Tourism in the Philippines

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Palawan, which includes Coron, is named as the best island in the world by numerous travel magazines. It is also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.[1]
Basco Lighthouse in the Batanes Protected Landscape and Seascape, a UNESCO Tentative Site
Mayon Volcano in Albay UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Fort Santiago gate, one of the entrances to Manila's Intramuros district
Mount Apo, the highest elevation in the Philippines, a sacred mountain located in Mindanao island and an ASEAN Heritage Park
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, location of the first church in the Far East
Hanging coffins in Sagada, Mountain Province
Chocolate Hills, a geologic natural monument in Bohol and a UNESCO Tentative Site
One of the many Art Deco structures in Sariaya, the Philippine Art Deco capital
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site and Future Policy Awardee for marine resource management[2]
Some of the carvings in the Angono Petroglyphs, the oldest rock art in the Philippines and UNESCO Tentative Site
Nepenthes sibuyanensis from the highly-protected Sibuyan Island, an island internationally-acclaimed as comparable with the biodiversity endemism rate and geologic history of the Galapagos
The University of Santo Tomas possesses the oldest extant university charter in Asia.
Callao Cave, a paleolithic site in the Cagayan Valley where the 67,000-year old Callao Man was found and a UNESCO Tentative Site

Tourism is an important sector for Philippine economy. In 2015, the travel and tourism industry contributed 10.6% to the country's GDP.[3] Philippines is an archipelagic country composed of 7,641 islands with 82 provinces divided in 17 regions. The country is known for having its rich biodiversity as its main tourist attraction.[4] Its beaches, heritage towns and monuments, mountains, rainforests, islands and diving spots are among the country's most popular tourist destinations. The country's rich historical and cultural heritage (which is a mix of Asian, European, and American heritage), including its festivals and indigenous traditions, are also one of the attractions of Philippines. Popular destinations among tourists are El Nido in Palawan, Davao, Boracay, Siargao, Cebu, Manila and many more.

As of 2015, 4.99 million Filipinos have been employed in the tourism sector and the government collected P227.62 billion pesos from foreign tourists, almost 25% of which came from Boracay. The country attracted a total of 5,360,682 foreign visitors in 2015 through its successful tourism campaign of "It's More Fun in the Philippines". In 2017, foreign arrivals peaked at 6,620,908.[5]

The Philippines has garnered numerous titles related to tourism, namely, the traditional capital of the world’s festivities, the capital of the western Pacific, the centre of Hispanic Asia, the Pearl of the Orient Seas, center of the Coral Triangle, and the capital of fun. The country is also a biodiversity hotspot, having the world's highest endemism rate for bird species, and one of the highest for mammals and flora. It is also the largest bastion for Roman Catholicism in all of Asia. The country is also home to one of the New7Wonders of Nature, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and one of the New7Wonders Cities, the Heritage City of Vigan. It is also home to 6 UNESCO world heritage sites scattered in 9 different locations, 3 UNESCO biosphere reserves, 3 UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, 4 UNESCO memory of the world documentary heritage, 1 UNESCO creative city, 2 UNESCO world heritage cities, 7 Ramsar wetland sites, and 8 ASEAN Heritage Parks. More than 90% of all Filipinos can understand and speak English, as many are multilingual.[5]

Overview[edit]

Tourism makes an important part to the economy of the country. The growth of the economy had been into a major change since the end of the People Power Revolution up until to the present time because of the tourism growth.

In 2000, the Philippines' tourist arrivals totaled 2.2 million. In 2003, it totaled 2,838,000, a growth of almost 29%, and was expected to grow as much as 3.4 million in 2007. In the first quarter of 2007, the tourist arrival in the Philippines grew as much as 20% in same period last year. In 2011, the Department of Tourism recorded 3.9 million tourists visiting the country,[6] 11.2 percent higher than the 3.5 million registered in 2010.

