It may surprise that the Philippines is reportedly the third largest English speaking country in the world! Underneath the fairly westernised façade, there’s a rich underlay of Malay culture beneath the patina of Spanish and American heritage.
The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands, stretching from the south of China to the northern tip of Borneo. The country has over a hundred ethnic groups and a mixture of foreign influences which has created the unique Filipino culture and lifestyle we see today.
In 1521, Spanish explorers, led by Ferdinand Magellan, discovered the islands and the Spanish conquistadores established a colonial government in Cebu in 1565 and proceeded to colonise the country. After ruling for 333 years, the Spaniards left in 1898, being replaced by the Americans who finally recognised the Philippine’s independence in 1946.
Aside from its rich cultural, social and architectural history, as well as the thriving metropolis of modern capital city Manila, the Philippines is also boasts enchanting natural beauty – world-class white sand beach resorts and diving havens, native wildlife, rainforests, tropical jungles, amazing rice terraces, mountain ranges and Pacific ‘Rim of Fire’ volcanoes.
What To See and Do
- Manila’s historic sights – Intramuros Walled City and Fort Santiagio; San Augusti Church Museum and Casa Manila Museum.
- The spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed Banaue Rice Terraces.
- Experience an island beach holiday – Palawan Island, El Nido, Boracay Island to name but a few.
- Dive on some of Asia’s very best reefs, or maybe wreck diving off Subic Bay.
- Relax in a spa, with a traditional ‘hilot’ massage.
- Feast on Filipino unique culinary specialties.
- Experience one of the Philippines many festivals and immerse yourself in the rich culture.
When To Go
The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate that is usually hot and humid. There are three seasons, the hot dry season or summer from March to May; the rainy season from June to November; and the cool dry season from December to February. Temperatures usually range from 21 °C to 32 °C although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.
The average yearly temperature is around 26.6 C. In considering temperature, location is not a significant factor, as temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters above sea level is 18.3 C, making it a popular destination during hot summers