Philippine Sites And Destinations

Articles and information on various Philippines sights and destinations

Philippine Languages: A Backgrounder

Philippine Languages

Filipino or Tagalog, a member of the Austronesian languages, is the official language of the Philippines. This language comprises all other dialects spoken by the native inhabitants of the country’s different regions.

How this happened is told in the Philippines’ journey down history lane, which involved various races. The Spaniards are the most influential people to have colonized Philipines. Their invasion nearly ripped the country of its own identity as they took over and controlled its culture, religion, and language. Spanish then, became the Philippines official language. It filled all curriculums in the academe, while Spanish priests ran schools. Their reign lasted for four hundred years, until the Americans arrived. The country’s official language was turned to English.

Japanese came next but their language made very little impact on the Filipino tongue. The National Language Institute, which was formed in 1937 by the National Assembly, decided that Tagalog should be officially recognized as the foundation of Philippine language. Later, Tagalog became a subliminal term. It was replaced with Pilipino, which was again changed to Filipino as the official language in the Philippines in 1997.

Still, after several renaming of the Philippine language, the fact remains that there are as many as 170 dialects that make up Filipino. There are three major groupings — The Northern Philippine language, Meso Philippine, and the Southern Philippine Language.

The Northern Philippine language is widely spoken by the natives of Northern and Central Luzon including Ilokano, Kapampangan, Pangasinan, and Sambal.

Meso Philippine languages are widely spoken in Central Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao regions. To name a few, they are the Tagbanwa, Palawano, and Hanunoo in Palawan and Mindoro.

The largest subgroup are the Central Philippine languages which are composed of Tagalog; Bicol languages; 80% use Visayan languages such as Cebuano, Hiligaynon and Waray-Waray; and Mansakan languages.

Southern Philippine languages such as Maranao, Maguindanao, Manobo languages, and Subanun languages are concentrated in Mindanao but more than 80% use Visayan or cebuano language. Malaysian, Indonesian, Sanskrit, and Arabic words have influenced many Southern Philippine languages.

The final three following groups are thought to be more distantly related to the previous three. Southern Mindanao languages are languages such as Tboli and Blaan which are spoken in southern Mindanao.Sama-Bajaw languages mainly centered in the Sulu Archipelago as well as parts of Borneo. One language, Abaknon, is spoken on Capul Island near Samar, which is far from other Sama languages. Other languages in this group are Yakan and Sama.Sulawesi languages has only two representatives in the Philippines, the Sangil and the Sangir languages.

Experience The Coolest Vacation In Baguio City

Baguio City

Burnham Park, Baguio CityWhen summer hits Philippines, Baguio City is among the most common destinations of Filipinos everywhere, even foreigners. People dubbed it “The Summer Capital of the Philippines” and “The City of Pines”. Cradle of the eighth wonder of the world – the rice-terraces or hagdan-hagdang palayan locally – its beauty, and humid climate all-year round, has captivated the eyes of many.

Situated in the northern section of Central Luzon, high in the Cordillera mountain ranges, Baguio is about 250 kilometer-ride away from Metro Manila with three chief throughways: Kennon Road, Marcos Highway, and Naguilian Highway. It has standard temperature of 20 degrees Celsius or more, which is a come-on to many. The weather here gets rainy during the months of June to October but the town receives lesser storms compared to other places in the country. Thanks to the surrounding mountains that protect it.

Baguio’s fame, however, does not stop at its cool climate. When the Americans saw its huge potential as tourist spot, Baguio City officially became so in 1909. Now, the city boasts of beautiful sceneries and distinct culture, as well. Tourists can find many historical places here which tales may surprise, endear, or amaze visitors.

Banaue Rice Terraces, PhilippinesThe touring starts at the stretch of Session Road where the Panagbenga Flower Festival every fourth week of February takes its route. Strawberry farm is one of the major attractions in the area. The Mansion is where the presidents and top officials of the country reside when on vacation. Across the Mansion is the fine-looking Wright Park. The Mine’s View Park is also a favorite among sightseers. Around it are screaming bazaars that offer native products of Baguio – from strawberry jam and strawberry wine, to local handicrafts and finely woven garments. A few kilometers away from Mine’s View is the Burnham Park which features boating in its sweet lagoon. Take a few walk and you can reach the Baguio City Cathedral which highlights the 100-step stairs leading to it. Camp John Hay is also prominent place for travelers. Then, a military recreational camp during the second World War, Camp John Hay now serves as the main door to an impressive forests of pines.

If you want to experience solid mountain adventure, the place to go is Benguet, famous for its hanging coffins in Sagada. Currently, there are still native tribes surrounding the area particularly some kilometers up the Rice Terraces.

Going to Baguio City, you may opt to travel by air or by road depending on your budget. Traveling by air is easier and more convenient as it will take you only 50 minutes from Manila. Asian Spirit has daily destinations to the Summer Capital. Or you may choose from a variety of bus lines – Philippine Rabbit, Dagupan Bus, Victory Liner, Five Star, and Partas among other which have different stations around Metro Manila. This may take a maximum of eight hours on the road. For larger number of excursioners, a private service can be hired.

