The Philippines stands as a shining beacon of tourism in Southeast Asia that has gained a massive amount of attention in recent years. This is all for good reason too; from North to South, The island nation is blessed with virgin beaches, dramatic peaks and vibrant megacities, not to mention the renowned Philippine hospitality. Quentin Tarantino, Ernest Hemingway, Johnny Depp have all publically declared a fascination with the archipelago. With Radisson Philippines covering all the bases to visit Philippines attractions, there is never a better time to go!
The Philippines is a sprawling archipelago that stretches 1,850km from North to South and consists of about 7,000 islands set in tropical azure waters. With such a vast breadth of land AND sea to cover, every traveller worth his or her salt knows that it is better to base yourself around a comfortable home location that is an easy transport hub to fly to and fan out into the environs, instead of roving around from place to place and leaving accommodation quality to chance. After all, travelling overland in an island nation frequently involves long bus rides and water crossings that can take many tiring hours if not arduous days. With that in mind, stress-free and memorable travel in the Philippines begins with selecting your base of operations astutely.
Philippines Attractions – Clark, The Northern Base
Flying into Clark is a relaxing, fuss-free option when exploring Luzon, the largest island that hosts cities like Manila and historical districts like UNESCO listed Vigan and the world-famous rice terraces of Banaue.
Outdoorsmen, hikers and history buffs won’t be disappointed with a trip to Clark. Looming large behind the city’s skyline is Mount Pinatubo.
The famous volcano that erupted suddenly and covered the region with ash – causing global temperatures to fall by 0.5 °C. The 1-hour hike after a thrilling jeep ride through the lahar plains is a relative yet immensely picturesque excursion.
Within the Clark itself, one can explore the former American airbase and let the inner soldier out by going to the shooting range or marvel at the open-air displays of Vietnam war era aircraft.
As a city within a city, it is worth noting that Angeles city surrounds and envelopes Clark. Explore Angeles to get a feel of the hustle and bustle of Southeast Asia with exciting street food, Spanish era mission churches and a raucous nightlife.
Those going further North or to the capital will find convenient transportation options that originate here. For those staying on, the Park Inn by Radisson Clark makes a sensible choice due to its proximity to the airport, the attractions at the twin cities and proximity to amenities such as the sprawling SM Mall, various golf courses and casinos.
Philippine Attractions – Cebu, Home for Visayas Visitors
Cebu is Philippine’s capital of fun in the sun. Its enviable position in the middle of the Visayas region gives it access to an underwater world of diving, whale shark watching and a variety of watersports.
When you are back on terra firma, do not miss the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu, a bustling Spanish colonial church constructed almost 500 years ago. Here, you can catch a glimpse of colourful frescos and the deep Catholic faith of the population as the masses gather and swarm around the interiors to give venerations to the saints and receive blessings.
Those with a sweet tooth should pay a visit to the reigning Queen Cacao and her chocolate kingdom in the Cebuana suburbs.
Ms Raquel Choa dubbed Queen Cacao by the media including CNN is the country’s chocolate ambassador and also does a roaring business in artisanal chocolates that are natural, are disarmingly tempting and easy on the wallet.
The city’s Radisson Blu Cebu belongs to the upper tier of the renowned global hotel chain and, perhaps, in keeping with a tacit partnership, can be found next door to an SM Mall. The rooms here are amongst the most spacious and restful in the city, with sprawling views of the port and blue seas beyond. The hotel also offers the best buffet spread that I could find in the city, with a plethora of cuisines to suit the most finicky eater’s palate. If this wets your appetite, Feria is the place to go. The restaurant opens late, until 22:30 and also has a refreshing list of German beers.
Philippines Attractions – Davao, Southern Comforts
The deep South has always held a fascination for me. It is almost a different country and could be said to be more similar to Malaysia and Indonesia as compared to the country’s capital. The top draws in Davao Mt Apo, Samal Island and the crop of durians that the province is famous for. Mount Apo, standing at 3,144 meters is the country’s highest peak and takes between 1 – 4 days to summit. Davao’s most accessible island, Samal is only 10 minutes away from the fast-growing town but, the clear waters and rustic charms could convince you that the cosmopolitan megacity is a world away.
The sheer abundance of durians in the region around Davao and its scarcity elsewhere has made the name of the city synonymous with the coveted fruit. The durians here are of Thai and Malaysian stock, so aficionados can find familiar varieties like Red Prawn and D24 here too.
The trusty Park Inn by Radisson Davao displays the familiar standards of service and comfort that one can easily get accustomed to across the chain while in the Philippines, so it would not be a poor choice to just entrust your lodging arrangements with the Radisson group altogether while in the archipelago.
Once again, the Radisson/SM Mall is uncannily coincidental here but then again, staying in a centrally located hotel just next to a large mall with all the creature comforts imaginable and staple favourites like Jollibee and Bang Inasal – two of the country’s best fast food joints – cannot be a bad thing.
3 cities in 3 hotels within a week has stoked my love for the country. There is a certain quality about a trip to the Philippines that can be found nowhere else. It can be felt in the everyday interactions, seen in the festivals and traditions, and tasted in the food. It is a unique quality that has won the country many fans and will keep me coming back.
Article was written by Jeremy Goh