Tuesday, December 31, 2013


(You may also want to visit my page HISTORY OF THE PHILIPPINES. Check it out.)


Demographics of the Philippines are records of human population in the country, including its population densityethnicity, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations, and other aspects of the population. The Philippines has a population growth rate of 2.04%, one of the highest in Asia. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the Philippines was 92,337,852.
The majority of Filipinos are made up of various ethno-linguistic Austronesian ethnic groups, while the Agtas, an indigenous dark-skinned people form a minority. The indigenous population is closely related to indigenous Malaysians and Indonesians. Ethnic groups that have been in the Philippines for centuries before European and American colonial rule have assimilated, such as various Japanese peopleHan ChineseIndian people, etc., and form a large part of the population.
The most commonly spoken language is Filipino, which is based on the Tagalog language. Filipino and English are the official languages. Additionally, there are between 120 to 170 distinct indigenous Philippine languages (depending on their classification), a dozen of which have over one million speakers and are recognized as official regional languages. Spanish and Arabic are recognized as voluntary and optional languages in the Philippine constitution. Christianity is the main religion, with Roman Catholicism making up the majority of the population. Other religions include Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and those with no religion. The people of the Philippines are known as Filipinos.

Population history

Philippines population density Map per province as of 2009 per square kilometer:
The first census in the Philippines was founded in 1591, based on tributes collected. Based on this tribute counting, there were about 666,712 people in the islands. In 1600, this method was revamped by the Spanish officials, who then based the counting of the population through church records. In 1799, Friar Manuel Buzeta estimated the population count as 1,502,574. However, the first official census was conducted only in 1878, when the population as of midnight on December 31, 1877 was counted. This was followed by two more censuses, namely, the 1887 census, and the 1898 census. The 1887 census yielded a count of 6,984,727, while that of 1898 yielded 7,832,719 inhabitants.

1903 census

In 1903 the population of the Philippines was recounted by American authorities to fulfill Act 467. The survey yielded 7,635,426 people, including 56,138 who were foreign-born.

Between 1903 and 1941

1939 This census was undertaken in conformity with Section 1 of C. A. 170. It was the first taken under the Commonwealth government with Census day on January 1. The Philippine population figure was 16,000,303.


In 1941 the estimated population of the Philippines reached 17,000,000. Manila's population was 684,000.
By then, some 27% of the population could speak English as a second language, while the number of Spanish speakers as first language had further fallen to 3% from 10-14% at the beginning of the century. However, Spanish as a second language continued to be spoken and understood at varying levels of expertise, far more than English. In 1936, Tagalog was selected to be the basis for a national language. In 1987, the Tagalog-based Filipino language was designated the national language.

Philippine census surveys

According to the executive director of the Commission on Population Tomas Osias, the population of the Philippines may reach 101.2 million by 2014. Attempts to introduce a reproductive health law to bring down the population growth rate has been consistently opposed by theCatholic Church, the dominant religion of the country.

There are between 120 and 170 languages spoken in the country. Most of them have several varieties (dialects), totaling over 300 across the archipelago. Since the 1930s the government has promoted the use of the national language, Filipino, based on Tagalog. Visayan languages (also called Bisaya or Binisaya) are widely spoken throughout the Visayas and in some parts of MindanaoIlokano is the lingua franca of Northern Luzon.
English is considered an official language for purposes of communication and instruction. Consequently, it is widely spoken and understood. The other non-indigenous language with a certain degree of acknowledgement is Spanish.


Education in the Philippines is based on both Western and Eastern ideology and philosophy influenced by the United States, Spain, and its neighbouring Asian countries. Philippine students enter public school at about age four, starting from nursery school up to kindergarten. At about seven years of age, students enter elementary school (6 to 7 years). This is followed by high school (4 years) and senior high school (2 years). Students then take the college entrance examinations (CEE), after which they enter university (3 to 5 years). Other types of schools include private school, preparatory school, international school, laboratory high school, and science high school. School year in the Philippines starts from June, and ends in March with a two-month summer break from April to May, one week of semestral break in October, and a week or two during Christmas and New Year holidays.
Starting on in SY 2011–2012 there will be a phased implementation of a new program. The K to 12 Program covers kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of junior high school, and two years of senior high school [SHS]) to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship.


About 80% of Filipinos are Roman Catholics, 15% are Protestant Christians and, according to the "World Values Survey" conducted in the year 2000, 10.9% were then irreligious.[14] Other Christian denominations include the Iglesia ni Cristo (one of a number of separate Churches of Christ generally not affiliated with one another), Philippine Independent Church (more commonly called the Aglipayan Church), Members Church of God International, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Minority religions include BuddhismHinduism, and Judaism.
Roman Catholics and Protestants were converted during the four centuries of Western influence by Spain, and the United States. Under Spanish rule, much of the population was converted to Christianity.
Orthodox Christians also live in Philippines. Protestant Christianity arrived in the Philippines during the 20th century, introduced by American missionaries.
Other religions include JudaismMahayana Buddhism, often mixed with Taoist beliefs, Hinduism, and SikhismAnimism and Paganism are also followed.


Ethnic groups

The Philippine islands are inhabited by a number of different ethnic groups. The majority of the population is composed of ethnolinguistic groups whose languages are Austronesian also known as Malayo-Polynesian in origin. Many of these groups converted to Christianity, particularly the lowland-coastal groups, and adopted many foreign elements of culture. These ethnic groups include the CebuanoIlocanoPangasinenseKapampanganTagalogBicolanoWaraySurigaonon and Hiligaynon also called Ilonggo.
In Mindanao, there are indigenous groups who practice Islam. The Spanish called them Moros after the Moors (despite no resemblance or cultural ties to them apart from their religion). In some highland areas of Mindanao, there are mountain-dwelling ethnic groups collectively known as lumad. These people do not practice Islam, and maintain their animistic beliefs and traditions.
The Negrito are a pre-Mongoloid people who migrated from mainland Asia and were one of the earliest human beings to settle the Philippines, around 90,000 years ago. (The known first being that of the people of the Callao Man remains) The Negrito population are estimated to number around 30,000. Their tribal groups include the Ati, and the Aeta. Their ways of life remain mostly free from Western and Islamic influences. Scholars study them to try to understand pre-Hispanic culture.
Most Filipinos are Malayo-Polynesian, another term for Austronesian. Other ethnic groups form a minority in the Philippine population. These include those of JapaneseHan ChineseIndians, Americans, Spanish, Europeans, and other ethnic groups from other countries. Mixed-race individuals are known as Filipino mestizo.

Indigenous and ethnic groups


The Bicolanos originated in BicolLuzon. There are several Bicolano languages, of which there is a total of about 3.5 million speakers. Their language is referred to as Bikol or Bicolano. Bikol dialects includes Legazpeño, Darageño, Domingueño, Tabakeño, Tiwiño, Sorsoganon, and Naga.


The Ibanags are an ethnic group numbering around half a million people, who inhabit the provinces of CagayanIsabela, and Nueva Vizcaya.


The IbanagIvatan, the Ilocano people are the inhabitants of the lowlands, and coastal areas of northern Luzon. Ilocano are also found in central Luzon, Metro Manila, and some towns in the Visayas, and Mindanao. There are about 8 million speakers of Ilocano, and most of these individuals are Christians.


The Ivatan are predominant in the Batanes Islands of the Philippines. They have close cultural links with Taiwanese aborigines.


The Kapampangan or Capampañgan (EnglishPampanganSpanishPampangueño or Pampango) people originate from the central plains of Luzon, starting from Bataan up toNueva Ecija. The Kapampangan language is spoken by more than two million people. In the Spanish colonial era, Pampanga was known to be a source of valiant soldiers. There was a Kapampangan contingent in the colonial army who helped defend Manila against the Chinese Pirate Limahon. They also helped in battles against the Dutch, the English and Muslim raiders. Kapampangans, along with the Tagalogs, played a major role in the Philippine Revolution.


The Moros are of various ethnolinguistic groups in southern, and western Mindanao who are the same as other Filipinos, but whose religion is Islam. The largest of these are theTausug, the Maguindanao, the Maranao, the Samal, the Yakan, and the Banguingui. These ethnolinguistic groups are different in terms of culture, religion, and have been politically independent. Muslim Filipinos have an independent justice, and education system based in Cotabato City. They form about 5-10% of the Philippine population,[15] making them the sixth largest ethnic group in the country.


Pangasinense are the ninth largest Filipino ethnic group. They originated from the northwestern seaboard of Luzon.


The Sambal are the inhabitants of the province of Zambales, and the city of Olongapo in the Philippines. Sambals currently make up a large proportion of the population in the municipalities of Zambales province north of Iba.


The Subanon or "Subanu" (also called Subanen or Subanun) means "river people", which is derived from the word "soba", "suba" a word common in Sulu, Visayas, and Mindanao, which means "river" and the suffix “-nun” or -non” which indicates a locality or place of origin. Subanon are also known in the Anglicized form as "Subanen". Subanon are the biggest group of lumad or non-Muslim indigenous cultural community on the island of Mindanao. This ethnic group were the aborigines of western Mindanao particularly inZamboanga Peninsula areas which are divided into different provinces such as Zamboanga del SurZamboanga del Norte,Zamboanga SibugayBasilanMisamis Occidental and extended to the province of Misamis Oriental. The Subanon people speak the Subanon language.


The Tagalogs, the first settlers of Manila and its surrounding areas, are one of the most widespread groups of people in the Philippines. The Tagalog language was chosen as an official language of the Philippines in the 1930s. Today, Filipino, a de facto version of Tagalog, is taught throughout the islands. As of the 2000 census, there were about 21.5 million speakers of Tagalog in the Philippines, 23.8 million worldwide.


The term Visayans refer to several ethnolinguistic groups living in the Visayas region. Some of these individuals are also found in some parts of Mindanao. There are variousVisayan languages spoken in the Central Philippine region. They mostly include CebuanoIlonggo, and Waray-Waray. These particular groups share nearly the same history, maritime civilization, culture and traditions. As such, their languages mostly within the Visayan island group were said to be actually one dialect continuum of Visayan due to their great lexical and grammatical semblance to each other. It was also hypothesized that scattered present-day Visayans originated from a proto-ethnic group that fled Sri Vijaya, a major thalassocratic empire in Southeast Asia during 13th century. There are some ethnolinguistic groups that have languages which are classified as Visayan, but do not identify themselves as Visayan, such as the Tausug, which speak a Visayan language yet are predominantly Muslim. Some of these only use the Visayan identity to refer to those who are Christian. Other ethnic groups belong here such as the RomblomanonMasbateñoKaray-aAklanon and Cuyonon of Palawan. Based on estimates, there are currently around 33 million Visayans.


The Chavacanos are an ethnic group numbering around a million people, who inhabit the provinces and cities of Cavite(the Caviteño Chabacano), Zamboanga City(Zamboangueño or Chavacano), Zamboanga Provinces (Zamboangueño), Basilan (Zamboangueño), Sulu (Zamboangueño), 
Tawi-Tawi (Zamboangueño) Ternate(Ternateño Chabacano), Ermita(Ermiteño Chabacano), Cotabato(Cotabateñ Chavacano), Davao (Castellano Abakay) and Malaysia (Zamboangueño).


Tribal group

There are more than 100 highland, lowland, and coastland tribal groups in the Philippines. These include:


The falaka or "bachelor's hat" is a garment worn by men from the Bontoc people
The Igorot (Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isneg, Kalinga, Kankana-ey, Kalanguya), live in the highlands of Luzon. They are primarily located in the Cordillera Administrative Region.


The Ilongot are a headhunting ethnic group found in the Caraballo Mountains.


The Lumad of Mindanao includes several tribes such as the Manobo, the Tasaday, the Mamanwa, the Mandaya, the Bilaan and the Kalagan. They primarily inhabit the eastern parts of Mindanao such as the Caraga, and Davao Regions.


The Mangyan are found in Mindoro. they are 13% in the population.

Negrito groups

The NegritoAetaBatak, and Mamanwa live in remote areas throughout the islands.

Palawan Tribes

The tribes of Palawan are a diverse group of tribes primarily located in the island of Palawan and its outlying islands. These tribal groups are widely distributed to the long strip of mainland island literally traversing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Palawan is home to many indigenous peoples whose origins date back thousands of centuries. Pre-historic discoveries reveal how abundant cultural life in Palawan survived before foreign occupiers and colonizers reached the Philippine archipelago. Today, Palawan is making its best to preserve and conserve the richness of its cultural groups. The provincial government strives to support the groups of indigenous peoples of Palawan.
The Batak is a group of indigenous Filipino people that resides in the northeast portion of Palawan.
The Palawans are tribal people found in Southern Palawan particularly Quezon, Palawan.
The Kagayanen are from the municipality of Cagayancillo, Palawan province. There are about 36,000 Kagayanen in the Philippines.
The Molbog (referred to in the literature as Molebugan or Molebuganon) are concentrated in Balabak island and are also found in other islands of the coast of Palawan as far north as Panakan. The word Malubog means "murky or turbid water". The Molbog are probably a migrant people from nearby North Borneo. Judging from their dialect and some socio-cultural practices, they seem to be related to the Orang Tidung or Tirum (Camucone in Spanish), an Islamized indigenous group native to the lower east coast of Sabah and upperEast Kalimantan. However, some Sama words (of the Jama Mapun variant) and Tausug words are found in the Molbog dialect after a long period of exposure with those ethnics. This plus a few characteristics of their socio-cultural life style distinguish them from the Orang Tidung. Molbog livelihood includes subsistence farming, fishing and occasional barter trading with the Sulu Bangsa Moro and nearby Sabah market centers. In the past, both the Molbog and the Palawanon Muslims were ruled by Sulu datus, thus forming the outer political periphery of the Sulu Sultanate. Intermarriage between Tausug and the Molbog hastened the Islamization of the Molbog. The offsprings of these intermarriages are known as kolibugan or "half-breed".
The Tagbanwas are found in the western and eastern coastal areas of central Palawan. Their name means "people of the world". They are concentrated in the municipalities of Aborlan, Quezon and the city of Puerto Princesa. Two other ethnic groups called "Tagbanwa" (i.e. the Central Tagbanwa and the Calamian Tagbanwa) are from a different family of languages and should not be confused the Tagnbanwas discussed here. These are found Coron Island, Northern Palawan, Busuanga Island and the Baras coast. The Central Tagbanwa language is dying out as the younger generations are learning Cuyonon and Tagalog. The Tagbanwas speak the Tagbanwa language and has several sub-dialects. They are able to comprehend Tagalog, and, depending on their proximity to neighboring groups, Batak, Cuyonen and Calamian languages. They usually dress like the non-tribal lowlanders. However, elder men prefer to wear G-string while tilling or fishing. Houses are built from available forest materials. Bamboo and wood are used for the house's frame anahaw leaves are used to create walls and the roof and bamboo slats are used as flooring. Their basic social unit is the nuclear family which is composed of a married couple and their children usually one girl and one boy.
Taaw't Bato
The Taaw't Batos' name means "people of the rock". They are not actually a separate language or ethnic group, but rather a small community of traditional S.W. Palawanos who happen to reside in the crater of an extinct volcano during certain seasons of the year, in houses built on raised floors inside caves though others have set their homes on the open slopes. They are found in the Singnapan Basin, a valley bounded by Mount Mantalingajan on the east and the coast on the west. North of them is the municipality of Quezon, Palawan and to the South are the still unexplored regions of Palawan. As of 1987, their population was about 198. Note that the common-seen spelling "Tau't Bato" or "Tau't Batu" is a misspelling based on the Tagalog word for "human" (tao). The Palawano word is "taaw." The men of the tribe wear G-strings while the women cover their lower bodies with bark or cloth that is made into a skirt. The upper half is left exposed although some now wear blouses that are bought from the market. The people practice agriculture with cassava as the major source of carbohydrates. They also plant sweet potatoes, sugarcane, malunggay (Moringa oleifera), garlic, pepper, string beans, squash, tomatoes and pineapples. Others practice fishing, hunting and industrial arts. Their social organizations are based on family (kin ties), band (type of substinence activity) and settlement (geographic location).


The Tumandok people are an indigenous group who live in central Panay island. They are the largest indigenous people’s group in Panay, with a population As of 2011 of some 94,000. They are mostly slash-and-burn farmers with bisaya rice as the main crop, the Tumandok also engage in hunting, fishing, and foraging for fruits and root crops.

Non-indigenous ethnic groups

  • The Philippine Statistics Department does not account for the racial background or ancestry of an individual. The official number of all types of Filipino mestizos who reside inside and outside of the Philippines remains unknown.


Filipinos of Chinese ancestry form a minority in the Philippine population. Most migrations of Chinese to the Philippines started even before the Spanish colonial period, when foreign trade with other countries were opened to the Philippines. The ethnically Chinese Filipinos comprise 1.3% (1.1 million) of the population.


Filipinos of American ancestry form a minority in the Philippine population. Some of these multiracial individuals are descended from Americans who settled in the Philippines during the United States colonial period, and others from tourists who have settled in the Philippines in the contemporary period. As of 2011, the U.S, State Department estimated that there are an estimated four million Americans of Philippine ancestry in the United States, and more than 300,000 American citizens in the Philippines.


Arabs form a minority in the Philippine population. Their official population is unknown.


Indians form a minority in the Philippine population and have been in the Philippines since pre-colonial times. They have contributed to the unique cultural blend in the Philippines. One source estimated the size of the Indian community in the Philippines in 2008 at 150,000 persons.[35] Most Indians in the Philippines belong to either Sindhi people or Punjabi people ethnic groups, and are largely businessmen and traders. A smaller population of Indians belonging to the Marathi ethnic group form part of the clergy of Roman Catholic dioceses in the country.


People of Japanese descent form a minority in the Philippine population. However, some estimates put the number of Japanese residing in the Philippines at around 120,000 when including Filipinos of Japanese descent. Japanese people have been settling in the Philippines for centuries, therefore there has been much cultural and genetic blending. The Ryukyu Kingdom (Okinawa, etc...) also had heavy trade and mixing in the Philippines, particularly in Northern Luzon.


Filipinos of Hispanic ancestry form a minority in the Philippine population. Their official population is unknown. Most of these are descendants of the Spanish settlers who settled in the islands during the Spanish colonial period. Most were of either pure Spanish ancestry or Amerindian-Spanish ancestry (The term 'Mestizo' originated in Latin America). The first groups of Hispanics sailed in 1565 with Miguel López de Legazpi from New Spain, in what is now Jalisco state, Mexico to conquer the Philippine islands.


Jews form a minority in the Philippine population. Their official population is unknown.



Other ethnic groups and/or nationalities include various European ethnicities, BrazilianCanadianAustralianNew ZealanderPacific IslanderEastern EuropeanIndonesian,MalaysianThaiVietnamese, and other ethnic groups from other countries.


Administrative divisions

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: LuzonVisayas, and Mindanao. As of March 2010, these were divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 138 cities, 1,496 municipalities, and 42,025 barangays. In addition, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 5446 asserts that the definition of the territorial sea around the Philippine archipelago does not affect the claim over Sabah.
The Philippines exhibiting its 17 regions and 80 provinces.
A clickable map of the Philippines exhibiting its 17 regions and 80 provinces.
About this image

RegionDesignationRegional Center
Ilocos RegionRegion ISan Fernando, La Union
Cagayan ValleyRegion IITuguegarao
Central LuzonRegion IIISan Fernando, Pampanga
MIMAROPARegion IV-BCalapan
Bicol RegionRegion VLegazpi
Western VisayasRegion VIIloilo
Central VisayasRegion VIICebu
Eastern VisayasRegion VIIITacloban
Zamboanga PeninsulaRegion IXPagadian[156][157]
Northern MindanaoRegion XCagayan de Oro
Davao RegionRegion XIDavao
CaragaRegion XIIIButuan
Autonomous Region in Muslim MindanaoARMMCotabato
Cordillera Administrative RegionCARBaguio
National Capital RegionNCRManila


The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi). Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world. It is located between 116° 40', and 126° 34' E. longitude and 4° 40' and 21° 10' N. latitude and is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan is located directly to the north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest and Palau is located to the east of the islands.
Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin. The highest mountain is Mount Apo. It measures up to 2,954 meters (9,692 ft) above sea level and is located on the island of Mindanao. The Galathea Depth in the Philippine Trench is the deepest point in the country and the third deepest in the world. The trench is located in the Philippine Sea. The longest river is the Cagayan River in northern Luzon. Manila Bay, upon the shore of which the capital city of Manila lies, is connected to Laguna de Bay, the largest lake in the Philippines, by the Pasig RiverSubic Bay, the Davao Gulf, and the Moro Gulf are other important bays. The San Juanico Strait separates the islands of Samar and Leyte but it is traversed by the San Juanico Bridge.
Ifugao/Igorot utilized terrace farming to grow crops in the steep mountainous regions of northern Philippines.
Situated on the western fringes of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity. The Benham Plateau to the east in the Philippine Sea is an undersea region active in tectonic subduction. Around 20 earthquakes are registered daily, though most are too weak to be felt. The last major earthquake was the 1990 Luzon earthquake. There are many active volcanoes such as the Mayon VolcanoMount Pinatubo, and Taal Volcano. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 produced the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century. Not all notable geographic features are so violent or destructive. A more serene legacy of the geological disturbances is the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, the area represents a habitat for biodiversity conservation, the site also contains a full mountain-to-the-sea ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia. The white sand beaches that make Boracay a popular vacation getaway are made of coral remnants.
Due to the volcanic nature of the islands, mineral deposits are abundant. The country is estimated to have the second-largest gold deposits after South Africa and one of the largest copper deposits in the world. It is also rich in nickel, chromite, and zinc. Despite this, poor management, high population density, and environmental consciousness have resulted in these mineral resources remaining largely untapped. Geothermal energy, however, is another product of volcanic activity that the country has harnessed more successfully. The Philippines is the world's second-biggest geothermal producer behind the United States, with 18% of the country's electricity needs being met by geothermal power.

Flora and fauna

The Philippines' rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologicallymegadiverse countries and is at or near the top in terms of biodiversity per unit area. Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 170 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. Endemic species include the tamaraw of Mindoro, the Visayan spotted deer, the Philippine mouse deer, the Visayan warty pig, the Philippine flying lemur, and several species of bats. The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise.

Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta), one of the smallest primates.
The Philippines lacks large predators, with the exception of snakes, such as pythons and cobrassaltwater crocodiles and birds of prey, such as the national bird, known as the Philippine Eagle, which scientists suggest as the largest eagle in the world. The largest crocodile in captivity was captured in the southern island of Mindanao. Other native animals include the palm civet cat, the dugong, and the Philippine tarsier associated with Bohol. With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands, Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia. The narra is considered as the most important type of hardwood.
Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers (849,425 sq mi) producing unique and diverse marine life and are an important part of the Coral Triangle. The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively. However, new records  and species discoveries continuously increase these numbers underlining the uniqueness of the marine resources in the Philippines. The Apo Reef is the country's largest contiguous coral reef system and the second-largest in the world. The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of pearls, crabs, and seaweeds.
Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the country's total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999. Many species are endangered and scientists say that Southeast Asia, which the Philippines is part of, faces a catastrophic extinction rate of 20% by the end of the 21st century. According to Conservation International, "the country is one of the few nations that is, in its entirety, both a hotspot and a megadiversity country, placing it among the top priority hotspots for global conservation."