In 2012, the Philippines recorded 4.27 million tourist arrivals, after the Department of Tourism launched a widely publicized tourism marketing campaign entitled "It's More Fun In the Philippines".[7]

The 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum ranked the Philippines 79th out of 136 countries overall. The country's best-rated features were price competitiveness (22nd) and natural resources (37th).[8]

The tourism industry employed 3.8 million Filipinos, or 10.2 per cent of national employment in 2011, according to data gathered by the National Statistical Coordination Board. In a greater thrust by the Aquino administration to pump billion[clarification needed] to employ 7.4 million people by 2016, or about 18.8 per cent of the total workforce, contributing 8 per cent to 9 per cent to the nation's GDP.[9]

The official heritage properties of the Philippines are listed under the National Government's Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP),[10] Pinagmulan: Enumeration from the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage,[11] and the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS).[12][13] Properties registered among those lists are heralded as possible nominations to the UNESCO World Heritage List, where at least 16 declarations containing 19 properties have been recognized by UNESCO through its 4 different lists (UNESCO World Heritage List, UNESCO Memory of the World Register, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List, and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Registry).

History[edit]

Tourism in the Philippines traces its origins during the ancient times when the first set of people chose to migrate through land bridges, followed by the other sets of migrations from the Malayan archipelago in the south and Taiwan in the north. Through time, numerous ethno-linguistic groups developed, until some of they became monarchies, plutocracies, hunter-gatherers, city-states, and so on. Trade also became part of the tourism as Arabs, Indians, Japanese, Chinese, Malays, and other ethnic groups in mainland Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Ryukyu traded goods with the natives. When the islands became part of the territory of Spain, an influx of Spanish people migrated into the country, though still few compared to the Spanish migrations in South America as the Philippines was farther from Spain.

The tourism industry first truly flourished during the late 19th to early 20th century due to the influx of immigrants from Europe and the United States. It was listed as one of the best countries to visit in Asia aside from Hong Kong and Japan, earning the nickname "Pearl of the Orient Seas". The tourism declined during and after the World War II, leaving the country with a completely devastated economy, and a landscape filled with destroyed heritage towns. The second wave of tourist influx flourished in the 1950s but declined drastically during the dictatorship era. After the People Power Revolution, the tourism industry continued to decline due to the domino effect caused by the dictatorship. The industry only managed to cope in 1991 and 1992, where 1.2 million tourists visited the Philippines. It afterwards waned again after a decade due to corrupt practices in government.

The tourism industry flourished again for the third time at the early part of the 2010s under the "It's More Fun in the Philippines" slogan, which was widely regarded as an international success, gaining international media attention. The country saw an influx of tourists from all over the world, with the help of social media and the creative tagline, the tourism went at its peak with having 5,360,682 foreign million tourists recorded in 2015.[14] The industry continued to grow in 2017, but the growth rate from Western tourists drastically decreased due to an ongoing drug war and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao. Nonetheless, the growth continued due to an influx of Asian and Russian tourists.[15]

Country visitor statistics[edit]

