Tourism plays an important role in the Philippine economy.The country boasts of rich natural beauty in its many spectacular beaches, sunny weather and rich bio-diversity.More than that, the Philippines’ unique and complex culture, as exemplified by its people, cuisine and lifestyle, attracts many people to visit the country.
The Philippines, is an archipelagic country located in Southeast Asia with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines is a country that contains a myriad of different amalgamated cultures and influences. The superficial face of modern Filipino culture has many more influences from the Western world than other nearby Asian cultures. Most of these influences are a product of previous colonization and derived mainly from the cultures of Spain and the United States, with a secondary influence from Latin American cultures who were under Spain during the same period the Philippines was. Despite the visual Western and Hispanic influences, the older Asian aspects of Filipino culture are still not lost. Within Asia, this Western-Eastern juxtaposition is most seen in the Philippines, and continues to fascinate many a guest to the country.
Philippine cuisine consists of the foods, preparation methods and eating customs found in the Philippines. The style of cooking and the foods associated with it have evolved over several centuries from its Austronesian origins to a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic, Chinese, American, and other Asian influences adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate.
Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate paellas and cocidos created for fiestas. Popular dishes include lechón (whole roasted pig), longganisa (Philippine sausage), tapa (cured beef), torta (omelette), adobo (chicken and/or pork braised in garlic, vinegar, oil and soy sauce, or cooked until dry), kaldereta (meat in tomato sauce stew), mechado (larded beef in soy and tomato sauce), pochero (beef in bananas and tomato sauce), afritada (chicken or pork simmered in a tomato sauce with vegetables), kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce), crispy pata (deep-fried pig's leg), hamonado (pork sweetened in pineapple sauce), sinigang (meat or seafood in sour broth), pancit (noodles), and lumpia (fresh or fried spring rolls).
Famous tourist spots
- Intramuros, a walled city in Manila, was built by the Spanish in the 16th century. Originally, Manila‘s boundaries were the city walls. But due to the growing size of the city, newer buildings were built outside these walls. As of today, Intramuros contains museums, churches and an old fort.
- Somewhere in the archipelago, there is at least one fiesta being celebrated 365 days a year (By the third week of January head off to Kalibo for the Asia's version of the Mardi Gras).Manila, Cebu and Boracay are the ground zero for parties - pool parties, yacht parties, rave and fashion events.
- Makati City is the modern face of Manila, in complete contrast to Intramuros. Major malls, business centers, hotels are situated in Makati City. Lined with modern high rise buildings, the Makati skyline is the best in the country.
- Aklan is one of the most visited provinces in the Philippines not only because of its beaches but also of its popular yearly colorful event which is the Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo.
- Chocolate Hills are limestone hills that turn brown during the summer. Chocolate Hills are found in the island province of Bohol, which is also the home of one of the smallest primates in the world—the Philippine tarsier.
- The Hanging Coffins of Sagada and the Banaue Rice Terraces are worth a visit in the Northern Philippines. The rice terraces were carved out of mountains thousands of years ago and by far the most extensive of its kind in the world with sophisticated irrigation and engineering that was unthinkable during the time it was built.
- Taal Volcano, one of the smallest active volcanoes in the world, sits on a lake and is just an hour away from Manila. The fresh cool air off the Tagaytay Ridge provides a spectacular view of the lake and the volcano. Visitors should confirm whether hiking to the crater is safe or not before attempting to do so.
- North of Manila, take the rough road and go to Mt. Pinatubo, the volcano which caused a massive eruption in 1991. Now you can marvel at the volcano up close and swim inside its crater. The last eruption was one of the biggest during the last century and lowered the global temperature by at least a degree.
- The Hundred Islands, also located in the Northern Philippines, is a group of more that 400 islets with coral reefs surrounding the islets. These islands are famous for their beaches and the coral reefs, which can be explored by snorkeling.
- About two thousand years ago, mountains in Northern Luzon were carved by indigenous people to form what is now the Banaue Rice Terraces. The rice terraces cover 4,000 square miles (10,000 km2) of mountainside. The Banaue Rice Terraces is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- The province of Palawan is one of the most beautiful islands in the South China Sea. Palawan has natural gas fields on the northeastern part of the island but the beautiful beaches around the island remain pristine. The island is home to the spectacular Tubbataha Reef and the breathtaking Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Boracay Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The island boasts a 4-kilometer stretch of white sand beach, considered to be the best beach in Asia and one of the top ten beaches in the world.
- The gateway to the natural wonders in the Central Visayas, Cebu is a top tourist destination in the Philippines. The country's oldest street and city are found in this bustling metropolis where the urban sprawl is ever growing. Many tourists, who wish to stay away from the metro's hustle and bustle, are drawn to Cebu's hidden secrets: amazing dive sites, island resorts, white-sand islets, waterfalls, lakes, springs, mountain trails and countless wonders, all of which are a short bus ride away.
- Surfing in the Philippines is comparable to the best in the world – with the world-famous cloud 9s off the island of Siargao facing the Philippine Trench in the Western Pacific as well as the surfing destinations of La Union and Zambales (facing the South China Sea).
- The Philippines is one of the top three best diving destinations in the world. The archipelago is one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world, with the most number of species concentrated in one area. The best dive sites in the Philippines are located in Anilao, Boracay, Malapascua, Apo Island, Balicasag, Pamilacan, Tubbataha, Palawan, and Puerto Galera. Subic Bay, home of a former American naval base, is also known for World War II wreck dives.