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  • The best World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

    Banaue Rice Terraces, photo by bertconcepts on Flickr

    The Philippines might not look that huge on the map, but considering that the nation has over seven thousand islands and the longest coastline in the world, the Philippines has enough places to visit to last for a lifetime. Although it is the second largest archipelago in the world, the Philippines is quite far off the beaten path when it comes to tourism in Southeast Asia.

    But for a backpacker or indie traveler, this is just as well, because you won’t have to brave the hordes in search of a place where you can relax. The Philippines is home to extraordinary natural beauty and an equally extraordinary culture, both of which have achieved several UNESCO titles. Find out more about this amazing country by visiting some of the best World Heritage Sites in the Philippines.

    Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

    Puerto Princesa Underground River is one of the confirmed New7Wonders of Nature, declared in January 2012. Not all may agree about the decision, but one thing that you can be sure of is that this subterranean complex is jaw-dropping to say the least. The park is made up by amazing karst landscape, but the real magnet is the St Paul Underground River, which forms some of the most incredible caves you have ever seen.

    Vigan Heritage Village, Vigan, Ilocos Sur Province

    Vigan, photo by Simon Burchell

    The city of Vigan is one of the few places in the Philippines where you can still see beautifully preserved Hispanic architecture, left over from colonial times. What makes the cobbled streets and old buildings of Vigan Heritage Village unique is the mix of Spanish architecture with Philippine and Oriental styles, many of which were built by Chinese traders.

    Even outside the historic district you can still see the occasional church or building in colonial style.

    Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, Ifugao Province

    Rice has been a staple food in the Philippines for a long time, and people have been carefully cultivating rice according to ancient methods for centuries. The rice terraces in the Philippine Cordilleras have been passed down from generation to generation, restoring the old mud walls and building new ones, following the shape of the hills.

    There are several rice terraces that are on the UNESCO list: Bangaan and Batad in near Banaue, Mayoyao Rice Terraces in Mayoyao, Hungduan Rice Terraces, and Nagacadan Rice Terraces in Kiangan.

    San Agustin Church, Manila

    Puerto Princesa, photo by Paul Chin

    The Philippine capital has lots of interesting attractions and historical sites, but one of the most interesting places in the city is the old church of San Augustin in the walled city, Intramuros.

    The church was built in 1607, which makes it the oldest church in the Philippines. Although the church might not look like much at first, there are lots of little details that make it interesting, and the interior has some spectacularItalian trompe-l’oeil paintings.

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