Typhoon Megi (known as Juan)over the Philippines
The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. 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. The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the Habagat, and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April), the Amihan. Temperatures usually range from 21 °C (70 °F) to 32 °C (90 °F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.
The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 °C (79.9 °F). In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. Whether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 ft) above sea level is 18.3 °C (64.9 °F), making it a popular destination during hot summers. Likewise, Tagaytay is a faved retreat.
Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October, with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall.[Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 in) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 in) in some of the sheltered valleys. The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimeters (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio. Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines. For the PAGASA, at least 19-22 storms would enter in their area and 10-13 storms would hit the Philippines.


The national economy of the Philippines is the 41st largest in the world, with an estimated 2013 gross domestic product (nominal) of $272.207 billion. Primary exports includesemiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand. I unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP).
Makati in Metro Manila, the country's financial center.
newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Of the country's total labor force of around 38.1 million the agricultural sector employs close to 32% but contributes to only about 14% of GDP. The industrial sector employs around 14% of the workforce and accounts for 30% of GDP. Meanwhile the 47% of workers involved in the services sector are responsible for 56% of GDP.
The unemployment rate as of July 2009 stands at around 7.6% and due to the global economic slowdown inflation as of September 2009 reads 0.70%. Gross international reserves as of July 2011 are $83.201 billion. In 2004, public debt as a percentage of GDP was estimated to be 74.2%; in 2008, 56.9%. Gross external debt has risen to $66.27 billion. The country is a net importer.
After World War II, the country was for a time regarded as the second wealthiest in East Asia, next only to Japan. However, by the 1960s its economic performance started being overtaken. The economy stagnated under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos as the regime spawned economic mismanagement and political volatility. The country suffered from slow economic growth and bouts of economic recession. Only in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization did the economy begin to recover.
Graphical depiction of the Philippines' product exports in 28 color-coded categories.
The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis affected the economy, resulting in a lingering decline of the value of the peso and falls in the stock market. But the extent it was affected initially was not as severe as that of some of its Asian neighbors. This was largely due to the fiscal conservatism of the government, partly as a result of decades of monitoring and fiscal supervision from the International Monetary Fund(IMF), in comparison to the massive spending of its neighbors on the rapid acceleration of economic growth. There have been signs of progress since. In 2004, the economy experienced 6.4% GDP growth and 7.1% in 2007, its fastest pace of growth in three decades. Yet average annual GDP growth per capita for the period 1966–2007 still stands at 1.45% in comparison to an average of 5.96% for the East Asia and the Pacific region as a whole and the daily income for 45% of the population of the Philippines remains less than $2. Despite enjoying sustained economic growth during the 2000s (decade), as of 2010, the country's economy remains smaller than those of its Southeast Asian neighbors Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore in terms of GDP and GDP per capita (nominal).
Other incongruities and challenges exist. The economy is heavily reliant on remittances which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Regional development is uneven with Luzon – Metro Manila in particular – gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions, although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the country. Despite constraints, service industries such as tourism and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country. Goldman Sachs includes the country in its list of the "Next Eleven" economies.but China and India have emerged as major economic competitors.
Goldman Sachs estimates that by the year 2050, it will be the 14th largest economy in the world. HSBC also projects the Philippine economy to become the 16th largest economy in the world, 5th largest economy in Asia and the largest economy in the South East Asian region by 2050.[208] The Philippines is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank which is headquartered in Mandaluyong, the Colombo Plan, the G-77, and the G-24 among other groups and institutions.


Population in Philippines increased from 1990 to 2008 by approximately 28 million, a 45% growth in that time frame. The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685. As of 2011, the Philippines has become the world's 12th most populous nation, with a population of over 94 million. It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. The population growth rate between 1995 to 2000 of 3.21% decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005 to 2010 period, but remains a contentious issue. The population's median age is 22.7 years with 60.9% aged from 15 to 64 years old. Life expectancy at birth is 71.94 years, 75.03 years for females and 68.99 years for males.
There are about 11 million Filipinos outside the Philippines. Since the liberalization of United States immigration laws in 1965, the number of people in the United States having Filipino ancestry has grown substantially. In 2007 there were an estimated 3.1 million. According to the United States Census Bureau, immigrants from the Philippines made up the second largest group after Mexico that sought family reunification. Some two million Filipinos work in the Middle East, with nearly a million in Saudi Arabia alone.


Ethnic groups per province
According to the 2000 census, 28.1% of Filipinos are Tagalog, 13.1% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 7.6% Bisaya/Binisaya, 7.5% Hiligaynon, 6% Bikol, 3.4% Waray, and 25.3% as "others", which can be broken down further to yield more distinct non-tribal groups like the Moro, the Kapampangan, the Pangasinense, the Ibanag, and the Ivatan. There are also indigenous peoples like the Igorot, theLumad, the Mangyan, the Bajau, and the tribes of PalawanNegritos, such as the Aeta and the Ati, are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands.
Filipinos generally belong to several Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesians speaking people. It is believed that thousands of years ago Austronesian-speaking Taiwanese aborigines migrated to the Philippines from Taiwan, bringing with them knowledge of agriculture and ocean-sailing, eventually displacing the earlier Negrito groups of the islands. They were later supplanted by arrivals of Chinese and Japanese in the northern islands, and MalaysIndiansArabs in the southern islands. Later arrivals during the colonial period include more JapaneseIndians, Spaniards, Americans, as well as other European peoples. Intermarriage between the groups is evident in the major cities and urban areas. Descendants of such mixed couples are known as mestizos.
The two most important non-indigenous minorities include the Chinese and the SpaniardsChinese Filipinos, mostly descended from immigrants from Fujian, China after 1898, number 2 million, although there is an estimated 28 million Filipinos who have partial Chinese ancestry, stemming from precolonial Chinese migrants. Chinese Filipinos have a prominent role in the country's private sector, and are part of the larger bamboo network, a network of overseas Chinese businesses operating in the markets of Southeast Asia that share common family and cultural ties. Other significant minorities include Americans, mostly White, numbering 300,000, and Koreans, numbering 96,000.


Metro Manila is the most populous of the 12 defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 11th most populous in the world. As of the 2007 census, it had a population of 11,553,427, comprising 13% of the national population.[230] Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (BulacanCaviteLaguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 21 million.
Metro Manila's gross regional product is estimated as of July 2009 to be 468.4 billion (at constant 1985 prices) and accounts for 33% of the nation's GDP. In 2011, it ranked as the 28th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia, according to PricewaterhouseCoopersCebu City in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao are other important urban centers.


Top five native languages (Ethnologue, 2013)[234][235]
LanguageSpeakers in millions
Ethnologue lists 175 individual languages in the Philippines, 171 of which are living languages while 4 no longer have any known speakers. They are part of the Borneo–Philippines group of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, which is itself a branch of the Austronesian language family.
According to the 1987 Philippine ConstitutionFilipino and English are the official languages. Filipino is a standardized version of Tagalog, spoken mainly in Metro Manila and other urban regions. Both Filipino and English are used in government, education, print, broadcast media, and business. The constitution mandates that Spanish and Arabic shall be promoted on a voluntary and optional basis. Nineteen regional languages act as auxiliary official languages used as mediums of instruction: AklanonBikolCebuano, Chavacano, HiligaynonIbanagIlocanoIvatanKapampanganKinaray-a,MaguindanaoMaranaoPangasinanSambalSurigaonon, Tagalog, TausugWaray-Waray, and Yakan.
Other languages such as, CuyononIfugaoItbayatKalingaKamayoKankanaeyMasbateñoRomblomanon, and several Visayan languages are prevalent in their respective provinces. The Chavacano language, a creole language born from Spanish, is also spoken in Cavite and Zamboanga.
Languages not indigenous to the islands are also taught in select schools. Mandarin is used in Chinese schools catering to the Chinese Filipino community. Islamic schools in Mindanao teach Modern Standard Arabic in their curriculum. FrenchGermanJapaneseKoreanSpanish are taught with the help of foreign linguistic institutions. The Department of Education began teaching the Malay languages Indonesian and Malaysian in 2013.


According to the 2000 census and 2010 estimates, the religious distribution of the country's population included 90 percent Christians (with 80 percent Catholics and 10 percentProtestants), 5 percent Muslims, 2 percent Folk practitioners, 1 percent Buddhists, 1 percent believers of other faiths (including Hindus and Jews), and 1 percent non-religious.
Religion in the Philippines (Pew Research)[242][243]
The Philippines is a secular nation having a constitution separating the state and church. However, more than 90% of the population are Christians: about 80% belong to the Roman Catholic Church while 10% belong to other Christian denominations, such as the Iglesia ni Cristo, the Philippine Independent ChurchUnited Church of Christ in the Philippines (a mainline Protestant united church), and Jehovah's Witnesses. As a result of Spanish cultural influence, the Philippines is one of twopredominantly Roman Catholic countries in Asia, the other being East Timor, a former Portuguese colony.
Between 5% and 10% of the population are Muslim, most of whom live in parts of Mindanao, Palawan, and the Sulu Archipelago – an area known as Bangsamoro or the Moro region. Some have migrated into urban and rural areas in different parts of the country. Most Muslim Filipinos practice Sunni Islam according to the Shafi'i school. Philippine traditional religions are still practiced by many aboriginal and tribal groups, often syncretized with Christianity and Islam.Animismfolk religion, and shamanism remain present as undercurrents of mainstream religion, through the albularyo, the babaylan, and the manghihilotBuddhismTaoism, and Chinese folk religion, are dominant in Chinese communities. There are also followers of HinduismSikhism, and Judaism and Baha'i.



The University of Santo Tomas, established in 1611, has the oldest extantuniversity charter in Asia.
The National Statistics Office reports a simple literacy rate of 93.4% and a functional literacy rate of 84.1% for 2003. Literacy is about equal for males and females. Spending for education is around 2.5% of GDP. According to the Department of Education, or DepEd, there were 44,846 elementary schools and 10,384 secondary schools registered for the school year 2009–2010 while theCommission on Higher Education (CHED) lists 2,180 higher education institutions, 607 of which are public and 1,573 private. Classes start in June and end in March. The majority of colleges and universities follow a semester calendar from June to October and November to March. There are a number of foreign schools with study programs. Republic Act No. 9155 gives the framework of basic education in the Philippines and provides for compulsory elementary education and free high school education.
Several government agencies are involved with education. The Department of Education covers elementary, secondary, and nonformal education; the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) administers the post-secondary middle-level education training and development; and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) supervises the college and graduate academic programs and degrees as well as regulates standards in higher education. In 2004, madaris were mainstreamed in 16 regions nationwide mainly in Muslim areas in Mindanao under the auspices and program of the Department of Education. Public universities are all non-sectarian entities, and are further classified as State University and College (SUC) or Local College and University (LCU). SUCs are funded by the national government as determined by the Philippine Congress. The University of the Philippines is the national university of the Philippines.


Most of the national burden of health care is taken up by private health providers. In 2006, total expenditures on health represented 3.8% of GDP. 67.1% of that came from private expenditures while 32.9% was from government. External resources accounted for 2.9% of the total. Health expenditures represented about 6.1% of total government spending. Per capita total expenditure at average exchange rate was $52. The proposed national health budget for 2010 is ₱28 billion (about $597 million) or ₱310 ($7) per person. The government share of total spending on health has declined steadily, and with more people, there has been less to spend per person.
There are an estimated 90,370 physicians or 1 per every 833 people, 480,910 nurses, 43,220 dentists, and 1 hospital bed per every 769 people. Retention of skilled practitioners is a problem. 70% of nursing graduates go overseas to work. The country is the biggest supplier of nurses. In 2001 there were about 1,700 hospitals, of which about 40% were government-run and 60% private. Cardiovascular diseases account for more than 25% of all deaths. According to official estimates, 1,965 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) were reported in 2003, of which 636 had developed acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Other estimates have as many as 12,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in 2005.



Blue and white jeepney with a green and white bus behind it
jeepney and a bus, common forms of public transport in the Philippines
The transportation infrastructure in the country is relatively underdeveloped. Partly this is due to the mountainous terrain and the scattered geography of the islands, but it is also the result of the government's persistent underinvestment in infrastructure. In 2003, only 3.6% of GDP went to infrastructure development which was significantly lower than that of some of its neighbors. Consequently, while there are 203,025 kilometers (126,154 mi) of roads in the country, only around 20% of the total is paved. The current administration under President Benigno Aquino III has been pushing to improve the country's infrastructure and transportation systems through various projects.
Nevertheless there are many ways to get around, especially in urban areas. Buses, jeepneys, taxis, and motorized tricycles are commonly available in major cities and towns. In 2007, there were about 5.53 million registered motor vehicles with registration increasing at an average annual rate of 4.55%. Train services are provided by three main railway networks that serve different areas of Metro Manila and parts of Luzon: the Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT), the Manila Metro Rail Transit System (MRT), and the Philippine National Railways (PNR).

Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the main gateway to the country
As an archipelago, inter-island travel via watercraft is often necessary. The busiest seaports are Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga. Passenger ships and other sea vessels such as those operated by 2GO Travel and Sulpicio Lines serve Manila, with links to various cities and towns. In 2003, the 919-kilometer (571 mi) Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), an integrated set of highway segments and ferry routes covering 17 cities was established.
Some rivers that pass through metropolitan areas, such as the Pasig River and Marikina River, have air-conditioned commuter ferries. The Pasig River Ferry Service has numerous stops in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina. There are 3,219 kilometers (2,000 mi) of navigable inland waterways.
There are 85 public airports in the country, and around 111 more that are private. The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is the main international airport. Other important airports include the Clark International AirportMactan-Cebu International AirportFrancisco Bangoy International Airport and Zamboanga International AirportPhilippine Airlines, Asia's oldest commercial airline still operating under its original name, and Cebu Pacific, the leading low-cost airline, are the major airlines serving most domestic and international destinations.


The Philippines has a sophisticated cellular phone industry and a high concentration of users. As of 2008, there are about 67.9 million cellular phone subscribers in the Philippines Text messaging is a popular form of communication and has fostered a culture of quick greetings and forwarded jokes among Filipinos. In 2007, the nation sent an average of one billion SMS messages per day. Out of this growing number of avid text message senders, over five million of them use their cellular phones as virtual wallets, making it a leader among developing nations in providing financial transactions over cellular networks.
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company commonly known as PLDT is the leading telecommunications provider. It is also the largest company in the country Its wholly owned subsidiaries Smart Communications and Piltel, along with Globe Telecom of the Ayala GroupBayanTel, and Sun Cellular are the major cellular service providers in the country.
There are approximately 383 AM and 659 FM radio stations and 297 television and 873 cable television stations. Estimates for internet penetration in the Philippines vary widely ranging from a low of 2.5 million to a high of 24 million people. Social networking and watching videos are among the most frequent internet activities.


Percussion instruments that make up the Philippine kulintang ensemble, an example of pre-Hispanic musical tradition
Philippine culture is a combination of Eastern and Western cultures. The Philippines exhibits aspects found in other Asian countries with a Malay heritage, yet its culture also displays a significant amount of Spanish and American influences. Traditional festivities known as barrio fiestas (district festivals) to commemorate the feast days of patron saints are common. The Moriones Festival and Sinulog Festival are a couple of the most well-known. These community celebrations are times for feasting, music, and dancing. Some traditions, however, are changing or gradually being forgotten due to modernization. The Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company has been lauded for preserving many of the various traditional folk dances found throughout the Philippines. They are famed for their iconic performances of Philippine dances such as the tinikling and singkil that both feature the use of clashing bamboo poles.
One of the most visible Hispanic legacies is the prevalence of Spanish names and surnames among Filipinos. However, a Spanish name and surname does not necessarily denote Spanish ancestry. This peculiarity, unique among the people of Asia, came as a result of a colonial decree, the Clavería edict, for the systematic distribution of family names and implementation of the Spanish naming system on the population. The names of many streets, towns, and provinces are also in Spanish. Spanish architecture has left an imprint in the Philippines in the way many towns were designed around a central square or plaza mayor, but many of the buildings bearing its influence were demolished during World War II. Some examples remain, mainly among the country's churches, government buildings, and universities. Four Philippine baroque churches are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the San Agustín Church in Manila, the Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, the Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Santa María) Church in Ilocos Sur, and the Santo Tomás de Villanueva Church in Iloilo. Vigan in Ilocos Sur is also known for the many Hispanic-style houses and buildings preserved there.
The common use of the English language is an example of the American impact on Philippine society. It has contributed to the ready acceptance and influence of American pop cultural trends. This affinity is seen in Filipinos' love of fast food, film, and music. Fast food outlets are found on many street corners. American global fast food chain stalwarts have entered the market, but local fast food chains like Goldilocks and most notably Jollibee, the leading fast food chain in the country, have emerged and compete successfully against their foreign rivals. Filipinos regularly listen to and watch contemporary American, Asian, and European music and film just as they enjoy Original Pilipino Music (also known as OPM) and local films.


The halo-halo is a dessert made of ice, milk, various fruits, and ice cream.
Philippine cuisine has evolved over several centuries from its Malayo-Polynesian origins to become a mixed cuisine with many Hispanic,ChineseAmerican, and other Asian influences that have been adapted to local ingredients and the Filipino palate to create distinctively Filipino dishes. Dishes range from the very simple, like a meal of fried salted fish and rice, to the elaborate, such as the paellas andcocidos created for fiestas. Popular dishes include lechónadobosinigangkare-karetapa, crispy patapancitlumpia, and halo-halo. Some common local ingredients used in cooking are calamondins, coconuts, saba (a kind of short wide plantain), mangoesmilkfish, and fish sauce. Filipino taste buds tend to favor robust flavors but the cuisine is not as spicy as those of its neighbors.
Unlike many of their Asian counterparts, Filipinos do not eat with chopsticks; they use Western cutlery. However, possibly due to rice being the primary staple food and the popularity of a large number of stews and main dishes with broth in Philippine cuisine, the main pairing of utensils seen at the Filipino dining table is that of spoon and fork, not knife and fork. The traditional way of eating with the hands known as kamayan is seen more often in less urbanized areas.


Baybayin, one of several indigenous scripts of the Philippines
Philippine mythology has been handed down primarily through the traditional oral folk literature of the Filipino people. While each unique ethnic group has its own stories and myths to tell, Hindu and Spanish influences can nonetheless be detected in many cases. Philippine mythology mostly consists of creation stories or stories about supernatural creatures, such as the aswang, the manananggal, the diwata /engkanto, and nature. Some popular figures from Philippine mythologies are Maria MakilingLam-Ang, and the Sarimanok.
Philippine literature comprises works usually written in Filipino, Spanish, or English. Some of the most known were created in the 19th century. Francisco Balagtas the poet and playwright who wrote Florante at Laura is recognized as a preeminent writer in the Filipino language. José Rizal wrote the novels Noli Me Tángere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibustering, also known as The Reign of Greed) and is considered a national hero. His depiction of the injustices of Spanish rule, and his death by firing squad, inspired other Philippine revolutionaries to seek independence. In the 20th century, among those officially recognized as National Artists of the Philippines in literature are NVM GonzalezNick JoaquinF. Sionil Jose, and Alejandro Roces.


Philippine media uses mainly Filipino and English. Other Philippine languages, including various Visayan languages are also used, especially in radio due to its ability to reach remote rural locations that might otherwise not be serviced by other kinds of media. The dominant television networks ABS-CBNGMA and TV5 also have extensive radio presence.
The entertainment industry is vibrant and feeds broadsheets and tabloids with an unending supply of details about celebrities and sensationalist scandals du jour. Drama and fantasy shows are anticipated as Latin telenovelasAsianovelas, and anime. The term Fdramas (or Filipino Dramas) refer to the Philippines' Drama Series. Daytime television is dominated by game shows, variety shows, and talk shows such as Eat Bulaga and It's ShowtimePhilippine cinema has a long history and is popular domestically, but has faced increasing competition from AmericanAsian and European films. Critically acclaimed directors and actors include Lino Brocka and Nora Aunor for films like Maynila: Sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (Manila: In the Claws of Light) and Himala (Miracle). In recent years it has become common to see celebrities flitting between television and movies and then moving into politics provoking concerns.


PBA basketball game at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Southeast Asia's largest arena.
Various sports and pastimes are popular in the Philippines including basketballboxingcockfightingvolleyballfootballbadminton,karatetaekwondobilliardsten-pin bowlingchess, and sipaMotocrosscycling, and mountaineering are also becoming popular. Basketball is played at both amateur and professional levels and is considered to be the most popular sport in the Philippines. In almost every corner of the cities, there is a basketball court.
The Philippines has participated in the Summer Olympic Games since 1924, making it the first country in Southeast Asia to compete and win a medal.The country had competed in every Summer Olympic Games since then, except when they participated in theAmerican-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics. The Philippines is also the first tropical nation to compete at the Winter Olympics.
Traditional Philippine games such as luksung bakapatinteropiko, and tumbang preso are still played primarily as children's gamesamong the youth. Sungka is a traditional native Philippine board game. Card games are popular during festivities, with some, including pusoy and tong-its, being used as a form of illegal gamblingMahjong is played in some Philippine communities. The yo-yo, a popular toy in the Philippines, was introduced in its modern form by Pedro Flores with its name from the Ilokano language.
Arnis (Eskrima or Kali in some regions) is the national martial art and sport. Today there are said to be almost as many Philippine fighting styles as there are islands in the Philippines. In 1972, the Philippine government included Filipino martial arts into the national sports arena. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports also incorporated them into the physical education curriculum for high school and college students.
Some Filipinos recognized for their achievements include Francisco GuilledoFlash ElordeNonito Donaire and Manny Pacquiao in boxing; Paulino Alcántara in football (soccer);Carlos LoyzagaRobert Jaworski, and Ramon Fernandez in basketball; Efren Reyes in billiards; Eugene Torre in chess; and Rafael Nepomuceno in bowling.




The Philippines is a Y-shaped archipelago south of China in Southeast Asia. Its 7,100 islands have a total land area of 300,000 sq. km. It was the first republic in Asia (1898), the first to be decolonized partially by a Western colonial country (1935), and the first in Southeast Asia to be granted full independence after the Second World War (1946). Because of its strategic location it has been a bridge between the East and West, a rampart of Christianity, and a showcase of democracy in Asia.
Named after Philip II of Spain, the Philippines is a beautiful country and has been called "Pearl of the Orient". With a fertile soil, healthy climate, rich and natural resources and fishing grounds, it is poised on the brink of an agri-business and aquaculture revolution. The cheif agricultural products are rice, coconut, corn, hemp, tobacco, sugarcane and tropical fruits. It ranks first in world production of coconut oil, second in sugarcane, and fifth in tobacco. It is the greatest gold-producing country in Southeast Asia, ranks third in chromite, and has one of the world's largest deposits of nickel, deuterium and copper.

It has the world's longest discontinuous coastline (34,000 km.). Its forest provide one of Asia's best supplies of timber and forest products, but forest resources have been seriously damaged by slash-and-burn farming, illegal logging, and poor management in the past. 

The Filipinos are a racial mixture due to their reception of different cultures in history. Intermarriages are common, and the majority of the people have mixed blood. Aboriginal tribes populate the mountain Interiors. Most Filipinos belong to the Malay race, with a tawny complexion, black hair and black eyes.

Of the total population of 56 million, 93% are Catholics or Protestant Christians, followed by Islams and the Iglesia Ni Crito (a local sect). Thus, it is Asia's only predominantly Christian country.
The National Language (Filipino) has become dominant, although English is still widely-used in education, commerce and communication. The Philippines has the world's third largest English-speaking country. Spanish and Chinese (Fukien and Cantonese) are also spoken by a minority. There are 55 regional languages and 142 dialects in the country. The Filipinos take pride in their education and literacy (at 90% the highest in Southeast Asia). Their 50 colleges and universities attract tens of thousands of foreign students all over the world for courses in medicine, nursing, dentistry, etc.
The Philippines is a unique nation with four cultural heritages - Asian, European, Mexican, and American. No other nation in the world can claim to have such a varied and extensive experiencewith all four cultures. Thus, it is not unusual for the Filipinos to look Oriental, have a Spanish-sounding name, speak like English with an American accent and have a Latin temperament.

