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This community is about the Philippines, Filipinos and everything that makes us truly Pinoy Pilipinas mahal ko. Pinoy ako pinagmamalaki ko (Philippines, I love. Proud to be Pinoy.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Visayas

THE VISAYAS are emerald and sapphire jewels dotting the land and seascape between Luzon and Mindanao. Centrally located this cluster of islands entice the adventurous, the daring and lover of nature and beauty to frolic in the sun, sea and sand.

At the very center is the island-province of Cebu, itself ringed by 166 smaller islands. Mactan island has some of the best diving spots in the country and Bantayan, another isle, is famed for its breathtaking coral formations.

Magellan's Cross in Cebu

Cebu City was the first Spanish settlement in Asia and is the second largest metropolis in the country, rivaling Manila in many ways.

Cebu Sinulog Festival

Two hours away from Cebu by ferry boat is Bohol, more rustic but just as exciting for the adventurous and daring. The most popular diving destinations are Panglao, Balicasag and Pamalican islands, from where one can also go whale-watching. Its top tourist attraction are the Chocolate Hills, thousands of cone shaped mounds scattered over 50 square kilometers. Bohol is also home to the tarsier, the oldest insect-eating mammal and smallest primate on the planet.

Chocolate Hills

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Samar-Leyte region in the Eastern Visayas offers a quieter but equally picturesque life of rural Philippines.


The Panay and Negros islands offer a glimpse of the country's Spanish roots. Iloilo boast centuries-old churches, period houses and fine hand-loomed fabrics. Negros Occidental was one of the nation's sugar bowl and bastion of the old rich landed gentry. Negros Oriental is ideal for land and water adventure sports like trekking, scuba diving and kayaking. 

Miag-ao Church in Iloilo Province

Transporting sugarcane in Negros

Talisay Ruins

Off the province of Aklan is Boracay, touted as one of the best beach in the world, with four kilometers of dazzling powder-fine white sand and warm, crystalline waters.

Boracay beach

Luzon Island

LUZON is the largest of the Philippine Islands. It stretches more than 10,000 kilometers, its northernmost tip almost touching Taiwan and its southwestern finger reaching out to Borneo.

Hispanic Vigan City

Luzon is where Manila, the vibrant national capital, and Makati the booming financial center are situated. The island is connected by a network of modern roads and bridges that traverse cities like Laoag in the north or Naga in the Bicol region with their old churches and modern airports and hotels; historic places like Vigan in Ilocos Sur with horse-drawn carriages, Antillan houses and Hispanic delicacies.

Manila Bay
Makati Business District

Next to Manila is Bulacan, site of the Barasoain Church where the Revolutionay Congress drafted the first Philippine Constitution more than 100 years ago. A little farther north is Pampanga, famous for carved wooden furniture and giant Christmas lanterns. Also near the capital city are the provinces of Rizal, home to Filipino artists, Cavite and Batangas with their historic towns and museums, and Laguna with its string of resorts and springs with healing powers.

Christmas lantern of Pampanga

 In the Laguna, Batangas and Quezon provinces are the enchanting Mt. Makiling and mystical Mt. Banahaw of the Sierra Madre.

Stroll along Roxas Boulevard to watch the world famous and undoubtedly breathtaking view of the Manila Sunset. Across the Manila Bay stands Corregidor,the island fortress that played a prominent role in the Pacific War. 

North of Manila is Baguio City, the cool, mountain haven of pine trees and flowers perfect for the dry months of March, April and May. From this "Summer Capital", one can visit the Banaue Rice Terraces, an engineering marvel considered the Eight Wonder of the World.

Banaue Rice Terraces

South of Manila is Tagaytay, an equally cool and popular resort city in Cavite with a spectacular view of Taal Volcano, the world's smallest active volcano. Taal, a volcano within a lake within another volcano, is in Batangas, where the St. Martin of Tours Basilica, the largest church in the Far East, is located. Batangas is also a diver's paradise.

