National Population: 74 million
Culture & Information Website: http://pia.gov.ph/philinfo
The Philippines is a bejeweled archipelago with over 7,107 sun-drenched islands, beautiful beaches, towering volcanic peaks, varied flora and fauna, and magnificent landscapes. It is divided into three (3) geographical areas: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The country has several famous historical and cultural sites and buildings that reflect the rich culture and heritage of the Filipino people. The capital and gateway, Manila, a large sprawling city by the bay, is situated in Luzon, the major northern island.
Tourist attractions in Manila include the old fort city of Intramuros, the Malacanang Palace, the official residence of the president of the Republic, Rizal Park, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Nayong Pilipino, modern shopping malls and exuberant entertainment theaters, bars and restaurants. Other attractions in Luzon include Taal Volcano, Puerto Galera in Mindoro, Pagsanjan Falls, El Nido in Palawan, Vigan Houses, Mayon Volcano, Subic Bay and Freeport, the famous Ifugao Rice Terraces, a World Heritage Site, limestone burial caves of Sagada in Mountain Province, and the cool mountain retreat of Baguio City. Some of the most beautiful beaches and resorts, and diving sites in the ASEAN region can be found in the Visayan Region especially those found in Boracay, Bohol, Mactan Island and Cebu.
Mindanao, offers ecotourism attractions and exotic wilderness, such as, dense forest, mangrove swamps, high mountains and low valleys, swift flowing rivers, smooth lakes, waterfalls, lowlands and marshlands. The Gardens of Malasag Eco-tourism Village showcases the ecology and ethnic culture of Northern Mindanao - its tribe, customs and other facets of its unique heritage. Mt. Apo, a dormant volcano and the highest peak in the country is the home of Philippine Eagle, the largest in the world of its kind. Some of the cobntry's rare birds such as fly catchers, fairy blue birds, sunbirds and rocket-tailed parrots are also found in the region. Other attractions include Samal Island, Mt. Hibok-Hibok in Camiguin Island, Zamboanga City, and Siargao Island, a diver's paradise. One can also enjoy the enthusiastic festivals of the country, such as, the Higantes in Rizal, Pahiyas in Quezon Province, Paradang Lechon in Batangas, Moriones Festival in Marinduque, Sinulog Festival in Cebu, Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo, Ati-Atihan Festival in Kalibo, Maskarra Festival in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, and the Lanzones Festival in Camiguin.
Filipinos are warm and friendly, and talented and gifted in singing and dancing. They are also known for their mouthwatering native foods and delicacies. The blending of Chinese and Spanish food delicacies with local flavours, and with the abundance of fish and crustaceans from the surrounding sea makes the Filipino cuisine a unique dining experience.