Regions in Philippines
- Luzon (Metro Manila, Bicol, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa). The northernmost archipelago, centre of government, history, economy and home of the capital city.
- Visayas (Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas)
The central archipelago, heart of the country’s antiquity, nature, biodiversity and the best beaches in the Philippines.
- Mindanao (Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga Region, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao).
The southernmost archipelago showcasing the indigenous and rich culture of the Philippines
- Palawan (Palawan Island, Calamian Islands, Cuyo Islands).
West of the other Philippine islands, stretching down to Borneo. Less densely populated than the rest of the country, with some good diving.
The administrative system of the Philippine government consists of three top-level regions, as described above, with the exception that Palawan belongs to Luzon. Below these are 18 subordinate regions, 80 provinces, 120 cities and many rural municipalities. The lowest level of government is the barangay – a rural district or urban neighbourhood – and addresses or directions in the Philippines often include the name of the barangay.
Cities in Philippines
With more than 7000 islands, the Philippine archipelago has many cities. Below are some of the most important cities for visitors, some of which are provincial capitals and centres for trade and finance as well as culture and history.
- Manila – the national capital, is one of the most densely populated cities in the world – with all that entails in terms of pollution, crime, urban poverty and traffic congestion – with few parks. However, the smiling, stoic and resourceful people themselves are its saving grace, rather than the relatively few surviving monuments, historical landmarks and landmarks scattered far and wide in the city and surrounding metropolitan area of Metro Manila!
- Bacolod – known as the “City of Smiles” because of the annual MassKara Festival (Máscara in Spanish) held on 19 October, is one of the gateways to Negros Island and home to the famous Bacolod Chicken Inasal.
- Baguio – the summer capital of Luzon because of its cool weather, offers well-maintained parks and scenic areas and is home to the “Igorot”, the indigenous people of the Cordillera.
- Cebu – the “Queen City of the South” was the first Spanish base in the Philippines and is an important centre for trade, industry, culture and tourism. Metro Cebu is the second largest urban area in the country, after Metro Manila. Consider flying into its botch-free and little-used airport as a more central and pleasant alternative to Manila – regularly named the world’s dirtiest major airport – if your goal is tourism.
- Cagayan de Oro – known as the “City of Golden Friendship”, it is popular for white water rafting and is the gateway to Northern Mindanao.
- Davao – the largest city in the world by area, is known for its durian fruit and as the home of Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines.
- Tagbilaran – known as the site of the Sandugo (blood pact) between the Spanish conqueror Miguel López de Legazpi and Rajah Sikatuna, representing the people of Bohol.
- Vigan – the capital of Ilocos Sur and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its city centre is the best example of Spanish colonial architecture in the Philippines. Visit between 03:00 and 05:15 to enjoy some of the well-preserved cobbled streets and not the stench and noise of two-stroke engines.
- Zamboanga – known as “La Ciudad Latina de Asia” (Asia’s Latin City), is the melting pot between the Christian and Muslim cultures of the Philippines, with ancient mosques, large churches and historic colonial buildings.
Other destinations in Philippines
- The 2000-year-old rice terraces of Banaue are called the eighth wonder of the world by Filipinos and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. People are fascinated by the immense amount of work the Igorots do to produce these.
- Batangas is the birthplace of diving in the Philippines with world-class dive sites and beaches. Its accessibility by road, about 2 hours from Manila airport, makes it a popular destination. It is home to Taal Volcano and Taal Heritage Town.
- Boracay is a 10 km long island with white sandy beaches.
- Camarines Sur has beautiful coral reefs and coastlines of black and white sand. Visit the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex and go water skiing.
- Donsol is the whale shark capital of the world, dive and see whale sharks.
- Malapascua Island, like other islands in the Philippines, offers a beautiful white sand coastline and coral gardens.
- Palawan offers beautiful beaches and coral reefs that are home to a wide variety of creatures such as dugongs and manta rays. Puerto Princesa Subterranean Park: a cave with beautiful rock formations as well as an underground river.
- Puerto Galera, a popular destination for people during Holy Week because of its white sandy beaches and amazing flora.
- Sabang is a municipality in Puerto Galera. Dive in the beautiful waters and be amazed at the wildlife you will see.
- Tagaytay, tired of the old scene of the noisy metropolis of Manila? or do you miss the cool weather? Head to Tagaytay, it offers a view of Taal Volcano, the weather is cool and often an escape for Filipinos tired of warm tropical weather during Holy Week.