Filipinos are famous for thier warm hospitality, friendliness to foreigners, musical and artistic talents, romanticism, deep religiosity and bravery. they are fond of music, fiestas, and politics. They have the resiliency of the bamboo and the durability of narra, its national tree. When wars and calamities come, they bend but not to break. Although colonial writersslandered them as being lazy and stupid, Filipinos can work hard and adjust to any type of work. There are overseas Filipino working or living in the West Australia, the Middle East and more afluent Asian countries. 
Nowadays, Filipinos sometimes call themselves as Pinoys (short term for Pilipino or Filipino) 


Legends claim that the Philippines was settled by Bornean datus who founded a political confederation in the Visayas and wrote legal codes. These legendary and fictional accounts, found in Maragtas and Code of Kalantiaw,were taught as factual history by thy Spanish colonizers showed that the Philippines developed an early civilization of free barangay kingdoms ruled by a datu (chief) with a class structure and a rich Indo-Malay culture influenced by China, India, Arabia and Japan. two early Chinese writers, Chao Jukua (1225) and Wang Ta-yuan (1349) described Sino-Philippine trade and praised the honesty of the Filipinos to China from 1371-1421. Islam came to Southern Philippines in 1380 and the first Islamic was established in Jolo in 1450.  



Traditional Filipino Games or traditional games in the Philippines  are games commonly played by children, usually using native materials or instruments. In the Philippines, due to limited resources of toys of Filipino children, they usually come up on inventing games without the need of anything but the players themselves. With the flexibility of a real human to think and act makes the game more interesting and challenging.
A few years ago, kids used to gather in the streets or in their neighborhood playground to play their favorite Larong Pinoy games like piko, patintero, taguan, tumbang preso, siato, luksong tinik, etc. These has been their regular and popular pastimes, as well as the favorite games of their parents and grandparents until new and modern forms of entertainment has taken over the interests of young kids.


Patintero or haring diego - try to cross my line without letting me touch or catch you. A Filipino variation of "tag". No.of player/s:There are five members 5 in each group. Each member of the group who is it stands on the water lines. The perpendicular line in the middle allows the it designated on that line to intersect the lines occupied by the it that the parallel line intersects, thus increasing the chances of the runners to be trapped.even only one(1) member of a group is tagged the whole group will be the "IT".

Tumbang Preso

Tumbang preso or presohan (tumba-patis in most Visayan regions) is a popular Filipino street game and is commonly seen in most Filipino movies and TV series.
Like other Filipino traditional games, members take the following rules: one as the “taya”, someone who takes the rule of a-player-at-stake and holds the responsibility of the Lata (tin can), and; the two others as the players striking. The game is performed by having the players a “pamato” (which is ones own slipper) used for striking the tin that is held beside the taya.
As to how the game cycles, the taya, is obliged to catch another player to take over his position of running after the tin that keeps from throwing away by the strikes of the players. Nevertheless, the taya is only privileged to do so only if the player is holding on his way a pamato and when the tin is on its upright position. Hence, running after another player is keeping an eye to the tin can’s position. As for the players, they have their whole time striking the tin can and running away from the taya keeping themselves safe with their pamato since making the tin fell down helps another player from recovering. Instance like having everyone had their turns over is one big climax of the game that leads them to panic since case is that taya has all his rights to capture whether the player have a hold of their pamato or not.
However, mechanics also give each side privileges. With the roadway or streets as the area being performed, the taya take its place on one side held its tin centered on the ground while on the other end is bound by a line that limits the player when throwing. Breaking rules to the players give way for the taya to have his overturn, like: stepping on or outside the boundary line when throwing; kicking the tin; striking the tin without having oneself reaching the line; or even touching it.
In other versions, especially those in Visayan regions and Southern Luzon, is of complexity for the part of the taya. The latter has to make the tin can stand upright together with its own “yamato” on the top of it which also adds up to the mechanics of the game. The tendency is that even when the taya has already made everything stood up but when the slipper will fall from the tin, he is not allowed catching anybody unless he hurriedly put it back to its position.


Luksong-Baka (it. jumps over the cow) is a popular variation of Luksong Tinik. One player crouches while the other players jump over him/her. The crouching player gradually stands up as the game progresses, making it harder for the other players to jump over him/her.Then he will be the it if he dangled it the baka. It will repeat again and again until the players declare the player or until the players decide to stop the game.it is the Filipino version of leap frog.


Luksong-tinik (lit. jump over the thorns of a plant) two players serve as the base of the tinik (thorn) by putting their right or left feet together (soles touching gradually building the tinik). A starting point is set by all the players, giving enough runway for the players to achieve a higher jump, so as not to hit the tinik. Players of the other team start jumping over the tinik, followed by the other team members. Team Captain Aleo Fale,Miguel Aggabao,Shinji Hamashima,Anfernee Parian, Draeco Quizon.


Piko is the Philippine variation of the game hopscotch. The players stand behind the edge of a box, and each should throw their cue ball. The first to play is determined depending on the players' agreement (e.g. nearest to the moon, wings or chest). Whoever succeeds in throwing the cue ball nearest to the place that they have agreed upon will play first. The next nearest is second, and so on.

Holen or Colored Marbles

You should hold the ball called holen in your hand then throw it to hit the players ball out of the playing area. Holen is called marble in USA. It is played a more precise way by tucking the marble with your 3rd finger, the thumb under the marble, the fourth finger used as to stable the marble. You aim at grouped marbles inside a circle and flick the marble from your fingers and anything you hit out of the circle is yours. Who ever got the most marbles win the game. You can also win the game by eliminating your opponent by aiming and hitting his marble. You have to be sharp shooter to be a winner.

Hand clapping games
A hand-clapping game generally involving 4 people. They are split into two pairs, a pair having 2 people facing each other, and all members from both pairs facing the center (the two pairs being perpendicular to each other). Each pair then does a hand clapping "routine" while singing the "bahay kubo" or "Leron-leron Sinta" At the middle of the song, each pair exchanges "routines" with the other.
These are the lyrics:
Bahay Kubo
Bahay Kubo, kahit munti Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari, Singkamas at talong Sigarilyas at Mani, Sitaw, bataw, patani, Kundol, patola, upo't kalabasa As saka meron pa labanos, mustasa, Sibuyas, kamatis, lalalalala bawang at luya Sa paligid-ligid ay puro linga.
Leron-leron Sinta
Leron-leron sinta Buko ng papaya. Dala dala'y buslo, Sisidlan ng bunga, Pagdating sa dulo, Nabali ang sanga. Kapos kapalaran, Humanap ng iba.
Not included (Gumising ka, Neneng, Tayo'y manampalok, Dalhin mo ang buslong Sisidlan ng hinog. Pagdating sa dulo'y Lalamba-lambayog, Kumapit ka, neneng, Baka ka mahulog.
Leron, leron sinta Buko ng papaya, Dala-dala'y buslo, Sisidlan ng sinta, Pagdating sa dulo'y Nabali ang sanga Kapos kapalaran,
Ang ibigin ko'y Lalaking matapang, Ang baril nya'y pito, Ang sundang nya'y siyam Ang sundang nya'y siyam Ang lalakarin nya'y Parte ng dinulang Isang pinggang pansit Ang kanyang kalaban.
Leron, leron sinta Buko ng papaya, Dala-dala'y buslo, Sisidlan ng sinta, Pagdating sa dulo'y Nabali ang sanga Kapos kapalaran, Humanap ng iba)
There is also a variation on the Hand-clapping game in which there is an incorporated action according to the lyrics. Example of which is the "Si Anna." This game tells a story of a girl, starting when she was born. And the game progresses with the life story of Anna, (i.e. when she grew up, became a lady, get married, got children, get old, died, and finally became a ghost). After she died, one player would act like a ghost and catches the other players.
This is the lyrics:
Si Anna ay bata pa, kaya ang sabi nya ay um um um ah ah (players should act a baby action) Si Anna ay dalaga na, kaya ang sabi nya ay um um um ah ah (players should act a lady action) ... Si Anna ay namatay na, kaya ang sabi nya ay um um um ah ah (players should act a dead action) Si Anna ay mumu na, kaya ang sabi nya ay um um um ah ah (players should act a ghost action).

Chinese Garter 

Two people hold both ends of a stretched garter horizontally while the others attempt to cross over it. The goal is to cross without having tripped on the garter. With each round, the garter's height is made higher than the previous round (the game starts with the garter at ankle-level, followed by knee-level, until the garter is positioned above the head). The higher rounds demand dexterity, and the players generally leap with their feet first in the air, so their feet cross over the garter, and they end up landing on the other side. Also, with the higher levels, doing cartwheels to "cross" the garter is allowed.

Luksong - Lubid or Jumping Rope

This is played by three or more persons.  One person on each side will be holding the end of a thin rope while one or more than one persons will jump against the rope that is being moved in an upright rotating motion.  This is also being done by those who are health or gym enthusiasts such as the boxers in order to keep them fit, slim, and helps in loosing weight. 


Palo-sebo - greased bamboo pole climbing - This game involves a greased bamboo pole that players attempt to climb. This games is usually played during town fiestas, particularly in the provinces. The objective of the participants is to be the first person to reach the prize—a small bag—located at the top of the bamboo pole. The small bag usually contains money or toys.


The name literally translates to "dip into vinegar." The "it" has his palm open while the other players touch this with their index fingers, singing "sawsaw suka/ mahuli taya!" which translates to "dip into the vinegar/the last one (or the caught one) becomes "it". And indeed, the "it" tries to catch any player's finger at the end of the song.:)



Sipa - game of Kick - The object being used to play the game is also called sipa. It is made of a washer with colorful threads, usually plastic straw, attached to it. The sipa is then thrown upwards for the player toss using his/her foot. The player must not allow the sipa to touch the ground by hitting it several times with his/her foot, and sometimes the part just above the knee. The player must count the number of times he/she was able to kick the sipa. The one with most number of kicks wins the game.
The game mechanics of Sipa is similar to the Western game called Hacky Sack. Sipa is also played professionally by Filipino athletes with a woven ball, called Sepak Takraw, with game rules borrowed from our Southeast Asian neighbor, Indonesia.

Taguan or Hide and Seek

Taguan - hide and seek in America. What is unique in Tagu-Taguan compared to its counterpart, hide and seek, is that this game is usually played at sunset or at night as a challenge for the it to locate those who are hiding under the caves in LagunaCavite which is a popular site for pro taguan players. The it needs to sing the following before he/she start seeking:
Tagu-taguan, maliwanag ang buwan (Hide and seek, the moon is bright)

Masarap maglaro sa dilim-diliman (It is fun to play in the semi-dark night)
'Pag kabilang kong sampu (When I finished counting up to ten)Nakatago na kayo (All of you should already been hidden)Isa, dalawa, ... sampu! (One, two, ... ten!)

This game involves 2 players. One covers his eyes with a hand while the other flicks a finger (pitik) over the hand covering the eyes. The person with the covered eyes gives a number with his hand the same time the other does. If their numbers are the same, then they exchange roles in the game. Another version of this is that the blind (bulag) will try to guess the finger that the other person used to flick him/her.


A game variant of the tinikling dance, with the same goal - for the players to dance nimbly over the clapping bamboo "maw" without having their ankles caught.


Teks or teks game cards - texted game cards - Filipino children collect these playing cards which contain comic strips and texts placed within speech balloons. They are played by tossing them to the air until the cards hit the ground. The cards are flipped upwards through the air using the thumb and the forefinger which creates a snapping sound as the nail of the thumb hits the surface of the card. The winner or gainer collect the other players' card depending on how the cards are laid out upon hitting or landing on the ground.


A role-playing game where children act as members of an imaginary family, sometimes to the extent that one of them becomes the family "pet." They then act out various household situations such as dinner, going to mass, and the like. there should be 4 to 5 players of it.

Some other games such as:

Agawan Base

There are two teams with two bases. How many players on each team depends on the players. There are two bases which each team claims as their own. The goal is to tag the other team's base without getting tagged. If you're tagged, you're transferred to the other team and must be rescued. There are several variations in which the rules are changed, in some, you can connect other items on the base so you can easily touch the base (a rule usually called "kuryente").
There are usually set points, such as first team to tag the other team 5 times wins. You can tag other people who has touched their base before you and are on the opposite team. If they've touched their base after you've touched your base, they can tag you, and you can't tag them.

Patay patayan

Also referred to as Killer Eye. There should be at least 4 players. Cut pieces of paper according to how many players are playing. There should be 1 judge, at least 1 killer, at least 1 police, and others are normal people. The objective of the game is for the police to find and catch the killers by saying "I caught you" and say the name of the killer before the killer kindats (winks at) the judge. The killer gets to kill people by winking at the person he wants to kill. If he kills a normal person, the person says "I'm dead!" If he kills the judge without being caught, The judge says "I'm dead, but I'm the judge" and repeat again.

Sekqu Base

Sekqu Base It is another version of Agawan Base but no score limits. If a team scores five, the game is still going on. The players can hide in other things near the enemy base and ambush them.

Agawang sulok

Agawang sulok (lit. catch and own a corner) the "IT" or "Tagger" stands in the middle of the ground. The players in the corners will try to exchange places by running from one base to another. The it should try to secure a corner or base by rushing to any of those when it is vacant. This is called "agawan base" in some variants, and "bilaran" in others.


Araw-lilim - sun and shade - The" IT" or "Tagger" tries to tag or touch any of the players who is in direct contact with the light.


This is a hitting and catching game. This game is played outdoors only by two or more players.
To play this game, 2 pieces of bamboo sticks (1 long, 1 short) are required. A player acts as a batter and stands opposite the others players at a distance. The batter holds the long bamboo stick with one hand and tosses the short one with the other hand. The batter then strikes the shorter stick with the longer stick. The other players will attempt to catch the flying shorter stick. Whoever catches the stick gets the turn to be the next batter. If nobody catches the stick, any player can pick it up. The batter then puts down the longer stick on the ground. The holder of the shorter stick will throw it with the attempt to hit the longer stick on the ground. If the longer stick is hit, the hitter becomes the next Batter. If the player with the shorter stick misses to hit the longer one, the same batter will continue.


Bulong-Pari - whisper it to the priest - It is composed of two teams and an it. The leader of team A goes to the priest and whispers one of the names of the players of team B. Then he returns to his place and the priest calls out, "Lapit!" ("Approach!"). One of the players of team B should approach the priest, and if it happens to be the one whom the leader of team A mentioned, the priest will say, "Boom" or "Bung!" The player then falls out of line and stays somewhere near the priest as a prisoner.

Calahoyo ("Hole-in")

This is an outdoor game by two to ten players. Accurate targeting is the skill developed in this game because the objective of each player is to hit the anak (small stones or objects) with the use of the pamato (big, flat stone), trying to send it to the hole.
A small hole is dug in the ground, and a throwing line is drawn opposite the hole (approx 5 to 6 metres (16 to 20 ft) away from the hole). A longer line is drawn between the hole and the throweing line. Each player has a pamato and an anak. All the anak are placed on the throwing line, and players try to throw their pamato into the hole from the throwing line. The Player whose pamato is in the hole or nearest the hole will have the chance for the first throw. Using the pamato, the first thrower tries to hit the anak, attempting to send it to the hole. Players take turns in hitting their anak until one of them gets into the hole, with the players taking turns a complete round and so on. The game goes on until only one anak is left outside the hole. All players who get their anak inside the hole are declared winners, while the one with the anak left outside the hole is the alila (loser) or muchacho.  Alila or Muchacho will be 'punished' by all the winner/s as follows:
  • Winners stand at the throwing line with their anak beyond line A-B (longer line between hole and throwing line). The winners hit their anak with their pamato. The muchacho picks up the pamato and returns it to the owner. The winners repeat throwing as the muchacho keeps on picking up and returning the pamato as punishment. Winners who fail to hit their respective anak will stop throwing. The objective is to tire the loser as punishment. When all are through, the game starts again.

Declan Ruki

Declan Ruki - I declare, do it! - Participants are told to do something by the winner of the previous games. It is similar to the game Simon Says.


Iring-Iring - go round and round until the hanky drops - After the it is determined, he or she goes around the circle and drops the handkerchief behind a person. When the person notices the handkerchief is behind his/ her back, he or she has to pick up the handkerchief and go after the it around the circle. The it has to reach the vacant spot left by the player before the it is tagged; otherwise, the it has to take the handkerchief and repeat the process all over again.

Jack 'n' Poy

This is the local version of Rock-paper-scissors. Though the spelling seems American in influence, the game is really Japanese in origin (janken) with the lyrics in the Japanese version sounding very similar to the "gibberish" sung in the Philippines.
The lyrics:
Jack 'n' Poy, hale-hale-hoy! (Jack and Poy, hale-hale-hoy!)

Sinong matalo s'yang unggoy! (Whoever loses is the monkey!)

Juego de Anillo

A game notably Spanish in influence. The name literally translates to "game of rings." It involves riding a horse while holding a dagger and "catching" rings hanging from a tree or some other structure using the dagger. But now, people usually play this game nowadays by riding a bicycle while holding a dagger.And the competitors need to continue their speed in riding their bicycle.

Juego de Prenda

Juego de prenda - game of looking for the missing bird - There is no limit to the number of players that can play. Players sit in a circle with the leader in the middle. Each player adopts a name of a tree or flower that is given by the leader. The leader recounts the story of a lost bird that was owned by a king. He or she says, The bird of the king was lost yesterday. Did you find it, Ylang-Ylang? The player who adopted the name of the Ylang-Ylang tree at once answers that he or she has not found it, so the leader continues to ask the other trees whether the bird has hidden in them. If a player cannot answer after the third count, he or she is made to deposit a thing he or she owns to the leader until the leader has been able to gather a lot of things from the members.The Boy is choosing a tree.The Girl is choosing a flower. The one participant will be a king 
agawan base Kapitang bakod - touch the post, or you're it! or hold on to the fence - When the it or tagger is chosen, the other players run from place to place and save themselves from being tagged by holding on to a fence, a post, or any object made of wood or bamboo.


Langit-lupa (lit. heaven and earth) one it chases after players who are allowed to run on level ground (lupa) and clamber over objects (langit). The "It" may tag players who remain on the ground, but not those who are standing in the "langit" (heaven). The tagged player then becomes "It" and the game continues.
In choosing who the first "It" is usually a chant is sung, while pointing at the players one by one:
Langit, lupa impyerno, im - im - impyerno (Heaven, earth, hell, he-he-hell)

Sak-sak puso tulo ang dugo (Stabbed heart with dropping blood)

Patay, buhay, Umalis ka na sa pwesto mo! (Alive, dead, get out of there!)

When the song stops and a player is pointed at they are "out" and the last person left is the "It"


A game of Indian influence. Basically game of tag, except here, the divide into two teams,the "it" team members get to hold the ball, passing it between themselves, with the of the ball touching the head of the other (not "it") team.

Lawin at Sisiw ("Hawk and Chicken")

This game is played by 10 or more players. It can be played indoors or outdoors.
One player is chosen as the 'hawk' and another as the 'hen'. The other players are the 'chickens'. The chickens stand one behind the other, each holding the waist of the one in front. The hen stands in front of the file of chickens.
The hawk will 'buy' a chicken from the hen. The hawk will then take the chicken, asks him/her to hunt for food and goes to sleep. While the hawk is asleep, the chicken will return to the hen. The Hawk wakes up and tries to get back the chicken he bought while the hen and other chickens prevent the hawk from catching the chicken. If the hawk succeeds, the chicken is taken and punished. If the hawk fails to catch the chicken, the hawk will try to buy the chicken. The game actually came from Japan.There,it is known as Janken
history: this game is made of friends who stick together until they died. Lawin at Sisiw came from CYBERKADA who create this in 1995 until now, it is one of the most traditional game in the Philippines.

  • See "Tumbang Preso" at patay patayan.


Sambunot is a Philippine game which may be played outdoors by ten or more players, but not to exceed twenty. The goal in the game is to get the coconut husk out of the circle.
A circle is drawn on the floor, big enough to accommodate the number of players. A coconut husk is placed at the center of the circle. The players position themselves inside the circle. At the signal ″GO,″ players will rush to the center to get the coconut husk. Players may steal the coconut husk from another player in an attempt to be the one to take the husk put of the circle. A player who is successful in getting out of the circle with the coconut husk wins, and the game starts again.


Takip-silim - twilight gamelook out, cover yourself! or take-cover game! - Participants usually step on couches, hide under tables, or wrap themselves in curtains – much to the dismay of neat-freak parents.


A game involving 2 pairs, with one utilizing a stretched length of garter. One pair faces each other from a distance and has the garter stretched around them in such a way that a pair of parallel lengths of garter is between them. The members of the other pair, then begin doing a jumping "routine" over the garters while singing a song ("ten, twenty, thirty, and so on until one hundred). Each level begins with the garters at ankle-height and progresses to higher positions, with the players jumping nimbly on the garters while doing their routines.


Tsato - stick gamebetter be good at it - Two players, one flat stick (usually 3') and one short flat piece of wood (4" usually a piece cut from the flat stick).
Player A hitter and Player B as the catcher. Played outside on the ground where you dig a small square hole (slanted) where you put the small wood so it sticks out.
Player A hits the wood with the stick so it catches air enough to be hit by the stick.
The further the wood gets hit the more points you get (usually counted by the number of stick length).
Player B on the other hand has to anticipate and catch the small piece of wood to nullify the points and become his turn OR looks forward to Player A to miss hitting the wood.

Ubusan Lahi

Ubusan lahi - clannicide - One tries to conquer the members of a group (as in claiming the members of another's clan). The tagged player from the main group automatically becomes an ally of the tagger. The more players, the better. The game will start with only one it and then try to find and tag other players. Once one player is tagged, he or she then will help the it to tag the other players until no other participant is left. Some people also know this as Bansai.


Teks or teks game cards - texted game cards - Filipino children collect these playing cards which contain comic strips and texts placed within speech balloons. They are played by tossing them to the air until the cards hit the ground. The cards are flipped upwards through the air using the thumb and the forefinger which creates a snapping sound as the nail of the thumb hits the surface of the card. The winner or gainer collect the other players' card depending on how the cards are laid out upon hitting or landing on the ground.


P – Passport
Valid Passport
Philippine Immigration only allows entry to those whose passports have a validity of six months or more.  Please check your passport and secure a new one if you have less than a year left prior to arrival in the Philippines.
Your work visa (9g) will be processed after your arrival.  As such, you will enter on a standard tourist visa issued to you upon your arrival at the airport. 
As you will be entering the Philippines on a tourist visa, you may have to show immigration authorities proof of departure via an outbound ticket.  This means that either you purchase a round-trip ticket, or if you have bought a one-way ticket, we will assist you in getting an outbound ticket.