Rank Country 2018[16] 2017[17] 2016[18] 2015[19] 2014[20] 2013[21] 2012[22] 2011[23]
1  South Korea 477,087 1,607,821 1,475,081 1,339,678 1,175,472 1,165,789 1,031,155 925,204
2  China 371,429 968,447 675,663 490,841 394,951 426,352 250,883 243,137
3  United States 284,946 957,813 869,463 779,217 722,750 674,564 652,626 624,527
4  Japan 181,178 584,180 535,238 495,662 463,744 433,705 412,474 375,496
5  Australia 74,027 259,433 251,098 241,187 224,784 213,023 191,150 170,736
6  Taiwan 59,877 236,777 229,303 177,670 142,973 139,099 216,511 181,738
7  Canada 70,501 200,640 175,631 153,363 143,899 131,381 123,699 117,423
8  United Kingdom 56,521 182,708 173,229 154,189 133,665 122,759 113,282 104,466
9  Singapore 44,398 168,637 176,057 181,176 179,099 175,034 148,215 137,802
10  Malaysia 37,090 143,566 139,133 155,814 139,245 109,437 114,513 91,752
11  Hong Kong 36,777 111,135 116,328 122,180 114,100 126,008 118,666 112,106
12  India 32,999 107,278 90,816 74,824 61,152 52,206 46,395 42,844
13  Germany 28,809 85,431 86,363 75,348 72,801 70,949 67,023 61,193
14  France 26,664 64,777 55,384 45,505 38,946 39,042 33,709 29,591
15  Indonesia 19,993 62,923 44,348 48,178 46,757 45,582 36,627 34,542
16  Saudi Arabia 11,886 54,716 56,081 50,884 43,483 38,969 30,040 27,945
17  Thailand 14,076 48,727 47,913 44,038 45,943 47,874 40,987 37,862
18  Vietnam 11,802 39,951 33,895 31,579 29,800 26,599 20,817 17,781
19  Spain 11,409 36,954 32,097 24,144 19,353 17,126 15,895 14,648
20  Guam 8,600 36,637 38,777 35,262 38,016 42,204 42,695 41,013
21  Netherlands 9,430 33,821 31,876 28,632 25,236 22,595 22,195 21,029
22  Russia 11,341 33,279 28,210 25,278 32,087 35,404 28,270 20,185
23  Italy 10,373 30,437 25,945 21,620 19,865 17,668 16,740 15,798
24   Switzerland 10,099 29,837 29,420 27,200 25,548 24,907 23,557 22,335
25  New Zealand 7,956 28,983 23,431 20,579 17,704 15,783 14,100 12,782
All Countries 2,049,094 6,620,908 5,967,005 5,360,682 4,833,368 4,681,307 4,272,811 3,917,454

Annual statistics[edit]

Year Arrivals Change
1996 1,049,367
1997 1,222,523 Increase 16.5%
1998 1,149,357 Decrease 6.0%
1999 1,170,514 Increase 1.8%
2000 1,992,169 Increase 70.2%
2001 1,796,893 Decrease 9.8%
2002 1,932,677 Increase 7.6%
2003 1,907,226 Decrease 1.3%
2004 2,291,347 Increase 20.1%
2005 2,623,084 Increase 14.5%
2006 2,843,335 Increase 8.4%
2007 3,091,993 Increase 8.8%
2008 3,139,422 Increase 1.5%
2009 3,017,099 Decrease 3.9%
2010 3,520,471 Increase 16.7%
2011 3,917,454 Increase 11.3%
2012 4,272,811 Increase 9.1%
2013 4,681,307 Increase 9.6%
2014 4,833,368 Increase 3.3%
2015 5,360,682 Increase 10.9%
2016 5,967,005 Increase 11.3%
2017 6,620,908 Increase 11.0%
Jan-Jun 2018 3,706,721[24]

Attractions[edit]

Immovable Tangible Heritage[edit]

The Philippines has at least 144 distinct ethno-linguistic groups (all are classified as Filipinos, both mainstream and indigenous, by the government), each having their own distinct cultures. Each region of the Philippines has different traditions, honed and conserved by numerous ethnic groups distinct from each other. Currently, there are six UNESCO World Heritage Sites scattered in nine different locations (Vigan, Santa Maria Church, Paoay Church, San Agustin Church, Miagao Church, Rice Terraces of the Cordilleras, Tubbataha Reefs, Underground River of Puerto Princesa, and Mount Hamiguitan), two UNESCO World Heritage Cities (Vigan and Miagao), one UNESCO Creative City (Baguio), three UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (Palawan, Albay, and Puerto Galera), seven Ramsar Wetland Sites (Las Piñas-Parañaque, Lake Naujan, Puerto Princesa, Tubbataha Reefs, Olango, Agusan Marsh, and Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands) , and eight ASEAN Heritage Parks (Mount Apo, Mounts Iglit-Baco, Mount kitanglad, Mount Makiling, Tubbataha Reefs, Mount Hamiguitan, and Timpoong-Hibok-Hibok) in the Philippines. The last three lists reinforces the title of the Philippines as one of the biodiversity hotspots declared by Conservation International.[25] The following are the most significant natural and cultural heritage sites of the Philippines:

