• Summer fun in the Philippines

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    summer20160429THE Philippines is known for its countless, spectacular beaches, amazing destinations, festive fiestas, friendliest people, and cool summer fun. Indeed, the Philippines offers some of the most exciting activities during summer. Here are some fun activities to choose from.

    Frolick in the country’s top beaches
    With one of the longest coastlines in Asia at 36,289 kilometers, the Philippines is blessed with fine powdery white sand beaches with clear and cool blue waters. Get the perfect tan at Boracay Island, Aklan; El Nido and Honda Bay, Palawan; Pearl Farm, Davao; Siargao; Camiguin Island; Mactan Island, Cebu; Panglao, Bohol; Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte; Puerto Galera, Mindoro; Nasugbu and Lian, Batangas; Ternate, Cavite; and many more.

    Dive and enjoy underwater experience
    Known as Asia’s Dive Capital, the Philippine boasts of seas that are among the most bio-diverse and marine-rich waters in the world. For amateur divers, they can train and get their licenses at any of the diving centers in Anilao, Puerto Galera, and Boracay.

    Those trained can dive with professional divers in the following sites: the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tubbataha Reef in Palawan and some of the best wreck diving sites in the world like Coron, also in Palawan; Verde Island in Mindoro Oriental; Apo Reef National Park in Mindoro Occidental; the Apo Island Marine Reserve and Fish Sanctuary in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental; Balicasag and Pamilacan Islands in Bohol; and Malapascua and Moalboal/Pescdeo Islands in Cebu.

    Explore an adventure of a lifetime
    A lot of adventures await sports enthusiasts. Play a few rounds of golf in various golf courses around the country; snorkel and interact with the gentle whale sharks in Donsol, Sorsogon; surf in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, Baler, Aurora, Daet, Camarines Sur, and in Catanduanes province; climb the country’s highest peak at 9,689 feet—Mt. Apo in Davao City, Davao; trek Mt. Pinatubo or explore the Callao caves in Tuguegarao, Cagayan province; go white river rafting in Cagayan de Oro river; or go kayaking and canoeing at the Bacuit archipelago and at the St. Paul Subterranean Cave, both in Palawan; windsurf in Lake Caliraya or in Taal Lake, kitesurf in Boracay, wakeboard in Pili, Camarines Sur.

    Relax and enjoy Filipino massage
    Before spa was introduced in the country, Filipinos frequent manghihilot for a “healing” massage. Now, there are spa centers in the country that offer traditional Filipino hilot that relaxes and heals tired muscles and aching joints. Among the famous spa centers include Nurture Spa in Tagaytay, Sanctuario Spa in Manila, Mandala Spa in Boracay, Chi Spa Village in Shangri-la, Mactan, Cebu, and The Farm in San Benito, Batangas.

    Indulge in festive foods and cold drinks
    Fiestas abound during the summer season. Besides the summer cool halu-halo, ice cream, ice drop, gulaman at sago, fruit shakes, and more drinks, be ready to put on a few extra pounds with lechon, adobo, kare-kare, sinigang, and more local dishes. For the adventurous, they can try balut, dinuguan with puto, and suman. For other dishes, a lot of restaurants offer various cuisines endemic to the Philippines.

    Shop till you drop
    The Philippines is a shopping haven, even during the hot season. Most shopping malls in the cities like Manila, Makati, Cebu, Davao, and Iloilo practically have everything you need—from designer brands to items that fit the budget of every shopper. While having summer break, visit the local centers and local flea markets called tiangge, which offer quality items at bargain prices.

    Filipino summer culture at its best
    During the summer season, Filipino culture is showcased in various ways like the Holy Week rituals—a proof of the Filipinos’ deep Catholic roots—and the feast of the patron saint. One example of this feast is the Pahiyas in Lucban Quezon on May 15, which is the annual harvest festival and feast of San Isidro Labrador. Witness the colorful display of kiping and other thanksgiving offerings hung in front of houses and line the street, where the procession of the image of the patron saint will pass. Giant papier-mache effigies join the parade to add to the spectacle of the celebration. Another celebrated event is the Santacruzan, a Maytime procession of beautifully gowned young ladies called sagalas to re-enact St. Helen’s quest for the Holy Cross.

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