I - It’s hot and rainy
Weather in the Philippines is tropical in nature. The rainy season starts in June and extends through October with possible strong typhoons. The hottest months are March to May. The coolest months are from November to February, with mid-January to end of February considered the best for cooler and dryer weather. Locations exposed directly to the Pacific Ocean have frequent rainfall all year. The average temperatures range from 78°F / 25°C to 90°F / 32°C, and humidity fairly high at around 77 percent.
Typhoons (the native term is “bagyo”) are common from June to October and they generally affect a wide area, sometimes half of the archipelago. They come from the Pacific Ocean in the east and contain winds of 120km/hr (74mi/hr) or more, moving in a circle and an almost windless "eye of the typhoon" moving to the west or northwest with 17 to 25km/hr (10 to 15mi/hr).
There are several intensities of typhoons, which are usually announced in advance via the newspapers, radio and TV. Signals range from Signal 1 as the weakest, up to Signal 4. ISM has a written policy regarding school closures based on signal numbers.

P – Public/Private Transportation
You will soon notice that traffic congestion is part of everyday life in Manila. Distance is essentially measured in the time taken to travel from point A to B. Traffic congestion tends to worsen around Christmas time and during the rainy season when flash floods can occur.
The main forms of public transportation in Manila are MRT, taxis, buses, jeepneys and LRT.
The MRT is a very popular form of transportation. It runs from North Edsa down to Roxas Boulevard. There are stations located on the main roads such as Ayala, Buendia & Shaw Boulevard. Taking the MRT is very affordable.  It is recommended that you shy away from the MRT during peak hours (5 pm – 6 pm) as the trains become overcrowded.  Trains depart about every 3 minutes.
The LRT runs from Baclaran to Monumento along Taft Avenue. It runs on twin tracks 6 meters above street traffic and the trains depart every 2 to 5 minutes.
The “jeepney” is a unique form of transportation that is distinctively Filipino. Each jeepney has a designated route painted on its exterior. It is the most economical form of public transportation in the Philippines. In some areas there are designated jeepney stops, otherwise just follow the lines of people. Jeepney drivers are paid according to the number of passengers they manage to carry per day, so they will stop anywhere and anytime much to the ire of all other road users.
If you do not purchase a car during your stay here, taxis will most likely be your main means of transportation. It is best to take a taxi that is part of a franchise. Always note the taxi number on the taxi. It is safer to get a taxi from a hotel. Taxis are metered and you should always insist that the driver turn on the meter. There is a start rate or flag down rate of approximately Php 40 for all taxis.  Peso meter reading normally starts from this rate.  During the rainy season or rush hour, taxi drivers tend to try and negotiate fixed rates for final destination. 
Most drivers understand some basic English but it will be useful for you to write down an unfamiliar address. As in most cities, taxis are hard to come by on rainy days. It is also possible to come to a private arrangement for a taxi to collect you from school at a fixed time each day. 
BusesBuses are another means of transportation in the city. Air-conditioned and non-airconditioned buses that run down all the major roads and are usually marked with their destination.
Private Transportation
In an effort to help ease traffic congestion the government has implemented an odd-even scheme for private cars. This means that cars with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 are off the road on Mondays, 3 and 4 on Tuesday, 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, 7 and 8 on Thursday, and 9 and 0 on Fridays.  The ban is from 7 am to 7 pm, although there is a window of travel between 10 am -3 pm that applies to specific roads.  Should you decide to purchase a car it would be best if you keep the odd/even scheme in mind as many times it will dictate your morning/afternoon plans with regards to times you can depart for and from school.
Documents Needed to Obtain a Philippine Driver’s License1. Properly accomplished Application for Drivers License
2. Current valid foreign license
3. English translation from the Embassy (if license is not in English)
4. Photocopy of passport (page with picture and with the latest arrival in the Philippines)
5. Alien Certificate of Registration (can be obtained after issuance of working visa)
6. Tax Identification Number (can be obtained from ISM)

In addition, you will need to go for a drug test and an eye examination (located next to the Makati licensing office). Total cost for processing of license is less than US$20. Remember to bring 2 to 3 copies of all the documents.

P – Personal / Professional Belongings
Personal Items
Please note that electric current in the Philippines is 60 cycles, 220 volts, should you decide to bring any electronics. 
Clothing and shoes
There is an abundance of choices here, though that becomes less true as the sizes increase.  You will not need warm weather clothing unless you visit the mountain areas.
ISM expects its teachers to be well groomed and to dress in a professional manner.  In general, lightweight cotton clothing is most comfortable in Manila.  For male teachers, short-sleeve shirts with collars are common and comfortable.  Shorts are not acceptable for school attire.  Pressed cotton or blended slacks and closed shoes are fine.  For female teachers, cotton trousers, skirts, dresses and blouses with sandals are comfortable and acceptable for school attire. 
Other Considerations
You may want to bring favorite branded medications and personal hygiene items, though most are found here or may be substituted with other brands.
Computers are readily available for teacher's use in school and are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
Paperwork and forms will mark the early days of your existence in Manila.  Having the correct documentation on hand will be useful.  The following checklist is designed to assist you in the tedious process.  Be sure to bring all important documents, and if necessary, appoint someone at home with a Power of Attorney.  Make sufficient copies of these documents.  A fireproof locked box or safe can be purchased here.
Document Checklist (original or Certified True Copy)
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Insurance Policies
  • Wills
  • Professional Qualifications
  • Current Driver’s License
  • Property Deeds
  • Banking Information / Records
  • Medical Report
  • Children's School Records
Professional Items
Since each teacher has his or her own needs according to subject and grade level, it is important to make contact with your principal.  In this way, you can gain knowledge about particular curriculum information for your grade or specialty area and allow you to plan the teaching resources that you will need to bring in your shipment.  Although not necessary, you may bring your favorite teaching materials, supplementary texts, activities, worksheets etc.  ISM is well-stocked with classroom materials.  

I – Important Money Matters
It is recommended for overseas hired faculty to open new bank accounts, and have an internationally recognized ATM/debit card. The school shall assist in this process. The usual banking hours in the Philippines is Monday to Friday 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Credit Cards
American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted in major establishments throughout the big cities of the Philippines. However, it is advisable to bring cash when travelling to rural places.
Philippine Peso (PHP; symbol Php) is the official currency. One peso is equivalent to 100 centavos. Peso bills are in denominations of Php1, 000, 500, 200, 100, 50, and 20. Coins come in 5, 10 and 25 centavo variants in addition to the 1, 5 and 10 peso coins.
Currency Restrictions
The import and export of local currency is limited to Php10,000; any amount above this must be authorized by the Central Bank of the Philippines. The import and export of foreign currency is limited to the equivalent of US$10,000.
Foreign checks and major foreign currency may be cashed at most commercial banks and Central Bank dealers. They are also accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. To avoid difficulties, overseas hired faculty are advised to carry their receipt of purchase with them. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, one is advised to take a traveller's check in US Dollars.

N – New Teacher with Child/ren at ISM, Newspaper
New Teacher with Child/ren at ISM
It is important that you make an application and submit school records and recommendations for your own children to attend International School in Manila. Please do this as soon as possible and follow normal admission process/ procedure found on the website under Admission. Be sure to HANDCARRY copies of your children's school records, do NOT put them in your shipment. If you have any questions, contact the Director of Admissions and Advancement at admission@ismanila.org
Raising Children Overseas
Many of the children you come into contact with at ISM will have spent, or will be spending, part of their childhood overseas.  Much research has been done on Third Culture Kids and the effects of expatriation on children. To date there is no evidence that expatriation is either definitely better or worse for children. Generally speaking, after the initial settling-in period, children show no change in school achievement, health and happiness due to living overseas. However, children who have lived overseas are different from their peers at home.
What is TCK?
Definition of a Third Culture Kid (TCK)
"A young person who has spent a sufficient period of time in a culture other than his own, resulting in an integration of elements from both the host culture and his own into a third culture." -- David Pollock

Profile of a TCK
These are some general characteristics of TCKs. They display:
  • Linguistic ability     
  • Cross cultural skills
  • A three-dimensional worldview, excellent background for future leaders
  • Maturity, as they deal routinely with travel, foreign currencies, international crisis; often able to interact comfortably with people of all ages
  • Rootlessness - may feel they belong to several cultures but their own, or may feel at home in none. "Where are you from?" is a difficult question, consequently as adults they may frequently change jobs.
  • Insecurity - often they view relationships as short-term; makes intense relationships, but keeps a margin of safety
  • Unresolved grief because of frequent breaking-off of relationships due to relocation
  • Out of phase - may not be in the same developmental stage as their peers; delayed "adolescent rebellion" is common in early 20's; career decisions may come later
TCK as Viewed by Peers Once They Return Home
As a result of living abroad, TCKs may be viewed by their peers at home as:
  • Aloof - withholding judgment and hanging back; can be seen as not joining
  • Superior – e.g., may be impatient with home fascination of football but may have great amount of trivia on Sistine Chapel, etc.
  • Restless - like other family members, may solve problems by moving on
  • Immature- can't drive? writes home a lot? visits relatives on vacation
  • A grind - if others don't understand you, work can be a refuge
  • Boring - always comparing here to abroad
  • Complaining - complains about being here and seems unpatriotic
Children and Moving 
It is a fact that parents' attitude towards moving has a great impact on the children's attitude towards the move. Children very quickly pick up on the vibes.  Children should be told about the impending move as soon as possible so that they can be involved in the process and feel ownership and control over the decision to move and their lives. Even little children are concerned with issues like: “Where will I sleep?” “Will I have friends to play with?” etc.

It is also important to help children handle the sense of loss and the grief that comes with leaving grandparents, friends and relatives. Encourage younger children to keep a diary to express their emotions. Allow children to bring their favorite things with them so that they have something familiar with them.

Challenges of Parenting Young Children in the Philippines
  • Multiple care givers - yaya practices, bonding, discipline and routine
independence / responsibility
  • Transient friendships
  • Traveling spouse
  • Unearned elitism - unrealistic estimate of position
Challenges of Parenting Teens in the Philippines
  • Multiple adults in home (e.g.,driver, maids)
  • Peer pressure of varying socio-economic levels
  • Cliques at schools
  • Inability to get work experience
  • To drive or not to drive?
  • Need to understand cultural values
  • Loss of contact with home "pop" culture
Helping Children Move 
If you are a career expatriate and anticipate being overseas for the foreseeable future, it would be beneficial to encourage children to develop transferable skills.
Characteristics of Successful Moves & Helping Aids
  • Self-esteem: emphasis on intrinsic qualities versus "unearned elitism"
  • Realistic strong national identity: provide home cultural experiences, travel home, spends lots of time in home culture as this helps avoid re-entry shock.
  • Use of extended family/friend network
  • Constancy and continuity: provide family traditions, holidays
  • Self-dependency despite household help: maintain responsibilities around the house,
e.g., keeping bedroom neat; maintain linkages: same house, church, friends, summer camp, etc.
  • Transferable credentials such as scouting, music group, sports, camping, etc.
English newspapers are available throughout the country and there are also some Japanese and Chinese language options. The Herald Tribune, Malaya, Manila Standard, Manila Bulletin, Business World, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star are some of the English newspapers.

E – Expenses, Entertainment, Etiquette, Electricity, Eat
It is difficult to estimate your weekly living costs for food, beverages etc., as the prices will vary from store to store and according to availability. Generally, items that are imported including meat, vegetables and wine, attract a large duty, especially if they are aimed at the expatriate community. Large items that are imported as components and then assembled here are less costly. This includes large ticket items like refrigerators, air-conditioners, cooking ovens and even cars.
Cash purchases will usually attract a discount except in fixed price supermarkets and department style stores. Buying from the "palengke"—the large local produce market—will often be cheaper than the general supermarket. The household help will be very capable at this, especially since they can bargain in the local language, Tagalog, or the dialect of the store owner.  However, go along yourself to experience the place, to see the variety of goods offered and to show the level of quality that you desire in your weekly shopping. Shopping should be done early in the morning when the goods are fresh and not affected by the heat.
Meat from specialty delicatessens can be expensive. Supermarket quality is fine, provided you select wisely. Fish, seafood and chicken are kept refrigerated here, so they are safer to purchase at the supermarket rather than the wet market.  Most supermarkets carry a very good range of items; you may not find your exact brand but you will find a close substitute.

Television and video in the Philippines use NTSC. Region Coded DVDs are Region 3 (SE Asia), though virtually all Tagalog movies are region-free. There are two major networks in the Philippines - ABS-CBN and GMA. Cable and Satellite TV are widely available. SkyCable and Global Destiny Cable are the best-known cable operators in the country, while Dream is the country's sole satellite TV operator. Almost all hotels and major commercial centers have cable or satellite TV. Channels such as BBC, CNN, Bloomberg. ABS-CBN's News Channel, ANC, provide 24/7 news headlines, updates, travel, business and lifestyle programs, almost always in English.
Community Events
The school’s Advancement Office continually sends invites of different community-related events such as art exhibits, ballet performances, gatherings, seminars and other events organized by ISM alumni and embassies.
There are many sights to see and places to explore in the Philippines. Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc. is ISM’s in-house travel agency and assists overseas-hired employees with their travel needs. It specializes in providing excellent business travel services and is a multi-awarded producer and handler of top quality Philippine tours.
Some Filipinos strictly use the serving spoon rule, sharing the belief that offering utensils or food that had come in contact with someone's saliva is rude, disgusting, and will cause food to get stale quickly. Singing or having an argument while eating is considered rude, as they believe food is grasya/gracia or grace in English; food won't come to you if you keep disrespecting it. Usually before a meal starts Filipinos say a prayer before food is served. Wait also till the host invites you to start eating. Also, it is rude to refuse food that the host offers or leave the dining table while someone is still eating.
Electrical current in the Philippines is 220 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade attachments and two-pin round plugs are used. Overseas-hired faculty may need a step-down transformer depending upon the voltage of their items. It's best also to bring such items that work universally such as those electronics marked with a 100V-240V 50/60hz compatibility to avoid voltage concerns.
Filipino cuisine has developed from the different cultures that shaped its history. As such, it is a mélange of Chinese, Malay, Spanish, European and American influences. Though its cuisine is not as renowned as many of its neighbors, such as that of Thailand and Vietnam, Filipino cooking is nonetheless distinct in that it is possibly the least spicy of all South East Asian cuisines. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Filipino food is bland, though. It is just that instead of spices, Filipino food depends more on garlic, onions and ginger to add flavor to dishes. Painstaking preparation and prolonged cooking time is also a characteristic of most Filipino dishes, and when done properly is often what brings out the flavor of the food as, opposed to a healthy dose of spices. Kamayan, literally means “eating with hands.” Some Filipinos who were born and raised in rural provinces still eat with their hands, mostly at their homes during mealtimes. They would often say that Kamayan makes food taste better. Wash your hands clean before attempting this to avoid illnesses. Almost all Filipinos in the urban areas though use spoons, forks and knives. Eating with hands in public is not uncommon if you’re in a mid-range restaurant, but in most places this is considered rude.
As with the rest of Southeast Asia, rice is the staple food of the Philippines. Some areas in the Visayas prefer corn but elsewhere Filipinos would generally have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Uncooked rice usually comes in 50kg sacks but can be bought by the kilogram at the wet market or at neighborhood rice dealers. Single servings of rice are readily available at fastfood restaurants or eateries.

S – Shipping and Package Guidelines, Safe and Security, Shopping
Shipping and Package Guidelines
Shipping Allowance
International School Manila provides an allowance to all incoming faculty for the shipment of their personal belongings.
Shipping Procedures
ISM will provide a shipping allowance as well as a list of shipping companies from the employee’s home of record or current location.  You can then coordinate with these agents and determine which one you wish to use.  You will negotiate your packing date, based on the shipping schedule and your planned arrival date.  Your shipment should not arrive prior to your arrival.  Any onsite storage prior to arrival and delivery of your shipment is at your expense.  All expenses in excess of your allowance is your responsibility.  You should obtain a quote in writing for the excess weight.  Try to monitor the packing as it takes place, so that you can make some adjustments if necessary.  Be sure to mark on your quotation:  Delivery Door to Door.
Multiple Shipment Locations
You may ship from multiple locations provided the total shipping expenses is within your allowance. The school however, will only cover customs duty/taxes up to the amount stated on the contract.  Taxes/duties assessed on other shipments are for your personal account.
Personal Property Insurance / Shipping Insurance
The International School Manila has insurance for your shipment. In order for your items to be covered by the Personal Property Insurance you will need to provide us with an itemized list, including values of the items that will be included in your shipment to the Philippines.  You may purchase additional insurance if your personal property exceeds your allowance.
Shipment of Pets
Should you bring your pet with you, you will need to make sure you advise Human Resources so an importation permit can be obtained. Please be sure to inquire with the airline of travel to Manila with regards to restrictions on pet travel.  Many airlines will not allow pets to travel in the baggage area during the summer months. It is advisable that pets do nottravel via cargo as it is much more costly and time-consuming when releasing the pet from customs.
Safety and Security
Although Filipinos are generally friendly and accommodating, one must be aware of the prevalence of poverty (especially in big cities) and the things that, unfortunately, come with it.Overseas-hired employees live in school-provided accommodation. Apartment buildings have 24 hour porterage, and housing estates have secure and supervised access. Manila is a big city and as such people should be sensible and street-wise when they are enjoying a night out. Many overseas-hired teachers are here with their families, and they seem to feel that Manila is a safe place in which to bring up children.
Shopping is easy in the Philippines as some of the largest malls in the world are found in the country. It's a fact thatconsumerism has become part of the Filipino's life, as seen during mall sales when a discounted price on a product will entice a shopper even when the purchase is unnecessary.
Sales tend to happen during pay day and lasts for 3 days and also during the Christmas season. (In the Philippines, the Christmas season begins in September and lasts until the first week of January.) Cheaper items are sold at flea markets and open markets or one can haggle for low prices in places like Divisoria, Market! Market! or Greenhills. Located in the financial district of Makati, Ayala Center is often compared to Singapore's Orchard Road, for being a one-stop shop for entertainment and shopping.



Framed by the equator and Tropic of Cancer, the Philippines is one sunshiney place.
Some locals cope with the heat by swarming the sugary beaches. Others turn air-conditioned malls into their second living room.

Then there are those who seek refuge in the upland barangays (villages), such as Bucari in Leon or Mantalongon in Dalaguete, where the elevation offsets the Philippines' equatorial warmth.
In its provincial boondocks, the Philippines has the ultimate paradox: the cool tropical town. 
Blissful temps, however, aren't the only things that make these towns cool. 

1. Baguio

Tourists check out Mansion House, summer residence of the Philippine president in the mountain town of Baguio City.Inspired by the British Raj, American colonists built a sanatorium in the chilly heights of Benguet Province in 1903 for heat-oppressed, homesick soldiers.
By 1909, the place was transformed into an American town, Baguio, with the help of Flatiron Building architect Daniel Burnham.
For a few summers, the American governor-general would move the seat of government here from humid Manila.
At 5,200 feet above sea level, Baguio enjoys low temperatures -- in 1961 it dropped to a  recorded low of 43 F (6.3 C).

Even though the governors-general are long gone, the city remains a summer capital and vacation favorite, packed to the precipice, especially during Holy Week.

Tourists eat perennial peanut brittles and strawberries fresh from the nearby fields of La Trinidad.
Every December until February, Baguio becomes too cold as low as 7 degrees celcius, and this is also the reason why more than One Million tourists (including the Baguio residents) enjoy the coolest place in the Philippines during this season. 
Getting there: From Manila, an eight-hour bus ride is the standard way to reach Baguio (flights are rare, save for the odd charter). Buses leave from Manila's Caloocan, Cubao and Pasay residential areas.

2. Tagaytay

Just like the Hamptons. But with fishermen on bamboo rafts.Tagaytay is to Manila what the Hamptons are to New York City.
Just more than an hour from Manila, this city hosts second homes of the capital's well-off, who are drawn to the lower temps and authoritative views of Taal Volcano, the smallest active volcano in the world.
Imelda Marcos once invited Ronald and Nancy Reagan here to check out her "palace in the sky," a mansion roosting 2,300 feet above sea level. Today, moneyed locals live out only slightly less Imeldific retirements in the city’s Swiss-style log homes.

Getting there: Tagaytay-bound buses travel along Manila's Taft Avenue near the MRT station or from the corner of Gil Puyat Avenue. If driving, follow the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) toward Tagaytay via the Santa Rosa or Carmona exits. Or get on Mabini Superhighway after SLEX, exit to Tanauan, and follow the Talisay-Tagaytay route.

3. Sagada

The cloud ocean, as seen from Kiltepan. 

Episcopal missionaries resided in Sagada in the 1900s, where they were pleased to discover the climate was cool enough to grow lemons.

These days the locals are predominantly Protestant, but they still grow the lemons in their yards. 

Jutting 5,300 feet above sea level, the so-called Philippine Shangri-La offers an ideal climate to grow a variety of fruit.

After dark, the town can turn wintry, reaching the low 50s F (10s C) in January and February. Kape alamid (civet poop coffee), one of many local delicacies, is a great way to warm up. 
Travelers can see just how cool it gets by hopping into the teeth-chattering waters of Sumaguing Cave or climbing to the top of Kiltepan, a vantage point offering views over an ocean of clouds.
Getting there: Regular buses and jeepneys depart Baguio’s Dangwa terminal for Sagada, a five-hour ride. 

4. Don Salvador Benedicto

"Little Baguio" is used to describe pretty much any place in the Philippines with any coniferous vegetation whatsoever.

But the moniker fits Don Salvador Benedicto (DSB), a town 2,500 feet above sea level on Negros Island.
From the 60 F chill (16 C) to the pine-lined thoroughfares and random lion monuments, DSB is a micro-Baguio, sans crowds.
Fun experience for motorists: at Magnetic Hill along KM34 on SB13, the road’s subtle incline creates the illusion of an invisible force tugging vehicles.
Getting there: From Bacolod, DSB is an hour trip by bus or van; it's a half-hour flight or a day’s ferry ride from Manila. 

5. Canlaon City

Canlaon Volcano has erupted more than 20 times in the last 100 years, making it the most active volcano in the central Philippines.
Canlaon City rivals Don Salvador Benedicto as Negros Island’s summer capital.

At 2,600 feet above sea level at the foot of Canlaon Volcano, the city experiences a cool microclimate warmed up by hot springs that dot the terrain.
Numerous waterfalls, including some that have carved natural slides down the mountains, are a great way to experience the city’s refreshing feel.

It's colder on the Saddle in the Sky, the ridge dividing the volcano’s two craters.

Midsummer nights are dreamlike at the gargantuan balete tree, located in the city’s Japanese-run agricultural estates. The famous tree, believed to be more than 1,300 years old, draws innumerable fireflies nightly.
Getting there: Scenic land routes lead to Canlaon City from Bacolod, Dumaguete and San Carlos.

6. Davao City

Davao City's Philippine Eagle Center gets you close to the country's national bird.
Encompassing 244,000 hectares, Davao City on the island of Mindanao takes in towering mountains and dramatic green landscapes, as opposed to the heaven-scraping high-rises and concrete jungles that dominate other large Philippine cities.
The durian capital of the Philippines, it's one of three cities that share Mount Apo, the highest peak in the country.

You can walk a tough trail all the way to the top of Apo (9,692 feet/2,954 meters), but the hot and the restless can make faster, less grueling ascents in districts like 
Toril, Marilog and Calinan, whose mountain resorts offer untainted air, pine-canopied trails and invigorating falls.

Getting there: There are direct flights to Davao City from Manila, as well as from regional points like Singapore.

7. Lantapan

Splayed on a high plateau, Bukidnon province is full of cool locales, such as the provincial capital Malaybalay (another "Little Baguio") and Dahilayan, a foggy barangay turned famous zipline resort.

The coldest of the cold is Lantapan, a breakaway district of Malaybalay on the slopes of the Kitanglad mountain range.
Lantapan is so cold that dew sometimes lingers as late as noon.

