Precious in its beauty and splendor, the archipelagic country of Philippines is very often referred to as the Pearl of the East. Indeed, in its salubrious natural entity, the island nation stands as a sparkling metaphor of what is its ‘National Gem’- pearls. Seldom would you encounter such troves of overflowing beauty and spectacular majesty seamlessly transcending into one to produce an aura of such immense reverie that can very well leave you transfixed. That, while reinstating itself as one of the cheapest countries to visit from India, and there’s no reason why the Philippines would not find mention in our bucket list of places to travel. Here’s lining up the prettiest of places you can visit in the Philippines for a truly worthy exploration of this glistening Pearl of the East-
El Nido, Palawan
Among the most beautiful beaches of the world and the Best Beach and Island destination in the Philippines, El Nido is a delight of spectacular measure. A small town in the Palawan province of the Philippines, El Nido is known for its white-sand beaches, coral reefs, limestone cliffs and as the gateway to the Bacuit archipelago and is definitely one of the most naturally luxuriant places in the Pearl of the East. Expanses of seemingly unreal blue green waters dot its abundant natural frenzy that which houses a delightfully diverse ecosystem. There truly would be no paradise on earth that matches up to the cornucopia of immense natural grandeur that El Nido harbours in all its pristine might.
It’s easy to see why despite its furious prominence of spewed ashes and fiery hot melts the Mayon volcano emerges as one of the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines. A perfectly symmetrical cone shaped beauty overlooking the equally beautiful gleams of a sprawling countryside, it’s quite amazing what the Mayon volcano can do in all its ravishing beauty. Ironically even as the most active volcano in the country, the sight of this exuberant majesty has not been able to drive visitors away. In fact while there are many who prefer to seek its beauty from afar, adrenaline junkies can glide through a zipline to soak in its legendary beauty from close quarters. Dotting the skyline of the City of Fun and Adventure, Legazpi, the Mayon Volcano is one that will leave you entranced with its radical dives into surreptitious beauty.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Amidst its array of sparkling blues and radiant shimmers, the Pearl of the East houses also some of the most besotting greens. The rice terraces of Banaue make for one such spectacular landscape both in beauty and in legacy. Believed to be among the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites nestled by the island nation, the Banaue Rice Terraces however are not a part of the heritage list. Nevertheless, these magnificent 2000 years old phenomenon of unparalleled beauty are a sight to behold and a treasure to cherish in their own mighty right.
Emerald green sights greet you aplenty from the contours of entire mountainsides onto which these exquisite stairs of paddy have been so strikingly carved. Aptly revered therefore as the Eight Wonder of the World, the Banaue Rice Terraces are undoubtedly one of the most magical places to visit in the Philippines. As iconic as the Tegalalang Rice Terraces of Bali in their supreme sight, the Banaue Rice Terraces no doubt are a tourist hotspot in the archipelagic nation.
Spectacular in its tear drop shape, Siargao has to its name the 2019 title of the best island in the world. The surfing capital of the Philippines, Siargao perhaps perfectly encompasses the spirit of the Pearl of the East in its shapely prettiness. Unusual rock formations, stunning waterfalls, enchanting lagoons dot this expanse of wondrous propositions even as it burst onto the tourist scene only recently. A rather secretive outlet of mesmerising beauty that which harbors also one of the massive surfing waves in Asia, Siargao might not be the classic essence of the Philippine beauty but it sure is no less a stunner.
One of the top destinations for relaxation, the mere mention of Boracay conjures up an enticing image of the surreal expanse that the Philippines is. Picture perfect in its luxuriant blue waters and fine white sand, this phenomenal island is one of the most prominent tourist attraction to set foot- and heart- upon. Nestling one of the best beaches in Asia, the White Beach, Boracay is definitely a luxurious experience to indulge your vacationing spirits in. There’s so much to explore in its lively baritone of relaxant leisure. From ambling along in the clear sands of the beach to partying your night out, from frolicking in the lovely waters to soaking up adventures like windsurfing and parasailing, this forever favorite tourist pick in the Pearl of the East has almost redefined tourism in the Philippines.
