Saturday, May 5, 2012

Learn something about Philippines

Postcard from Philippines

EXPERIENCE the Philippines... It's 7,107 Islands, its natural wonders, colorful history, and warm and engaging people!
Over a hundred ethnic groups, a mixture of foreign influences and a fusion of culture and arts have enhanced the uniqueness of the Filipino and wonder that is the PHILIPPINES.
An archipelago abundant in nature, rich in culture, and filled with pleasant discoveries. The Philippines has three main islands - Luzon in the north, Visayas; a cluster of smaller islands in the middle, and Mindanao down south; the largest island.
The Philippines enjoys a diversity of destinations, activities, and events which every explorer experiences in this archipelago of wonders. Vast mountains and volcanoes tell of great legends. Old cities share stories of the past. Caves excite. Shimmering waters and a tropical climate lure travelers all year round.


Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park
Location: Middle of the Sulu Sea, 181 kilometers southeast of Puerto Princesa, Palawan
Inscribe in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993

The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 33,200 hectares including the north and south reefs. It is a marvelous marine wilderness and a special ecosystem much appreciated for its beauty as well as its scientific value.

It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species, with 80% coral cover of 46 coral genres and 376 fish species. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100-meter perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two-coral islands.

Tubbataha’s north islet is a nesting site for sea birds of all kinds and endangered hawksbill sea turtles; a diver’s paradise with gorgonian seafans, soft corals, and gigantic sea sponges serving as home to turkey fish, anemone crab, banded seasnakes, nudibranchs, starfish, catsharks, surgeon fish, batfish, and butterfly fish. The rare, unusual looking fox-faced rabbit fish can also be found in the marine park. Marine turtles, including the critically endangered hawksbill and green turtle, nest on some of the beaches.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Location: Saint Paul Mountain Range on the northern coast of Palawan
Inscribe in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1999

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with its underground river. The river is unique because it flows directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a whole ecosystem --- from mountain to the sea; and protects forests, which are among the most significant in Asia.

A highlight of each visit is a ride through its 8 km-long underground river which runs through a dome of stalactites complemented by stalagmites running the entire length of the cave.

The park is a popular destination for bird watching and is known for regular sightings of threatened bird species of Palawan peacock-peasant and Philippine cockatoo and the endemic birds Palawan scopsowl, swiftlet, hornbill, flyeater and blue flycatcher, tit and flowerpecker. It is blessed to have the Palawan flying fox, Oriental small-clawed otter, stinkbadger, binturong, flying squirrel, mountain tree squirrel and porcupine.

The park also features an exciting Monkey Trail with its series of wooden paths to the forest.

Historic Town of Vigan
Location: Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1999

The 16th century town of Vigan is “an exceptionally intact and well-preserved example of a European trading town in East and East Asia.” Its architecture reflects the fusion of cultural elements from the Philippines, China and Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that has no parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

Seemingly impervious to time, spared from rebellion and the ravages of war, Vigan has remained unchanged and its many preserved historic sites – more than 180 edifices – make it look like “a piece of Spain.” With its grand cathedral, massive mansions with red-tile roofs and spacious balconies, narrow cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, and friendly faces peering out of large windows, Vigan is a place where “time stood still.”

San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Photo by Anna Buenaventura.
Paoay’s San Agustin Church, built in 1604, is one of the most outstanding variants of “earthquake baroque” in the Philippines, where the primary consideration was to design the structure for earthquake protection.

The fa├žade of San Agustin Church is astounding but its most prominent feature is the phalanx of buttresses that juts out perpendicularly from the sidewalls, purposely to strengthen the walls – and the entire structure – against earthquake damage. Fourteen massive S-shaped buttresses rise in rhythmic cadence from the ground to the roofline.

The church is an eye-catcher as it emerges from a beautiful open space, unlike many other churches located within urban settings.  

Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
Location: Ifugao
Inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1995

The 2,000-year old Banaue Rice Terraces – the most extensive anywhere in the world – were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by ancestors of the Batad indigenous people. The terraces are located approximately 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level and cover 10,360 square kilometers (about 4,000 square miles) of the mountainside.

Known as the “eight wonder of the world,” the terraces were carved with only simple tools and bare hands. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system, an ingenious complex of bamboo pipes and canals, drawing water from streams created by bubbling springs located in the mountain rainforests.

Considered as a monument to man’s genius in turning a rugged and forbidding terrain into a source of sustenance, the rice terraces stand to be the most awe-inspiring man-made landscape in the Cordilleras. They are also invariably called “The Stairway to the Sky.”

repost from here :)

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