The island country known as the Philippines is one of those tropical wonders we all daydream of visiting while pinned within the four walls of our cubicles. The lush vegetation, incredible food, white sandy beaches, and rich cultural heritage is endlessly alluring. If you’re lucky enough to break free from the monotony of your 9 to 5 and visit this magical oasis, you may experience some lingering side effects from the sheer awesomeness that was your trip to this Southeast Asian gem.
1. Your quads are in the best shape everIn this tropical, mountainous paradise, adventures abound not only on the slopes, but in the fascinating Banaue Rice Terraces. These amazing “steps” are over 2,000 years old, and were originally built by the ancestors of the indigenous people. The incredible system has been used to grow rice and other produce for thousands of years, though in recent years, the younger residents have taken more of an interest in the more lucrative hospitality aspect of the site.
Visitors can go on sightseeing tours of the impressive terraces, which are located above the gardens. Have a visit with one of the local tribes at the base of the mountain, or partake in a spiritual healing ritual with one of the tribe’s witch doctors.
2. You’re not afraid of the mysteries of the deepUnbeknownst to many, the Philippines is home to some of the best diving in the world, with the highest density of coral species on the planet. If you don’t already have your diving license, head to one of the local dive training centers to get certified and start exploring.
A professional diver will take you on tours of some of the many coral reefs in the Philippine waters that are absolutely teeming with life. Swim along the Tubbataha Reef and see the hundreds of coral fish species that thrive there, or check out one of the many shipwrecks for an unforgettable underwater experience.
3. You’re missing an eyebrowOne thing you don’t want to miss is the Taal Volcano on the island of Luzon. Located on the tiny Volcano Island in Taal Lake, this is the smallest active volcano in the world. The island itself is beautiful, with Taal Lake forming within the rim of thousands of years of ancient volcanic build up.
Call up one of the tour services and set a day aside to explore this beautiful geological phenomenon. A tour guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the docks, where you’ll travel by boat. From there it’s a boat ride to Volcano Island and a hike up the ridge lining Taal Lake.
4. You’ve never eaten so much in all your lifeThe Philippines is famous for its food, so indulge all you want while you’re there. Seize opportunities at local festivals to sample the regional fare, and go all out with a Filipino feast. Things like sinigang, tamarind soup, lechon, adobo, and kare kare are local specialities you’ll have to try at the source for the full experience. Grab a beer and a friend, and share in the food and laughter.
5. You’re a bronze god/goddessThe Philippines is home to some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. With white sand and sapphire blue waters, it’s the perfect place to soak up some rays and have a drink beachside. With over 36,000 kilometers of pristine coastline, there are plenty of options, no matter what setting you’re looking for.
Check out Boracay Island for a well-rounded beach experience. Do some seashell hunting on Yapak Beach, or snuggle with that special someone on the sands of secluded Balinghai Beach. The island is very small and quaint, making it easy to get around by foot or bicycle, so get some wind in your hair while you’re at it.
6. You’ve danced yourself slimThe culture of this country is wildly colorful, and the celebratory nature of its people is infectious. Ati-Atihan is a particularly fantastic way to spend a week in the Philippines. This week-long street party celebrates the great feast of Sto Nino, or baby Jesus. Local aboriginal dancers take to the streets adorned in beautiful costumes, and the days are filled with parades, and music, and the exhibition of native weapons.
There’s no excuse for returning from the Philippines without a few battle scars. You may need a few days on the couch with Netflix to recover, but it’ll all be worth it with the stories and pictures you’ll return with. Dive into new adventures in the enchanting depths of the coral reefs, or work up a sweat on your way to the Taal Volcano; but either way, don’t leave in one piece.
NOTE: This post is from one of our contributors. Any views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views on www.pinoyadventurista.com.
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