Region Attractions
Pangasinan-Ilocandia Churches of Ilocandia (includes Paoay Church, UNESCO World Heritage Site and Santa Maria Church, UNESCO World Heritage Site) • Vigan, UNESCO World Heritage Site • Bolinao • Heritage Railways and Stations of Luzon • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesLaoag
Igorot (Cordillera) Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, UNESCO World Heritage Site • Churches of CordilleraKabayan Mummy Burial Caves • Alab Petroglyphs • Mount PulagBaguio City, UNESCO Creative City • LubuaganKianganSagadaBalbalasang-Balbalan National ParkCassamata Hill National ParkMount Data National Park
Cagayan Valley Churches of Cagayan Valley (including Tumauini Church) • BatanesLal-lo and Gattaran Shell MiddensSierra Madre Range • Penablanca Petrographs • Paleolithic Archaeological Sites in Cagayan Valley (including Awidon Mesa Formation and Callao Limestone Formation) • Kalipung-awan (Philippine) Rise
Luzones (Central Luzon) MalolosBalerChurches of Central LuzonMount PinatuboSierra Madre RangeZambales Mountains • Heritage Railways and Stations of Luzon • San FernandoSpanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Bataan Monuments on World War II • Pampanga Sugar Central Sites • Historic Rice Plantations of Tarlac (including Hacienda Luisita) • Kalipung-awan (Philippine) RiseCandaba SwampSubicAngeles CityMinalungao National Park
Manila Churches of Manila (including San Agustin Church, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tondo Church, Binondo Church, Quiapo Church, San Sebastian Church, Malate Church, Santa Ana Church, and Ermita Church) • IntramurosRizal Park (including the National Museum of the Philippines, Rizal Monument, and the National Library of the Philippines) • University of Santo Tomas • Heritage Railways and Stations of Luzon • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • National Monuments of Manila (including the People Power Monument) • Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area, Ramsar Wetland Site
Katagalugan (Calabarzon) TaalChurches of CalabarzonKawitSariayaTayabasSierra Madre RangeAngono PetroglyphsLimestone tombs of KamhantikMount Makiling, ASEAN Heritage Park • Heritage Railways and Stations of Luzon • Mount BanahawSpanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesCorregidorKalipung-awan (Philippine) RisePagsanjan Falls
Ibalon (Bicolandia) Mayon VolcanoTicao Island Cultural Landscape • Churches of Bicolandia (including Daraga Church) • Mount Isarog • Whale-shark Congregation Areas in the Philippines (including Donsol) • Heritage Railways and Stations of Luzon • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesKalipung-awan (Philippine) RisePhilippine Trench
Minparom (Mimaropa) Sibuyan Island (including Mount Guiting-Guiting) • Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site • Tubbataha Reef, UNESCO World Heritage Site • Apo ReefCoron Island • Singnapan Cave Petrographs • Churches of MimaropaMounts Iglit-Baco National Park, ASEAN Heritage Park • Mount MantalingajanCuyo Archipelago • Tabon Caves • RomblonKalayaanSpanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesBoacCulionNaujan Lake National Park, Ramsar Wetland Site
Madja-as (Western Visayas) Churches of Madja-as (including Miagao Church, UNESCO World Heritage Site) • Iloilo CityNegros Sugar Central Sites • BacolodCentral Panay Mountain Range (including the Panay-Bukidnon Rice Terraces of Antique) • Heritage Railways and Stations of Negros • Heritage Railways and Stations of Panay • BoracaySpanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Historic Mango Plantations of GuimarasSilayVictorias • Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area, Ramsar Wetland Site
Sugbu (Central Visayas) Churches of Sugbu (including Loboc Church, Boljoon Church, and Lazi Church) • Chocolate HillsDumaguete • Early Philippine-Spanish Contact Sites (including Mactan and Poro Island) • Anda Petrographs • Negros Sugar Central Sites • Carcar • Whale-shark Congregation Areas in the Philippines (including Oslob) • Heritage Railways and Stations of Cebu • Heritage Railways and Stations of Negros • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesBantayan IslandPanglaoArgaoOlango Island Wildlife Sanctuary, Ramsar Wetland Site
Mairete-Iberein (Eastern Visayas) Churches of Samar-Leyte (including Guiuan Church) • Early Philippine-Spanish Contact Sites (including Homonhon and Limasawa) • CapulSohotan (Samar) Natural ParkLangun-Gobingob CavesSpanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesLeyte GulfBiri Larosa Protected Landscape and SeascapeBiliranMaripipiPhilippine Trench
Subanen (Zamboanga) Zamboanga CityChurches of Western MindanaoMosques of Mindanao (including Taluksangay Mosque) • DapitanSpanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesDipologPagadian
Amihan (Northern Mindanao) Camiguin (including Timpoong and Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument, ASEAN Heritage Park) • Churches of Western MindanaoMosques of MindanaoMount Malindang, ASEAN Heritage Park • Kitanglad Mountain Range, ASEAN Heritage Park • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Historic Pineapple Plantation of BukidnonJimenezOzamizJasaanBalingasagIliganMaria Cristina Falls
Butuan (Caraga) Butuan Archaeological Sites • Churches of Western Mindanao • Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Ramsar Wetland Site • Dinagat IslandsHinatuan Sacred RiverSiargaoTinuy-an FallsPhilippine Trench
Dabaw (Davao) Mount Hamiguitan, UNESCO World Heritage Site • Churches of Eastern Mindanao (including San Salvador del Mundo Church) • Mosques of MindanaoMount Apo, ASEAN Heritage Park • SamalPujada BayPhilippine Trench
Kotabato (Soccsksargen) Maitum Archaeological Site • Allah Valley Cultural Landscape (including Lake Sebu) • Churches of Eastern Mindanao • Mosques of MindanaoGlanMount Apo, ASEAN Heritage Park • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the PhilippinesAsik-asik FallsLiguasan Marsh
Bangsamoro Torogans Royal Abodes of LanaoMosques of Mindanao (including Masjid Dimaukom, Sheik Karimol Makhdum Mosque, and Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid) • TugayaLake LanaoSibutu-SitangkaiBongaoTurtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary • Tombs of Sulu Royalties • Tombs of Maguindanaoan Royalties • Tombs of Maranao Royalties • MarawiLiguasan MarshSpanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines

