*Intramuros (map) is the oldest district and historic core of Manila. From the city’s foundation in 1571 to the end of Spanish rule in 1898, Intramuros was Manila.
*Cebu City (map) – the “Queen City of the South” was the first Spanish base in the Philippines and is a major center for commerce, industry, culture and tourism; Metro Cebu is the country’s second largest urban area, after Metro Manila.
*Bacolod (map) – known as the “City of Smiles” because of the *MassKara Festival held annually on 19 October, it is one of the gateways to Negros Island and the home of the famous Bacolod Chicken Inasal.
*Davao (map) – the largest city in the world in terms of land area, is known for its Durian fruit and for being the home of *Mount Apo (map), the Philippines’ tallest mountain.
The *Visayas (map), the central island group of the Philippines, is the heart of the country’s biodiversity. The most popular destinations in Visayas are *Cebu and *Boracay: islands popular for pure white sand beaches and has been favorite island destinations. *Mindanao (map), the southernmost island, is known for its mountain ranges; it is one of the best climbing destinations in the Philippines.
*Banaue (map) has 2,000-year-old rice terraces and called by Filipinos the eighth wonder of the world, it is a UNESCO *Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (+ nationalgeographic.com).
*Donsol (map) is the Whale Shark Capital of the world, dive and see whale sharks. *Balbalasang–Balbalan National Park (map)
Beach and diving tourism. Among the most popular beach and diving choices in the country includes *Boracay, *El Nido, *Coron, *Cebu, and *Siargao. (*List of beaches in the Philippines)
The Philippines is widely regarded as the traditional capital of the world’s festivities due to the thousands of festivals occurring in the country annually. *Ati-Atihan festival is a Philippine festival held annually in January in honor of the Santo Niño (Holy Child or Infant Jesus) in several towns of the province of Aklan, Panay Island. *Kadayawan Festival of Davao, Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo (*List of festivals in the Philippines)
There are three seasons: tag-init or tag-araw, the hot dry season or summer from March to May; tag-ulan, the rainy season from June to November; and tag-lamig, the cool dry season from December to February. Sitting astride the typhoon belt, the islands experience 15-20 typhoons annually from July to October.
Most visitors entering the Philippines will fly in through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila. There are two main alternatives: Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Metro Cebu is the Philippines’ second-busiest airport. Clark Airport in Angeles City 85 km north of Manila is a popular hub for low-cost carriers
The largest bus companies are Victory Liner, Five Star, Philtranco >> (*Bus travel in the Philippines).
**The Philippines has had some of the world’s worst maritime disasters in peacetime. If a boat appears to be overloaded, do not board. Always check the latest weather reports before travel by ferry, as some captains are willing to sail even when a typhoon is approaching.
After buses and planes, ships are the next cheapest way of travel in the country. The only nation-wide ferry line is 2Go Travel. From Cebu, there are smaller ferry lines: Trans Asia Shipping Lines, Cokaliong shipping Lines, Lite Ferries and Oceanjet.