Spared by typhoons and seated on fertile earth at 4,000 feet above sea level, the cool climate has made Lantapan one of the Philippines’ prolific vegetable baskets.

Mountaineers know Lantapan as the gateway to Dulang-Dulang, the country’s second-highest point after Mount Apo.
Getting there: Buses ply the scenic highway between Cagayan de Oro and Malaybalay every day. Jeepneys bound for Lantapan are stationed at the Malaybalay public market. Manila-Cagayan de Oro flights run daily.

8. Marawi
In a predominantly Catholic, tropical country, Marawi is an oddity, as much for its largely Muslim populace as its climate. Mosques and torogans (royal houses) dot the city.
On the island of Mindanao, the city’s 2,600-foot-high elevation ensures temperatures regularly plummet to at least 57 F (14 C).

Marawi’s reputation as a dangerous town has stunted its tourism potential. A "zone of peace" is thelocal university, which at 1,000 hectares is virtually a city within a city, complete with a hotel.
Getting there: Head to Iligan by bus or jeepney from Cagayan de Oro. Marawi is a jeepney ride away, along the Amai Pakpak Avenue from Iligan.

9. Banaue

The rice terraces of Ifugao are more than 2,000 years old.
Banaue is one of four towns in Ifugao province that make up the UNESCO-listed Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras

While these visually stunning monuments of ancient engineering are widespread in Asia, those in Ifugao trump most in terms of altitude and steepness. The highest ones tower around 4,900 feet above sea level.
The variety of rice grown here adapts to freezing temperatures.

Getting there: Overnight buses depart Manila for Banaue nightly. 

10. Lake Sebu

Lake Sebu spills into seven waterfalls -- two are connected by a high zipline.
With its flotilla of lilies and schools of tilapia fish, Lake Sebu on the island of Mindanao is full of postcard-caliber beauty.

Even better, the namesake town feels good on the skin, with temperatures seldom warmer than 77 F (25 C).

Sebu and two other lakes in the town empty down into seven waterfalls, two of which are connected by a high zipline. Acrophobic tourists can settle for canoe rides with the T’boli, a tribe of weavers.
Weather-induced shivers are eased by their warm hospitality, if not their traditional cloth (t’nalak) that's sold around town.

Getting there: Fly or sail to General Santos City, then take a bus to Koronadal. Ride another bus to Surallah, where vans and jeepneys can shuttle you to Lake Sebu.

11. Itbayat

Itbayat is the only low-altitude town on this list. But what it lacks in altitude it makes up for in latitude.

As the northernmost town in the Philippines, and thus the furthest from the equator, Itbayat experiences four seasons instead of two. It can out-winter Baguio between November and February, when temperatures crash down to 44 F (7 C).
Itbayat looks more like an English moor than a tropical island town. (English seafarers settled the area in the 17th century and called it Orange Isle.)
Ivatans, the native inhabitants of this frontier town, brave the cold winds with thermal garments called vakul and kanayi. Their houses are built with sturdy walls of coral bound by lime.
Getting there: Flights from Manila and Tuguegarao serve Basco, Itbayat’s neighboring island, at least once a week. A four-hour boat ride or 10-minute flight links Itbayat and Basco.


Picking a favorite beach in the Philippines is like trying to pick a favorite child. Challenging, but not impossible. 
With more than 7,000 islands edged by white sand buffering turquoise waters filled with some of the world's most diverse marine life, it's hard not to wonder what to do first in the Philippines. Of course, not everyone will agree on which one is best. 

Disagree with our picks? Share your favorite Filipino island or beach in the comments box below. 
For information on how to get to any of the beaches and islands listed below, click ahead to page two. 

1. El Nido, Palawan

Hollywood loves El Nido. Scenes for the final installment of the "Bourne Legacy" series were shot here. The island was also the setting of a pit stop on "The Amazing Race."If Palawan is indeed "the last frontier" of the Philippines, as it's been dubbed, the coastal town of El Nido is the gateway to wild adventure. 
Sure, it's got powder-fine beaches and gin-clear waters. But the views are what really sell the place.

Off the coast of El Nido are majestic karst limestone formations, empty lagoons, marble cliffs, prehistoric caves and waterfalls. All are easily explored. 

What to do in the Philippines: El Nido is a popular base for divers. Surrounding waters contain more than 50 species of coral, and attract whales, whale sharks, sea cows, manta rays, dolphins and endangered turtles.

2. Boracay, Aklan

Sundowners, anyone? Just another perfect day in Boracay.White Beach is the place most frequently associated with Boracay, the most popular holiday destination in the Philippines.
Its four-kilometer stretch welcomes everyone from beach bums to adventurers. At night, the beach comes alive with candle-lit sand castles, cozy restaurants and bars that stay open til dawn.
Away from White Beach are calmer resorts. There is a less boisterous side of Boracay and it still offers secluded strips of sand, coves, caves and cliffs.
What to do in the Philippines: During the early months of the year, Boracay attracts hundreds of kite-boarders and windsurfers who compete in the International Funboard Cup. The rough waves and strong winds make Boracay an ideal destination for water sports fanatics.

3. Palaui Island, Cagayan Valley

Getting to Paluai's best beach is a challenge, but the rewards make the hassle worthwhile.
This isolated island is a natural secret -- only the brave and persevering bother to visit.

Glorious white sands surrounded by volcanic rocks on one side kiss blue-green waters on the other. Snorkeling and diving brings you face to face with coral gardens and a rich marine reserve.

Palaui is all about raw beauty. But it takes some work to get there.
Treks should be blessed with clear blue skies, patient companions and trusted local guides.
Getting to the island's most prized stretch of beach requires battling thorny grass, muddy ground and a mangrove forest.
Uncharted Philippines offers a three-day Palaui Island Photography Tour for US$240 that includes transportation, accomodation, food and guides. Visit Unchartedphilippines.com

What to do in the PhilippinesWith no resorts or hotels, Palaui has only one real option -- camping under the stars. Otherwise, visitors are left to explore homestay options.

4. Panglao, Bohol

Just your average Panglao beach. Tired of looking at white sands yet? We're not even halfway through.
Once a sleepy island, Panglao is being roused by travelers in search of gorgeous beaches.
It’s a refuge for those who appreciate a diverse menu of aquatic attractions. 
Options include dolphin watching, whale spotting, diving with barracudas, jackfish, sea snakes and brilliant coral formations.
Natural charms: In addition to its beaches, the island of Bohol is famous for its Chocolate Hills, an unusual rolling terrain of more than 1,000 dome-shaped hills. The hills are named for their brown color during dry season, when grass dries up.
The “world’s smallest primate” -- the endangered Philippine tarsier -- also inhabits the island.
What to do in the Philippines: Years ago, a number of foreigners came to Panglao on holiday and never bothered to leave. Locals picked up their languages to better converse with the tourists. In addition to English, in Panglao you have a good chance of meeting a local with a handy grasp of German, Swiss or Japanese.

5. Bantayan Island, Cebu

If the crowds of Boracay turn you off, Bantayan Island has luxury comforts minus the action.
Bantayan has remained relatively untouched by modern life, save for a smattering of foreigners who have taken up residence, sucked in by the island's white sands, aqua-colored waters and red-gold sunsets.

Beers are cold and cheap, townsfolk are hospitable and the dreary troubles of the outside world are easily forgotten.
Holy crowds: If you're after peace and quiet, don't plan a stay during the Holy Week before Easter. The island is crowded with Filipino travelers during this period, with rooms and services booked months in advance.
What to do in the PhilippinesAction-packed it ain't. There are no five-star hotels, no malls, no fashion-forward shopping centers. 

6. Caramoan, Camarines Sur

Krabi who? The Philippines might not bring in the tourist numbers of Thailand, but its beaches can easily go toe-to-toe with the kingdom's best.
Named after the local sea turtle, Caramoan is as scenic as it is secluded. 

Stretches of white sand run between huge boulders and rock formations. Scuba divers, island hoppers and beach bums all converge here.
Complementing the beaches are caves, waterfalls, freshwater pools, underground streams and lagoons.
Adventure site: The "Survivor" reality show series and similar international programs have used Caramoan as a shooting location.
Despite the locale's popularity with TV production companies, there are enough beaches to go around for everyone.
What to do in the Philippines: Mountain climbers can trek to Mount Caglago’s summit and take in a terrific view of the Caramoan islands and islets. The mountain is a pilgrimage site for some, thanks to its gigantic statue of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

7. Samal, Davao

Off the coast of Samal lies Buena Vista Island, with its blindingly white beaches. Pretty lady sunbathing not guaranteed.
A burgeoning tourist destination, Samal is on a mission to get the word out on its 118-kilometer coastline of white sandy beaches.

You know the highlights: pristine waters, lush greens, rock formations, mangrove and coconut palms. Numerous resorts provide a range of choices for visitors, from luxurious resorts to backpacker options.
The vanishing island: This curious moniker is the nickname of Shanipaan Shoal, a tiny island that literally disappears from sight during high tide. The only thing visible at high water is a single, elevated cottage poking out of the sea.
What to do in the PhilippinesThe vast Coral Garden Marine Park, a fish sanctuary filled with diverse marine life, makes Sambal a favorite among divers and snorkelers.

8. Siargao Islands, Surigao del Norte

Beyond this pier is Cloud 9, one of Siargao's most famous surf breaks.
Known as the top surfing island in the Philippines, Siargao is often overlooked as a beachcomber’s paradise. 

There are breaks for beginner surfers, moderate ones and even pros looking for three-meter-high waves. For those with zero surf skills -- and no desire to acquire any -- there are also pristine beaches with milder waves, perfect for sunning and swimming.
What to do in the Philippines: Ideal days for surfing are between mid-August and mid-December, when the swell is most consistent. Beginners should visit when waves are smaller, around April or May.

9. Great Santa Cruz Island, Zamboanga

Great Santa Cruz Island is famous for its pink corralline sand, the only beach of its kind in the Philippines.
On Great Santa Cruz Island, pulverized red coral washed up from the sea floor mixes with white sand to produce a pink-hued beach.

It’s a different version of perfection: the powdery beach competes with the blue and green shades of the sea. Some parts of the beach are lovely in their undeveloped state. There are signs of civilization -- souvenirs, nipa huts and restrooms.

Beach visits are limited to day trips, so you have to squeeze everything into a few hours: swim, sunbathe, snorkel, dive, even fish for your lunch. Just don’t mistake serenity for safety -- there’s a deep drop in the sea just meters from shore.

What to do in the PhilippinesThe island is just a boat ride away from the city proper, but getting there requires extra precautions, due to local threats.

Only those with a tourist permit from the Department of Tourism in Zamboanga City can visit. The permit fee includes armed security escorts.

Why the need for security? According to the Department of Tourism’s regional office, it's a preventative measure: “On the security situation in Zamboanga City, there are no militant or terroristic activities recently. Although there were reported shooting incidents, these were intended to specific victims due to personal grudges. The city is very vibrant and relatively peaceful.”

As a precaution, check with your embassy for security threats before traveling.

10. Pagudpud/Bangui, Ilocos Norte

Nothing says "I'm on vacation" like an Instagram of yourself sunning next to a giant windmill.
Along the northern tip of the island of Luzon sits the coastal town of Pagudpud. It’s a quiet, sleepy and rural community, with little overt commercialism. 

Perhaps because it takes time and effort to reach Pagudpud, the wide and inviting beaches are usually empty, making them ideal for those who enjoy mixing solitude with sun, sand and surf.
A row of windmills down the coast from Pagudpud in the town of Bangui makes for a picturesque if not unusual backdrop for a Filipino beach. (See above photo.) [Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the windmill photo. The error has been corrected, with thanks to our eagle-eyed readers.]
What to do in the PhilippinesParts of Pagudpud are exposed to winds that blow in from both the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, making the waves ideal for surfers, especially from July to October.  Windsurfers and kiteboarders are starting to take notice of this northern getaway.
Getting there 
General tip concerning all Filipino domestic airlines: if you're not in a hurry to book, watch out for promo fares on their websites as fares can drop considerably.

1. El Nido

Several airlines fly from Manila to El Nido, either through a commercial airline or via chartered plane. Flight time: approximately 75 minutes.

Domestic flights (El Nido-Manila)SEAIR 
Chartered plane (El Nido-Manila)
Island Transvoyager (charter airline of El Nido Resort; their guests get priority reservations.)

Depending on where you’re headed, from the El Nido airport tricycles can take you to El Nido town.
Ferries sail from a nearby marina to the islands, or your resort can make arrangements to meet you at the airport.

Domestic flights (Puerto Princesa-Manila)
Alternatively, the following airlines fly to Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan:

Domestic flights (Puerto Princesa-Clark, Pampanga)AirAsia 
From the Puerto Princesa airport, you need to travel to El Nido by road. Take a multi-cab or jeep to the San Jose Terminal (20 minutes). 

At the station, find the El Nido-bound buses. These are open-air, non-airconditioned buses. (Approximately eight hours, with stops at Taytay and Roxas Towns, about P300 for a one-way trip).

Best to book seats and check schedules in advance:
- Sweety Transport +63 919 716 2210
- Win Eulen Joy Liner, Eulenjoyexpress.com 

The San Jose Terminal is also the departure point for shuttle vans. Prebook to reserve a seat:

The following vans are air-conditioned and more comfortable than buses (approximately six hours, P600 each passenger/P12,000 for entire van):
- Fortwally Shuttle Company  +63 920 9815702/+63 917 276 2875
- Savior Shuttle Company  +63 929 622 5974
- Eulen Joy  +63 926 699 8700

2. Boracay 

The most direct way to get to Boracay is to fly to Caticlan, Panay Island (either from Manila or Cebu City) .
Domestic flights (Caticlan-Manila)
Domestic flights (Caticlan-Cebu)
From the Caticlan airport, take a tricycle to the Caticlan jetty port. 
Alternatively, fly to Kalibo first.
Domestic flights (Kalibo-Manila)
Domestic flights (Kalibo-Cebu)
Domestic flights (Kalibo-Clark, Pampanga)
International flights to Kalibo- Philippine Airlines also flies Hong Kong-Kalibo and Seoul-Kalibo.
ZestAir flies to Kalibo from Incheon, Busan, Shanghai, and Taipei.
From Kalibo Airport, travel by road (about two hours). There are many vans outside the airport that go directly from the airport to the Jetty Port in Caticlan (approx P300/passenger). 
-Buses are available as well at the airport. You can take your chance with what is at the terminal (P200) or book ahead via travel agencies such as Sourthwest Tours, which can organize the entire journey to Boracay (P300-P450, including boat transfer).
-From Caticlan Jetty Port, there will be many bankas (ferry boats) ready to take you to White Beach, Boracay, about 15 minutes away. Pay a terminal tax (P75) and an environmental fee (P75) at the port before boarding.

You’ll need to wade in the water a bit so dress accordingly. For a small amount, boatmen will carry your luggage to shore. 

Tricycles on the island will take you to your resort. Cost is roughly P20/passenger, but may rise depending on the location of the resort.

3. Palaui

From Manila, board a bus headed to Santa Ana. (Approximately 14-16 hours):
- GV Florida Transport (only one with direct routes to Santa Ana from Manila and Tuguegarao) +63 2 7433809/+63 2 781 5894. 
Otherwise, fly or take a bus to Tuguegarao City. 
Bus to Tuguegarao
- Victory Liner, www.victoryliner.com (approximately 10 hours).
Domestic flights (Tuguegarao-Manila)-Air Philippines
When you get to Tuguegarao, take a tricycle and tell the driver to take you to the van terminal bound for Santa Ana. The van trip will take about three hours.
At Santa Ana, buy supplies for your island trip then take a tricycle to the San Vicente Port. Register at the visitor’s bureau. 
Hire a boat (P600) and a guide (P400-P2,000) to take you to Punta Verde, Palui Island. Ask for a return trip. Pay the port fee (P50). Register again, this time in the community logbook.

4. Panglao 

Hop on a plane to Tagbilaran City if you’re coming from Manila.
Domestic flights (Tagbilaran-Manila)-Philippines AirlinesCebu PacificAir PhilippinesZest Air
Or, take an international flight to Cebu City (Mactan Cebu International Airport) then get on a fast ferry to Tagbilaran City (approximately hours). The ports are quite near the airport. 
Ferry services (Cebu-Tagbilaran)
Upon arriving in Tagbilaran City, a cab or a “habal-habal” (motorcycle with driver) can take you to Panglao.

5. Bantayan

Fly to Cebu City on either a domestic or international flight. 
International flights to Cebu
Cebu Pacific (via Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Japan)
Silk Air (via Singapore)
Malaysia Airlines (via Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu)
Cathay Pacific  (via Hong Kong)
Asiana Airlines (via Korea)
Korean Air (via Korea)
Qatar Airways (via Qatar)

Domestic flights to Cebu are available from most cities in the Philippines as well. 

Upon arrival at the airport in Cebu City, take a taxi and head for the North Bus Terminal. Make sure you get a metered taxi -- and that the driver starts the meter. Get out of the cab if the driver won’t comply.
Safety tip: hang on to your luggage while getting out of the cab. If your bags are in the trunk, don’t let the driver open it until you’re ready to grab them. And don’t let insistent baggage handlers take your items if you don’t need them.  
At the North Bus Terminal, take a bus or shuttle to Hagnaya (approximately three hours).  The CERES bus is recommended -- look for the buses that are white and yellow with a sign saying “Air Conditioned” in front, and another sign saying “Hagnaya” on the side.
Make sure you take a bus that is scheduled to leave no later than 2 p.m. to give you enough time to catch the ferry to Bantayan.
Do not let your luggage out of your sight while on the bus.
Alternatively, you can pay extra for a taxi to take you all the way to Hagnaya (you can haggle but it should cost approx. P2,000; driver covers fuel costs).
At Hagnaya, the last ferry leaves at 5:30 p.m. for Santa Fe, Bantayan Island (approximately 45-90 minutes, depending on seacraft). 
Ferry Services (Hagnaya-Bantayan)Supershuttleferry.com

6. Caramoan

Take a bus or a domestic flight to Naga City. Head to Sabang Port by road, then take a passenger boat to your chosen island.
Domestic Flights (Manila-Naga)
- Philippine Airlines
- Air Philippines
- Cebu Pacific
- Zest Airways

From Naga Airport, take a P10 tricycle ride to Naga Public Terminal. At the terminal, you can rent a van for Sabang Port or take a bus to Goa (approximately two hours, P80). (At Goa, ask around for the jeepney that goes to Sabang Port.)
From Sabang Port, take a boat bound for Guijalo Port (approximately two hours, P120/person). The last boat leaves at 2 p.m. Get ready to wade (or be carried) to reach land area. 
Once there, take a tricycle to the town proper (10 minutes away).
The best, easiest and most convenient way to enjoy the trip is to let your resort or the Camarines Sur Tourism Office coordinate your transfers (caramoanislands.com +63 54 477 3344, +63 54 477 3347). 

7. Samal

Fly to Davao City on either a domestic or international flight.
International flights to Davao
- Cebu Pacific Airlines (via Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea and Japan)
- Silk Air (via Singapore)
Domestic Flights to Davao from several cities in the Philippines
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
- Air Philippines
- Philippine Airlines

Take a short cab ride to one of three entry points to Samal Island, depending on where you’re headed to: Sta. Ana Wharf, SASA Km 11 Wharf or IGACOS Ferry Terminal (ask your resort for advice on this one).

8. Siargao

There are direct flights to Siargao Island. Siargao airport is 45 minutes away from General Luna, the location of the popular Cloud 9 beach. Tricycles or motorbikes are available; the trip would cost around P150.

Or, if you can spot a tricycle line, board a tricycle waiting to be filled with passengers for P30/passenger. 
Domestic flights (Manila-Siargao Island)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
- Zest Air
Domestic flight (Cebu-Siargao Island)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines

9. Great Santa Cruz Island

First, fly to Zamboanga City.
Domestic flight (Manila-Zamboanga City)
- Philippine Airlines
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
-Air Philippines
Domestic flight (Cebu-Zamboanga City)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
Domestic flight (Davao-Zamboanga City)
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
- Air Philippines

In Zamboanga City, book your day trip to Great Santa Cruz through the regional tourism office at Lantaka Hotel By The Sea, NS Valderama Street, near city hall. Call +63 62 992 6242 or email dotr9@yahoo.com

10. Pagudpud 

From Manila, take a domestic flight to Laoag (approximately 45 minutes).
Domestic flights (Laoag-Manila)
- Philippine Airlines
- Cebu Pacific Airlines
At Laoag, a free shuttle runs from the airport to city proper. Or hop on a bus from Manila to Laoag. 
- Autobus Transport +63 2 735 8098
- Farinas Transit Company +63 2 731 4507/+63 2 731 4375
- Franco Frederico Lines +63 2 7314473/+63 2 731 2584
- Maria de Leon Transit +63 2 731 4907
- Partas Transportation +63 2 725 1740, www.phbus.com
- Philippine Rabbit +63 2 456 7667 

In Laoag's bus station, ask for the bus that is bound for Claveria Cagayan. Ask the conductor to drop you off at Pugudpud’s Baduang Market (approximately one hour).
Buses from Manila direct to Pagudpud are also available, though the travel time may take 10 to 12 hours.
- GV Florida Transport +63 2 743 3809/+63 2 781 5894
- RCJ Bus Lines +63 2 741 2994/+63 2 792 4939

Best Walkable Cities in PH

If you’re the type of tourist who shun package tours and private vehicles to get a taste of the destination by foot, then the cities below will be of interest to you. Meander in these adorable urban centers flanked by heritage buildings, pedestrian-friendly walkways and majestic attractions!

1. Vigan (Ilocos Sur)
Delve in the stately architecture and heritage of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Roam around the cobbled streets of Calle Crisologo and be mesmerized by elegant mansions of Chinese and Spanish mestizo families oozing in this district. Most of the gorgeous heritage houses have been converted into souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. Go museum hopping from Crisologo Museum to Burgos Museum, Museo Nuevo Segovia and Museo San Pablo that brings local history vividly to life.

2. Dapitan (chartered city)
Tranquility abounds in this lovable city that rarely sees tourists; Dapitan can pass as a candidate for the best cities in the country to retire to. Geographically located in Zamboanga del Norte, Dapitan speaks volume of Jose Rizal who was exiled here during the Spanish colonial era. See the sights around Dapitan Town Plaza; check out the Mindanao Relief Map created by Rizal himself. Fronting it is the beautiful St. James Church and nearby is a street crammed with old colonial houses. Watch the sunset at Rizal Landing Site in Sta. Cruz Beach and hang out with the locals at Gloria de Dapitan and Fantasyland at night.

3. Malaybalay (Bukidnon)
Despite the lack of beaches, Malaybalay has such an irresistible raw appeal that will make you forget its lack of sand and sea. Be embraced by greenery and cozy atmosphere as you walk from the city center into the hills fringed by pine trees and agricultural lands bursting with corns and pineapples. Start your day by taking a leisurely walk around Kaamulan Nature Park adjacent to Bukidnon Provincial Capitol. You may also want to trek Two Trees Mountain (now called One Tree Mountain) for a panoramic and contrasting view of the city.

4. Silay (Negros Occidental)
Discover the historical soul of this laid-back city by foot. Blissfully draped by old colonial houses, you will encounter a history lesson at almost every corner here. You may start your exploration by visiting Cesar Locsin y Lacson’s Ancestral House which houses the old-fashioned El Ideal Bakery known for its guapple pie. Other heritage houses worth checking are the majestic Balay Negrense (Victor Fernandez Gaston’s Ancestral House), Manuel Hofilena Ancestral House, and the Bernardino-Ysabel Jalandone Ancestral House.

