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A Guide to the Philippines
The Philippines are situated in Southeast Asia, comprising of over 7000 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. With a total population of around 90 million and a turnover of 155 billion dollars in 2008, the islands collectively make up one of the top 50 world economies, much of the money coming from tourism. The islands are also one of the world’s 17 ‘megadiverse’ countries as ranked by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. This is to say that the Philippines is home to the majority of the world’s species, from apes and snakes to scorpions and puffins. The Philippines also have religious proof of its colonisation by Spain and the US as it’s one of only two predominately Roman Catholic countries in the Asia-Pacific area (the other being East-Timor).
For the tourist experience the Philippines has it all. Sandy shores, clear seas and hospitable locals keen to ply their trade and make you welcome. There is much on offer, with one of the most popular activities being surfing. With long, sprawling coastlines you’ll be able to find consistent waves all year round and the good climate means it won’t be too cold to do so either. Surf schools as well as hire shops are numerous in the Philippines but you should check where you’re going beforehand as the US Department of State and other governments advise that Mindanao, Basilan, Twai Twai, Jolo and the Sulu archipelago should all be avoided for safety reasons. And don’t forget to book your travel insurance before you go with a reliable company like Go Travel instead of taking care of it out there as many companies posing as travel insurers abroad won’t pay when the claim comes in.
Due to its Spanish and American colonial past, the culture in the Philippines is a mix of pre-Hispanic Austronesian, mixed with Hispanic and American. With influence from Chinese, Indian and Arab countries too it makes for a really interesting visit both in terms of what you can see and do. Much like the Caribbean islands, relaxing and enjoying music are high on the agenda. Great to visit by families, backpackers and surfers alike.
Staying in the Philippines
With 7,107 islands making up one of the most populated countries in the world, the Philippines are a great place to visit with many attractions on offer. Here are some of the best things to do when visiting.
White Water Rafting – Challenging both mentally and physically, you’ll normally finish a day of rafting exhausted but exhilarated. The Philippines has several places which are good for the sport, such as Cagayan de Oro City in the northern part of Mindanao. Rivalling this, and also in Mindanao, is Davao which has become increasingly popular in recent years and is now one of the most visited for the sport in the whole of the Philippines. You’ll easily find companies which run rafting days, complete with an instructor and sometimes lunch, as well as all the safety briefs and equipment, all for a reasonable price. Staying in the Philippines
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