800px-Flag_of_the_Philippines.svgCapital: Manila
Population: 91,983,000
Size: 299.764 sq km
No. of islands: 7107
Official languages: Filipino, English

The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines, is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila. (Source: Wikipedia)

My memories of Philippines

Time of Travel: March 2010

I’m always excited when I travel to Southeast Asia. I love the food, the warmness of the people, beautiful nature… I arrived to Manila via Doha (Qatar) from Munich (Germany). It was a long flight and I was exhausted. After one day in Manila I was headed north to Banaue where are the world renowned rice terraces. Banaue lies in central Luzon. You can reach Banaue with a bus from Manila. It also provides a good starting point for some nice trekking around the rice terraces and local villages. My next destination was Sagada. In Sagada local attractions are the hanging coffins and a local cave system which is really nice to explore. From Sagada I went on a 2 day trekking around local mountains and villages, which was really great experience. I still had a few more treks ahead of me. After a good rest after the 2 day trek it was time for some more rice terraces in the area of MALIGONG. They are truly astonishing. As the day was coming to an end I was on my way through Bontoc and on the way to a small village called LUPLUPA. This village is on the opposite side of the river than the road is and there is only one very old and rusty hanging bridge connecting it to the road. This bridge is not for those who fear heights and is not very stable, but it was a lot of fun. Next day it was time for a 7 hour hike through some very remote villages in the mountains. Local villagers are extremely friendly and they also offered some drinks and food. The villages I visited: Buscolan, Butbut Proper, Ngibat). At night I was back in Luplupa. Next day it was time for a long journey from Luplupa to Manila. Because the local authority is renovating the main road and because there was a landslide the journey was even longer than expected. I arrived to Manila the next morning, just in time to catch a flight to Coron island, which lies south of Manila next to Palawan island.  It was time for some snorkeling, island hopping and kayaking around local shores. There are some nice fresh water lagoons inside islands surrounding Coron. The next day it was time to head to Palawan island and to El Nido which lies on the north of Palawan. It was a 8 hour ride with a boat to El Nido. El Nido is a paradise for diving and snorkeling. The smal town/village has a few dive shops and a lot of good restaurants. There are countless nice resorts on the beach. After a few days exploring the shores, diving, island hopping, photographing some of the nicest sunsets in my life it was time to head south. Next destination was Sabang. In Sabang the main attraction is the underground river. Entrance to this underground river is close to the shore and there is only a few kilometers open for public, the rest is restricted for scientists and researchers. Then it was time to head to Puerto Princesa to catch a flight to Manila again and to catch the night bus to Legaspi and then to Donsol. Legaspi is east of Manila and is about 13 hours from Manila with a bus and extra 1 hour to Donsol. In Donsol I went for a swim with Whale Sharks. Donsol is know after Whale Sharks and that you can go watch them an also get into the water and watch them if you have luck. I forget to mention the food. The food was great throughout the all trip. The trip was ending and it was time for me to return to Manila and then again via Doha to Munich. I hope to return to South East Asia soon.

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