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Travel – The Philippines By


Mabuhay! This is a typical Filipino word used to exclaim “long live” and is an expression used in welcoming guests and a way of showing hospitality. Although Filipino’s have their own language called Tagalog, the English language is just as common and used in everyday life including menu’s, newspapers, road signs and shops. In fact, I didn’t meet anyone who didn’t speak English.


The country consists of over 7,000 islands about 500 miles southeast (1½ hour flight) from Hong Kong. The overall land area is comparable to that of the UK, yet has twice the population of around 90 million. I guess the reason being that most families have at least five children. Filipinos are famous for their warm hospitality and being gentle, friendly and cheerful people.


The Philippines is divided into three main areas: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The largest is Luzon in the north and the location of the capital city Manila.




The most popular thing to do whilst you’re visiting Manila is shopping from many of the big malls. The SM Mall of Asia is the largest in the Philippines and the third largest in the world!


1) City Tour – explore the old and new, past and present, plus many museums and “Walled City” of Intramuros.


2) Avilon Zoo – 600 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and invertebrates; plus 400 species of plants.


3) Splash Island – a massive water park, with many amazing water slides, wave machines and fun activities.


4) Tagaytay – a breath-taking trip to Taal Volcano, cool mountain climate with beautiful scenery, horse riding & some great zip lines.


5) Pagsanjan Falls – “Shoot the Rapids” in dugout canoes and experience a spectacular adventure of nature, plus ride a raft right under the foot of the large falls.


Gay Scene in Manila


Manila is one of the few major Asian cities with an overt gay scene that openly contradicts the conservative culture of the country. Being in a predominantly Roman Catholic society, homosexuals are generally well accepted in Philippine society.


The heart of Manila gay scene is Malate, just a 20-minute drive from Makati (the central business district). The intersection of Maria Orosa Street and Julio Nakpil Street is lined with various gay establishments, visit for an up to date list. I think O Bar and Bed Nightclub are two good staring points, and if your after something a bit more sexual head to Fahrenheit or Club Bath.


Gay Pride is in early December each year; however, it’s not a big event for a city the size of Manila, and is still a demonstration march, rather than a tourist attracting carnival parade.


Best Time of Year to Visit and Where to Stay.


The tropical climate means it’s hot and humid weather all year round. There are just 2 seasons: the wet season (May – October) and the rest of the time is the dry season. The best months to visit are between November – March, as temperatures are at their lowest, averaging at about 25ºC.


The best area to stay in Manila is Makati (the central business district) where there are many top-notch hotels; here you will find numbers of choices of five star hotels to choose from literally next to each other (Shangri-La Hotel was my favourite). This area is walking distance from many of the hip, stylish, gay-friendly bars and restaurants like Giraffe, Venezia, Hard Rock Café, and the hippest, trendiest mall in the city Glorietta 4.


Explore the Philippines


The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located about 50 km north of the city of Puerto Princesa in Palawan. It features a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. The underground river is reputed to be the world’s longest. At the mouth of the cave, ancient trees growing right to the water’s edge frame a clear lagoon. Monkeys, large monitor lizards, and squirrels find their niche on the beach near the cave.


One of Coron’s most famous attractions is the Kayangan Lake, also known as the Blue Lagoon. It is said to be the cleanest lake in the whole of the Philippines. The water is unbelievable fresh and a true paradise to swim in and experience the wonders of nature in its full splendour.


Top Ten Beaches in the Philippines:


1) Boracay – With its white sand it’s considered as one of the finest beaches in the world. Boracay is located in the North West part of the Visayas area called Panay. The place for people looking to party.


2) Pagudpud – The strong winds and waves can be compared to that of Hawaii, which makes this place often visited by surfers.


3) Mactan Island – It is a tropical island resort. It provides tourist with great entertainment such as nightlife activities that will spice up the visit.


4) Panglao – This place is the place to dive, a tiny island found hidden in it’s bigger nearby island of Bohol.


5) Camiguin – It has a great topography that includes waterfalls, and the hot and cold springs. The place will be mesmerizing and will definitely tempt you to go back.


6) Dakak – a private beach that spans about 750 meters long the Sulu Sea. The beach also has great white sands that can be compared to powder.


7) Honda Bay – Among these islands, the tourist can go island hopping, diving and swim on the cool waters. In one of the islands, one can see the variety of fishes without swimming out too deep.


8) El Nido – This place is the best to visit if you are looking for complete peace and quiet. Aside from the magnificent beach, the place also offers you a sight of the beautiful seascapes, towering marble cliffs and a variety of tropical birds.


9) Pearl Farm – The place no longer has the pearls you are looking for but can still offer an experience as valuable as a pearl.


10) Siargao –The place offers you waves that can curl up to 12 feet high. Aside from the waves, the place also has beaches that remain unspoiled by urban lifestyle.


The Philippines is a fantastic country, with many truly fantastic adventures and things to explore. From the 2000 year old Banaue rice terraces, spectacular waterfalls, tropical rain forests, white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, sea life and corals, lagoons and volcano’s, but the one thing that stands out amongst everything is the people, they are just so friendly and welcoming. You’ll here “Hello Sir” wherever you go. The only downside is shopping for clothes, as nothing fits me. Pilipino people are quite small and even their XXL size is about the same as a medium size in the UK.