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The Philippines is an archipelago made up of over 7000 islands.  It has a rich history combining Asian, European and American influences.  Prior to Spanish colonisation in 1521, the Filipinos had been trading with the Chinese and Japanese.  Spain's colonisation brought about the construction of 'walled cities' comprising of European buildings and churches being built in many areas.  Regaining its independence in 1946 the country now offers a variety of scenery, experiences, cultures and entertainment and is also one of Asia's most inexpensive shopping destinations.

Manila the capital offers contrast, with old meeting new and east meeting west.  It has monuments, museums, churches, art galleries, parks, traditional culture and lively nightlife.

PalawanOne of the last unexplored islands in Pacific, as well as the location of the 1997 James Bond thriller 'Tomorrow Never Dies'.  Jacques Cousteau remarked that it was the most beautiful place he ever explored.  The island province has been declared a nature sanctuary with good reason.  It is wrapped in a mantel of rainforests, outstanding dive sites, magnificent mountains, primeval caves and pristine beaches.  It is surrounded by a coral shelf that abounds with varied and colourful marine life and boasts of exotic flora and 323 species of wildlife including the mousedeer and the scaly anteater.  Palawan waters are among the best in the world not only for diving with its miles of subsurface coral and rainbow reef walls but also for fishing.

CavesThere are many spectacular sites to see in the Philippines, among them what is widely regarded as the 'Finest Beach in the World', the 4km long white beach in Boracay; the longest underground river accessible to man, the Puerto Pricesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan; the rice terraces of Banaue and the smallest volcano in Batangas

The Philippines can also lay claim to some unique wildlife such as the largest fish in the world, the Whale Shark and the world's smallest primate, the Philippine Tarsier.

DivingThe Philippines' turquoise sea, 80% of the country's area, is rich in marine life and vibrant coral reefs - more than 2400 species of fish and 10 times as many coral varieties as in the Caribbean are found here.  But marine life is not all there is, as a result of action during World War II a whole fleet of ships lie in shallow water and have grown into spectacular artificial reefs.  A genuine diver's paradise!  There are also karst limestone stack islands rising our of seas.  Many dive sites are off the beaten track ideal for the diver looking for somewhere different.

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When to go

The Philippines has a tropical climate. There is little variation in temperature with average highs ranging from 29°C - 33°C and lows from 21°C - 23°C. The rainy season is from May to October with the highest rainfall normally expected between June and August.

Additional Information

Time Difference Local Currency Local Language Average Flying Time
GMT/UTC + 8 Peso Filipino/English 10 hours