And because Baguio welcomes thousands of tourists every year, hotels and lodging business proved to be a very productive business, too. Visitors can’t go wrong with its long list of accommodations where vacationers can stay while on break.

Do it your way and don’t miss the fun. See for yourself the cool things that the City of Pines can offer not only this summer but all-year-round – Baguio City awaits your presence.


Baguio City Price List

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Puerto Galera – A Paradise Close To The City

Puerto Galera’s place in Philippine history books started somewhat in the 17th century, when the Spanish colonizers of the Philippines made the island of Mindoro a province with Puerto Galera as its capital and the seat of government.

It stayed that way until after more than 2 centuries – because of frequent attacks by Muslims from southern Philippines, the Spaniards decided to transfer the seat of government to Calapan.

Not only that, the Muslim attacks were so frequent that the Spanish colonizers had decided to put up watch towers along the coastline and they permanently stationed the battleship Cañonero Mariveles in Puerto Galera waters. In 1879, Cañonero Mariveles sank due to a very violent storm.

Sabang Beach residential coastline, Puerto Galera, PhilippinesWhen the Spaniards decided to move the capital of Mindoro to Calapan, Puerto Galera was as the same time annexed as a district of Calapan. Then in 1927, the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines passed an act creating Puerto Galera as an independent municipality.

Puerto Galera, a very rugged mountainous terrain, is located in the province of Oriental Mindoro – part of Mindoro islands. It is 130 km South of the city of Manila and about 14 nautical miles from the port city of Batangas.

It is a very popular holiday spot for many tourists both local and foreign because of several factors: its proximity to Manila, its dazzling white beaches which stretches 42 kilometers long, the beautiful tropical scenery of coconut plantations, its wonderful topography consisting of limestone cliffs and escarpments and the presence of diverse flora and fauna which are an attraction by itself.

Sabang Beach view from a hill, Puerto Galera, PhilippinesBut more than anything else, Puerto Galera is well known around the world as a divers and snorkelers paradise. As part of 7,107 islands composing the Philippine archipelago, Puerto Galera boasts of a very rich underwater life.

Add to that the adventure of finding sunken galleons and warships of world’s past and present superpowers plus a cheap place to learn diving – which diver at heart would miss Southeast Asia’s diving capital?

Exit to Aras Cave, Puerto Galera, PhilippinesBut it’s not all diving which attract visitors to go back there over and over and over. If you like adventure, then you’re in for an exhilirating experience! Within the area surrounding Puerto Galera, visitors may experience trekking in the jungle or visiting a village of the indigenous people who were the original inhabitants of the area or spend a day hopping on different outlying islands closeby or experience the thrill of gold panning or climb Mount Malasimbo mountain and lots and lots of water sports adventure.

Though all that were mentioned were fun and excitement, serenity is still what draws the city dwellers to come and visit the island of Mindoro and Puerto Galera. After all, isn’t that why we decide to leave for a holiday most of the time?



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Puerto Galera Price List

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The Philippines Most Active Volcano

Philippine Volcano

Majestic Mayon Volcano In The Philippines. Photo from Robert GardnerThe Philippines, an archipelagic country composed of more than 7,000 islands, is home to more than 22 active volcanoes and this is a fact not known to many people, even the natives themselves. It is therefore not surprising if each year, there are at least a couple of volcanic eruptions happening in the country, some of which even affected global temperatures as what happened with Mount Pinatubo eruption. But most volcanic activity are small and almost a regular occurence most notable of which is Mayon Volcano.

Mount Mayon has erupted more than 40 times in recorded history and Filipino volcano scientist are not surprised at all if it erupts almost regularly. This regular activity of the almost perfect cone-shaped volcano have taught the Filipino authorities how to best deal with emergency preparedness when it comes to volcanic disasters, which saved many lives during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

In its tranquility, Mount Mayon is a site to behold and to experience. Some adventurous Filipinos and foreign visitors even trek up the mountain when she is in her “sleep”. But beware of her fury for in the past this beautiful mountain have caused numerous death and major destruction when it buried the whole town of Cagsawa.



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Disneyland Of Extreme Watersports Docks At Camarines Sur

Camarines Sur, Wakeboarding

All the excitement of water sports converges at Camarines Sur’s Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC). It all begins on the first time you try it, and then peaks at when it all begins to be addicting. Imagine this: automatic cable system gliding you through a six hectare cruise of water track where you are free to touch the water surface, ski over ramps, and break self borders.

Camsur Wakeboarding Center - Philippines | Royal Vacation

CWC, the biggest, best water sports complex in the entire world, has attracted the best of the best wakeboarders.

Australian wakeboarding champion and world wakeboarding placer Reuben Buchanan has made CWC his second home. Devoting more than a decade now to extreme water sports, Buchanan was tapped by CamSur Governor Luis Raymund Villafuerte to come see what has become of Pili in Camarines Sur.

