Martes, Setyembre 20, 2011

7 Natural Wonders...of the Philippines

If you are fond of traveling and visiting other places, Philippines should be a part of your itinerary. You’ll find everything that you want here – beautiful places, delicious food and friendly people. You’ll definitely never run out of things to do (and see) here in my country.
As part of my countdown before hitting the second “hub” milestone (this is my 48th hub), I would like to present to the readers the natural wonders of the Philippines. There are many, believe me, but in the interest of space (and time), I have limited them to seven. These are by no means official but these are made by nature and are some of the top tourist destinations in my country. So read on and enjoy the pictures.

Banaue Rice Terraces

Widely considered as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, the Banaue Rice Terraces are already 2,000 years old. They were carved in the Ifugao mountains and were (are still, actually) used for planting rice and vegetables. These rice terraces were largely believed to be made by hand (with minimal or no equipment at all). Spanning about 4,000 miles, these rice terraces are said to go around half the globe if the “steps” are placed side by side. It is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.
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Tubbataha Reef

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tubbataha Reef is home to very beautiful corral reefs. It is located in Sulu Sea (about 150 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan) and houses a lot of marine creatures. The reef was declared a national marine park by the then-President Cory Aquino in 1988. It is open for divers from around the world from March to June of every year.
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Mayon Volcano

Located in Legaspi City, this is one of the most active (if not the most active) volcano in the country. It is known for its near-perfect cone and is also the mountaineers’ favorite because of the challenge of climbing this volcano. Seen near the volcano is the bell tower of the church of the town of Cagsawa, the only reminder of its most destructive eruption on Feb. 1, 1814.
Mayon Volcano with the bell tower in front. Courtesy of:

The Hundred Islands

These hundred islands are located in Alaminos City, Pangasinan. The age of these islands? Approximately 2.0 million years old. They are actually “ancient corals that extend well inland”. Of all the islands, only three are actually developed for tourism: Governor Island, Quezon Island and Children’s Island. The islands cover about 18.44 square kilometers.

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Taal Volcano

Another one of the active volcanoes in the country, Taal Volcano is located between the towns of Talisay and San Nicolas in Batangas. It is considered an island inside Taal Lake, a body of water surrounding the volcano which is actually believed to be a former crater or mouth of a larger volcano. It is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, making it very volatile. The volcano has become a very famous tourist spot; as a result, various establishments have been set up surrounding the lake. Due to its proximity to these establishments and human activities, the volcano is kept under close, tight watch for any signs of volcanic activities.

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The Chocolate Hills

Another one of Philippine’s pride, this one is located in Bohol and is considered one of this place’s most famous attractions. The number of hills varies. Some say about 1,200 hills, others about 1,700 hills. Regardless of the number, the hills are, more or less, uniform in shape (about 30 to 50 meters). Why are they called chocolate hills? Because these hills are covered in grass, which during the end of the summer months, turn chocolate brown.
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Mount Makiling (or Mount Maquiling)

This one is a “dormant” or potentially-active volcano. Located in Laguna, it is one of the most popular destinations for hikers. There are actually roads going up this mountain but if you really want to see its beauty, you have to veer away from these roads and hike on foot. This mountain has a lot of hot springs inside, which are the source of the hot spring resorts surrounding the mountain. Part of Mount Makiling is located in the University of the Philippines, the premier university of the country and one of the designated caretakers of this lovely mountain. From afar, the mountain looks like a reclining lady, said to be Maria Makiling, the “guardian” of the mountain.

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