Things to Do in Philippines - page 2
Covering several blocks near Manila Bay, the Rizal Park and Shrine is considered one of the best ways to relax in Manila. A shinning tribute to national hero and icon Dr. Jose Rizal, a patriot for reform during the Spanish Colonial Era, the park is a historical landmark as well as a beautiful stroll, with several well-manicured ponds, gardens and statues.
Scattered throughout the park are the affects and literature of Dr. Rizal, including one poem carved into a stone, called "Mi Ultimo Adios." It is a moving, yet tragic account of his feelings written in the moments leading up to his execution.
At the shrine itself, located on Santa Clara Street, are several pieces of memorabilia, including Dr. Rizal's collected artwork, his manuscripts, books and even seashells that he accumulated over the years. Rizal Park is also home to a number of great attractions including the national library, a butterfly pavilion, a museum of Philippine history, and a planetarium.
One of the best family destinations in the Philippines, Manila Ocean Park is as fruitful a journey through the aquatic that one can imagine. A tour through the oceanarium reveals an astounding variety of fish and marine life: over 5,000 kinds in all. The viewing tunnel is the biggest in the region, spanning 82 feet (25 meters), and contains stingrays, colorful seahorses, sharks and loads of attractive reefs. The experience of passing through the tunnel is like walking along the ocean floor.
Another recommended feature at the Ocean Park is its newest attraction: the marine life habitat and sea lion show. Open daily, the show features five new South American Sea Lions - with names like Isabel and Sandra - which are a dazzling addition to the park as they talk and clap their way into visitors' hearts.
For a more interactive experience, you can make an appointment at the fish spa where you submerge your hands and feet into a pool filled with dozens of little fish.
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In the middle of the Philippines’ third-largest lake lies Taal Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the country. Sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Taal has had 33 eruptions in its history; even the lake it sits on was created by volcanic eruptions more than 500,000 years ago. To get to the volcano, head to the little town of Talisay 2.5 miles (4 km) southeast of Tagaytay, where you can catch a boat. The 30-minute ride across sulfuric Taal Lake will bring you to the shores of Volcano Island from where you can hike or ride a horse to the top of Taal Volcano. Horse rides are popular because of the heat, but if you’d rather hike, there are many routes around the volcano, the most popular being the Spanish Trail, which goes to the very top. From here, enjoy views from the rim of Main Crater Lake to Vulcan Point, the world’s largest island that’s in a lake on an island in a lake on an island. Yes, you read that right!
Hinagdanan Cave can be found on Panglao Island in the Philippines’ Bohol Province. Made from limestone, Hinagdanan Cave is naturally lit by sunlight filtering in through holes in its rocky ceiling, which in turn creates some interesting lighting effects. Concrete steps lead down into the cave from the entrance. The stalactites and stalagmites here are particularly impressive, protruding from both the ground and the ceiling, and surrounding an underground lagoon, which is warm enough to swim in (although costs extra). The cave is also a place for nesting swallows, which sweep into the cave and sleep in the tiny holes in the ceiling. Hinagdanan Cave has become a popular attraction since its accidental discovery by the land’s owner some years ago, and there is now a firm holding of souvenir shops and stalls that need to be navigated before visitors can reach the cave’s entrance.
This tropical municipality located on the island of Bohol is known for its popular lunch cruises that take crews of eager travelers along the Loboc River. A highlight of this afternoon excursion is—in addition to buffet lunch—a liver performance by the famed Loboc Children’s Choir. This world-renowned group comprised of youthful voices has made a name for itself in competitions across the globe.
Travelers who prefer land to water can explore the iconic Loboc Church, which was built in the early 1600s. Its stone façade and religious detailing is a clear example of Jesuit colonial influence on this tiny municipality. Visitors will find ornate stone carvings, colorful stucco paintings and intriguing gargoyles, as well as other medieval creatures.
Regional travelers that make it over to Manila are sure to enjoy its affordable hotels and amenities. If youâre in the mood for a real treat, however, youâll want to book a room in Makati City: the stand-alone definition of class in the Philippines.Known for its upscale shopping centers, Makatiâs central business district is a step above the rest in terms of quality, which also translates to an increase in prices. The Ayala Center is considered the best place to do it all, including several malls such as the Glorietta, with more than 500 shops and restaurants, and the Greenbelt, which is home to basically every high-end brand imaginable.
There are also a number of landmarks in Makati that allow visitors to soak in the Filipino culture. At the Ayala Museum, you can revisit the earliest days of Filipino history or see famous art from local, modern painters including Fernando Zobel.
The oldest known artworks in the Philippines, the Angono Petroglyphs are neolithic carvings that date all the way back to 3000 BC. Based in the Rizal province two hours from Manila, the prehistoric cave paintings weren’t actually discovered until 1965, when acclaimed artist Carlos Francisco noticed the ancient-looking engravings on a Boy Scouts field trip and let the National Museum of the Philippines know about his exciting find.
Stretching along a 200-foot (60-meter) cave tunnel, the drawings are carved on ancient rocks made of compressed volcanic ash. Get close up to the walls to see the 127 engravings of stylized people and animals, including images of frogs and lizards. Why did the late neolithic people carve these artworks? No one is completely sure, but it is thought that the drawings were symbolic and could have been used in ancient healing practices.
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