“When the governor first asked me to see this, I just said why not check it out. But once I’ve set foot here, it’s amazing how it all dawned on me. It’s the best in the world! All the wakeboarders who’ve traveled half the globe to see this all say the same thing – this is by far the best wakeboarding arena in all they’ve seen,” Buchanan said.

Since experiencing CWC, Buchanan had hardly gone back to Australia. “Wakeboarding, which has been my life for the last 12 years, is nothing short of addicting. Once you’ve tried it, it’ll all be like gliding to one trick after another,” Buchanan said.

Wakeboarding sets the extreme action to full motion via 8 to 12 meters of an overhead cable, allowing the wake boarder to cruise the water surface through specially designed pylons. With the cables running clockwise between 20-65 km/h speeds around the biggest man-made lake track built for wakeboarding, the rider circles the track via different strokes of gliding motions while the speed lets him do exhibitions on the built-in ramps and all sorts of flips.

It is like skateboarding on water but different in some ways: one, you fall into the water so there are lesser chances for dangerous bumps and injuries; and two, the board has a built-in pair of shoes that you can control and swing up the air or to ant possible desired motion.

The cable-run lake track has a six-point cable ski system so six participants can enjoy the thrills of water sports all at one time.

“In other countries, there’s just about one month or two of summer. But here in the Philippines, the weather is almost good for wakeboarding all year round which is why it has attracted a lot of my fellow Australians, Germans, Americans. Almost all kinds of wakeboarding athletes have come here and stayed because of the weather and the world-class cable system,” explained Buchanan, who now also makes sure that the machine at the CWC runs well.

Not only foreigners have gotten into the wakeboarding zone in CamSur. Filipinos who can turn the board in jaw dropping stunts have become addicted too.

Malarad Island - Philippines | Royal Vacation

The other cable sports made extremely available at the CWC aside from wakeboarding are cable skiing, kneeboarding, water skiing and wake skating.

In cable skiing or ‘riding the cable,’ wake surfers get full command of both water and air. Unlike surfers who need to gamble with the tides, wake boarders easily execute tricks. Nontheless, it is still not injury free.

Before you try wakeboarding, you are made to sign a waiver should the participant be injured. What’s amazing is that sprained ankles or shattered knees are seemingly of no consequence.

(Report gathered from Atin Ito Philippine News Feature Vol. 32 No. 05, p. 22, May 2007 issue. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Author not specified.)

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Botolan Celebrates Culture Of Dance

Zambales Province

Source: Malaya Newspaper

The rustic town of Botolan, Zambales relives its Spanish-era culture of dance as it celebrates the seventh Domorokdok festival, April 26 to May 4.

Literally meaning dance in the Zambal language, Domorokdok is a Spanish-influenced creative dance for children. Dance steps depict courtship, religious beliefs, thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, and concern for the environment.


Domorokdok Dance Celebration

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Bohol's Sights And Wonders

Bohol Province

Source: Business World

Have you been to Bohol lately? If you have yet to discover this Central Visayan province (or just wish to get re-acquainted with it), you will be pleased to find out that Bohos has all you need for a memorable summer holiday. Enjoying the tranquil beaches and natural wonders of Bohol is just the remedy for summer heat and city stress.

Bohol is only an hour and a half away by plane from Manila or a two-hour ferry ride from Cebu or Dumaguete. A half-hour drive from Panglao Island, home of the beautiful Alona Beach. It’s a serene stretch of sand, relatively quiet when compared to beaches that have become party places, but not lacking in exciting activities. From here, you can sign up for dolphin watching at Pamilacan Island, or go diving in Balicasag Island to see Bohol’s underwater sights.

You can go to the hills as well – the Chocolate Hills, that is. These limestone formations – resembling numerous, almost identical mounds of chocolate huddled together – are a breathtaking natural view and its found on this scale only in Bohol.

Bohol also has its share of rarities, which it strives to protect, like the Philippine tarsier. The tarsier, a tiny, primate, is already an endangered species and makes its home in the forests of the province.

The town of Loboc is also easily accessible, and you can take a cruise along the river and also ride around town to get in touch with local history. Some of the oldest churches in the Philippines are in Loboc.

Nestled among all of these sights and wonders is Boho’s newest attraction, the Amorita Resort on Panglao Island. Half an hour away from Tagbilaran airport (or 35 minutes from the Bohol seaport), Amorita sits atop a beachside cliff and offers the best view of the ocean.

Guests who spend their day experiencing Bohol come home to an all day restaurant, infinity pool, pool bar, wi-fi and more. Amorita offers 34 luxuriously furnished rooms including villas with their own jacuzzis/private pools.

Amorita Resort is now offering promo rates for summer travelers who will be visiting Bohol in May. Deluxe rooms are going for P3,500 (US$78 approximately) (for 3 days/2 nights with breakfast for two) and Pool villas for P7,000 (US$156 approximately) (3 days/2 nights for two).