The Man Making Hats Out of Vegetables

The Man Making Hats Out of Vegetables

For centuries, the Ilocano people in Northern Luzon, where Garcia lives, have worn these hats, which are called, like the vegetable they are formed from, tabungaw. High-school children wore them for graduations. Farmers sheltered themselves under their brims while ploughing fields. They’ve even been donned by revolutionaries charging into battle against the Spanish.

The Best Places to Stay in Manila

The Best Places to Stay in Manila

manila jeepneys, Philippines

The Best Places to Stay in Manila

 

As the capital city of the Philippines, Manila is one of the most important economic and cultural centers in the country, and is naturally one of the busiest arrival points for visitors to the country. Its history as an important city dates back to the fifteenth century, when Manila was an independent kingdom that flourished due to trading links with the Chinese Empire. Today visitors to Manila are just as likely to be in the city on business as they are to be visiting the city for pleasure, and this is reflected in the wide variety of accommodation that is available in the city. While the Philippines are considered to be a budget destination, it is wise to check loans calculators to see if its affordable within your budget.

The Bayleaf

This hotel is one of the more interesting boutique hotels in the city that has discovered a cult following among those who have to travel to the city on a regular basis. The hotel is situated in Intramuros, the historic center of Manila where many of the oldest and most important buildings in the city are located, making The Bayleaf a great place to stay for visitors. The room prices here are very reasonable when compared with some international hotel chains, while still enjoying plenty of luxuries such as large comfortable beds, air conditioning and flat screen televisions.

Sofitel Philippine Plaza

This is one of the larger chains of luxury hotels with a presence in Manila, and enjoys a prominent position that means many of the rooms benefit from views out over the bay. This is a great place to relax for those who have been spending a few days exploring the busy city, and with a lagoon swimming pool and a spa it is the perfect place for those looking to while away a few hours and to completely unwind. The luxurious rooms are very pleasant and have all the usual modern facilities, while some excellent restaurants are available for those who don’t want to venture out in the nearby entertainment district of Makati City.

Manila Hotel

The Manila Hotel is one of the most established and historic hotels in the city, and has been welcoming visitors to its luxurious rooms for over eighty years, offering a far more distinctive Philippine experience than some of the chain hotels. The decoration here uses traditional wood furniture and many of the decorations make use of the locally sourced capiz shells. Modern features such as memory foam mattresses, large televisions and luxury bathroom toiletries are all a part of the package here. The rooms themselves are large and welcoming with excellent furniture in a traditional style in each room, and the Champagne Room is one of the best places to enjoy French cuisine in the country.

Victoria Court Malate

This hotel is one of the quirkier offerings in Manila, and has an interesting contrast between offering good accommodation on a budget in the city, whilst also having some remarkable themed suites. Those willing to splash out on the hotel’s top suites can choose rooms themed on movies such as Austin Powers and Casino Royale, while the Batcave suite comes with its own private garage and jacuzzi. The beds are comfortable enough and the rooms have air conditioning as standard, with every room having its own unique features and treats included for visitors.

Tune Hotel

Located just a short walk from the Roxas Boulevard which is one of the most important entertainment streets in Manila, this hotel is a bright and breezy hotel that offers comfortable and competitively priced accommodation. With its white and red exterior it is hard to miss the hotel while driving past, but the rooms come with comfortable beds and all the basics that you would expect including wi-fi internet and air conditioning in many of the rooms. It is certainly worth
booking ahead with this hotel, as you will get the best prices, and often a few more luxuries will be included for your comfort.

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Top Things To Do In Manila

Top Things To Do In Manila

San-Agustin-Church-Manila, Philippines

6 Top Things To Do In Manila

 

As the capital city of the Philippines with a population of over 1.5 million people, there is no doubt that the vibrant city of Manila is one of the real visitor attractions for people coming to the country.  This historical city has long been a crossroads for international traders and seafarers, having been discovered by Spanish explorers in the fifteenth century.  However, European influence was not the first to reach these isles of this city, as it had already been conquered by the kingdom of Brunei, so was already an international city.

 The Church Of San Agustin

As an UNESCO world heritage site, San Agustin Church is one of the most important historical sites in the city, lying within a small walled city.  The current church has been ministering to the Roman Catholic flock of Manila since the early years of the seventeenth century, and is a beautiful example of the church architecture during the Spanish colonial period.  One of the most remarkable aspects of the church is that it has survived a number of earthquakes with minimal damage, along with the frequent changes of hands between different empires.

Today the church has been beautifully restored to its original glory, and is packed with wonderful art, and the intricately carved wooden doors to the church are particularly impressive.

