The Philippines have been in the news lately with the devastating impact of Typhoon Haiyan – or Typhoon Yolanda as it is known here. The effect on the nation has been enormous, with thousands of people killed and millions displaced. However, despite the widespread devastation, many of the Philippines’ tourist areas have survived intact – so if you want to enjoy all of what the Philippines has to offer, you will still receive a warm welcome.
Early Morning in Boracay White Beach
While you may wonder whether it is a good idea – or even appropriate – to take a vacation in the Philippines at this time, you should know that the Filipino government actually issued a plea for tourists to continue to come to the Philippines.
Tourism is one of the largest industries in the country, and your traveling there will actually help to provide revenues to sustain the relief effort. If you are unable to go, at least consider making a donation to one of the local charities in the Philippines to help typhoon Yolanda victims. Trans-Fast, the international money transfer business, has set up a free and convenient way of doing this.
Seafood in Boracay Island
If you do decide to pay a trip to the Philippines, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Philippines is the island of Boracay, situated approximately 200 miles south of Manila in the Western Visayas region of the country. If you are the sort of person who enjoys absolutely spectacular beaches, then Boracay is for you – in fact, Travel + Leisure magazine named it the top island in the world in 2012.
Boracay is the Worlds Best Beach Destination
In addition to having some of the most beautiful and relaxing beaches in the world, Boracay is also a paradise for water sports. You can try snorkeling, windsurfing, scuba diving, and even cliff diving if you can get up the nerve. There is also a championship par 72 golf course designed by the renowned Australian golfer Graham Marsh. The island is also home to a number of sporting events, including an Asian Windsurfing Tour event, as well as dragon boat races that attract competitors from across Asia.
If you go down to the beach, stay around until the evening is near, and then take out a Paraw – a type of Filipino sailboat – to watch the glorious sunset as you glide along the warm waters. As the sun slips over the horizon, head back to the beach and head off to enjoy Boracay’s vibrant nightlife. There are a wide range of excellent bars, clubs, restaurants and nightclubs on the island, which complement the more than 350 beach resorts to which the island is home.
If you are on Boracay in January, take a short trip over to the neighboring island of Panay. This is host to the Ati-Atihan Festival, an annual feast held in honor of the infant Jesus. The festival is spectacular, featuring native Filipino tribal dance and music, accompanied by traditional costumes. The festival dates back to the 13th century, when it was a pagan festival.
Later, with the arrival of Spanish missionaries, the local inhabitants converted to Christianity, and the festival did likewise.