Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 8, Philippines

Today my very dear and special friend, Mel from Germany, will finally accompany me on a trip

We have wanted to do this for years.......She so richly deserves a holiday so I am taking her to the PHILIPPINES ; a chain of around 7,000 beautiful islands and the only predominantly Christian country in Asia.

So let's go.........

First stop:

Since Mel deserves a break from the rat race........we are going to start with some island hopping and the perfect place is Boracay Beach, off the north-western tip of Panay, it is popular for its famous white-sand beaches, unlike the pebble beaches in the south of France....

The Hundred Islands National Park is in the province of Pangasinan in northern Philippines. It is located in Alaminos City & they are believed to be about two million years old.

Corregidor is an island in the entrance of the Philippines' Manila Bay

We heard the locals mention something about a "chocolate hill" we are going to find it......yummy......

What?? They are not made of chocolate???

The Chocolate Hills is an unusual geological formation in Bohol, Philippines.

There are 1,776 hills spread over an area of more than 50 square kilometres (20 sq mi) & are covered in green grass that turns brown during the dry season, hence the name!!

It is featured in the provincial flag and seal. It has been declared the country's 3rd National Geological Monument and proposed for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List....

We simply cannot miss Banaue, with its magnificent rice terraces which were carved out of the hillside by Ifugao tribal people 2,000to 3,000 years ago.& passed on from generation to generation. The Ifugao Rice Terraces represent an enduring illustration of an ancient civilization that surpassed various challenges and setbacks posed by modernization

Next on our heritage sites list is the Miag-ao Church,

built in 1786 by Spanish Augustinian missionaries, had been declared as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Baroque Churches of the Philippines" in 1993. On the front facade, flanked by two watchtower belfries, the unique blending of Spanish and native influences manifests. The church was used as a fortress during the olden days.

on to.....

Church of San Agustin in Paoay, Ilocos Norte

The Church of San Agustin in Paoay is reputed to be the finest example of "earthquake Baroque". The outstanding feature of the church building is its fourteen buttresses which line the enormous volute of the church building giving the sense ofsturdiness and strength, enabling it to withstand many earthquakes. In 1993, San Agustin Church joined three other Philippine churches constructed during colonial period to receive UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The Philippine government had named the site a National Historical Landmark in 1976.

And to finish off our trip to the Philippines we are in Puerto Galera- ........definitely one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World

The area was designated a Man and Biosphere Reserve of UNESCO in 1973 and has some of the most diverse coral reef diving in Asia so Mel really enjoyed the diving :-)

Until next we meet

Mabuhay (pronunciation: mah-BOO-hahy)....that's Filipino for "Live Long and Prosper"........hmm, is that where Mr Spock learnt this??

Good night