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Special Interests

In a country blessed by Mother Nature with unique landscape, vast lands and pristine rainforests, visitors hardly experience a dull moment in the Philippines. This heaven on earth offers plenty of activities to do, from hitting a few balls in a relaxing game of golf to challenging the fierce river in whitewater rafting. Whatever it is, these activities are guaranteed to lift up the spirit and make every visitor's stay delightful and definitely unforgettable.


Many would consider the Philippines as a diver's paradise simply because the islands offer a large selection of major diving spots, a variety of beautiful coral reefs, steep drop-offs, pleasantly warm waters as well as easy access to diving gear. In the Philippines, this is a popular activity for most tourists especially the underwater photographers. It is here that they can explore and photograph colorful coral reefs, multicolored tropical fish, the funny-looking nudibranchs or sea slugs, and many other extraordinary sea creatures.

Fishes of different species await the divers in this underwater paradise. Be it swimming with schools of snappers and garoupas, or come face to face with a shark, divers are guaranteed an unforgettable diving experience. The best diving season is from March to early June when rainfall is low, seas are calms and waters are crystal clear.

Diving enthusiasts can give the Apo Reef in Mindoro Strait a try. It is one of the country's best-known dive sites. Divers heading towards this 34 sq. km (13 sq. mi.) atoll-like reef can hire one of those live-aboard dive boats. Divers will have a whale of a time, as there is enough of underwater interest to last them for at least 10 days. San Jose, a half an hour flight from Manila is the jumping-off point for Apo Island. To the north of Apo Reef is the Shark's Ridge. Even though Shark's Ridge is still largely unexplored, nonetheless, it offers some really great drop-off diving. As the name suggests, divers can expect to have sightings of the black and white-tip sharks.

Once a restricted military area, Subic Bay now offers world class wreck diving. With a total of at least 20 merchant marine and naval ships sunk in the bay, it is not hard to see why this dive site is so popular among enthusiastic wreck divers.


The adventurous tourists might find the idea of caving very inviting. Although there are plenty of caves in the Philippines, only a handful of them have been explored. This is due to the unwillingness of the Filipinos to venture into the unknown depths of the earth. Since many of the caves were once burial grounds, it is quite common to discover skulls and bones. However, you will probably have a tough time finding any artifacts such as tools, vessels, jewelry and arms as these have been discovered during earlier explorations. For the brave ones, exploring in completely unknown caves might lead you to some war spoils left by the Japanese. Based on the calculation of the American columnist Jack Anderson, these war spoils are scattered over 172 hiding places in the Philippines with a value close to US$100 billion. The best place to go caving is Sagada, the mountain village that is famous for its many dark, spooky caves.


Unlike Switzerland's Swiss Alps, the Philippines does not have any alpine summits. Nevertheless, there are volcanoes worth climbing. According to the official list, there are 37 volcanoes, out of which 18 are active and 19 are dormant, but all are unpredictable.

Mountain climbing enthusiasts will find Mount Apo, a mountain surrounded by legend and mystery a challenge. The Bagobo people that live on the slope of this mountain on the island of Mindanao believe that Mount Apo had its beginning in the rainforest around Lake Venato. Today, Mount Apo National Park offers tourists a wide area of pristine tropical rainforest, waterfalls and boiling mineral springs. Standing majestically at 2,956 meters or 9,698 ft., it is the country's highest peak. Mount Apo, now classified as an inactive volcano, recorded only one eruption in 1640. Although classified as dormant, yet it still smolders. There is occasional tremors accompanied by the release of sulfurous gases and steam into the air due to geothermal activity. Mountain climbers heading towards Mount Apo can easily get there from Davao City with well-marked tracks to follow.

Whitewater Rafting

Challenging the fierce river on a whitewater rafting expedition is hardly everyone' cup of tea. For the fearless, this activity is seen as fun and exciting but for others, taking on the wrath of a river is just sheer madness. Be it fun or sheer madness, those preferring to defy all reasons of logic might find whitewater rafting in the Philippines a truly extraordinary experience.

A few hours drive to the north of Subic Bay will lead you to the fierce Bagsit River, one of the best place to experience a whitewater action. Since this place is virtually unknown, it is, therefore, seldom visited and largely unappreciated. Nevertheless, that will soon change as more and more people find out what the Subic Bay has to offer.


Since the country has some of the best courses in the world including several championship courses, it is no wonder that golf is such a big attraction for many visitors to the Philippines. Golfers will find this place a paradise as they tee off amid lush greenery and water-laced inland resorts accompanied by a pleasant climate which makes golf an ideal year-round sport.

There are more than 60 golf courses in the Philippines with most of them in Luzon. Golfers can also find some really fine courses in the large cities of the Visayas and Mindanao. Although the 1920s only saw a few thousand golfers, however, Philippine golf has become increasingly popular with the introduction of international tournaments as well as the growth of well-appointed country clubs. Ardent golfers can tee off at the Club Intramuros, operated by the Dept. of Tourism, located somewhere near the old Spanish fort in Central Manila. The club's 18 holes are open daily to the public.

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