Philippines: Exotic, Mystical, and lots of Festivals

The Philippines has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. Our beaches are considered one of the best in the world, with the added incentive of warm, friendly people. However, for those seeking to add a little extra to their vacation, Philippines will never be found lacking.
     
For the adventurous in spirit, you could try white water rafting in the Chico River in Kaliga Province, located in the northern part of the archipelago. In the southern part of the country, exhilaration can also be found at the Mambuaya River in Cagayan de Oro City. Outfitters and travel agencies assure outmost enjoyment with emphasis on safety.
     
Many of you may not have heard of spelunking before, much less tried it. For the uninitiated, it is the term used to denote the exploration of caves. In Palawan, the longest natural cave in the country is found, the St. Paul Cave. It is part of the St. Paul River, considered as the longest underground river in the world. The cave features spectacular rock formations and is home to a biodiversity of plants and animals.

For those interested in exploring the deepest cave of the country, head north to the Sumaging-Latipan-Lomyang Crystal Cave in Sagada Mountain Province for one unforgettable experience. For archeology buffs, there is also the Tabon Caves in Quezon where skull cap fossils and artifacts are found.
     
Additional unique attractions are linked to mysticism and spirituality that are so much part of the Filipino culture. Natives have long revered Mount Banahaw in Quezon and Laguna Provinces as a sacred mountain. Attesting to this are the considerable number of cults found at the base of this landmark, actually an active volcano. Tours offered at this site entail visiting several waterfalls, the crater and numerous spots believed to contain psychic energies. For the more curious travelers, there is also the island of Siquijor, found in the central part of the country. Early Spaniards call it “Isla del Fuego” or the Island of Fire. This island has long been associated with magic and spiritual healing. Adding to the intrigue are numerous abandoned churches and unexplored caves in the area.
     
Of course, one should not visit the Philippines without partaking in one of its numerous fiestas or celebrations. Being a predominantly joyful race, fiestas are an expression of the pleasant and jubilant spirit of Filipinos. One of the most celebrated is the Sinulog Festival on the island of Cebu. The festivity lasts the whole day, starting with a parade, group presentations and merry-making well through the night. All of this is done to pay homage to the Santo Nino, the child-like form of Jesus Christ. Similar festivities are found in Iloilo, called Dinagyang, and in Aklan, called Ati-Atihan.
     
An added point of interest is the island of Bohol where fiestas are celebrated the whole month of May. Everyday, according to popular custom, a different barangay or town commemorates the feast day of its patron saint with dancing and feasting.

The Philippines has a lot of exotic and unusual travel experience to offer.

[Tags]Philippines, Sinulog, Iloilo, Aklan, Ati-Atihan, Siquijor, Cebu, Spelunking, Palawan[/Tags]

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