The Philippines is a diverse destination with many unique landmarks unlike any you will find elsewhere. With over 7,000 islands and 80 provinces, there is plenty of treasure to explore and places to learn about Filipino culture! If you are planning your next holiday in South East Asia, make sure that you add at least some of the landmarks in the Philippines to your travel bucket list.
Natural Landmarks of the Philippines
The Philippines has many natural landmarks that are worth visiting. The country’s diverse topography includes sandy beaches, jungle-covered mountains and rainforest valleys.
Boracay Island is one of the most popular tourist beach destinations in Asia. Famous for its white sand, the beach attracts many foreign and local tourists.
However, in recent times the Island became too popular. Due to the destruction of nature, the Philippines government closed the island for six months in 2018 to allow the beach and environment to recover.
Boracay is a place where I tried for the first and only time Balut – one of the weirdest food in the world.
Interesting fact: Boracay is named after the word “borac”, a local term for white ants known as land crabs.
Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa
Puerto Princesa Underground River is a unique phenomenon. It’s the world’s longest navigable underground river, and it’ll take you two hours to explore this subterranean wonder! This majestic limestone cave system was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1999 due to its stunning geological features: four different ecosystems that are all open for your exploration. These diverse habitats include mangroves, “hellish” stalactite caves with bizarre calcified formations – carbon-dated as being over 30 million years old – bat colonies (you can even get to drink some of their milk!), and crystal clear lakes filled with fish.
When you are visiting the subterranean river Make sure you wear sturdy footwear to scramble over rocks. There are no lights inside! You may want to bring a torch with you, or just enjoy the dark.
This Subterranean River is a must-visit when you are in Palawan.
Chocolate Hills Bohol
These 1,776 hills spread over at least a 20 sq mile area got their name because the lush green grass turns into a dry chocolate brown colour in summer. Their form is like a lot of round chocolates sitting on a tray.
The Chocolate Hills are a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Bohol, which is also known as the island of flowers. As you can guess, with such a name the best time to visit is during springtime.
The hills were formed of 400 million-year-old limestone, with numerous shells and coral. There are several legends about the formation of this distinctive landscape, mostly including giants, or lost love.
Banaue Rice Terraces – Ifugao
The Ifugao Rice Terraces are known as “the eighth wonder of the world.” These rice terraces were crafted by hand from stone to create a stunning landscape. These beautiful structures wind around the hillsides, and give visitors an idea of how hard people had to work just to survive in this mountainous region! It’s possible for tourists not only to visit but also to help with important conservation efforts.
If you want a place that is peaceful and serene, then days in Banaue Rice Terraces will be perfect for you. Tourists can walk through the rows of rice fields while admiring massive rock formations all around them- it really feels like being in another world altogether!
Banaue rice terraces is another must-visit in the Philippines
Kayangan Lake, Coron
Kayangan Lake is the most popular tourist attraction in Coron.
Kayangan Lake is located in the middle of an island surrounded by high rocks and lush greens – making for amazing landscapes. The water appears to be both salt- and fresh-water mixed together, and it’s crystal clear.
Kayangan Lake has attracted tourists from all over Southeast Asian countries ever since its discovery back in 2009 because it’s such a rare natural beauty spot with clear waters perfect for freediving or snorkelling
The Tubbataha Reef is one of the most popular dive sites in Southeast Asia.
It can be found within Palawan Island; close to Tawi-Tawi Province. The reef itself stretches over 60 kilometres southwards from the Sulu Sea and 160 kilometres eastward towards the Celebes Sea. It’s made up of more than 900 individual shoals scattered across 360 square miles of the ocean floor – making for an incredible experience when diving through its waters. There will always be something new around every corner!
This underwater wonder awarded with otherworldly beauty is home to hundreds of species, including large marine creatures and a diverse variety of colourful corals. It’s also one of the few coral reefs that have been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it should come as no surprise that this is pretty much on every diver’s bucket list!
Mayon Volcano, Albay
This is the most active volcano in the Philippines and one of the most enduring. Mayon Volcano has been producing a near-continuous stream of lava for over 400 years, which means that this immense mountain continues to grow higher every day. This also makes it one of the best destinations if you’re looking for some great hiking, as there are many trails crisscrossing its slopes – not to mention all those beautiful waterfalls!
The name “Mayon” comes from “Mahawhay,” meaning ‘foggy’ or ‘misty,’ thanks to the constant steam rising up from its crater into the clouds that surround it.
It’s said that climbing Mount Mayon will either bring good luck…or bad luck
Taal Volcano is one of the most popular attractions in the Philippines. It dominates the landscape around Lake Taal and is visible from all over Batangas Province. There are also plenty of great walks to be had here – including a trail up to its stunning crater lake that’s both easy enough for children, yet still offers some challenging terrain.
The landscape around Taal Volcano is spectacular, with rainforests and mountains to explore.
The tarsier the smallest known primate in the world, and one of the most endangered and cutest with big eyes, almost like a Manga character.
The tarsier’s eyeball occupies nearly 40% of its head volume. This gives it very good all-round vision without turning its head giving them an advantage in seeing predators. However, they are now endangered due to loss of habitat.
You may consider yourself lucky to see this protected species on your adventures, but the local tradition is that sightings bring bad luck, so you can take your chances.
