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A fiesta of diversity

The Phillippines is in so many ways a country of incredible diversity. Whether it be geographically, culturally, or zoologically. The country is made up of an archipelago of 7,107 islands that stand in the waters of four different seas. The clear blue waters of the Sulu Sea, South China Sea, Philippine Sea, and the Celebes Sea all wash over the golden sands of the Philippines’ many beaches. Many of the islands are volcanic, and have mountains girded by belts of jungle and forest, such as Puerto Galera.

The Philippines is one of only 17 countries awarded the status of megadiversity, in respect of it’s harbouring such a great proportion of the earth’s species of animal and plant life. It’s marine life is stunning, which combined with so much coastline have turned the Philippines into a diver’s paradise. One of the highlights is diving amongst the wrecks of World War II Japanese warships, in the waters around Palawan, where divers share the water with dolphins and manta rays.

The cultural makeup of the Philippines is equally varied. In addition to the aboriginal Negrito tribes, who are now quite a small group, the largest group is the descendants of Austronesian (Malayo Polynesian) people who settled over a thousand years ago. The Austronesians themselves can be divided into approximately 14 different tribes. And there are many other significant groups. Filipinos of Chinese descent are the next largest group, followed by the descendants of Spanish conquistadors who invaded in the 16th century. Spain ruled the Philippines until they were defeated in the Spanish-American War. The US then ruled the islands until they were awarded independence in 1946. As a consequence there is also a large American influence in the Philippines, particularly in modern music and cinema. The Spanish influence is most visible however, especially in the older architecture and street names. Tagalog is the official language, English is much used also, but in total there are more than 150 languages and dialects spoken here.

The Philippines are well served by airlines, with direct routes from the US, Europe, the Middle East and most other parts of Asia. Although it can be an expensive destination given it’s relative distance from the West, try using a travel search engine. They compile a list of available fares, making it easy to find the best deals. And with the economic downturn pushing down fares, now is a great time to look for those rock-bottom prices.

Prices and products are correct at the time of writing (20.11.08) and may be changed at the discretion of the provider.

Other Associated Articles:
A Diver's Paradise
A fiesta of diversity
Dreaming of a Megadiverse Christmas
Tubbataha Reef
UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Philippines
Holiday Travel with your Pets

  

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A Diver’s Paradise

There are few, if any, more popular places to dive in the world than the Philippines. And with good reason. A country that consists of 7,107 islands in an archipelago spanning four different tropical seas naturally offers an amazing plethora of diving opportunities, and can cater to all abilities, from the complete novice who has never seen a wetsuit in their life, to the experienced professional. The Philippines receives approximately two million tourists each year, and it is unsurprising to those who know the place that many of these visitors come specifically to scuba dive. A Diver’s Paradise

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