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More About Philippines
Spread out over 7000 islands, the Philippines are an ocean paradise with an endless variety of charms to choose from. Sun worshippers and beach bums have been drawn to the Philippines natural beauty for decades, but it also holds cultural intrigues that we highlight on our guided tours of the Philippines.
Nestled within Southeast Asia, guided tours of the Philippines show a country that has a completely separate feel to it. Human remains have shown the area to be inhabited as early as 67,000 years ago with theories of migration still being worked out. The most agreed on theory of wide scale migration is that the Filipinos arrived from Taiwan around 4000 years ago replacing the previous inhabitants. In the early history, Filipinos commenced trade with much of South East and Far East Asia.
In 1521, the Philippines were first visited by a western society, by way of Ferdinand Magellan and was claimed for Spain. This encounter would greatly alter the Filipino identity. For over three centuries, the Philippines would remain under Spanish control with Manila being their 'Pearl of the Orient'. Located on the eastern shores of Manila Bay, Manila lay at the heart of Spanish activity in the Far East during the 16th century. During its history, the city went on to witness several Chinese insurrections, a British occupation and a Sepoy mutiny, a war against the colonial Spanish and some of the bitterest fighting of World War II.
At the Walled City of Intramuros are the remnants of Spain's conquistadors. It is the oldest part of the city known as 'between the walls' and it was here that Miguel Lopez de Legazpi built a fort on the site of a ruined Islamic settlement, with walls 13 meters thick and 3km long. Within this protective enclave, the exclusive preserve of the Spanish ruling elite, were 15 churches and 6 monasteries. The imposing Roman Catholic Cathedral is here, and has been rebuilt countless times.
The importance of the Catholic Church has remained crucial in the Filipino identity for many, and our guided tours of the Philippines include a stroll through the cobbled streets to the UNESCO protected San Agustin Church, the country's oldest stone church.
After three centuries of European colonialism, and five decades of American intervention, the country has an unique characteristic. The hustle and bustle of modern day cities or laid back charm of small town villages are home to graffiti-sprayed jeepneys, where English is spoken widely, and a smiling face is never far away.
The friendly Filipinos often found around the world know that they have a home worth bragging about. One with mountainous islands covered in tropical rainforests, with mountain to sea ecosystems that hold some of AsiaÃ¢ÂÂs most important forests. It is one of the ten most bio-diverse countries in the world with an underwater beauty hardly rivaled anywhere else. It is a country with a motto that it is more fun in the Philippines, and weÃ¢ÂÂd have to agree. Join one of our tours of the Philippines to find out why.