Endowed with a variety of natural wonders, the Philippines is one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Its shorelines, home for many of the world s finest white-sand beaches, are among the most beautiful in the world. Its waters are so rich it is the sanctuary of abundant colorful and rare marine life. It’s 7,107 islands, from northern Luzon to southern Mindanao abounds with spectacular and unique sites. The most famous among these spots are the St. Paul’s subterranean river system in Palawan measuring 4, 380 meters and is regarded as the longest underground river system in Southest Asia; the Chocolate Hills in Bohol, which resemble scattered chocolate drops when seen from a high elevation; and the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Ifugao province, culled in with great symmetry from the mountains some 2,000 years ago by ancient Ifugaos and dubbed as the "Eight Wonder of the World."
These natural wonders are some of the reasons that enchant many foreign tourists to the Philippines. But what really attract these foreigners in the country are the ever-smiling locals and the warm hospitality of the Filipino people.
Rice Terraces of Banaue
The Rice Terraces of Banaue are perhaps the most well know attraction in the Philippines, and no list of the Seven Wonders of the Philippines would be complete without them.. Located in central Luzon, they have been carved by local Ifugao people over the last 3,000 thousand years. When you visit, you can see terraces still being built today. The locals often describe the terraces as the largest man made structure created without forced labor. If each terrace were laid end to end, they would stretch almost 14,000 miles. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995 and placed on the endangered list in 2001.
Located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, Tubbataha Reef is one of the largest and best preserved reef systems in the world. Actually composed to two atolls, Tubbataha is far removed from any human settlement, it is a 92 mile boat trip from the city of Puerto Princessa. The marine park covers over 968 km² and is home to over 300 coral species and 400 fish species, rivaling the diversity of the Great Barrier Reef. The few pieces of atoll which are above water are also home to a large number of seabirds. It was inscribed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites in 1993.
The Chocolate Hills are located on the Island of Bohol. They are over 1,200 hills, covering over 50 km² and get their name because the grass which covers the hills turns brown during the dry season. The hills are almost all conical in shape and made of limestone. Many people have believed that they were human creations. Geologists are not entirely sure how they were created. Theories include erosion of limestone, volcanic uplift, and accretion of limestone around basalt fragments from a volcanic eruption. The government of the Philippines has declared it one of their flagship tourist destinations. The Chocolate Hills are so central to the people of Bohol, they appear on the flag of the province.
Taal volcano has a unique distinction in the world. It contains the largest island, inside of a lake, which is on an island, which is inside a lake, which is on an island. (got that?) Taal is a very active volcano which has killed over 5,000 people in recorded history. It has been named one of 16 decade volcanoes in the world worthy of special study. Inside the Taal caldera is Lake Tall, which is a 25km across. The lake is know for its high sulfur content and is also home to many endemic species of freshwater fish. Taal is only 50km from the city of Manila.
Boracay is a small island approximately 200 miles south of Manila and is very close to the major island of Panay. Its white sand beaches and direct flights from all over Asia, have made it one of the Philippines most popular tourist destinations. White Beach is the longest beach on Boracay and extends 4 km on west side of the islands.