Landmarks in Manila
Intramuros Manila is also known as the Walled City. This historic district of Manila is enclosed by thick, high stone walls built during the Spanish colonial era over 500 years ago. Intramuros is a Latin word that means “within the walls”
Dating back to the 16th century, an important landmark where you can see a variety of architecture, churches and cultural landmarks such as Fort Santiago, St Domingo Church (the oldest church), San Agustin Museum (an old house-turned museum) and so on.
It’s one of the most-visited tourist spots in Manila because it gives you an idea about how life used to be. It also has museums like The Museum Of Arts And Sciences, which both kids and adults love for its fun interactive exhibits. You will find so many things here such as paintings by Filipino artists from all over the country, sculptures made by famous sculptors, beautiful artworks from ancient civilizations including China’s Terracotta Warriors statues and other articles collected from Asia, including India and Thailand.
Malacanang Palace is the official residence of The President Of The Philippines. It’s located at the heart of Manila and it has been home to every Philippine president since 1822.
The complex is made up of two buildings. One is the old Executive Building which was built during the Spanish era and was later renovated by President Manuel Quezon to make it into a more modern building, while the other one is The New Executive Building also known as Kalayaan Hall or simply Malacanang Palace.
This palace has been home for many Philippine presidents so there are plenty of things inside that show history, including paintings and sculptures from all over Asia collected by former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos
You can see the interiors of the Malacanang Palace on Google Art&Culture
The Rizal Park Memorial is a beautiful park-setting that pays tribute to the Philippines’ national hero and poet Jose Rizal. This memorial includes many flower gardens, statues of Jose Rizal. The park is where Jose Rizal was executed by Spanish colonial authorities in 1896.
A marker on site reads: “Here lies José Protacio Mercado del Rosario y Alonzo Realonda (Hermano Pepe), known as José Protacio or Joseng Sisimulang Ayacuchano, who died fighting for freedom.”
This place commemorates not only his death but also his fight against oppression and injustices committed by those in power during the time he lived.
The San Agustin Church, Manila
The San Agustin Church, Manila is one of the most iconic landmarks in Metro Manila.
It’s a 17th-century parish church and was built on an earlier structure from 1587 which had been destroyed by fire during the British Occupation. It has survived earthquakes and wars over time to become what it is today—a famous landmark now designated as part of UNESCO World Heritage Site with its rich Catholic heritage that can be traced back for centuries. The facade features relief carvings depicting scenes from Philippine mythology including saints, angels and other significant religious figures such as Saint Michael the Archangel slaying Satan depicted at the topmost section near where worshipers enter through a pair of bronze doors flanked by statues of Saints Christopher carrying the baby Jesus Christ.
The church holds so much history that it has become one of the most important landmarks in Manila.
More Man-made Historical Landmarks of the Philippines
The Philippines also has many other man-made landmarks outside Manila that are well-worth visiting. These include old churches, Spanish forts, Buddhist temples and Japanese tunnels. Many of these buildings have been destroyed by earthquakes or typhoons but they still remain as reminders to Filipinos about their nation’s history.
Leyte Landing Monument
Leyte Landing Monument in MacArthur Park was created to commemorate General Douglas McArthur’s landing on October 20, 1944. American soldiers were able to liberate Manila as a result of this event and they helped Filipinos fight against Japanese invaders during World War II. This park also has a memorial for Filipino children who died during that time fighting in what became known as the Battle of Edsa from January 17-24, 1945.
The monument commemorating General Douglas Macarthur’s landing at Leyte Bay on 20 October 1944 stands tall in MacArthur Memorial Archibald Williams Promenade (formerly called Green Belt) near Philippine presidential palace Malacanang Palace above Taft Avenue across Quirino Grandstand facing Luneta Park
its one of many monuments in the Philippines commemorating Filippinos who died during the War
Fort San Pedro
The Fort of San Pedro in Cebu was the first fort established by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is located on a hill overlooking Mactan Channel, where it served as an outpost to guard against Muslim incursions from Mindanao and as a fortified trading hub for Chinese merchants.
Built from coral stones with lime mortar, it is rectangular in shape but has triangular bastions at each corner for extra protection. The walls are as much as 18 feet thick and its only entrance faces north towards Mactan Island and accessed through an archway shaped like a horseshoe that opened into a large hall where soldiers were stationed.
Basilica del Santo Niño – Cebu
Basilica del Santo Niño is a 17th century Baroque church in Cebu, Philippines.
The Church of the Holy Child was originally build in 1565 making it the oldest Roman Catholic church in the Philippines.
The church was rebuilt twice, first in 1620 and then again in 1714. After the second reconstruction, it had a length of 72 meters; as years passed, earthquakes damaged Santo Niño Church again. The 1918 earthquake caused major damage to the three-story bell tower. Following this incident, plans were made for its demolition but because of public outcry, the demolition was stopped. It was decided that when funds became available the old edifice would be repaired properly with all due care and diligence required by such an historically important structure. These dreams were at last realised and following restoration using original materials where possible, the church was reopened by Pope John Paul II on November 27, 1981 .
Aguinaldo Shrine Kawit
It was in the Aguinaldo Shrine that General Emilio Aguinaldo and his fellow revolutionary leaders proclaimed themselves as the First Philippine Republic in 1898
The Aguinaldo shrine is a place where Filipinos who aspire for independence pay their respect to the Filipino heroes.
Museum with relics from this period of time, including Filipinas’ dresses made out of piña fabric (a type of pineapple fibre), weapons such as rifles, swords, cannons which were used during battles and photos depicting memorable events like the signing ceremony where Filipino revolutionaries declared their country liberated.
Landmarks in the Philippines
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