This sprawling archipelago made out of 7000 islands, the Philippines are located at the far edge of Asia sharing sea borders with Indonesia, Malaysia and China. The Spanish colonial occupation is still a part of the national psyche but the Filipinos have now a much better relationship with America and the Spanish cultural influences are pushed out by American ones, but it is still the largest Catholic country in Asia, albeit with a large Muslim minority in the southern provinces.
The Philippines are most famous for its wonderful and pristine beaches; you can travel for years in the Philippines and still find beaches which are even more beautiful than anything you have seen so far.
Although the Philippines are famous for its picture-perfect beaches there are many historical sites you can see as well. There are several Unesco World Heritage sites in the Philippines: the Banaue Rics terraces in Batad, the old colonial town of Vigan and several Baroque churches. Downtown Manila has several good museums.
Beaches and diving spots are ubiquitous in the Philippines but a few stand out. The popular Boracay near Kalibo was voted the beast beach in the world, many good beaches are on Palawan, including the famous El Nido, or Tubbataha Reef Natural Park.
Scuba diving in the Philippines is considered spectacular and costs for equipment are cheaper than in nearby countries. Many dive spots have at least several PADI accredited schools which makes the Philippines a perfect place to learn how to dive.
The many cultural influences that have shaped the Philippines become clear in its cuisine: it is made up of Chinese, Malay, Spanish and American influences. Filipinos cook less spicy than in other Asian countries and prefer to add flavor using garlic and onions.
Pancit is made of noodles and forms the base for several dishes like Pancit Molo (soup) or Pancit Palabok (boiled noodles). The typical breakfast is Silog, made of fried rice and eggs which you can find in stalls on every street but also even at the McDonald's.
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