Movable Tangible Heritage[edit]

The Philippines possesses numerous significant movable tangible heritage, both in cultural and natural terms. Many of which have been declared as national treasures and are highly protected by the law. The country has four documentary heritage inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, namely, the José Maceda Collection, Philippine Paleographs (Hanunoo, Buhid, Tagbanua, and Pala’wan), Presidential Papers of Manuel L. Quezon, and Radio Broadcast of the Philippine People Power Revolution. Many of the cultural objects of the country are housed in government and private museums and libraries throughout the archipelago, such as the National Museum of the Philippines and the National Library of the Philippines. The country also has 5 mammal species, 4 reptiles, and 10 bird species (1 is migratory) listed by the Zoological Society of London as EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) species since 2018. Majority of coral species listed in the Top 100 EDGE Corals list can be found in the Philippines, which is the biodiversity center of the Coral Triangle. Species included in an EDGE lists are considered by the world's scientific community as species that need the greatest attention both in conservation and in research. Aside from movable heritage under Philippine possession, there are also Philippine-originated artifacts and art pieces that have been looted or bought by foreigners and are now housed by other countries. Such pieces include the Golden Tara, the two existing copies of Doctrina Cristiana, the Boxer Codex, the Balangiga bells, and many others. The following are select Philippine movable tangible heritage figures currently found within the Philippines.[10][26]

