Thriller in Manila — Traveling Around the Philippines
The Philippine public transport vehicle: A Jeepney – similar in ways to a bus.
If you want to experience all of the delights of the Philippines, you’ve gotta travel! This is the land where former colonial rule meets the trappings of Western culture and big city life collides with idyllic paradise locations.
In addition to the busy, bustling, beguiling capital Manila, there are more than 7,000 islands to discover and explore, so there’s plenty of choice for sunshine seekers. But to really make the most of this unequalled country, you need to know a bit about particular destinations and how to get around.
The places you’ve just gotta see!
Manila — Expansive and energetic, the mighty Manila can feel a bit overwhelming at first, but if you treat Manila as a melting pot of individual towns you’ll find out why it’s such a captivating city. Visit the historic walls of Intramuros, shop at the vibrant markets of Quiapo and sample Chinatown’s fantastic food.
Boracay — This island’s beaches are often voted Asia’s finest. Step onto the silky white sand and you’ll find it hard to agree with the masses who voted in their favor. Boracay is very much a tourist destination and has loads and loads of spots to relax or indulge in some night time revelry. Between the relaxation and the evening’s activities, you can cram in a few water sports activities. There are plenty to choose from!
Mindanao — For the best chance of experiencing what Filipino life is really like for the nation’s indigenous people, visit Mindanao. Not many tourists will come to this part of the Philippines, though, due to the island’s ‘wild west’ reputation, but if you’re brave enough to trek through muggy jungles and stinky geothermal fields to reach the 2,956-metre summit of Mount Apo, you deserve the reward of the view.
How to get around
Fly — Take advantage of the five or so local airlines to visit the Philippines’ multitude of destinations. Chartered flights are also widely available.
Sail — Roll-on-roll-off (RORO) ships go from Manila to the nation’s major ports and sea crafts or ferries are fairly extensive between the smaller islands.
Drive — Air-conditioned buses (and boy, do you need that air conditioning!) leave the capital regularly, but some locations will take several hours to reach. You could always hire a car, but getting to grips with the local traffic and road rules might be quite grueling.
The major cities and popular tourist traps provide an intriguing insight into Filipino life, travelling around diverse and distinctive landscapes helps you to fully appreciate what this idiosyncratic nation has to offer.
Image by Stefan Munder, used under Creative Commons license.