With more than 7000 tropical islands to choose from, the Republic of the Philippines offers endless opportunities for intrepid travellers. The country can be divided into three main areas: Luzon (the largest, northernmost island, which includes Manila); a group of islands called the Visayas (including Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Masbate); and Mindanao, the second-largest island in the Philippines.
The many centuries of Spanish colonial rule combined with the Chinese influences have created a one of a kind Asian-Hispano mixture. Add to that the indigenous tribes and rich Malay folklore, and you get one of the most intriguing and diverse places on earth.
There’s an island to suit everyone in the Philippines – from remote limestone karst islands with hidden lagoons for adventure seekers – to tropical paradises with dazzling beaches and excellent snorkelling spots for sun worshippers – to mega-islands for party people. Yet, venture off the coastline and you’ll find elegant colonial towns, ancient rice terraces, misty mountains, jungle covered peaks and isolated tribal groups.
Filipino food is heavily influenced by Spanish and native traditions so expect plenty of fresh fish, roasted meats and a plethora of addictive desserts, many utilising the vast array of tropical fruits on offer.