Travel in the Philippines

Explore the Natural Wonders of Philippines - From White Sand Beaches to Tropical Islands
By:Allan E Miller

1. Explore Natural Wonders

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol are another of the Philippines' natural wonders. Of uniform shape and rising from 40 to 120 meters, the 1268 hills look like a giant array of pregnant women. Others claim they are the solidified teardrops of a lovelorn giant.

El Nido Marine Reserve occupies 96,000 hectares and boasts diverse ecosystems such as rainforest, mangroves, white sand beaches, coral reefs, and limestone cliffs. It is now one of the country's premier tourist destination.

Puerto Princesa Subterranean Underground River National Park is the world's longest underground river measuring 8.2 km and has recently been nominated for The New 7 wonders of the World.

You will find the entrance at the mouth of a cave in a beautiful lagoon about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. From here the river winds through formations of stalactites and stalagmites and several large chambers before flowing directly into the South China Sea.

The Hundred Islands National Park is composed of 123 islands (124 at low tide) and covers an area of 1,844 hectares. The islands lie at the south west corner of the Lingayan Gulf, just off Alaminos City in the province of Pangasinan.

Over the years the islands have inspired countless legends -- some tell of mermaids that once mystified fishermen; others tell of a primeval giant who lost his lady love.

2. Engage in Mountain Climbing and Nature Trekking

The Philippines with its large forests, pristine wilderness, and rugged mountains, is an ideal spot for mountain climbing and nature trekking.

On Luzon the Sierra Madre mountains form the longest range of the Philippines, extending along the island's eastern coast for 210 miles.

The Cordillera Central Ranges to the west contain Luzon's highest peak, Mount Pulog, 9,613 feet.

And of course, don't forget the volcanoes. There are 37 volcanoes in the Philippines, of which 18 are still active. Many of these, like Mt. Pinatubo, have become popular trekking sites.

In 1991 the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo was the most destructive volcanic event of the 20th century. Today, surrounded by a vast expanse of lahar-filled valleys and boulders the size of cars, Mount Pinatubo offers a breathtaking view of a hidden lake inside its crater -- an enchanting reward for intrepid explorers and trekkers.

Taal Volcano is the smallest active volcano in the world. You will find it about 70km south of Manila on "volcano island" inside a lake called Taal Lake.

This is a popular trekking destination and, compared with other mountains, the climb is relatively easy. The view from the top is awe-inspiring.

Mayon Volcano is the most active volcano in the Philippines, having erupted over 47 times in the past 400 years. It is also considered to be the world's most perfectly formed volcano for its symmetrical cone. It reaches 2,460 meters and is the central feature of the Albay Province, about 300km southeast of Manila.

Climbing Mayon is possible but can be dangerous. Some organized treks are planned over a 4-day schedule.

The best time for mountaineering in the Philippines is either during the summer months from March to June, or during the monsoon season from November to February. It is best to avoid mountaineering activities during the wet season when strong typhoons buffet the provinces.

3. Feast on Filipino mouth-watering delicacies.

In the Philippines you cannot escape the temptations of food; you are literally surrounded by it. Take a stroll down a beach and the chances are you will find vendors selling everything from barbecue sticks to balut -- boiled, unhatched chicken or duck eggs.

When it comes to food the Philippines has it all -- a fabulous mix of foreign cuisine plus its own mouth-watering delicacies.

Well, there you have it -- more reasons to visit the Philippines.

But of course there are more reasons than I have listed here. For example, festivals that bring out the culture of the people, historic churches that date back to the Spanish era, the exciting night life of Manila, Angeles City, and Cebu, or play golf on courses designed by some of the best golf celebrities in the world, and more ... come and enjoy!

Allan E Miller is a retired Airline Pilot who has lived in Asia for over 44 years and has traveled extensively all over the world. He has been a freelance travel writer for 19 years and specializes in articles about the Philippines and other Asian countries. He also maintains the web site for the Bali Hai Beach Resort in La Union, Philippines.

Bali Hai provides easy access to many of the attractions mentioned above. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo recently opened The Cliffs Golf Course, a nine-hole, par 72 all-weather championship golf course. The course features a unique ocean hole that is undoubtedly one of the best Par 3 holes in Asia. Nearby Baguio City also has two excellent golf courses.

Go to another board -