Whether it be celebrating its ambience as the Summer Capital of the Philippines or its pretty presence as the City of Pines, Baguio is a must visit place of the Pearl of the East. But perhaps the most enticing feature of this city tucked somewhere away in the mountains of Luzon is its laidback vibe. Although classified as a highly urbanized city, Baguio is a rather soulful place to explore. That perhaps is an attribute stemming from its establishment as a hill station back in 1900.
Reminiscent of a cottage type environment, what perhaps also does the city up in its ambient nature is its many pines and chills that lets it conform more to the norms of a countryside existence. One of the top tourist destinations in the Philippines, it is easy to feel just why this offbeat existence is so much of a craze in its peculiar summer charm.
Calle Crisologo, Vigan
Treading the premises of a World Heritage Site Vigan in Philippines are the incredibly captivating streets of Calle Crisologo. For its part, the city of Vigan one of the New7Wonders Cities being one of the few Spanish colonial towns still in flourish in the country. Explore the old world charm of this 16th century attraction with a stroll along the Calle Crisologo that is a beauty to witness in its cobbled streets and old Spanish houses.
Quite a breathtaking view awaits as you make your way amidst the maze of horse drawn carriages to dig deeper into the heritage and history of the Pearl of the East that makes the Philippines the enigma it is. Colorful shops lined up on the sides of the streets will fetch you some pretty souvenirs to take back home even as the spurt of life amidst the gallery of hues and happiness will likely lend you enough memories to last for more than a lifetime.
There’s no visiting a country in all its charms while missing out on the city that oversees it all. Any visit to the Pearl of the East is therefore incomplete without a Manila trip featuring in your itinerary of the Philippines. One of the original global cities of the world, the capital city of Manila defines perfectly the stellar aura the Philippines seats boastful in. Picturesque in its sky high presences yet retrieving elements of the laidback and the fun with its colorful jeepneys, the capital city is a true juxtaposition of the urbane and the commonplace.
In its repertoire of Spanish era architecture, Manila is a wonderful abode of history and heritage. While its range of modern streets and museums, shopping malls and skyscrapers delivers the vision of a city well established as one of the most dynamic in the world. Needless to say, Manila encompasses the holistic taste of the Philippines in its wholesome slice of existence.
Philippines might be as well known for its luxuriant lush greens outside its bevy of blues, but that does not make the Pearl of the East not worthy of a view even in its seeming mundanity. Characterising a lesser known facade of the island nation is its rugged but equally resplendent remote reaches that which remains steeped in avenues of adventure.
Within the pleasant confines of the small town called Sagada, there runs not just an ambient air of natural luxury. In its rugged Cordillera Mountains, this authentic tribal region is known for nestling a wide many incredible hanging coffins. Quite a sight to leave you agape at its weird premises, these hanging coffins are however only one among the many adventures that beckon from the high elevation of the mountains. A hiking and trekking haven, Sagada is also famous for its secret caves and waterfalls. Exploring this quaint retreat of adventurous serenity is something that makes for the most memorable Philippine experience.
Chocolate Hills, Bohol
Philippines is notable for housing some of the most varied landscape on the face of the earth and the Chocolate Hills of Bohol is one such remarkable feature of the nation largely celebrated as being the Pearl of the East. Green grass covered domes of hills that however turn a luxuriant brown during the dry season, the Chocolate Hills are a group of some 1247 mounds of sand and dust that enthralls one and all with their chocolatey undertone.
Missing out on the cleanest and greenest city in Philippines would be such a pity anytime you happen to explore the Pearl of the East. That credit goes to Puerto Pricesa, a coastal city with a prominent presence on the tourism radar in the island nation. The Eco-Tourism Center of the Philippines, Puerto Princesa houses a number of bars and restaurants, hotels and shopping malls making it a favorite with the urban usurper. But in also being the gateway to protected areas like the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and the Tubbataha Reef, ‘The City in the Forest’ is a magnanimous natural wonder as well.