When it comes to interesting places to vacation to or travel to in the world, many of the most intriguing are located in different spots around the globe and sometimes include destinations that are not frequently traveled to. One of the more interesting destinations, one with a fascinating history and unique culture, is the island nation of The Philippines. Depending on where the traveler calls home, the Philippines may be a great distance away and a bit hard to travel to, but it doesn’t take long once they are there to realize what a great vacation destination it really is.
The Philippines have played an important role in the development of Southeast Asia and the entire South Pacific. They have been an important settlement, colony, military outpost, and more during their history. The Philippines also offer a fun and interesting lifestyle that is easy to sample by the millions of visitors that head its way each and every year. When it comes right down to it, very few vacation destinations can offer the variety of attractions, both natural and man made, that can be found on the many islands that make up The Philippines. Here is a look at just eight of the many great places to visit when traveling there.
Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
This is one of the more important monuments in Manila, especially to those interested in American or military history. A number of important battles were fought in the Philippines during World War II and a number of brave men died there. The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial includes a monument dedicated to those men, along with the graves of thousands of allied soldiers who died on the islands during the war. The incredible magnitude of this huge cemetery brings home the reality of World War II and just how many people were affected by it.
Greenbelt Park stretches the length of an entire city block and is made up of five smaller malls. Each mall has a number of great retail shops, restaurants, and other businesses. This is one of the top places to go shopping at in all of Manila. When the lights go down, this is also a great place to socialize and search out the perfect nightspot in. Other attractions in the area include bars, theaters, food vendors, chapels, and quiet outdoor areas.
Officially, Corregidor Island is not part of Manila, but it is located nearby in the surrounding water. The island is a large rock island, about four miles in length, and was the site of a number of important battles during World War II. Allied forces referred to the island as “The Rock” and today it is a popular destination for those wanting to venture out onto the water surrounding the city of Manila.
Built in the early 1980s under the order of Imelda Marcos, the Coconut Palace is famous as one of the most extravagant of all the palaces in the Philippines. This is essentially a guest house, but was so ritzy and luxurious that the main guest it was built for, Pope John Paul II, refused to stay there. This historic home is open to the public and tours of it are incredibly popular. The amazing part of this mansion is that the bulk of it is constructed out of coconut lumber and coconut shells. The knowledgeable tour guides employed there make the experience even better than most expect it to be.
One of the more unique sights in the Manila area is the famous Chinese Cemetery. This burial ground has a unique look to it as the bulk of the graves are actually small homes. It is often said that the dead that are buried in the Chinese Cemetery have it better than some of the living in the Manila area. Guided tours of the cemetery are available and are definitely the way to go so that nothing is missed and much can be learned about this amazing cemetery.
The first thing that jumps out at visitors coming to Intramuros is the distinctive Spanish architecture that is seen throughout the area. This is the ruins of the original Spanish capital city from the time when Spain first controlled this area of the country. The attraction is actually on the small side and is easy to be seen by foot, although guided buggy tours are popular there too. The area around the ruins is beautifully landscaped, but the ruins themselves are left largely in their natural state of decay.
San Agustin Church
One of the oldest stone churches in the entire Philippines is located in the city of Manila, San Agustin Church. This beautiful building, complete with all the original building materials and a wonderfully equipped museum, is open to the public and is a great way for travelers to see and experience some of the age old architecture that is available there. Those that simply view the somewhat simple looking church from the outside are missing out on the the very interesting architecture visible on the inside. A visit to the San Agustin Church is also a great opportunity for some great local photography.
What today is a museum and public park, was built as a rock walled fortress in the 1600s. Touring the still standing walls and embankments of this facility allow the visitor to experience what life must have been like for military personnel stationed halfway around the world almost 400 years ago. Over the years, the fort has been used for a number of purposes including military installation, prison, government building, and now public park. Spending the better part of the day at Fort Santiago allows a vacationer to have a fun day in the great outdoors, but still learn and experience a little about the history of the Philippines and the Manila area at the very same time.
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While other destinations may be more popular, more famous, and more well known. That doesn’t diminish the fact that the Philippines are one of the best vacation destinations available anywhere in the world. From the beautiful natural areas, many of them protected by the government or private organizations, to the lively and vibrant cities, there are a number of experiences that can be had in the Philippines that are incomparable to those that can be had in other locations. A vacation to the Philippines is a very worthwhile decision that anyone planning a trip would be glad that they made.