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Archive for philippines

A Mound of Chocolate in the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

Located on the island of Bohol in the Philippines, the Chocolate Hills are a series of more than 1,268 cone-shaped hills spread over an area of 19 square miles and varying in size from 98 feet to 393 feet in height. A popular legend attributes their formation to a clash between mythic titans. Geologists, however, chalk it up to thousands of years of weathering of marine limestone—or at least that’s the most commonly accepted theory for this anomaly. The chocolate designation arises from their color during the dry season. Whether verdant in the wet season or brown in the dry season, a good viewing point for this natural wonder is from the observation deck in Carmen despite the steep stair climb to get there.

Summer Capital of the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

In the summer months of March, April and May, residents of and visitors to the Philippines flock to Baguio where the weather is demonstrably cooler. Of course, that’s not the only reason to visit this mountainous region of the Cordillera. Its lively thoroughfare, Session Road, provides ample shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities. Quieter pursuits avail at Burnham Park and the serenity of Baguio Cathedral, noted for its rose-colored hues. It’s only a 50-minute flight from Manila.

A Grand Parade in the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

Think Mardi Gras without the beads. On the third Sunday of January each year Cebu City in the Philippines (the oldest Spanish settlement in the country) brings to a close the nine-day Sinulog Festival with colorful parades and dancing to the beat of drums, trumpets and gongs. For the origins of this street party, look to the 1500s, when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan planted a cross at Cebu and claimed the territory for Spain. He presented an image of the baby Jesus, the Santo Niño, to the island’s rulers, resulting in a conversion to Catholicism. The annual fiesta honors Santo Niño, and Magellan’s cross made of tindalo wood is a popular attraction in Cebu today. 

Christmas Capital of the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

The Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando, Philippines, is an annual event held on the Saturday preceding Christmas Eve. The spectacular lights have earned the city its moniker as “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.” Competition is fierce, and colored plastic lanterns are complemented by paper and fiberglass. This is where imagination really does soar.

A Natural Wonder in the Philippines

By Linda Tancs

Reputedly the world’s longest underground river, Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island in the Philippines winds its way through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. A clear lagoon meets the cave’s mouth, surrounded by ancient trees dominated by monkeys, monitor lizards and squirrels. The navigable river is one of seven new natural wonders of the world. And to that the locals say Mabuhay!

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