5. Roxas (Capiz)
Most of the heritage spots in the “Seafood Capital of the Philippines” – Roxas City are located near the city plaza. Start off by visiting the Manuel Roxas Shrine, the abode of the last President of the Commonwealth and first President of the Republic of the Philippines; it is located along Zamora Street. Continue walking to Rizal Street while constantly stopping to admire the beautiful heritage houses along the way until you reach the Halaran Plaza and Roxas Bridge. Nearby you can find the Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral, the Capitol Building, and Ang Panublion (Roxas City Museum).

6. Baguio City (chartered city)
Geographically located in Benguet province, Baguio City is an old time favorite of local tourists. Stroll around the iconic Session Road crammed by shop houses heavily influenced by American occupation. Not to miss here are the rose-colored cathedral of Baguio City, the ukay-ukay stores and artsy cafes. Take a leisurely walk at Burnham Park, go biking or hop on the swan boats at the lagoon. Close by is the Igorot Garden, the Aguinaldo Park and Museum and the Baguio Public Market, a great place to shop for souvenirs and strawberries.

7.Cebu (Cebu)
For first timers in Cebu City head to the old quarter in downtown area to experience the old vibe of this bustling metropolitan. Begin at Fort San Pedro, a triangular fort known for housing the first Spanish settlement in the country. Cross the main road to reach the legendary Magellan’s Cross. Cebu’s most famous church – Basilica de Minore del Santo Niño where the image of Santo Niño used for Sinulog festival is enshrined is just a few steps away. Cross to the small bustling street to reach the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. Nearby you can find the Cathedral Museum of Cebu, Raja Humabon Monument and Colon Street, the oldest street in the country built by the Spaniards.

8. Marikina (Manila)
photo credit: Ada Lajara

“The Shoe Capital of the Philippines” beckons bikers, but it is also best explored on foot. See the colorful houses at the Industrial Valley Complex near the LRT station. Head to Concepcion Uno to explore Marikina’s top landmarks; from The Shoe Museum which houses the Guinness World Record holder largest pair of shoes, to the Kapitan Moy, Clock Tower, Teatro Marikina, Freedom Park and the gorgeous Our Lady of the Abandon Church.


The Philippines National Parks

  • Many National Parks in The Philippines are featured on the World Heritage List, either presently included or nominated for future listing. Here we detail all National Parks so recognised plus others of tourist significance.
  • Those presently so designated include the Puerto  Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan and the Tubbataha Reef Marine Park. Sixteen other Philippines National Parks have been submitted on the UNESCO Tentative list for inclusion.
  • These include, Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Angono Triglyphs, Batanes Protected landscapes and seascapes, El Nido Marine Reserve in Northern Palawan, Mt Pulog National Park, Northern Soerra Madre Natural Park, The Tabon Cave Complex and all of Lipuun Point and Turtle Islands Natural Park.
  • The reasons for the nominations are particularly valuable in understanding their importance and what to see when you visit, so we have detailed these reasons in each of the links.

volcano lake cater philippines
Volcano lake cater philippines

The National Parks
  1.     Angono Triglyphs
  2.     Apo Reef Natural Park
  3.     Batanes Protected landscapes and seascapes
  4.     Butuan Archeological Sites
  5.     Chocolate Hills Natural Monument Bohol
  6.     Coron Island Natural Biotic Area
  7.     El Nido Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area
  8.     Ligawasan Marsh
  9.     Mt. Iglit Baco National Park Mindanao
  10.     Neolithic Shell Midden Sites in Lal-lo and Gattaran Municipalities
  11.     Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park
  12.     Paleolithic Archaelogical Sites in Cagayan Valley
  13.     Panglao Island, Bohol
  14.     The Tabon Cave Complex and Lipuun

Philippines Mountain 

Philippines national park waterfall

Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary

Agusan Marsh fisherman

  • Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary is near Bunawan in the interior of north-eastern Mindanao, in the Agusan River Basin, Agusan del Sur. Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, protected by law, covers an area of 14,835.989 hectares. The area was given Ramsar site status in 1999.
  • It is a vast complex of freshwater marshes and watercourses with numerous small shallow lakes and ponds in the upper basin of the Agusan River and its tributaries which rise in the hills of eastern Mindanao. Some parts of the marsh are used for traditional fish ponds and rice paddies. The site acts as storage for rain water and reduces the immediate downstream flow of flood water into Butuan City.
  • Agusan Marsh is one of the largest and the most contained freshwater catch basin wetland in the Philippines. The main habitats of the marsh include freshwater swamp forest ( 49% ), secondary scrub ( 14% ), herbaceous swamp ( 7% ), lakes, pools and rivers ( 10% ), rice paddies and other agricultural land ( 6% ), and small settlements ( 6% ).
  • The Marsh is a valuable habitat for water birds such as species of wild ducks, herons and egrets. It is also the refuge of the rare Oriental Darter ( Anhinga melanogaster ) and Purple Swamp Hen ( Porphyrio porphyrio ) and the threatened Philippine Hawk Eagle, Spotted Imperial Pigeon and Rufous lored Kingfisher.
  • The Ligawasan Marsh is also identified as a distinct and unique region among the 15 Bio Geographic regions in the Philippines much bigger than the Agusan Marsh in Northern Mindanao, Philippines.

Batanes Protected landscapes seascapes

  • Batanes
  • Batanes is the northernmost group of Philippine islands locatod precisely between 20 dogrses 15 minutes to 21 degrees 15 minutes east longitude and between 121 dogrses to 122 dogrees 15 minutes north latitude.
  • Description
  • Characterized by a complex of terrestrial, wetland and marine ecosystem, the Batanes group of islands consist of 10 small islands bounded by the Eashi Channel on the north, by the Pacific Ocean on the east, by the South China Sea on the west and the Balintang Channel on the south. It is one of the last remaining areas in the Philippines having unique natural physiographic features (wave-cut cliffs, cave-like outcrops, secluded white sand beaches) resulting from its position where strong winds and fast currents have etched out its distinct morphology.It is an important flyaway for many migratory bird species, and the deper portions of the marine environment are the few remaining sites where pink and red corals (Corallum sp.) are found.
  • The site is the only area in the Philippines where traditional architecture is of stone in response to the wind and monsoon stresses rather than of the more typical, tropical, impermanent materials (wood, bamboo, thatch) cxommonly used in village architecture.
  • Due to its isolation from the rest of the country, the traditional culture of the area has likewise remained intact.

Coron Island Philippines

Palawan Fisherman 
Coron Island bird\'s nest hunter

  • Coron Island Natural Biotic Area
  • Coron Island is roughly equidistant from Manila and Puerto Princessa City. The Island has a rugged topography, generally mountainous and its terrain marked by steep rock and ravines. Almost 70% of the area made up of rocky cliffs, 25% is rolling hills and 5% relatively flat. Out of the total area, approximately 18% is occupied by the Tagbanua as residential and agricultural lands, as rock formations almost dominate the entire area. Large area is composed of Karst formations where swiftlets dwell and build their nest ( birds nest ). There are vertical limestone cliffs that reach up to 600 meters above sea level and eight brackish lakes and three smaller one's that have underground connections to the sea.
  • Coron Island comprises two barangays, Banuang Daan and Cabugao, all of them belong to the Indigenous Cultural Communities. There are 373 households with a population of 2,028 individuals of Tagbanua in the Island. The primary users of the resources of the island are the residents of these two settlements. Majority of the residents of the two barangays are seldom seen in the mountains except for the gatherers of edible bird's nests on towering cliffs that serve as the major source of income for Indigenous people in the island. Coron Island is wedge-shaped limestone island, dominated by Permian Limestone of Jurassic origin, with few of its coastal areas being covered by mangrove forests. It is situated in the Calamianes group of Islands and belongs to the Municipality of Coron.
  • Some of the rare places not found in the regions are the fantastic and legendary lagoons which are wide, deep and with very clear water, interestingly nestled in one huge and rocky island popularly known as the Coron Islands. Encircled by giant walls of limestone cliffs, this jewel of a mountain, boarders the beautiful and wide Coron harbor, where more wonders of nature abide.
  • Located in North Palawan in the Philippines, the entire island and associated offshore waters have been designated as Ancestral Domain.

Mt. Apo National Park

Mt Apo Philippines

  • The Mt. Apo natural park includes 629 species under 148 families of vascular and non vascular plants. Five hundred seventy two species belong to 124 families of ferns and angiosperms, while 57 species belong to 24 families of bryophytes or mosses.
  • Among the vascular plants in the area, Moraceae, represented by the genus Ficus, has the highest number of known species. This particular group of plants is very important to the economy of the forest for they provide food to many species of birds and mammals. Most fruit eating birds feed on Ficus fruits, particularly on the species bearing small reddish fruits which are quite abundant during summer.
  • Ficus and other small trees such as Leucosyke, Nauclea, Macaranga, Homolanthus, and Dillenia thrive in secondary forests at elevation of 300 to 500 meters above sea level such as in the Baratacab and Sibulan areas. Dipterocarp species like Dipterocarpus, Shorea and Pentacme dominate the vegetation at elevations of 650 to1000 meters such as in Tibulo and Todaya. However, the dipterocarps assume shorter heights and become co-dominant with other smaller trees and shrubs such as Lithocarpus, Laportea and Areca at higher elevations of 1400 to 1600 meters such as in Mainit-Kulan. At 1800 to 2000 meters, particularly at Meran Baclayan, Agathis, Lithocarpus, Cinnamomum and gymnosperms are the dominant species.
  • At the crater lake in Cirribal, Rhododendron, Vaccinium, Gleichenia and Polypodiaceae species were found to be most abundant along with bryophytes. Ferns and orchids are common as herbaceous component and as epiphytes.
  • Among the high value species of trees in the area are the almaciga or Agathis philippinensis and the dipterocarp species Shorea polita and Vatica mangachapoi. These tree species are threatened due to overlogging. The world famous Vanda sanderiana or waling-waling and the rattan species Plectocomia elmiri used to abound in the primary forests of Mt. Apo. However, these species can no longer be found in their natural habitats because of over collection.
  • Six endemic plant species are restricted to Mt. Apo. These were identified under the families (1) Lauraceae ( Alseodaphne philippinensis ), (2) Urticaceae ( Cypholophus microphyllus ) at an altitude of 1,800 meters (3) Fagaceae ( Lithocarpus submonticulus ) at 1,700 meters, (4) Nepenthaceae ( Nepenthes copelandii ) in thickets at 2400 meters and (5) Piperaceae ( Piperomia elmeri and P. apoanum ) at 800 to 1,200 meters.
  • A total of 227 vertebrates species belonging to 69 families of amphibians, reptiles birds and mammals have been recorded in Mt. Apo. Likewise, 118 species of butterflies belonging to 69 families are recorded in the area.
  • Of the birds reported, most species are widely distributed and can be found throughout the Philippines such as the blue shortwing, Brachypteryx montana. The Philippine eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi, the Philippine trogon, Harpactes ardens, and the yellow-bellied whistler, Pachycephala philippinensis, are species recorded in Luzon, Samar, Leyte and Eastern Mindanao. The fly-catchers, Eumyias panayensis, and Ficedula westermanni are reported in Luzon, Mindoro, Negros, Panay and Mindanao. F. westermanni can also be found in Palawan. The strong-billed shrike, Lanius validirostis, can be observed in the highlands of Mindoro, Luzon, and Mindanao, while the Philippine bullfinch, Pyrrhula leucogenys, occurs in the highlands of Luzon and Mindanao only. The presence of L. woodi, R. goodfellowi, E. payanensis, F. hyperythra, R. nigrocinnamomea and H. cinnamomeus were also noted in the primary forest area.
  • The Mt. Apo myna Basilornis miranda, the Apo lorikeet Tricoglossus johnstoniae, the cinnamon bird Hypocryptadus cinnamoneus, and the bagobo babbler, Leonardina woodi, and the black and cinnamon fantail are among the Mindanao endemics in MANP. These species are believed to have evolved on Mt. Apo before spreading to surrounding peaks such as in Katanglad, Malindang, and Matutum.
  • The Philippine eagle, P. jefferyi, is by far the most important bird species in Mt. Apo. This bird is not found elsewhere in the world and has become the symbol of Philippine conservation efforts. Widespread destruction of its habitat and over collection is driving this species to extinction.
  • Mammalian species include shrews and gymnures, bats, rats, squirrels, ungulates, civet cats and deers. The families Pteropidae and Muridae are the most represented. The pteropid bats are common in Mt. Apo, particularly Cynopterus brachyotis, Haplonycteris fischeri and Rousettus amplexicaudatus. Of the mammals identified, only four are Mindanao endemics. These are Apomys insignis, Urogale everetti, Sundasciurus philippinensis and Podogymnura truei. The Philippine gymnure, P. truei, which belongs to family Erinacidae, was believed as restricted to Mt. Apo until it was collected in Mt. Kitanglad. The deer species, Cervus mariannus apoensis is the most threatened mammal in the area.
  • Important reptile species occurring in Mt. Apo include the burrowing skinks of the Genus Brachymeles and the Cuming's eared skink, Otosaurus cumingi. The latter is rare and the largest in its family. The monitor lizard, Varanus salvator, is one of the species used as food.
  • Important amphibian species include the Philippine woodland frog, Rana magna, the broad hearted forest frog, Leptobrachium hasselti, the horned forest frog, Megophrys monticola, the Mueller's toad, Ansonia muelleri, the Mindanao toad, Pelophryne brevipes, the montane narrow-mouthed frog, Oreophryne annulatus. R. magna is considered an endangered species throughout the country because it is widely collected for food. Moreover, rate of population increase of the species is slow for it requires unpolluted cool water for successful breeding. It also has a relatively long tadpole stage making it vulnerable to changes in the forest environment. L. hasselti is considered a true forest frog because it cannot survive in open areas. This species is considered rare because of its cryptic, or secretive behavior, similar to M. monticola.
  • The butterflies in the area are numerous in terms of number of species. They occur in a wide range of habitat, from cultivated lands to grasslands, from second growth to primary forest. Among the species commonly found are Eurema hecabe, Graphium sarpedon, Papilio rumnzovia, P. aquamemnon and Mycalesis tagala sermirasa. Five endemic species of butterflies are known. These are: (1) Parantica schoenigi, (2) Delias lecicki, (3) D. schoenigi, (4) D. apoensis, and (5) D. woodi. Of the five, D. woodi and D. schoenigi have wider vertical distribution range. They were observed between approximately 800 and 2400 m.a.s.l. All species are usually found close to bodies of water.
  • Mt. Apo, located in Mindanao, is one of the 14 bio-geographic zones of the Philippines
  • Apo Reef was proclaimed as Protected Area under the category of Natural Park and its surrounding waters as buffer zone by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 868, dated September 6, 1996. The Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP) and its peripheral Buffer Zone covers an area of 15,792 hectares and 11,677 hectares, respectively, totaling 27,469 hectares in all. Prior to its declaration as a Protected Area under the category of Natural Park, Apo Reef has been designated as Marine Park through Presidential Proclamation No. 1801 in 1980, authorizing the Philippine Tourism Authority PTA to undertake the development and Management of the area. It was also declared a tourist Zone and Marine Reserve by virtue of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro Sangguaniang Bayan Resolution No. 1108 in 1983.
  • Mt. Apo is considered the center of endemism in Mindanao. It has one of the highest land-based biological diversity in terms of flora and fauna per unit area. It has three (3) distinct forest formations from lowland tropical rainforest to mid-mountain forests and finally to high mountain forests.
  • Mt. Apo National Park, Mindanao- is a dormant volcano and the Philippines highest mountain (2954m).

Mt. Malindang Range

  • Mt. Malindang Range
  • Mt. Malindang is a mountain range rising from 600 meters to 2,404 meters above the mean sea level. The range covers 53, 262 hectares of which about 33,000 hectares is still covered with forest vegetation while more than 20,000 hectares is cultivated and inhabited by forest occupants mostly members of the Subanen Tribe. The forest vegetation is composed of highly diverse species of and plants dominated by dipterocarps. It is inhabited by diverse species of fauna including the rare ones such as the Philippine Eagle ( Pithecophaga jefferyi ), Rofous Hornbill ( Buceros hydrocorax ), Tarsier ( Tarsius philippinensis ) and Flying Lemur ( Cynocephalus volans )
  • The mountain range was believed to be formed through series of volcanic activities within the historical times but was not well documented. Several indicators of such activities are found in the site. These include six hectare of Crater Lake ( Lake Duminagat ) and two big sunken areas ( more than 20 hectares each ) surrounded by high rock walls, cinder cones, dome volcanic plugs, amphitheater structures, extensive distribution of volcanic rocks, carbonized wood found in pyroclastic deposits and two sulfuric hot springs. The entire mountain range is dissected by several canyons, gores and ravines making its terrain very rugged and the forest beautiful scenery. Mt. Malindang Natural Park lies within the Malindangmountain range in Mindanao, straddling the provinces of Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur. It covers over 34,000 hectares. Its highest peak is at 2,402 meters above sea level. The Park.s allure comes from its waterfalls, crater lake and dense virgin forests which host diverse and rare species of flora and fauna. A variety of trees - large, straight trunked evergreens, igem and almaciga grow in the lower parts of its forests while dwarf and crooked stem trees crowd the mossy forest found in the mountains upper parts. The rare and endangered Philippine Eagle, Flying Lemur, Deer, Tarsier, and Hornbills live in the Park. Other significant species found there include mammals such as the Philippine Deer, Wild Pig, Long-tailed Macaque, Palm Civet and Civet Cat. Moreover, the Park is known to be home of six amphibians, three reptiles, 67 birds and 25 mammals which are endemic to the place.
  • Lake Duminagat. It is named after the crater lake and its clear waters. It is nested within a dense forest hosting wildlife such as deer, monkeys and wild boars.
  • Mt. Malindang Range was proclaimed as National Park and Watershed Reserve on June 19, 1971 by Republic Act 6266.  It covers 53,262 hectares but the remaining forest cover is about 33,000 hectares. The remaining portion of more than 20,000 hectares are already opened and occupied by about 4,000 families who are mostly indigenous people.
  • This rich biological and physical resource is of major ecological and economic value, and now serves as the site for a biodiversity research initiative-the Philippines-Netherlands Biodiversity Research Programme (BRP) for Development in Mindanao: Focus on Mt. Malindang and its Environs.
  • Moreover, Mt. Malindang is known to harbor a rich and unique biodiversity that is yet to be explored. Besides that, the extensive and fairly well-defined water catchments emanating from the Mt. Malindang range to the coastal zones of Misamis Occidental provide spatial areas for integrating landscape-level analysis.
  • Mt. Pulag, Mountain Province- because of its easy treks and grass carpeted slopes, this mountain is a known trekking destination for mountaineering groups. Mt Pulag, or sometimes called Mt Pulog, is the second highest peak in the Philippines, where the borders of the provinces of Ifugao, Benguet and Nueva Viscaya meet at its summits. The mountain is a natural habitat of endemic species of wild plants, such as dwarf bamboo and the benguet pine, and wild species of birds, long haired fruit bats, Philippine deer and giant bushy tailed cloud rats.
  • Mount Kanlaon, Negros- located in the central highlands of Negros, this mountain is home to various species of ferns, lichens, and orchids. It is also inhabited by numerous species of tropical birds. Among them are hundred endemic species of bleeding heart pigeons and the nearing to extinction, Negros Fruit Doves. Others are Barblers and Warblers, Doves, Bulbuls, Flycatchers and woodpeckers.

Mt. Matutum Forest

  • Mt. Matutum Forest
  • The Mt. Matutum is a volcanic cone formed by volcanic uplift during previous period of activity. The geology of the area is dominated by material of volcanic origin. It is classified as a non-active volcanic cone; generally of pyroxene andosite and surrounding areas are classified as volcanic slopes and piedmonts.
  • Mt. Matutum forms the headwaters and catchment area for several major drainages including the Klinan, Silway and Buayan rivers which empty into Sarangani Bay through General Santos City.
  • About 68% of the area is characterized by nearly flat rolling terrain, which is generally located at the lower elevations of the protected area boundaries. Highest elevation at the Mt. Matutum is 2, 286 meters above sea level.
  • Mt. Matutum is host to diverse plant and animal species including the Philippine Eagle. There are 110 plant species and 57 animal species.
  • Comparison with other similar properties:
    Mt. Matutum Forest and Natural Park will soon be the habitat of captive-bred Philippine eagle after the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) considered the suitability of Matutum for the experimental release of the world renowned Philippine national bird.
  • Philippine Eagle sightings in Mt. Matutum have been reported since 1970s and one physical evidence of this is the recent captive of a Philippine eagle at Sitio Basak, Polunuling, Tupi, South Cotabato. (MCC/MIO-Tupi/PIA 12). 
  • As a known habitat of the national bird, Philippine Eagle, its forested slopes were protected for the conservation of this endangered bird. Mount Kanlaon, Negros- located in the central highlands of Negros, this mountain is home to various species of ferns, lichens, and orchids. It is also inhabited by numerous species of tropical birds. Among them are hundred endemic species of bleeding heart pigeons and the nearing to extinction, Negros Fruit Doves. Others are Barblers and Warblers, Doves, Bulbuls, Flycatchers and woodpeckers.

Mt. Pulag National Park

Philippines mountain

  • Mt. Pulag National Park which lies on the north and south spine of the Grand Cordillera Central that stretches from Pasaleng, Ilocos Norte to the Cordillera Provinces. It falls within the administrative jurisdiction of two (2) Regions: Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley.
  • The whole park is located within the Philippine Cordillera Mountain Range and is very rugged, characterized by steep to very steep slopes at the mountainsides and generally rolling areas at the mountain peak. Mt. Pulag National Park is the highest peak in Luzon and is the second highest mountain in the Philippines with an elevation of 2,922 m. above sea level.
  • The summit of Mt. Pulag is covered with grass and dwarf bamboo plants. At lower elevations, the mountainside has a mossy forest veiled with fog, and full of ferns, lichens and moss. Below this is the pine forest growing on barren, rocky slopes. Falls, rivers and small lakes mark the area.
  • The Park has a large diversity of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the mountain. Its wildlife includes threatened mammals such as the Philippine Brown Deer, Northern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat and the Luzon Pygmy Fruit Bat.  One can also find several orchid species some of which are possibly endemic to Mt. Pulag, and other rare flora such as the pitcher plant.
  • Mt. Pulag is an important watershed providing the water necessities of many stakeholders for domestic and industrial use, irrigation, hydroelectric power production and aquaculture.
  • Justification for Outstanding Universal Value
  • Satements of authenticity and/or integrity:
  • Mt. Pulag was proclaimed National Park by virtue of Pres. Proclamation No. 75 on February 20, 1987 covering an area of 11,550 hectares. It was established to protect and preserve the natural features of the area such as its outstanding vegetation and wildlife. It belongs to the Cordillera Biogeographic Zone located in Northern Luzon.  
  • There are other comparative sites in the country like Mount Kanlaon, Negros- located in the central highlands of Negros, this mountain is home to various species of ferns, lichens, and orchids. It is also inhabited by numerous species of tropical birds. Among them are hundred endemic species of bleeding heart pigeons and the nearing to extinction, Negros Fruit Doves. Others are Barblers and Warblers, Doves, Bulbuls, Flycatchers and woodpeckers.
  • Mt. Apo National Park, Mindanao- is a dormant volcano and the Philippines highest mountain (2954m). As a known habitat of the national bird, Philippine Eagle, its forested slopes were protected for the conservation of this endangered bird.
  • Mount Arayat, Central Luzon- is a sleeping volcano and a mountain that is sheltering a variety of wild animals. Right at its foot is a picnic site surrounded by waterfalls and numerous species of plant life.
  • Mt. Isarog, located in Camarines Sur, Bicol- is the region's second highest volcano at about 1,966 meter above sea level. It is a dormant volcano and home to some of the rarest animal and plant species in the country. A scattered community of Agta tribe, one of the country's earliest settlers, have been seen residing the interiors of the mountain.

