We’ve known all along how beautiful the Philippines is, and foreigners are slowly realizing it. The country and its islands have always made it to must-visit lists, and National Geographic is our latest fan. In its list of 20 of the Best Trips in 2016, we were included, with the tag “An Island of Every Taste.”
According to National Geographic:
In every family, there’s always an odd one out—and in the clan of Asia-Pacific nations, that member would be the Philippines. This nation of 7,107 islands (about 2,000 inhabited) began as a loose grouping of Indo-Malay tribes, which endured nearly 400 years of Spanish rule, then 48 years as a U.S. territory. Today the Philippines is a mix of tribal pride, Catholic fervor, American pop-culture savvy, and tropical affability.
Most visitors don’t linger in the muggy, traffic-clogged capital, Manila, but you should explore at least one of the Spanish churches in the old, walled center of Intramuros and stroll around Manila Bay at sunset.
Then head to some of the thousands of beaches, from the pink sands of Great Santa Cruz Island to the black sands of Albay. Divers off Palawan, Apo, and Siargao islands delight in hundreds of coral and fish species. On the southern isle of Mindanao, more than 1,300 land species—including the endangered Philippine eagle—reside in Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, which recently joined northern Luzon’s rice terraces as a World Heritage site.
If the Philippines is that quirky member of the family, it also is the one that always invites you over for dinner, a uniquely Filipino fusion experience that intermingles salty, sour, and savory flavors.
In the writeup, National Geographic also gave tips on when to travel, how to get around, where to stay, what to eat and drink, what to buy, what to read before going, our culture, and a fun fact.
For the fun fact, the website said, “With its green meadows and steep cliffs towering over the sea, Racuh a Payaman on Batan Island appears to have been plucked from the Scottish Highlands and plunked in the northernmost province of the Philippines. The lush grasses are communal pastureland where horses, cattle, and water buffalo roam. This home-on-the-range setting is why Racuh a Payaman often is referred to as “Marlboro country” or “the Marlboro hills.””
And for the cultural tip? “The equivalent of “How are you?” in Filipino culture is “Kumain ka na ba?” (Tagalog for “Have you eaten?”)”
The Philippines was included with South Georgia Island, Winnipeg (Canada), Côte d’Or (Burgundy, France), Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil), Bermuda, Danube River, Eastern Bhutan, Capability Brown’s Gardens (Britain), Glasgow (Scotland), Greenland, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Hokkaido (Japan), New York City (USA), Okavango Delta (Botswana), Masurian Lake District (Poland), Seychelles, Tangier and Smith Islands (Chesapeake Bay), San Diego and Tijuana, and Uruguay.
What’s your favorite Philippine island? Share it in the comments section below!