Type Figures
Cultural Jose Maceda Collection, UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Las Piñas Bamboo OrganUniversity of Santo Tomas Baybayin Documents • Philippine Paleographs (Hanunoo, Buhid, Tagbanua, and Pala’wan), UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Laguna Copperplate InscriptionBalangaySpoliariumManunggul JarTabon Skull CapCallao Bones • Presidential Papers of Manuel L. Quezon, UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Maitum Anthropomorphic Pottery • Sultan Kudarat-Maguindanao Anthropomorphic Pottery • Oton Death MaskBanton Cloth • Masuso Pots • Butuan Ivory Seal • Radio Broadcast of the Philippine People Power Revolution, UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Bolinao SkullGolden Tara • Monreal stone • Prehistoric beads in the PhilippinesEspaña y FilipinasPrehistoric grave goods in the PhilippinesLa BulaqueñaTampuhan (painting)Shell tools in the PhilippinesSan Diego (ship)The Parisian Life (painting)Philippine jade artifactsArnisPiñaIkatBakya
Natural Philippine Eagle, EDGE Bird • Alveopora excelsa, EDGE Coral • Sulu hornbill, EGDE Bird • Dugong, EDGE Mammal • TamarawPhilippine Pangolin, EDGE Mammal • Philippine TarsierCloud RatHawksbill turtle, EDGE Reptile • Leatherback turtle, EDGE Reptile • Sulu bleeding-heart, EDGE Bird • Alveopora minuta, EDGE Coral • Mindoro bleeding-heart, EDGE Bird • NarraWalingwalingYlang-ylangSpoon-billed sandpiper, EDGE Bird • Jade VineRoss' wolf snake • Moseleya latistellata, EDGE Coral • Philippine Crocodile • Cebu Small Worm Skink, EDGE Reptile • Cebu flowerpecker, EDGE Bird • Montastrea salebrosa, EDGE Coral • Northern Sierra Madre forest monitorDinagat gymnure, EDGE Mammal • Calamian DeerPhilippine Warty PigVisayan leopard catNegros bleeding-heart, EDGE Bird • Sardinella tawilisWhale shark • Turbinaria mesenterina, EDGE Coral • Philippine mouse-deerFin whale, EDGE Mammal • Shorea astylosaBlue whale, EDGE Mammal • Turbinaria peltata, EDGE Coral • Green turtle, EDGE Reptile • Sperm whale, EGDE Mammal • Black-hooded Coucal, EDGE Bird • Cebu brown-dove, EDGE Bird • Walden's hornbill, EDGE Bird • Stylocoeniella cocosensis, EDGE Coral • Lobophyllia serratus, EDGE Coral

Intangible Heritage[edit]

The Philippines is widely regarded as the traditional capital of the world's festivities due to the thousands of festivals occurring in the country annually. Festivals differentiate in the national level, regional level, provincial level, municipal (town) level, city level, and barangay (village) level. The country, having at least 144 distinct ethno-linguistic groups, has a wide range of intangible cultural heritage, ranging from oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices such as rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, to traditional craftsmanship. The country currently possesses at least three UNESCO intangible cultural heritage elements, one of which, the Hudhud Epic Chants of the Ifugao, was declared by UNESCO as one of the eleven great traditions of humanity. The other two elements inscribed by UNESCO are the Darangen Chant of the Maranao people of Lake Lanao and the Punnuk tug-of-war Game of the Ifugao. The following elements are select intangible heritage of the Philippines:[11]