Taal Volcano

Stretching along the eastern coast is Quezon, with its fine beaches and coconut plantations. Farther south in the Bicol region is Albay, with its perfect cone-shaped Mayon Volcano.

Mt. Mayon 

Sowuthwest is Palawan, the country's last frontier with the forbidding limestone cliffs of El Nido, the subterranean caverns and river of St. Paul, the safari island of Calauit and Tubbataha reef, the most beautiful dive site this side of the world.

Tubbataha Reef

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River


Experience Philippines video

PHILIPPINES is one of the largest archipelagos in the world, with its 7,107 islands scattered beautifully like pearls in the sea. Officially known as Republic of the Philippines. Its capital and major city is Manila. The inhabitants and citizens are called Filipinos. Filipino (Pilipino) and English are the official languages.

It has a rich history combining Asian, European, and American influences. Prior to Spanish colonization in 1521, the Filipinos had a rich culture and were trading with the Chinese and the Japanese. Archeological, and paleontological discoveries show that humans existed in Palawan around 30,000 to 50,000 BC. An aboriginal people of the Philippine Islands known as the Negritos, are a Melanesian ethnic group who arrived in the Philippines at least 30,000 years ago. Another ethnic group, known as the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian people, originated from the populations of Taiwanese aborigines who migrated from mainland Asia approximately 6,000 years ago. This ethnic group settled in the Philippines, and soon after, migrated to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Polynesian Islands, and Madagascar.



Islam was brought to the Philippines by traders from Malaysia and Indonesia.By the 13th century, Islam were established in the Sulu Archipelago, and spread to Mindanao, the Visayas, and Luzon by 1565. Muslims established Islamic communities. By the early 16th century there were native villages (Barangays) ruled by Datus, Rajahs, or Sultans.

Spain's colonization brought about the construction of Intramuros in 1571, a "Walled City" comprised of European buildings and churches, replicated in different parts of the archipelago. In 1898, after 350 years and 300 rebellions, the Filipinos, with leaders like Jose Rizal Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Aguinaldo, succeeded in winning its independence.

Santa Lucia Gate, one of functional gates in Intramuros


Manila Cathedral in Intramuros

In 1898, the Philippines became the first and only colony of the United States. Following the Philippine-American War, the United States brought widespread education to the islands. Filipinos fought alongside Americans during World War II, particularly at the famous battle of Bataan and Corregidor which delayed Japanese advance and saved Australia. They then waged a guerilla war against the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. The Philippines regained its independence in 1946 from the United States.

Execution of Dr. Jose Rizal at Luneta Park

Rizal Monument

Bullfighting at Paco, Manila

Rizal Avenue, Manila

Estero de Binondo

American troops

Quiapo Church

Its three main island-groups are Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao (LuzViMinda). The South China Sea washes its Western shores. Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea are northern neighbors. To the west lie fellow ASEAN countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. At its feet stands the chain of Indonesian islands and further down under, is Australia. To the east, the vast Pacific Ocean sweeps its gentle waters.

Its unique location has made the Philippines the commercial, cultural and intellectual hub of Asia from the dawn of history. It is a predominantly Roman Catholic country. There are also a number of minority religious groups, including Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. 

The Philippines has a tropical marine climate. There are three recognized seasons: "Tag-init" or "Tag-araw" (the hot season or summer from March to May), "Tag-ulan" (the rainy season from June to November), and "Tag-lamig" (the cold season from December to February). 

Makati Skyscrapers
The Philippines' mountain ranges, rainforests and its extensive coastlines make it home to a diverse range of birds, plants, animals, and sea creatures. It is one of the ten most biologically mega-diverse countries.

Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao

Ilocos Norte sand dunes

Anawangin Cove, Zambales

The Philippines has a democratic form of government. It has the president which is elected by a popular vote and functions as the head of state and head of government, and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.


The Philippines is a newly industrialized country, with an economy anchored on agriculture but with substantial contributions from manufacturing, mining, remittances from overseas Filipinos, and service industries such as tourism, and business process outsourcing / call center industry.



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