Philippines: South-east Asia’s Archipelago of Paradise

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Philippines: South-east Asia’s Archipelago of Paradise:table of contents

A vast archipelago full of islands of paradise, the Philippines is a goldmine of pristine beaches, crystal clear waters and breathtaking landscapes. With other 7,000 islands, it's hard to decide which spot of paradise or island adventure to pick. Here are ten places you shouldn't miss when visiting this gem of South-east Asia.

1. Mayon Volcano (Legaspi)

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With the huge surge of popularity surrounding Japan's Mount Fuji, it's a wonder this picture-perfect volcano hasn't seen a similar rush of tourism. Mount Mayon is another beautifully symmetrical volcano with its gorgeous peak visible all around the surrounding area. Unlike Mount Fuji however, Moyan is extremely active, the most active volcano in the Philippines in fact and visitors can occasionally see plumes of smoke or even lava spew from the peak.

2. White Beach (Boracay)

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It would be sacrilege to visit this South-east Asian paradise and not spend some time soaking in the sun on one of the many pristine beaches. Boracay's White Beach not only offers fine white sands and beautiful turquoise waters but also a range of different luxury resorts, superb restaurants and plenty of bars. To top it off visitors can also to choose to participate in some of the many water activities on offer such as jet-skiing and sailing.

3. Coron Bay (Coron)

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This stunningly picturesque seaside paradise known for its famous diving spots along with its colorful green and blue ocean. Conan Bay has a number of shipwrecks after fighter jets attacked and sunk many of the Japanese fleet that was stationed in the area during World War II. Many of the shops are still in very much in tact and along with the colorful coral reefs provides an enchanting underwater landscape for divers to discover.

4. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Palawan)

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Puerto Princesa Subterranean River is a huge network of underground rivers and caves located in the Saint Paul Mountain Range on Palawan island. Another of the country's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, much of the deeper areas of the river have been unexplored due to a lack of oxygen. Inside the cave system explorers have found huge caverns, large bats and marine creatures along with a second floor with waterfalls flowing into the river.

5. Chocolate Hills (Bohol)

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One of the most unique landscapes on earth, the 'Chocolate Hills' are a remarkable geological formation of over a thousand cone-shaped hills. During the dry season the grass on these strange perfectly-rolling hills turns brown, giving the appearance of mounds of chocolate. This natural wonder is really something that has to be seen in person to understand its real beauty. If you want to see them when the color changes to brown, the dry season usually runs from April to June.

6. Intramuros (Manila)

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Intramuros also known as the Walled City, is a historic area built during the Spanish colonial rule of the islands. Meaning 'inside the wall' in Spanish, Intramuros was where the elite of Manila lived and congregated, natives or Chinese being prohibited from living inside. Although many of the structures were destroyed after heavy bombing in World War II, some of the buildings have since been restored, such as the impressive Fort Santiago built by the Spanish in the 16 century.

7. Batad Rice Terraces (Banaue)

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Apart from the picture-perfect beaches and colorful ocean, the Philippines is also known for its beautiful mountainous rice terrace scenery that covers much of the country. One particularly stunning example of this is the Batad Rice Terraces, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site of several terraces thought to have been built over 2,000 years ago by the Cordillera tribes who live there. The dramatic surrounding landscape of the terraces is also remarkable and offers some gorgeous hikes around the area.

8. Small Lagoon (El Nido)

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Another of the Philippines' unbelievably beautiful spots of paradise, El Nido's Small Lagoon is a perfectly clear lagoon nestled between limestone rocks jutting out of the coast. You can explore the area either by kayaking or just swimming around the beautiful ocean waters. Around the coast you'll also find numerous caves and rock formations to explore.

9. Manaoag Church (Manaoag)

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With one of the largest catholic populations in the world, it's hard not to see the strong influence of the Catholic Church in this South-east Asian country. Manaoag Church is one of the most beautiful and sacred religious structures in the Philippines, with its stunning European-influenced architecture. The grounds of the church are also beautiful with fountains, fish ponds and various religious stations to gaze upon.

10. Basilica del Santo Nino (Cebu City)

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The oldest Roman Catholic Church in the country, this stunningly picturesque white facade is often a pilgrimage for Filipinos around the country. Since it was first constructed in the 16th century, it's since been destroyed by three fires and more recently from the 2013 earthquake which tore down its bell tower.

With a multitude of picture-perfect tropical islands to choose from, the Philippines is an ideal destination for beach and relaxation. Apart from the stunning white sands and crystal waters, the country is also dotted with picturesque mountain scenery and rich with history and culture.

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