Domain Intangible Heritage/Element
Oral Traditions and Expressions Hudhud Epic Chant of the Ifugao, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Element • Darangen Epic Chant of the Maranao, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Element • Biag ni Lam-ang Epic of the Ilocano • Salsila of the Tausug • Ulalim Epic of the Kalinga • Dulimaman Epic of the Itneg • Mi’Raj of the Sama Dilaut • Hinilawod Epic of the Sulod • Agyu Epic of the Manobo • Laji of the Ivatan • Kudaman Epic of the Tagbanwa and Palaw'an • Guman Epic of the Subanon • Lumalindaw Epic of the Gaddang • Loa of the Tagalog
Performing Arts Arakyo of the Tagalog • Sagayan of the Maranao • Zarzuela – Musical Theatre of the Tagalog • Singkil Dance of the Maranao • Moro y Cristianos Street Drama of the Tagalog • Pasion of the Tagalog • Moriones Festival of the Tagalog • Kuratsa Dance of the Waray • Kambuyok/Kambuyoka Song Joust of the Maranao
Social Practices, Rituals, and Festive Events Punnuk (Traditional Tugging Ritual) of the Ifugao, UNESCO Intangible Cultural Element • Ilocano Atang for the Dead • Magpandipandi of the Yakan • Hanunoo Mangyan Kinship • Kesiyahan of the T'boli • Bagongonon of the Kalinga • Pasaka of the Hanunoo Mangyan • Ba’i a Labi Coronation of the Maranao • Kapayvanuvanuwa Fishing Ritual of the Ivatan • Pupuwa Ritual of the Tagalog • Gomek Gomanan of the Bagobo • Dawdawak Ritual of the Kankanay • Prayer Rituals of the Kankanay • Adumba Rituals of the Kalinga • Isama Rites of Samal • Kalagan Rites of Passage • Yabyab Rites of the Kalinga • Ati-atihan festival of Aklan • Mo-ninum Ritual of the T'boli • Apung Iru of the Kapampangan • Kuraldal Atlung Ari of the Kapampangan • Peñafrancia Fluvial Festival of the Bicolano • Erwap (Rain Ritual) of the Bontok • Maffusi Ritual of the Ibanag • Sama Mortuary Rituals • Itneg Death and Burial Rituals • Pagbuy’is Ritual of the Tagbanwa • Lekat (Ritual Massage) of Maguindanao • Hamboki’an of the Ikalahan • Pag-gunting Rites of the Tausug • Uyaue (Baiya) Ritual of the Ifugao
Knowledge/Practices on Nature and Universe B’laan Astrology • Hanunoo Mangyan Cosmology • Jama Mapun Constellation of Tanggong • Tagbanwa/Pala’wan Cosmology • Tala’andig Cosmology • Klata Cosmology • Manuvu Cosmology • Matigsalug Cosmology • Tau’t Batu Cosmology • Punhugutan of the Hanunoo Mangyan • Jama Mapun Constellations • B’laan Sacred Trees Knowledge and Practices • Pamitu’on/Pamateun – Astral Lore of the Matigsalug Manobo • Ifugao Deities Knowledge
Traditional Craftsmanship Pis syabit of the Tausug • Maranao Goldsmithing in Tugaya • Sinadumparan Ivatan House Types • Torogan – Royalty House of the Maranao • Salakot of the Tagalog • Yakan Musical Instruments • Bubo and Other Fish Traps of the Ilocano • Sarimanok of the Maranao • Yuvuk of Itbayat • Mountain Terraces craftsmanship of the Ifugao • Piña Loom-weaving of the Aklanon • Tepo Mat (Baluy Mat Weaving) of the Sama • Tikog Mat of the Waray • Saked – Broom-making of the Kalinga • Balaka – Nito Hat of the Kankanay

In general[edit]

As an archipelago composed of 7,641 islands, the Philippines offers a range of attractions such as the white sand beaches of Boracay, shopping centers of Metro Manila, surfing spots in Siargao, rice terraces of Ifugao, Mayon Volcano in Albay, diving sites of Palawan, heritage houses in Vigan, and the cultural attractions of Cebu, Davao and Manila.

The island of Luzon is considered the political and economic center of the Philippines. The economy of Luzon is centered in Metro Manila, the national capital region. Manila was ranked 11th most attractive city for American shoppers out of 25 Asia Pacific cities by a Global Blue survey in 2012.[27] Shopping malls can be found around the metropolis, especially in the business and financial districts of Makati, Ortigas and Bonifacio Global City. Despite the rise of modern shopping malls, traditional Filipino shopping centers such as flea markets and bazaars still remain around the metropolis.

