The Philippines

The Philippines are an archipelago of over 7000 islands covering roughly 116,000sq miles, bordered by the Philippine Sea on the east, leading out to the Pacific Ocean, the South China Sea to the west and the Sulu and Celebes Seas to the south.  They have some of the world's most gorgeous beaches along the coastlines of most of these many islands.


As a country, The Philippines have had a rich but at times, quite a turbulent history, with occupations and rebellions bringing a change of Government many times over the centuries. Currently, The Republic of the Philippines is an independant democratic nation ruled by a president, a cabinet, a Senate and a House of Representatives, very similar to the US system.


The islands were independent until 1521, when they were claimed by the Spanish, when explorer Ferdinand Magellan claimed the islands for Spain.  In 1543 explorer Ruy Lopez De Villalobos named them Las Islas Filipinas, in honour of King Philip II of Spain, and in 1565 the first European settlements were built. The Spanish made Manila the capital of the Spanish East Indies, and Roman Catholic missionaries converted many of the population to Christianity. The Spanish built much of the city in the Spanish style, including the now-famous walled city of Intramuros that is in the centre of Manila, some of which is still standing today. The Spanish then reigned over the country for over 350 years, fighting off challenges from Chinese pirate warlords, the Dutch, and the Portugese, until in 1898, the Spanish were finally outed in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, after which, the Americans, with assistance from local revolutionaries, took control.  The islands were ceded to the USA by Spain in the 1898 Treaty of Paris, the islands and its people were  controlled by the Japanese buring World War II, some very major  battles were, including the Battles of Bataan and Corregidor,  after the end of the war the Americans were in control until 1946, when the Philippines regained their independence.  There are still American influences in modern day Philippines, including the similarity of governmental structure to the USA.


Today, the Philippines are a vibrant and diverse nation, with friendly, fun-loving people, breathtaking historical sights and fantastic scenery.


The capital city, Manila, is located on a large, natural deep-water bay on Luzon Island, the largest, northern-most island, and is the second most populated city in the Philippines, behind Quezon City, which is just to the north-east.  The main international airport is found in Manila, which is approximately 15 hours travelling time from the UK.International flight do operate into Cebu which is located in the middle island grouping of the Philippines archipelago and closer to the Islands that are home to the Resort hotels, however going to Cebu will require a connecting flight via a major Asian city such as Singapore, Seoul or Hong Kong.


There are many things to see and do around Manila, including the famous Spanish Walled City, Intramuros, many beautiful and ancient churches, including the 450 year old San Agustin Church, many museums, an amazing Chinatown, and a must-do on your trip, the stunning 2000 year old rice terraces in Banaue, a little way north of Manila city itself.  Built by the indigineous Ifugao people, the miles and miles of rice paddies stretch as far as the eye can see, up the side of the mountainsides.  An amazing sight, especially when you think they were all built by men with hand tools!


Many tourists visiting the Philippines don't often stay around Manila for any length of time, but tend to venture to some of the smaller outer islands, such as Cebu, Palawan and Boracay.  The outer islands are a mix of tropical rainforest-covered mountains, some of which are active volcanically, soft, white-sand beaches and warm turquoise seas.  Some of the world's most stunning beaches can be found in the Philippines, and when you add the warm, turquoise waters, sheltered bays, and  with the current advantageous exchange rate between the Philippines Paso to the UK pound, it makes the Philippines a very attractive priced destination  for UK travellers.


There are many hundreds of islands in the Philippines, with many Hotels and Resorts  properties to stay at, from the rustic, traditional and basic, up to 5 star luxury.  we have selected a small number of properties on the islands we feel  will offer you the best experience of  your visit to the Philippines, but we can offer any hotel or resort of your choice so if you don't see your required accommodation, just give us a call.


Safety and Security


Most of the Phillippines are not a problem and thousands of UK visitors travel to and vacation in the islands without incident.  Normal safety recomendations would certainly be highly recommended, including not wearing expensive jewellery, showing lots of money around, and remaining vigilant with regards to people and your surroundings. Always keep a copy of the ID page of your passport, as you may be stopped at any time by authorities and asked for identification.  Actual passport is not usually required and, for security is best left in hotel safe.  However, there are certain areas and islands that they advise against all travel and others that they advise against all but essential travel.  The main area of concern is the southern islands of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago, where military forces are in conflict with certain terror organisations and local insurgents.  Even the southern provinces on Cebu Island, it is not recommended that you travel there, and stay within the normal tourist areas in the north of the island.  It is also possible that terrorists could kidnap foreign nationals or carry out attacks in Manila at any time, including popular tourist locations, including shopping areas, public transport and airports. Visitors are urged to be vigilant at all times, and report anything suspicious to the authorities.


We strongly recommend you read the Foreign Office's advice if you are wishing to travel to the Phillippines


Click HERE to see the UK Foreign Office's latest advice for visitors travelling to The Philippines.


Please note: We are constantly updating the prices shown on this website, but due to volatility of the currency exchange markets at the moment with the UK Sterling rates, prices may vary from those shown.  If you wish to confirm any prices shown here, please contact us directly.


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