Traversing the rugged terrains of Cordillera highlands in a span of one week is an adventure in itself and could be an immense learning experience for someone who has the guts to look down into the depths of mountain cliffs to get a good view of the rice terraces. With tall rice terraces at the backdrop and cool breeze shuttling between mountain peaks, a journey across the Cordillera mountain ranges exposes one to an atmosphere strangely different from the daily offering of Manila and its suburbs. More importantly, it provides a peek into the ancient Philippine civilization before the foreigners came.
A national cultural treasure, estimated to be more than 1,600 years old, is housed in an old dilapidated structure near the east bank of the Libertad river in this historic city and trade center of Agusan del Norte province. The Balanghai shrine, a one-storey building being maintained by the National Museum, houses two of the three ancient boats discovered and excavated from 1976 to 1986. A curator and restorer at the Balanghai Shrine said radiocarbon tests administered by Japanese experts on one of these boats suggested that the wooden boat could have existed as early as 320 AD. Another boat was carbon dated to be more than 1000 years old.
Yahoo, the world's most visited website, has listed Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, as one of the planet's top travel destinations. Manila was listed at No. 10 in the list of "10 passport-worthy locations thousands Yahoo! users chose as very best."
Imagine an egg, which weighs one and a half kilo and hatches into a chick as large as a full-grown hen. Imagine its long-necked mother, taller and heavier than most men, with powerful legs running as fast as a car. Imagine 600 of these creatures huddling as a herd in a farm nestled on the mountain. Fascinated yet scared, visitors of the farm are relieved to know that ostriches don't fly.
Raised as livestock animals weighing over 100 kilos each, around 600 ostriches – descendants of several pairs brought from Australia and the United States – found a home in the 10-hectare Philippine Ostrich and Crocodile Farms, Inc., an upland ranch owned by the Filipino-Chinese Limketkai family in Barangay Malanang. In the nearby Cagayan de Oro City, the Limketkai family owns one of the oldest and most familiar shopping malls.
The playful giant birds, unafraid of shorter humans, stretch their necks above the seven-foot barbed-wired fence to mingle with fascinated tourists. While they delight tourists simply by showing their huge form and round unsuspecting eyes, they are kept in the farm, primarily not for tourism, but to supply low-fat meat to fine diners in Metro Manila and other urban centers.
Swiss Global Connect USA began the first phase of its multi-billion-peso project in Zambales province. The company has committed to invest US$50 billion for infrastructure projects, property development, tourism, mining and an agricultural research centre in the area, according to Zambales Governor Amor Deloso. Swiss Global will implement the project under the government’s build, operate and transfer and build, operate and own programmes.
Cagayan de Oro City will put up a cable car system as a tourist attraction. Mayor Vicente Emano said the planned cable car system will start in the upstream area of the Cagayan de Oro River to allow viewers a good view of the rapids. The ride will end at the back of the City Hall which is also along the river.
As the capital city of Ilocos Sur province, Vigan is a beautiful Hispanic city most known for its cobblestone street called Calle Crisologo. Spanish houses dating back to the 18th century still stand on the site, which is frequented by both foreign and domestic tourists. Of course, there are other streets in Vigan that are also lined with old houses bearing the influence of European architecture.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has listed Vigan as a world heritage site for maintaining its buildings the way they were built centuries ago. The old houses in Vigan share the same features as those of Hispanic houses built in other towns in the Philippines with strong middle and upper class during the Spanish regime. Intramuros in Manila, of course, was the center of Spanish government in the Philippines at that time.
Parks and Zoos in the Philippines
From the CCP complex, one can proceed to Nayong Pilipino. This 32-acre theme park is also just a 10-minute drive from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The park features scaled-down replicas of the country's top tourist destinations such as Mayon Volcano, the Banaue Rice Terraces and the Chocolate Hills.
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