Get Your Pulse Racing At The Enchanted Kingdom

Another of the attractions to be enjoyed in Manila is The Enchanted Kingdom, which is the largest theme park to be found in the Philippines.  The park itself is made up of a number of segments that have a variety of themes, and each one has a number of rides with those like the Disk-o-Magic and the Space Shuttle being particularly popular among visitors.  They also host large firework displays in the evenings on public holidays, which brings more local families into the park.

Visit Fort Santiago

FortSantiago was built by the Spanish at the end of the sixteenth century, and the large defensible fortress made it a desirable building to hold for anyone looking to maintain their foothold in the city.  In a roughly triangular shape, the fort has tall thick walls that were very useful during the frequent raids, and an ornamental gate added in the eighteenth century helped to make the building a little more attractive as well as being functional.  The site also saw the raising of the flag of the United States in 1898 when the islands were colonized by the Americans.

Although it sustained heavy damage during the Second World War, FortSantiago is still well worth exploring, with many of the walls still in place, and the gate has been reconstructed.

Watch The Sparks Fly At The World Pyro Olympics

One of the biggest events in the Philippine calendar is the fireworks extravaganza that is the World Pyro Olympics.  Having been inaugurated in 2005, the annual event sees the best of the world’s fireworks manufacturers come together to display their hard work from the previous year, and to compete against other manufacturers to make the best fireworks.

As well as being a commercial enterprise allowing for fireworks manufacturers to come together, it is also a fantastic spectacle.  Although nominally an independent city, the suburb of Pasay is the best place to witness the event which is spread over six weekend evenings in the spring.

Visit The Rizal Monument And Park

This monument and park is dedicated to one of the greatest national heroes in the history of the Philippines, Jose Rizal.  Having been educated in Europe Rizal returned to the Philippines and was a political figure keen to bring about the independence of the country through peaceful reform.  He was also a keen artist working with paint and sculpture, and was also a poet and successfully published two novels.  He became a martyr after being falsely tried and executed of leading a rebellion in 1896.

The mausoleum and monument at the heart of the park is only a short distance from where he was executed, but is now an important site in Manila.

Enjoy The Feast Of The Black Nazarene

This is an annual festival that is celebrated in the Manila district Quiapo on January 9, to celebrate the festival of a statue of Jesus Christ which is carried through the district.  The statue itself was imported from Mexico, and the original white skin of the statue has darkened significantly.  During the festival it is not uncommon for up to eight million people to pack the streets of the district to enjoy the parade, which begins at RizalPark, and the traverses a significant route to return to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene.

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Top Dive Sites in the Philippines

Top Dive Sites in the Philippines

diver in philippines

Top Dive Sites in the Philippines

 

There are many places in the world that you can experience incredible diving, and the Philippines is definitely one of them. With amazing visibility, abundant marine life and a passionate local community of divers, the Philippines is the perfect place to plan your next diving adventure. If you’re not sure where to start, here are 4 world class dive sites in the Philippines.

Apo Reef

This world famous marine park offers a collection of dive sites that cater for every level of experience and style of diving. Apo is a 34km reef that allows divers the chance to interact with an amazing array of marine life, from the very smallest organisms right up to sharks, schools of barracuda and even giant rays. Those with an interest in marine photography will love the sheer diversity that Apo reef offers its visitors.

Monad Shoal, Malapascua

This is one of the only places in the world that you can still have the chance to dive with the amazing Thresher sharks. Monad shoal is a sunken island at about 20m that the sharks use as a cleaning station. These magnificent and rare creatures are simply stunning to watch, and the chance to dive alongside them is a truly exceptional experience. If you are really lucky, you may also spot a magnificent Manta Ray on the same dive at Monad Shoal.

Sabang Bay, Puerto Galera

In close proximity to resorts and facilities, the Sabang Bay dive site is highly popular with travellers from around the world. From the shallows through to the wrecks, this site has something for everyone to enjoy. For the best chance to see the greatest diversity of marine life including turtles, an early morning dive is recommended. You’ll beat the mid-morning rush, and only have to share the water with keen photographers and the amazing marine life that populates this beautiful site.

Sombrero, Anilao

Being close to Manila makes this one of the most accessible dive sites in the Philippines for a wide range of divers. You can expect to see a stunning variety of macro marine life, such as scorpion fish, ribbon eels and brightly coloured nudibrachs at this site. When the currents pick up and get a bit stronger, there is an increased chance to see some of the larger inhabitants such as sharks and tuna. Visibility is clear, and the corals are plentiful and varied in both colour and texture. Overall it is a great dive site with something that everyone from beginner’s right through to experienced divers can enjoy.

Diving in the Philippines is truly the experience of a lifetime. When you’re looking to start planning your holiday, make sure you check out Flight Centre for cheap flights to the Philippines and the very best deals on accommodation as well. Make your dive dreams a reality with a world class diving getaway that you’ll simply never forget.

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