Petroglyphs and Petrographs of the Philippines

  • Petroglyphs and Petrographs of the Philippines
  • These petroglyphs are of animate figures interpreted as representing juveniles or infants on a rock face in a rock shelter. The shelter is located southeast of the city of Manila, three kilometers from the town of Angono, and some 235 meters above sea level. The shelter if formed by quaternary volcanics, located on the eastern limb of an anticline. The cave faces 305 degrees west and measures 632. 84 meters, 4.68 meters in height and 8.2 meters in depth. The cave was formed at the close of the Pleistocene, early part of the Holocene, at a period when the quaternary alluvium was not yet extensive.
  • The petroglyphs occupy 25 meters of the rockwall with a height of 3.7 meters from the floor level. The engravings are executed into all the available space on the wall with no orientation nor association with one another. There are no relationships in scale and size, and no baseline.
  • The engravings are made on the tuff layer of the wall with " v " and " u " cross sections, depending on the sizes of the images, the largest of which is 63 centimeters. There is no attempt at making relieves. The general typology of the images is a rounded head on a narrow neck, rectangular body with a lower taper, linear flexed limb with three digits each. There is a total of 127 still discernable figures. There are non-cognitive incisions. There are 51 distinct types. The engravings are not decorative but are symbolic representations, executed by different individuals using a single mental template, apparently with the same cultural persuasion associated with healing and sympathetic magic.
  • The dating of the petroglyphs is probably late Neolithic Age. Only highly fragmented low-fired pottery was recovered, a number of Paleolithic cobble and flaked tools, and Neolithic Age polished adzes. The Philippine Neolithic ranges from 6000 BCE to 2000 BCE.
  • The other set of Petroglyphs are those found in Alab, Mountain province carved on boulders on top of promontories. The configurations are those of pudenda. The dating is relatively later and placed at not earlier than 1500 BCE or even later.
  • The Petrographs are of two kinds: a) Charcoal drawings on cave walls in Penablanca, Cagayan Province, and the Singnapan Caves in southern Palawan; b) red hematite prints in Anda Peninsula, Bohol province. The dating of these is still undetermined.
  • Petroglyphs are more rare in Southeast Asia where most rupestrine art is done through hand prints or paintings. Often petroglyphs are translated into petrographs, e.g. the Angono ones are found drawn with charcoal in the Bato Caves of southern Sarawak, and in southern Thailand. The petrographs in terms of handprints are very rare in the Philippines compared to those found in Sarawak, Sulawesi, Jave, Pontian Malaysia, and the very extensive red hematite rock art found in the banks of Mekong River between Thailand and Cambodia. Other major rupestrine art are found in the Pacific World done by Polynesians, Australia among the Bushmen, in Spain and France. All these New and Old World sites are well-documented.
  • Justification for Outstanding Universal Values
  • The petroglyphs and petrographs are authentic, the sites being systematically excavated, documented and studied by the National Museum of the Philippines by a multi-disciplinary team of archaeologists, anthropologists, geologist, botanists and zoologists. All have been officially declared National Cultural Treasures in accordance with Presidential Decree 374; and have been recorded among rock art registers.
  • Comparison with other similar properties:
  • The petroglyphs of Angono Rizal are similar in configuration to those found in southern Thailand, Sulawesi and Malaysia. All are co-eval being approximately done during the span of the Neolithic Age of Southeast Asia.; while those of Alab Mt. Province have counter parts in the Pacific Islands and Hawaii, dating later than the Philippine Metal Age.. The charcoal petrographs of Cagayan province are of different configuration that cannot be related exactly elsewhere and which at present could not be dated, while the red hematite hand prints are comparable with those found all over Asia, Australia and Europe.

Tabon Cave Complex Palawan The Philippines, Home Of Tabon Man

  • The Tabon Cave Complex and all of Lipuun Point is located on the west coast of Palawan. It is located on a limestone promontory which is visible from any direction for many kilometers and honeycombed with at least 200 caves and rock shelters. This point is called Lipuun by the local people but marked "Abion Head" on charts made from British surveys in 1851. The point is about 104 hectares in are and is formed by a number of rounded limestone domes separated by deep chasms.
  • The some 200 caves located in the limestone formation are collectively known as the Tabon Caves, after the main cave, called Tabon, so named after a megapode bird that digs its nest into the ground. This was the site to first establish the presence of humans in the Philippines during the Pleistocene. The different cave sites document through a corpus of C 14 dates a virtually continuous occupation between at least 50,000 years ago and ca. 9,000 BP, which have been widely cited because the Tabon Caves Complex is one of the very few sites in Southeast Asia to have yielded Pleistocene fossil Homo Sapiens. The data provide new chronological data on the questions of Pleistocene Homo Sapiens settlement.
  • The Tabon Cave, itself, is the site where possibly the oldest Homo sapiens fossil evidence in Southeast Asia in the form of a tibia fragment dating to 47,000 +/- 11-10,000 years ago ( IV-2000-T-97 ) has been found ( Dizon et al, 2002, Annex 8 ). There are also a right mandible dating to 31,000 +-8-7,000 years ago (PXIII-T-436) and a frontal bone dating to 16,500 +- 2,000 years ago ( previously dated to 22,000-24,000 BP ). The dates are based on isotopic 230 Th/U 234 ratio. Another fossil mandibular fragment raises the issue of a possible colonization of Palawan by Pongidae during the Upper Pleistocene ( 16,500 +- 2,000 BP ).
  • These caves contained an astonishing wealth and an extensive time-range of cultural materials: a flake tool tradition which dates from the Late Pleistocene and early post-Pleistocene periods including a highly developed jar burial complex which appeared during the Late Neolithic and continued on to the developed Metal Age; and finally, porcelains and stoneware indicating local trade with China during the Song and Yuan Dynasties. The excavations have revealed more than 50,000 years of Philippine prehistory and south and East Asian relationships.
  • Palawan, on the southwestern side of the archipelago is a northeast, southwest trending long island that serves a natural bridge between Borneo, and thence to the mainland of Asia. Geologically it is part of the island of Borneo. In fact the flora and fauna are more related to Borneo rather than the rest of the Philippines. During the glacial periods, Palawan was a land bridge to Borneo allowing early man, fauna and flora to enter the archipelago. Due to its position, it is crucial to the movement of peoples and biota into Central and Northern Philippines.
  • Archaeological sites in Palawan have been reported even as early as 1922 when Dr. Carl Guthe visited the El Nido ( Bacuit ) area during the expedition of the University of Michigan ( 1922-1925 ). Four caves were excavated by this University. The finds were discussed by Dr. Solheim in his study of the " Iron Age " in central Philippines. One of the caves was re-excavated by Robert Fox in 1965, which upgraded the site from an " Iron Age " to a Neolithic site. Mr. E.D. Hester, in 1932 and again in 1935 visited the Uring-uring area south of Brookes' Point on the eastern side of Palawan and recovered a sizable collection of trade ceramics dating between the 14th to the 16th centuries, coming from China, Thailand and Vietnam. IN 1962, Fox again re-visited the place a recovered similar materials. Even a superb gold ornament was found identified as a garuda image dating from the Indonesian Madjapahit period ( 13th-14th AD ), although the associated materials are trade ceramics from China from the late 14 to 16 centuries AD. In 1951, Fox recovered an early Neolithic oval adze from a Tagbanua community in the municipality of Aborlan.
  • The above finds comprised the matrix of data about Palawan until the systematic excavations conducted at Lipuun Point in 1962 by the National Museum, that verified the importance of these sites to Philippine and Southeast Asian Prehistory.
  • Comparison with other similar properties:
  • Niah Cave in northern Sarawak contains the oldest remains of Homo sapiens found in Borneo, excavated from layers dated to about 40,000 years. The 10-hectare cave also contained sequences of human occupation from the period around 40,000 years to 2,000 years ago. The cave was excavated by Tom Harrison from 1954 to 1962. The excavations, however, were never published in a comprehensive form. There are many doubts about the reliability of his stratigraphic interpretations and the age of the radiocarbon dated layers. Further excavations were done in 1976 to clarify the issues, but these remained unresolved.
  •  On the other hand, the Tabon Caves of the Philippines at Lipuun Point, located in the island of Palawan which is geologically linked to north Borneo have been systematically excavated by the National Museum of the Philippines led by the late Dr. Rober B. Fox. The data has been published in many forms and cited by pre-historians involved in Southeast Asian archaeology. The radio-metric dates for the Tabon Caves sites, including that for the Homo sapiens sapiens tibia have also been published, with the latter with a positive date of 47,000 +- 10-11,000 years ago, which antedates the yet unverified 40,000 years for the " Deep Skull " of Niah Cave.

Tubbataha Reef

                                                            The Lighthouse at Tubbataha

tubbataha reef palawan

  • Tubbataha Reef is located in the middle of the Central Sulu Sea, 181 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan Province, in the Municipality of Cagayancillo. Covering 33,200 hectares the park comprises two atolls, North and South Reef, separated by an eight kilometer channel. The North Reef is a large oblong-shaped continuous reef platform 2 km wide and completely enclosing a sandy lagoon some 24 meters deep. The most prominent feature is the North Islet which serves as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. Steep and often perpendicular walls extending to a depth of 40-50m are characterize the seaward face of the reef. A very high diversity of fish has been recorded with 379 species in at least 40 families. There is a diverse coral assemblage, with species representing 46 genera. The South Reef is a small triangular shaped reef about I to 2 kms wide. Like the North Reef, it consists of a shallow platform enclosing a sandy lagoon. South Islet is a coralline sand cay of approximately 800 sq.m, and is also used as a nesting site. Bird species include brown boobies, and red-footed boobies, sooty tern and crested tern. Marine turtles nest on some of the beaches, including threatened hawksbill and green turtle.
  • Tubbataha Reef is exposed to both the south-west and north-east monsoons. Rough seas are experienced from July to October and from November to March in the north-east monsoon. Four species of tree and four species of grass are found on both islands. Ten species of macroalgae are found and extensive seagrass beds grow on the shallower parts of the reef and lagoon. There are no permanent inhabitants on the reefs, other than during the fishing season, when fishermen from Cagayancillo and other parts of the country establish temporary shelters. Tubbataha has remained relatively pristine due to its inaccessibility and its isolation from population centers. However, there have been increasing disturbances from blast fishing, large scale collection of sea bird and marine turtle eggs, giant clams and other marine resources, spear fishing, collection of aquarium fish and disturbances to wildlife. Most of these activities are illegal. A proposal by a commercial operation to establish an extensive seaweed farming operation with up to 24,000 people located on the islands has been averted. The reefs have benefited from two years of protective management, with improved cover and richness of indicator species.
  • The Tubbataha National Marine Park nomination, as presented by the Government of the Philippines provides the following justification for designation as a World Heritage property, although the precise criteria are not specified. Natural property
  • Contain unique, rare or superlative natural phenomena, formations or features or areas of exceptional beauty. Tubbataha represents a unique example of pristine atoll reef, with a very high diversity of marine species. The reef components include a 100 m perpendicular wall; an almost pristine reef crest and reef edge; extensive reef flat; extensive deep lagoon with coral beds and giant clams; shallow lagoon with seagrass beds, important for threatened marine turtle species; and emergent islands used by both birds and turtles.
  • Virtually the entire coastlines of the Philippines' 7,000 islands are dotted with coral reefs. Reefs cover 27,000 sq km of the country with the largest concentration and most diverse reefs near Palawan and its satellite islands where Tubbataha is found. However, with the dependence of millions of Filipinos on reef ecosystems, there is much pressure on all reefs. A decade ago a survey indicated less than one-third of survey reefs in the country were in good condition and there has been even greater declines since then.
  • Various Presidential Decrees and Proclamations have been issued to establish marine parks and reserves but few of these have had much meaning as there has been no action to follow them up. In addition to Tubbataha the important marine reserves in the country are found at Hundred Islands, Santa Cruz Islands, Sumilan, Turtle Island, and El Nido. All of these, despite being marine reserves have suffered from illegal fishing, the use of dynamite and cyanide, collection of corals and shells and siltation. Because of its remoteness and due to management activities carried out through the Debt for Nature Swap Program by the Tubbataha Foundation, Tubbataha is considered the most intact and diverse of all the marine reserves in the Philippines.
  • Regionally, it has been claimed by one independent marine scientist that Tubbataha is the best example of a diversetoral atoli system in southeast Asia ( White, 1991 ). It certainly may be the best documented example as many other reefs in the region are poorly known and there may be' others that eventually prove as important ( e.g. those found around the Spratly Islands ). Marine parks with equal diversity and abundance of fishes are found at Bunaken Marine Park in northern Indonesia, possibly,Cenderwasih in lrian Jaya and certainly the Pulau Seribu marine park off Java. Another strong World Heritage marine park prospect in the region is Palau's Ngerukewid Islands Wildlife Preserve. Comparing Tubbataha reefs with those of French Polynesia, the former has 46 genera of hard corals in 332 sq km of ocean while the latter have 51 genera in 2.5 million sq km of ocean. Tubbataha thus has a very concentrated diversity indeed!
  • It is, of course, unfair and impossible to compare any coral reef to that of the existing World Heritage site at the Great Barrier Reef. In this case the entire coastal region multiple use area of 3.5 million sq km as inscribed in 1981 is larger than all other Heritage sites combined. One scientist from the Great Barrier Reef Authority, however, did note that the condition of the reefs at Tubbataha is comparable.
  • In conclusion, given the extent of reef degradation in the Philippines and generally throughout the Asian region, the reefs at Tubbataha stand out as one of the best intact marine sites and thus their presence is of particular importance. This conclusion is reflected in the attraction that the area has become for Scuba divers who rate the reefs at Tubbataha Reef as one of the world's top diving destinations. 
  • Although not elucidated in the nomination, Tubbataha Reef meets 3 criteria for natural properties. First, the site is an excellent example of a near pristine coral reef with a-spectacular 100 m perpendicular wall, an almost undisturbed reef crest and reef edge, extensive lagoons with sea grass beds and coral beds, and 2 coral islands (criterion (iii)).
  • Secondly, the importance of Tubbataha Ref for science and conservation is related to its unique position in the middle of the Sulu Sea where reefs contribute larvae to the whole Sulu Sea system. The opportunity to study this system of larvae dissemination and fisheries recruitment and to better understand marine processes is justification for criterion (ii).
  • Thirdly, the diversity of corals and fish, particularly pelagic species such as jacks, tuna, barracuda and sharks is exceptional. Added to this are the large numbers of manta rays and moray eels found here. The importance of the atolls for seabirds and turtles is less clear but it too will likely prove significant.
  • PHYSICAL FEATURES Comprises the only two atolls in the Philippine archepelago, North and South Reef, separated by an 8km wide channel. North Reef is a large, oblong, continuous reef platform some 16km long and 4.5km wide, completely enclosing a sandy lagoon some 24m deep. The reef flat is shallow and emergent in some places at extreme low tide. The most prominent subarea1 feature is the North Islet which is a coralline sand cay (0.3ha), which serves as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. Steep and often perpendicular walls extending to a depth of 40-50m are characterise the seaward face of the reef. South Reef, a small, triangular-shaped reef about l-2km wide, consisting, like the North Reef, of a shallow platform enclosing a sandy lagoon. South Islet, a coralline-sand cay of approximately 800 sq.m, is located on the southern tip of the reef, and is also used as a nesting site.
  • Tubbataha Reef is exposed to both the south-west and north-east monsoons. Rough seas are experienced from July to October and from November to March during the north-east monsoon. Four species of tree occur: Terminalia catappa, Leucaena leucocephala, Pisonia qrandis and Arqusia arsentia. Two stands of coconut Cocos nucifera exist. Four species of grass, Melapodium divaricatum, Portulaca oleracea, Chloris inflata and Setasaria qeniculata are found on both islands. In contrast, there is considerably more diversity in the marine flora, with 45 species of benthic macroalgae and extensive seagrass beds on the shallower parts of the reef and lagoon. The four dominant species are Thalassia hemprichii, Halophilia ovalis, Halodule uninervis and H. pinifolia. FAUNA Forty six bird species have been recorded from the si. North Islet has a colony of brown boobies Sula leucosaster and some red-footed boobies S. sula. South Islet has a variety of birds including brown boobies, red-footed boobies, common noddy Anous stolidus, sooty tern Sterna fuscata and crested tern S. bersii. Marine turtles nest on some of the beaches, including hawksbill turtle Eretmochevls imbricata (E) and green turtle Chelonia mydas. A very high diversity of fish has been recorded with 379 species in at least 40 families. Sightings of black-tip shark Carcharinus melanopterus, white-tip shark Triaenovon abesus, manta rays Mobula dibolus and eagle rays are common. Tridacnid calms such as crocus calm Tridacna crosea, giant clam T. gisas (VI, scaly calm T. squamosa (I) and horse's hoof clam Hipopus hippopus (I) are found in some parts of the lagoon. A general checklist of fish species and macroinvertebrates is given in DENR (1992). Several distinct physiographic zones may be discerned on the reefs. Forty six coral general were recorded from the area in 1983. The deeper stretches of the steep drop off show foliose or plate like forms of Pachyseris, Leptoseris and Montipora at 20 to 30 m depth. At 12 to 20 m depth, massive Diploastrea, Platvgvra and Porites are found. The reef edge is an Acropora zone with branching Montipora, Pocillopora, Porites and some faviids, and extends to a reef slope of similar composition. The reef flats consist mainly of A. hyacinthus, Pocillopora, Millepora and some faviids. Porites 'micro atolls' and branched Porites characterise the back-reef areas. 
  • There are no permanent inhabitants on the reefs, other than during the fishing season, when fishermen from Cagayancillo and other parts of the country establish temporary shelters. A wide range of fishing activities are carried out in the Sula Sea surrounding the park, including traditional line fishing, commercial tuna trawling, spear fishing, offshore long lines and reef gleaning.
  • Tubbataha Reef, considered to be one of the top scuba destinations in the country, is visited by approximately 1500 national and international divers between March and June.

Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Turtle Islands is part of the Sulu Archipelago which is composed of approximately 400 islands of varying shapes and sizes. It is located at the southwestern tip of the Philippines, about 1,000 km southwest of Manila. The municipality of Turtle Islands is right at the edge of the international treaty limits separating the Philippines and Malaysia. The group of islands, namely, Boan, Lihiman, Langaan, Great Bakkungan, Taganak, and Baguan, is situated south of Palawan, northwest of the Tawi-Tawi mainland and northeast of Sabah, Malaysia. The islands have an aggregate land area of 308 hectares. The smallest island, the Langaan measures about 7 hectares, while the largest, the Taganak Island, is about 116 hectares.It was proclaimed as Wildlife Sanctuary under Proclamation No. 171 on August 26, 1999 and identified as extremely high for biodiversity conservation. On May 31, 1996 a Memorandum of Agreement between the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of Malaysia was signed declaring Turtle Islands as Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area aiming for the conservation and protection of the area. Turtle Islands WS is regarded as the only major nesting ground with more than 1,000 nesters annually of the Green Turtle in the whole ASEAN Region. There are only 10 remaining nesting sites worldwide. The Hawksbill Turtle also occur but with a low density nesting in contrast to the Green Turtle. Worldwide, marine turtle populations have critically declined hence the CITES-IUCN has declared all species of marine turtle endangered.
  • On May 31, 1996 Turtle Islands was declared as Turtle Island Heritage Protected Area through a MOA between the Republic of the Philippines and the Government of Malaysia. It was proclaimed as Wildlife Sanctuary under Proclamation No. 171 on August 26, 1999 and identified as extremely high for biodiversity conservation.
  • Comparison with other similar properties:
    Turtle Islands WS is regarded as the only major nesting ground with more than 1,000 nesters annually of the Green Turtle in the whole ASEAN Region. There are only 10 remaining nesting sites worldwide. Around Great Bakkungan Island, the Malay Box Turtle which was never seen at other islands has been observed visiting its shores. Presence of sea snakes and terrestial snakes have also been recorded in the island.
  • Locally, the Apo Reef, Occidental Mindoro- proclaimed marine and national park possess a wide array of habitats which are valuable for scientific studies and a perfect destination for environmental tours. Numerous species of fauna and flora are discovered inhabiting the sandy beaches, beach forests, coral reefs, algae flat, mangroves and sea grass of the reef. The reef's underwater terrain boasts for its unique coral walls, caves and drop offs. They are home to some species of mantas, sharks, school of jacks and snappers, and groups of tropical aquarium fishes and hundreds more marine species. The island as well serves as a nesting ground for numerous species of migratory and resident breeder birds, and a rich territory of endemic wildlife and plant life species such as Nicobar pigeons, sea turtles, sea grass and algae.



Filipino food may not be as famous as that of its Thai and Vietnamese neighbors. But with more than 7,000 islands and a colorful history, this archipelago has some delicious dishes of its own.
Blessed with an abundance of seafood, tropical fruits and creative cooks, there’s more to Filipino food than the mind-boggling balut (duck embryo).
You just have to know where to find them and how to eat them.

AdoboAdobo -- common, but not ordinary Filipino food.

1. Adobo

No list of Filipino food would be complete without adobo.
A ubiquitous dish in every household in the Philippines, it's Mexican in origin, but Filipinos found that cooking meat (often chicken and pork) in vinegar, salt, garlic, pepper, soy sauce and other spices, was a practical way to preserve meat without refrigeration.
This cooking style can be applied to different meats or even seafood. Sample it in a Filipino home or the garlicky version of the lamb adobo at Abe.
Abe, Serendra Plaza, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; +63 2 856 0526; www.ljcrestaurants.com.ph

LechonLechon -- this little pig went to our stomachs.

2. Lechon

The lechon is the most invited party guest in the Philippines. The entire pig is spit-roasted over coals, with the crisp, golden-brown skin served with liver sauce, the most coveted part.
In Cebu, the stomach of the pig is stuffed with star anise, pepper, spring onions, laurel leaves and lemongrass resulting in an extremely tasty lechon, which needs no sauce.   
In Manila, get your piggy from Elar's Lechon, while in Cebu, the best is CnT Lechon.
Elar's Lechon, 151 Quezon Ave., corner Speaker Perez Street, Sta. Mesa Heights, Quezon City, Metro Manila; +632 731 7551. CnT Lechon, 1377 Rama Ave., Guadalupe, Cebu City; +63 3 2254 4249

SisigSisig -- no pig parts ever go to waste.

3. Sisig

Nothing goes to waste in Filipino food. In the culinary capital of Pampanga, they turn the pork’s cheeks, head and liver into a sizzling dish called Sisig.
The crunchy and chewy texture of this appetizer is a perfect match for an cold beer. Serve with hot sauce and Knorr seasoning to suit the preference of you and your buddies. 
Credit goes to Aling Lucing who invented this dish at a humble stall along the train railways in Angeles City, Pampanga. While Sisig can be found in many restaurants, try the original version at Aling Lucing Sisig.
Aling Lucing Sisig, Valdez StcorAgapito Del Rosario Street, AngelesCity, Pampanga; +63 4 5888 2317

Crispy pataCrispy pata -- crunchy, juicy, chewy; a tasty trinity of Filipino food.

