travel embrace the island beauty of the philippines
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Travel: Embrace the island beauty of the Philippines

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Kayak across scenic hotspots in El Nido, Palawan.
Abu Dhabi - Emirates Voice

The Philippines is a nation that offers an eclectic blend of fun, family-oriented activities in a backdrop of one of the world's most beautiful landscapes and nature sites. The country offers something for everyone - be it a culture vulture or thrill-seeker.

The country has been gaining momentum as a tourist destination. According to the Philippine Department of Tourism (DoT), the month of February alone received 579,178 tourists this year, and generated Php 18.4 million (approx. Dh1.4 million), which demonstrated a steady rise in the country as a holiday hotspot.
Capital city Manila received the largest volume of travellers at 365,860 through its primary port of entry, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, taking up 63 per cent of the share, followed by Cebu (19.22 per cent), Kalibo (9.3 per cent) and Clark (5.9 per cent).

Here's a quick look at few destinations in the Philippines:

Palawan
Palawan is a tropical paradise divided into sections that boast crystal clear water, caves, hidden beaches as well as rich jungles with exotic species of fauna and flora. The island is for lazing on beachy shores and take a dip in turquoise waters such as in El Nido, or hop on a Bangka boat and explore nearby islands and lagoons. Check out San Vicente for the longest white beach in the country, Coron for wreck diving, Sabang to view an underground river, besides many more attractions.

Bohol
Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and indulge in the beauty of nature in Bohol. The province is home to a scenic landscape and breathtaking views. The grass-covered limestone mounds of Chocolate Hills in Carmen are a popular sight, and visitors can simply hop on an ATV buggy for a tour. If you've never seen a tarsier, you'll have the time of your life viewing it in its natural habitat the Philippine Tarsier and Wildlife Sanctuary in Corella.

Manila
Sample delicious Filipino cuisine including bulalo, sisig, adobo, and halo-halo, pick up some trendy trinkets and check out landmarks that give the city a unique identity. The San Augustin Church, made out of stone, is a sight to behold. Built in the Colonial Period, it features breathtaking interiors and tells tales of centuries past. Also check out night markets across the city or step in the grand SM Mall of Asia for a shopping spree.

Batangas
Set three hours away by car from Manila, Batangas has exotic destinations such as the Taal Lake that has a 23 sq km island with a 1.2 sq km crater lake of its own, and Taal Volcano that offers an exciting trek up the peak and stunning vistas. Check out scuba diving spots in Mabini; view mangroves in a forest conservation park in Calatagan, visit nature resorts and go hiking in Cuenca, and explore bee farms and speciality museums in Lipa City, to name a few.

Cagayan de Oro
An urban city with a plethora of activities, Cagayan de Oro is an ideal place to let your wild side out and take on adrenaline-pumping challenges. Drop by the Macahambus Cave and Adventure Park and walk down the skybridge, ride the bouncing zipline, or try rappelling down a dizzying high point. The Huluga Caves offers a glimpse into prehistoric times and a thrilling exploration ground for visitors.


Notable points of interest

Tubbataha Reef: A divers' haven, the World Heritage Site is best known for its large marine biodiversity and mesmerising corals. Due its location, it can only be accessed by special boats.

Banaue Rice Terraces: Dubbed the Eighth Wonder of the World by the population, the terraces currently used to grow vegetables and rice, were carved by man into the mountains about 2,000 years ago at a time when few tools were available.

Kabayan Mummies: Not for the faint-hearted, these corpses are set along the mountain slopes of Kabayan. Instead of taking on a tough five-hour ascent, we'd recommend viewing them as exhibits in the Kabayan National Museum in the Benguet region.

The Philippines has so much more than the few hotspots listed. Take advantage of the travel guides and online resources to plan a memorable trip.

An ideal time to visit the Philippines is between November and April, as the weather is pleasant in most parts of the country. Each province has its own climate, so plan well prior to travel.

Source: Khaleej Times

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