beach are recommended.

Reef Walking - For those that are not ready to scuba dive but want a little more than snorkelling, this is a great option. WIth an air helmet, divers plunge into medium depth waters and can walk around underwater feeding fish and explore the marine life.

Diving and Snorkelling - Boracay is surrounded by reef and diving and snorkelling is a commonly seen activity. Yapak is off the northern tip and is a sheer coral covered wall. Divers will see bigger fish at this site, however it is mainly for the more advanced divers. Crocodile Island just off the southern end of the island is a great reef for less experienced divers. Other water activities such as cliff diving, waterskiing etc are all available at Boracay.

Paraw Tour - A paraw is a native outrigger boat. Tourists can take private, full-moon or sunset tours on these boats. The tours are mainly around the the south of Boracay or the north of the Panay Island.

Davao is the largest city in the Philippines by land mass and also the third most important city in the country. This area has mountains, beaches, hills and rivers. The biggest tourist destination of the Mindanao area and considered the safest city in the Philippines.

The Philippine Eagle Centre - This is the place to see the almost extinct Philippine Eagle, one of the largest in the world. It is home of 36 of these eagles, 10 other bird species and a few other animals. The Eagle Centre Simulates a tropical rain forest environment and allows visitors to experience a little of the country's forest ecosystem.

Eden Nature Park and Resort - A great place to cool down and relax. Visitors can enjoy nice walks, horse riding and the restaurants use natural fresh local ingredients to provide a enticing culinary experience. Tinubdan festival gives a glimpse into the Mindanaon ancestors' way of life and culture.

Samal Island - Enjoy a motorbike cruise around this island paradise, visit the Hagimit Falls and relish water so clear and crisp it's almost crystal. Delight in a dip in the rock pools below the waterfall. Scuba diving, snorkelling and speedboating are also very popular on the island. International visitors flying in to Davao can stay at one of the hotels near Davao International Airport and then take a ferry, motorboat from Sasa Km 11 Wharf to Samal.

Mount Apo - Being the highest peak in the country, Mount Apo is a popular mountain climbing, hiking destination. Several trails on the mountain lead to the summit. This mountain is an eco paradise. There are over 272 bird species, many of which are endemic to the area.

Matina Town Square - Is known for it's live music, variety of culinary dishes, local and international, and shopping. This is the place to go for a great night out in Davao City.

Palawam is the least populated place in the Philippines. An island on the west of the Philippines, tourists to the island will find caves, falls, mountains as well as beautiful white sandy beaches. Flights from Manila, Iloilo and Cebu will take visitors to the island as well as a 24 hour ferry ride from Manila.

Calauit Island Wildlife Sanctuary - The island is on the northwest coast of Palawan and is a game and wildlife preserve for both African animals as well as local wildlife. The park caters for tourism, scientific and educational activities. Take a safari on this 3700 hectare property and see wildlife living in harmony with each other and nature.

Coron - This small area on Busuanga island, part of Palawan is on the most northern end of the island group. This is a world famous shipwreck diving location, making it very popular with scuba divers. There are seven lakes surrounded by limestone cliffs, carved by the wind and sea. A tricycle trip to Maquinit Hot Spring is also highly recommended.

St. Paul Subterranean River National Park - A stunning natural wonder, this national park is on the main Palawan island. The river stretches eight kilometers deep into an underground lagoon with crystalline waters. The limestone in the area have formed caves, amphitheatres and interesting rock configurations. The park contains a full mountain to sea ecosystem, because of this it is recognised as a World Heritage Site.

Beach - There are a few striking beaches that call for a visit while on Palawan. Nagtabon Beach is popular for swimming, fishing and surfing. Honda Bay is famous for the shallow reef dives that surround the islands nearby. Sabang Beach is right near the St. Paul Subterranean River National Park, there is a 5km walk that can be taken through the jungle to the mouth of the river.

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Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group – born in early 2012 – is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups. The portfolio of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group includes more than 1,300 hotels, a global footprint spanning 81 countries and territories, a powerful set of global brands (Radisson Blu, Radisson®, Park Plaza®, Park Inn by Radisson, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM and Hotel Missoni). In most of the group’s hotels, guests can benefit from the loyalty program Club CarlsonSM, one of the most rewarding loyalty programs in the world. The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and its brands employ more than 80,000 people.
Paul Monteath
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Attractions, Philippines, Cebu City



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