Philippines on National Geographic’s To Visit List
It has been recent news that the Philippines made it to National Geographics's 25 best new travel destinations in the world for 2010 because of our ancient cultures, structures and biodiversity. Our country has been lined up with tourists' top choice like Canada, France, Madagascar, Ireland, New Zealand, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Costa Rica, Iceland, Kenya, Laos, Nepal, Slovakia, Sri Lanka and Peru.
A much needed boost in our travel and tourism efforts indeed. Why, we've got as many islands as the Caribbean and some of the most spectacular reefs on the planet! Many local travel and tourism players are also getting wise, the magazine says.
Many of the foreigners I talk with value the Philippines as a good deal of money kind of country to travel too. Things and services - medical tourism - are way cheaper in this side of the globe. Our weather is also very ideal - mostly sunny and a bit windy for outdoor activities. Plus the fact that Filipinos are good English-speakers so it's easy to navigate the archipelago.
Mecca for travelers looking for off-the-beaten track adventure
Imagine breathtaking unspoiled beaches, mountains, hills, islands, rivers and dive sites - plus sports, adventure and gaming. Environmentalists and scientists have found ceaseless wonders and discoveries in the diverse marine environment, coral and fish species. A trove of ancient civilizations and cultures fascinates historians, archeologists, and teachers - Cordillera, Palawan, Butuan to name a few. The entire country is a best bargain for authors and travel writers.
This good news would definitely add to the 3 million guests we had last year. Department of Tourism is targeting five million next year, which is very doable. Truth is, our neighboring countries have realized this much early on. Our share of the world tourism pie is but a portion Thailand gets annually. They're reaping the rewards already, what we get are trickle effects or influx of tourists who want more. I guess we have been sleeping so tightly that as a country, we don't attract visitors because our act is not together. No one to blame for this, blaming never gets things done so why bother? Instead, step forward and equip oneself with skills and experience.
Walking forward, we are. In fact, we're doing it a step beyond to keep pace.
What to Visit in the Philippines
Cordillera Autonomous Region CAR
Glorious in its unique share of culture and heritage, they have breathtaking landscapes and a cool climate to boast. It's 4,000 foot height and biodiverse marine environment is enough to keep one choosing to live there forever. To enumerate: CAR houses the ancient rice terraces, and Ifugao people. It wouldn't be declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, or dubbed “masterpieces of agrarian art” and “natural poetry" for nothing.
Coral Triangle, Cabilao Island, Bohol
Coral Triangle has stunning coral reefs and the world’s greatest concentration of marine biodiversity. Well, the whole province of Bohol is enough treat. Talk about tarsiers, Chocolate Hills, Hinagdanan Cave plus a lot more.
- Camarines Sur and Bicol Peninsula
Camarines Sur topped last year's most visited tourist spot - owning 902,000 local and foreign visitors during the first semester, the DOT said, thanks to water sports adventure features it offers - including wakeboarding, swimming with whale sharks as well as adventure travel volcano hiking.
A wonderland, Cebu really has a lot to offer - from hill climbing to diving to cultural and historical finds. Cebu is also very near to great travel sites which make it perfect as a landing spot.
- Puerto Princesa
Perfect for divers, this is Philippines' last frontier. It houses some of the country's most exotic flora and fauna. Its harvests too are so bountiful that talking of cashew nuts alone, Palawan is able to supply 2/3 of the world's demand.
- Central Mindanao
Much improved and more accessible through the joint contributions of Clark Development Corp. (CDC), the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport Authority, the Subic-Tarlac Expressway, this axis offers a gateway to the Philippines and to other fine destinations aside from offering its own special tourist spots and activities. The Mount Pinatubo and Subic Jungle adventure treks are two prime reasons people troop there.
It's very serendipitous too that our country has the Republic Act 9653 or the Tourism Act of 2009 in place. This would give DOT more power over tourism infrastructure, business development and investment. We at Cultureight Travel would definitely be pushing for green traveling as this is one key towards sustaining the resources that we have.
As Filipinos are now changing into more of the local traveler - expatriates and overseas workers are transforming sleepy scenic places into tourism centers thanks to the “holiday economics” of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, we should start being more responsible tourists and tourism business owners. The international trend nowadays is to exchange luxury hotels in favor of home stays, and stay outdoors than in a mall since carbon footprint is a big concern.
Nothing compares to discovering your own country and it's a must that before the tourists come, we as residents should first experience what we have to offer.
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