4. Crispy pata

Not for the easily spooked, this pork knuckle is simmered, drained and deep fried until crisp. The meat is tender and juicy inside, with a crisp, crackling exterior. 
Served with vinegar, soy sauce and chili. If you have a craving for this at any time, Aristocrat is open 24 hours. 
Aristocrat, 432 San Andres St., corner Roxas Blvd., Malate Manila; + 63 2 524 7671; www.aristocrat.com.ph

Chicken InasalChicken inasal -- you'll never go back to Nando's.

5. Chicken inasal

Yes, it's grilled chicken. But in Bacolod, this is no ordinary grilled chicken.
The meat is marinated in lemongrass, calamansi, salt, pepper and garlic and brushed with achuete (annatto seeds) oil.
Every part of the chicken is grilled here from the paa (drumstick), pecho (breast), baticulon (gizzard), atay (liver), pakpak (wings) and corazon (heart). It must be eaten with a generous serving of garlic rice, with some of the orange oil used to marinade the chicken poured over the rice. 
Go chicken crazy at Manukan Country where there is a row of authentic Inasal restaurants.
Manukan Country, Reclamation Area, Bacolod City

Taba ng TalangkaTaba ng talangka -- crab fat; a rarity if ever there was one.

6. Taba ng talangka

The fat of a small variety of crabs are pressed and sautéed in garlic. This cholesterol-laden Filipino food is often used as a sauce for prawns or eaten with fried fish and rice.
The best taba ng talangka comes from the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac and Bulacan. Buy a bottle or two from the markets there, or pasalubong shops like Bulacan Sweets.
Bulacan Sweets, 155 N.S. Amoranto Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila; +63 2 740 2171

7. Pancit Palabok

When Filipinos have guests, they don't skimp. The pancit palabok served on most birthday parties is oozing with flavor and textures.
The noodle dish is layered with rice noodles, a rich orange sauce made from shrimp broth, pork, hard boiled eggs, shrimps, chicharon (pork rinds) and sometimes oysters and squid. Enjoy the rich sauce of Perfect Loaf Bakery and Café. 
Perfect Loaf Bakery and Café, Teresa Ave. corner St. Joseph Street, Nepo Mart Complex, Angeles City, Pampanga; +63 4 5888 6629

BulaloBulalo -- the more marrow the merrier.

8. Bulalo

Despite the perennial heat, Filipinos often enjoy sipping piping hot bulalo soup made with from freshly slaughtered Batangas beef.
The broth is rich with flavors seeped from the beef after boiling for hours. The bones are big, meaning more bone marrow to enjoy. 
In Santo Tomas, Batangas, there's a row of restaurants along the highway serving bulalo. But the best one stands out further away in nearby Tagaytay city, called Diner Café.
Diner Cafém Tagaytay-Batangas Highway, Tagaytay City; +63 4 6413 1845

Arroz CaldoArroz caldo -- cold cure, Pinoy style.

9. Arroz Caldo

While chicken soup soothes sick Westerners, Filipinos turn to arroz caldo, a thick chicken rice porridge. 
Cooked with ginger and sometimes garnished with a hard-boiled egg, toasted garlic and green onions, this Filipino food is sold in street-side stalls.
If dining al fresco doesn’t suit you, try it at the Via Mare outlets around Manila.

10. Fish tinola

The freshness of Cebu's rich marine life can be tasted in its fish tinola, a simple sour broth flavored with onions, tomatoes and sambag (tamarind) and cooked over coco-lumber firewood for hours.
Cebuanos know to go to A-One, a small hole in the wall known, cooking up to 200 kilos of fish daily. 
A-One, Rd. North 6, North Reclamation, Cebu City

Kare KareKare-kare -- the proof is in the texture.

11. Kare-kare

This stew of oxtail has the most delicious sauce made from ground toasted rice and crushed peanuts. Banana blossom, eggplants and string beans add more interesting textures, to make it a complete meal on its own.
It's eaten with steamed rice and bagoong (shrimp paste). While mom’s kare-kare is always best, the version at Café Juanita is authentic. 
Café Juanita, 19 West Capitol Drive, Barrio Capitolyo; +63 2 632 0357

kamaroKamaro -- get over the appearance and a succulent bite awaits.

12. Kamaro

Serious gourmands know the best cooks come from Pampanga. So do kamaro, these mole crickets they cook into a delicious appetizer.
What makes this delicacy special? Well if catching these bugs is tough, so is cooking them. Legs and wings must be removed, then the body is boiled in vinegar and garlic. It's then sautéed in oil, onion and chopped tomatoes until chocolate brown. 
These bite-size appetizers are crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside. Sample Kamaru at Everybody’s Café, an authentic Pampango dining institution for many decades now. 
Everybody’s Café, Del Pilar, MacArthur Highway, San Fernando, Pampanga; +63 4 5860 1121

13. Ilocos empanada

Yes, its name reveals its Spanish origins. But its ingredients are all local.
Grated unripe papaya or bean sprouts, egg and loganiza (pork sausage) are stuffed in the empanada and deep fried, accompanied with a spicy vinegar sauce.
Get this staple Filipino food from stalls beside the cathedrals in Vigan and Laoag.

Sinigang -- as tasty as it is cute.

14. Sinigang

Sinigang is a stew of fish, prawns, pork or beef soured by fruits like tamarind, kamias or tomatoes.  Often accompanied by vegetables like kangkong, string beans and taro, this stew is eaten with rice. 
A modern, but delicious spin on Sinigang is Sentro 1771’s version called Sinigang Corned Beef. 
Sentro 1771’s,  Greenbelt 3, Paseo de Roxas cor. Legaspi Street, Ayala Center Makati, Metro Manila; +63 2 757 3940

TapaTapa -- an easy way to make rice interesting.

15. Tapa

Filipinos are huge rice eaters, and breakfast is no exception.
A tap-si-log consists of thin slices of dried marinated beef served with fried egg and garlic rice.
While it is breakfast fare, it's also a quick, satisfying meal you can eat anytime and available in most places. Making it accessible all the time and even available for deliveries, Tapa King serves it in the classic, sweetish and spicy versions. 

Dinuguan at PutoDinuguan at puto -- the best pork innards ever looked.

16. Dinuguan at puto

While it may not look appetizing, this black dish of pork and pig innards stewed in fresh pig blood seasoned with garlic, onion and oregano and eaten with a white puto (rice cake) or steamed rice, is a comforting dish for many Filipinos.
Café Milky Way’s version tastes homemade and clean.
Café Milky Way, 2/F 900 A. Arnaiz Ave. Cor Paseo de Roxas, Makati; +63 2 843 4124

17. Betute

The French may have turned frogs' legs into a delicacy, but Filipinos take it to the next level. They get a frog, stuff it with minced pork and deep-fry it.
While betute isn't for everyone, the adventurous can try it at Everybody's Cafe, an authentic Pampango dining institution for many decades now.
Del Pilar, MacArthur Highway, San Fernando, Pampanga, +63 4 5 8601 121

LaingLaing -- yes it's slop, but damn tasty slop.

18. Laing

This dish of taro leaves cooked in rich coconut milk is an everyday staple in Bicol. Morsels of meat and chili are added to give punch to the Laing.
It's eaten with steamed rice. The authentic versions from kitchens in Naga and Albay are most delicious. In Manila, try it at Dencio’s.

PinakbetPinakbet -- simple, cheap and healthy; no wonder it's spread around the country.

19. Pinakbet

Up north in Ilocos, the vegetable dish of okra, eggplant, bitter gourd, squash, tomatoes and bagoong (shrimp or fish paste) called pinakbet is a favorite.
And now, this healthy, cheap, and easy to cook dish has made its way around the archipelago. It is cooked in most households and local restaurants.
Try it at Max’s Fried Chicken, Manila.

20. Sinugno

Cooking with coconut milk is common in the province of Quezon, south of Manila. Freshwater tilapia fish is grilled then simmered in coconut milk and chili.
It's definitely freshest when eaten close to the fishponds as they do in Kamayan Sa Palaisdaan.
Brgy. Dapdap Tayabas Quezon; +63 4 2793 3654

BagnetBagnet -- a crunchy, vinegary addiction beckons.

21. Bagnet

While the lechon kawali, the deep fried pork, is a popular Filipino food all over the country, bagnet, from the northern province of Ilocos, is coveted for its irresistible crunchy skin dipped in the sweet-sour vinegar sukang Iloko.
Buy it from the markets of Ilocos, or try it at Café Juanita.
Café Juanita, 19 West Capitol Drive, Barrio Capitolyo; +63 2 632 0357

Pancit HabhabPancit habhab -- fast-food for the Philippines.

22. Pancit habhab

Trust Filipino ingenuity to adapt noodles to their lifestyle. In Lucban, Quezon, pancit habhab is served on a banana leaf and slurped. Garnished with carrots, chayote, and a few pieces of meat, this cheap noodle dish is most often eaten by students and jeepney drivers on the go.
For an extra special version, try Old Center Panciteria  who has been making the noodles since 1937. They add lechon, generous serving of vegetables, and even hand you a fork. 
Old Center Panciteria, 85 San Luis St. Lucban, Quezon; +63 42 540 3068

23. Pork barbecue

In a country where almost everything is marinated, skewered and grilled in the street corners, everyone has their favorite barbecue meat. Pork is the most popular. 
Cebu is known for barbecue stalls along Larsian Street just off Fuente Osmena Circle.
Manila residents are addicted to that from Ineng's, which has many outlets in Metro Manila, for its big, chunky pieces of pork with a perfect, salty-sweet marinade.
Dela Rosa Car Park, Dela Rosa Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City, Metro Manila

LonganizaLonganiza -- bursting with flavors, sometimes literally.

24. Longaniza

Every province has their version of the pork sausage called longaniza. It varies from sweet to garlicky to spicy.
Usually eaten for breakfast with garlic rice, fried egg and a dipping sauce of vinegar. 
Zoricho, 118 Silver City, Frontera Verde, Ugong, Pasig City, Metro Manila; +63 2 571 3269

Lumpiang UbodLumpiang ubod -- spring rolls with a coconut-y twist.

25. Lumpiang ubod

The fruit, leaves and even the pith of the coconut tree is used in Filipino food. The pith makes a sweet and tender filling for the fresh lumpia, our version of the spring roll.
A delicate egg wrapper contains a savory filling of ubod (the pith of the coconut tree), shrimps, pork, onions and a garlicky sweet sauce.
Bacolod city is known for its petite version of this spring roll.
El Ideal Bakery, 118 Rizal St., Silay City, Negros Occidental; +63 34 495 4430 and Bailon Homemade Ilonggo Delicacies, 1115 Rodriguez Ave., Bangkal, Makati; +63 2 843 6673

Bicol ExpressBicol express -- uniting coconut and chili lovers.

26. Bicol express

A fitting tribute to people who love coconut and spicy food is bicol express, a fiery chili, pork and coconut milk stew. Try it at the hole-in-the-wall eatery called Top Haus in Makati. 
Top Haus, 5994 J.D. Villena St., corner Mabini Street, Poblacion, Makati

27. Relyenong alimango

Filipino cooks are never fazed by fuzzy food preparations like relyenong alimango. The crab is delicately peeled then sautéed with onions, tomatoes, herbs and stuffed back into the crab shell, then deep fried.
Chicken or bangus (milkfish) are also cooked relyeno. Often cooked in homes for fiestas, but enterprising housewives sell them at the Sunday market in Quezon City (Centris Mall, Edsa, Quezon City) or the Saturday market in Makati (Salcedo Village, Makati)

BalutBalut -- just think of it as being overripe.

28. Balut

No trip to the Philippines would be complete without sampling its famous balut. Vendors peddling these eggs on the street chant “Baluuuuut!” to entice buyers.
This 17-day-old duck embryo is boiled, served with rock salt or spicy vinegar and is often consumed with beer.

29. Inihaw na panga ng tuna

General Santos and Davao City are known for their numerous ways with tuna. The panga or jaw is often grilled over coals and dipped in sauce of soy sauce, vinegar, chili and calamansi (local lemon).
Marina Tuna Seafood Market & Restaurant, Kilometer 8, National Highway, Bo. Pampanga, Sasa, Davao City; +63 8 2233 2666

Fish KinilawFish kinilaw -- various forms, one great taste.

30. Fish kinilaw

The day’s fresh catch is dressed in palm coconut vinegar, ginger, chili and spices. Each province has its own way of preparing kinilaw.
Most wet markets will prepare this for you. Most popular in Cebu is to eat it in Su-tu-kil, the row of seafood eateries (Lapu-LapuCity, Mactan,Cebu). 

Fresh snails cooked in coconut milk and leafy vegetables. The snails are served in the shell and a tiny fork (or toothpick) is used to loosen the meat inside.
This is usually served as an appetizer or a snack, but it works well with hot rice.

SinanglaySinanglay -- when food looks this good it's almost a shame to eat it.

32. Sinanglay

Fresh tilapia stuffed with tomatoes and onions, then simmered in coconut milk and wrapped in pechay leaves (similar to bokchoy), which helps keep the fish together and adds a peppery taste. It's a staple Filipino food.

Inihaw na LiempoInihaw na liempo -- the delicious crunch-soft combo strikes again.

33. Inihaw na Liempo

A Filipino-style barbecue using a popular pork part: liempo (pork belly). Arguably, the best is Cebuano style -- a slab of liempo stuffed with herbs and spices and roasted, resulting in juicy flavorsome meat inside and crackling skin outside.

34. Empanada de kaliskis

The literal translation of these words is scaly pie. A traditional meat pie from Malolos, it is a flaky, croissant-like pastry filled with chicken and deep fried.
Best freshly made, get it when in Malolos or from a reputable restaurant such as Adarna Food and Culture.

TugacTinolang tugac -- hopping into your fave dish list.

35. Tinolang tugac

Frog isn't common in Manila, but a few miles away in Pampanga you’ll see it stuffed or stewed.
Or simply taking the place of chicken, such as in the common tinola -- a ginger-based soup usually cooked with chunks of green papaya and chili pepper leaves.

Camaro RebosadoCamaro rebosado -- juxtaposing flavor and texture.

36. Camaro rebosado

Shrimp coated in egg and flour batter and deep fried.
Served with a tomato-based sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

BibingkaBibingka -- the smell of a Filipino Christmas.

37. Bibingka

For many Filipinos, Christmas is marked by the scent of bibingkas cooking at dawn. These rice cakes are made by soaking the rice overnight, grinding it with a mortar stone and mixing in coconut milk and sugar. Laborious.
The batter is poured into clay pots with banana leaves, with coals on top and below. It's garnished with salted eggs, kesong puti (white cheese made from Carabao’s milk) and slathered with butter, sugar and grated coconut. 
Best eaten hot from weekend markets. The best one is from Aling Linda at the Sidcor Sunday Market at Centris Mall, Edsa,Quezon City. For the rest of the week, try Via Mare or Ferino’s Bibingka with branches all over Metro Manila. 

Suman at MangaSuman at manga -- can't go wrong with sweet, juicy mango.

38. Suman at manga

Sold along the roadside, suman are sticky rice snacks steamed in banana or coconut leaves. There are many versions of suman, depending on the ingredients and leaves used.
These Filipino food snacks are often paired with sweet ripe mangoes. They're cheap snacks, which travel well.
Buy them from roadside stalls, or enterprising vendors peddling them on buses. 

ChamporadoChamporado -- essentially a bowl of hot, soggy Coco Pops.

39. Champorado

When the rains start pouring and classes are suspended, children love this comforting breakfast -- a chocolate rice porridge. It's hot, rich and filling.
To offset the sweetness it's often served with dried fish. 
This breakfast of champs can be eaten in roadside carinderias or try the triple chocolate version at Max’s Fried Chicken in various cities.

Halo-haloHalo-halo -- the tastiest way to ward off the heat.

40. Halo-halo

Many people joke that the Philippines has two seasons: hot and hotter. Cool off with some halo-halo.
In Manila, Milky Way Café offers the best halo-halo with finely shaved ice and a generous serving of leche flan, gulaman, ube, banana, kaong, beans and garbanzos, milk and a scoop of ube ice cream.
Milky Way Café, 2/F, 900 A

Buco pieBuco pie -- another way to eat the king of coastal fruits.

41. Buco pie

Go loco over coconut. In the province of Laguna, buco pie (young coconut pie) wars are hot. Each claims to be the best.
Orient D’ Original may have a tacky name but this pie shop has been a favorite for 45 years.
They serve the pie hot, with a delicious filling with generous layers of tender coconut meat.
Orient D’ Original, National Highway, Los Banos, Laguna, +63 4 9536 3783

Buko Tarts, Filipino Egg Tarts, Pumpkin Tarts
Verizza Pastel La Casa, San Juan City, Metro Manila
+63 2 915 5171397

42. Ensaymada at Tsokolate

Ensaymada is a handmade cheesebread topped with sugar and cheese, and best served with thick Filipino hot chocolate.
Mary Grace cafe serves this unbeatable combination popular for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  

Pastillas de LechePastillas de leche -- light, sugary and perfect with a cup of tea.

43. Pastillas de leche

Made from fresh carabao milk and sugar, this sweet confection is stirred until thick and melts in the mouth. Each piece is double wrapped in paper.
Traditionally, in the province of Bulacan, they hand cut ornate designs for the wrapper. A consistent source of all things pastillas is Bulacan Sweets with more than 40 years experience in making these sweets.
Bulacan Sweets, 155 N.S. Amoranto Ave., Quezon City, Metro Manila; +63 2 740 2171

Puto BumbongPuto bumbong -- one of the world's few purple foods.

44. Puto bumbong

These may look like miniature chimneys along the roadside stalls, but that's what gives the chewy purple snacks their name.
Traditionally, purple mountain rice was used to make these, steamed in bamboo tubes, then served with butter, panocha (brown concentrated sugar) and grated coconut.
The Via Mare chain has been consistently producing chewy snack for years.

TuronTuron -- if you thought bananas shouldn't crunch, think again.

45. Turon

This fried banana with langka (jackfruit) all sealed in a lumpia wrapper is our version of a sweet spring roll.
It is peddled around the cities and towns for the perfect merienda (mid-morning or afternoon snack). 

Pan De SalPan de sal -- simple breakfasts are sometimes all you need.

46. Pan de sal

Pan de sal are small oval buns often eaten by Filipinos for breakfast. A brownish crust conceals a soft and fluffy inside. The best pan de sal is baked in an oven using firewood, naturally infusing the wood flavor into the bread. 
Everyone has their favorite bakery, but Pan de Manila with outlets all over Metro Manila is consistently delicious. 

TahoTaho -- the sweetest mush you'll ever eat.

47. Taho

Brown sugar syrup is stirred into warm soybean custard and topped with sago pearls.
Traditionally sold by vendors walking the streets calling out to those at home, but can also be sourced from supermarkets and restaurants.

Tablea TsokolateTablea tsokolate -- hot chocolate, but not as you know it.

48. Tablea tsokolate

A customary hot chocolate drink that stems from Spanish colonial times, tablea tsokolate is made from tablea de cacao -- bittersweet, thick flat chocolate disks.
The traditional version is available at Adarna Food and Culture.

Halayang UbeHalayang ube -- two purple foods in one list? World's going crazy.

49. Halayang ube

The ube or purple yam is a popular ingredient used for desserts and here it's made into a sweet halayang ube (ube jam).
For decades the nuns of the Good Shepherd Convent in Tagaytay have been producing this jam. Their product is smooth and creamy, and helps provide a livelihood to the single mothers who make them. 
Good Shepherd Convent, Good Shepherd Bahay Pastulan, Maryridge, Iruhin West, Tagaytay City, Cavite; +63 46 483 3590; www.goodshepherdsisters.org.ph


MANILA–The Philippines is preparing for a super-typhoon to land on Friday, packing winds of up to 250 kilometers an hour. Typhoon Haiyan – renamed Yolanda after it entered Philippine waters early on Thursday – has swept through the Pacific Islands and is barreling west toward the central part of the country, according to the latest data from the state weather bureau.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, or PAG-ASA, said the typhoon could intensify before it makes landfall, which is expected Friday morning.
The Philippines uses a system of storm warning signals between 1 and 4 to rank the severity of tropical cyclones. The PAG-ASA has already given Yolanda a storm signal 4 – meaning sustained winds exceed 185 kilometers an hour – and weather forecasters are saying it is set to be the strongest storm to hit the country this year.
Since PAG-ASA adopted the storm signal ranking in 1991, only 15 typhoons, including Yolanda, have been classified as level 4. In September, Typhoon Usagi recorded center winds of 215 kilometers an hour when it made landfall in the northern Philippines. Thanks to early preparations by the government, the storm only resulted in three deaths, but previous typhoons have wrought far more destruction.
Here’s a look at some of the worst typhoons to hit the country over the past three decades:
  1. Tropical storm Uring, or Thelma, November 1991: Brought intense rains that caused severe flooding in Leyte, Cebu and Negros provinces. In Leyte’s Ormoc City, nearly a quarter of the population died when the rivers in the upper part of the city overflowed and sent flood water, mud and debris rushing into the city, washing people out to sea. In total, Uring killed at least 5,100 people; some estimates put the death toll as high as 8,000.
  2. Tropical depression Winnie, November 2004: Made landfall in the southern part of the main Philippine island of Luzon. The storm had peak winds of 55 kilometers per hour, but brought torrential rains to Luzon and the central Philippine region of the Visayas. Winnie killed an estimated 1,593 people.
  3. Typhoon Nitang, or Ike, September 1984: Winds of 220 kilometers per hour and heavy rains killed 1,492 people as the storm cut across the provinces of Surigao del Norte in the southern region of Mindanao and the central provinces of Leyte, Camiguin, Cebu,  Bohol, Iloilo, Antique and Palawan. Flashfloods and mudslides also resulted.
  4. Typhoon Frank, or Fengshen, June 2008: Forecast to track a northwest path, the storm’s sudden shift in direction sent it westward toward to Mindoro Island. Then it turned and headed northward to metropolitan Manila. Many of the 1,400 killed were on board the passenger ship Prince of the Stars, which ignored the storm warning and later capsized due to rough seas.
  5. Typhoon Sendong, or Washi, December 2011: Ravaged the southern region of Mindanao nine days before Christmas. The storm dumped heavy rains over the southern region, which is rarely hit by severe weather, causing landslides and flash floods. It killed 1,268 people, many of them in Cagayan de Oro City and Iligan City.  The fact that the storm struck at night likely contributed to the high death toll.
  6. Typhoon Bopha, or Pablo, December 2012: Devastated Mindanao again, mainly the provinces of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley. More than 170,000 people were evacuated in advance of the storm, but the death toll still rose to 1,146. Thousands were left homeless.
  7. Typhoon Haiayan or Yolanda, November 2013: Super-typhoon Haiyan, which has a diameter of 600 kilometers and is moving westward at 30 kilometers an hour, is expected to hit the central Philippine islands of Leyte and Samar early on Friday, according to the state weather bureau, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, or PAG-ASA.
    It is the 24th typhoon to enter a country that averages 18 to 20 typhoons a year and is prone to other natural disasters. The eye of typhoon Haiyan is expected to brush the northern part of Cebu and Bohol provinces, where a 7.2-magnitude earthquake last month wrought widespread devastation.


1 comment:

  1. Wow amazing and very informative post! I particularly loved the fascinating and beautiful island of Bohol when we visited :-) but also El Nido on Palawan and of course Boracay beach :-) Thanks for sharing all of this & bringing back wonderful memories! Happy & safe travels to you!