The Visayas, the central island group of the Philippines, is the heart of the country's biodiversity. The most popular beach destination in Visayas is Boracay: the island is popular for its pure white sand beaches and has been a favorite island destination for local and foreign visitors.[28][29] In 2012, Boracay received the "best island" award from the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure.[30][31] Aside from its white sand beaches, Boracay is also a popular destination for relaxation, tranquility and an exciting nightlife.[32]

Mindanao, the southernmost island of the Philippines, is known for its mountain ranges; it is one of the best climbing destinations in the Philippines. Mindanao is home to the country's highest mountain, Mount Apo. On average, it takes two days to reach the summit. The mountain has a wide range of flora and fauna, including over 272 bird species, 111 of which are endemic to the area, including the national bird, the Philippine eagle.[33] Mount Apo has become a popular hiking destination for mountain climbers.[34]

Filipino cuisine[edit]

Filipino cuisine is the polymerization of 144 distinct cuisines in the Philippines, coming from separate ethno-linguistic groups. The style of cooking and the food associated with it have evolved over many centuries from their Austronesian origins (shared with Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines) to a mixed cuisine of Indian, Chinese, Spanish, and American influences, in line with the major waves of influence that had enriched the cultures of the archipelago, as well as others adapted to indigenous ingredients and the local palate. Examples of Filipino food include kare-kare, lumpia, pancit, lechon, kaldereta, inasal, pinakbet, sisig, leche flan, halo-halo, pandesal, champorado, kinilaw, tocino, ensaymada, pitsi-pitsi, sapin-sapin, adobo, puto, chicharrón, bibingka, hopia, ube, gulaman, pinangat, satti, rendang, tinola, sambal, mami, lugaw, dinengdeng, atchara, nata de coco, kutsinta, suman, isaw, polvoron, pinikpikan, puto, and balut. Adobo and ube are the most internationally known.[35]

Tourism activities[edit]

Beach and diving tourism[edit]

Beach tourism is currently the major tourist draw of the Philippines. Various beaches in the Philippines have landed in multiple magazines, ranking them anywhere between 1st place to 8th place. Among the most popular beach and diving choices in the country includes Boracay, El Nido, Coron, Cebu, and Siargao. Other common beach places are in Samal, Cagayan, La Union, Pangasinan, Zambales, Batangas, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Camarines Sur and Zamboanga.

Hiking tourism[edit]

Hiking is a rising form of tourism in the Philippines, especially among locals and Western foreigners. Among the most famous hiking areas in the country are Mount Apo, Mount Pinatubo, Mount Halcon, Mount Banahaw, Mount Makiling, and Mount Pulag.

Research and education tourism[edit]

Due to the diverse number of flora and fauna of the country, researchers from around the world have flocked various biodiversity sites in Philippine environmental corridors. Among the big draws for environmental researchers include Mount Mantalingajan, Sibuyan Island, Dinagat Islands, Mount Hamiguitan, Central Panay Mountain Range, Verde Island Passage, Tubbataha Reef, Mount Malindang, Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park, and Turtle Islands, Tawi-Tawi. Local and foreign archaeologists and anthropologists have also flocked the country's archaeological sites, such as Cagayan Valley, Butuan, Tabon Cave, Callao Cave, Banton, Ifugao, Cebu, Lanao del Sur, and many others. Various universities in the country, such as University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, Silliman University, University of San Carlos, and University of Mindanao, have also been influential in research tourism, especially for graduate students and students seeking better review centers. Common nationals that seek graduate degrees or reviewer sessions in the Philippines usually come from India, South Korea, and Palau. Language schools with English language programs are also popular among Asian foreigners from South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Taiwan, and Japan. Government-approved institutions that teach suyat scripts, such as baybayin, have also become popular among locals and foreigners.

Arts and crafts tourism[edit]

Arts and crafts tourism in the Philippines has recently expanded following several attempts to establish a cultural renaissance. The numbers of art museums, galleries, exhibitions, festivals, and town fairs throughout the country has doubled in the past 10 years. The country was conferred its first UNESCO Creative City through Baguio in 2016. Other arts and crafts centers are in Manila, Quezon City, San Fernando City, Iloilo City, Angono, Santiago City, Cebu City, Basey, Davao City, Lake Sebu, Angeles City, Vigan, Basco, Zamboanga City, Marawi, Tugaya, Cotabato City, Sariaya, Tagbilaran, and Dumaguete.

Pilgrimage tourism[edit]

The Philippines is the Catholic pilgrimage capital of Asia, possessing hundreds of olden churches, most of which were established between the 15th to 19th centuries through the earthquake baroque architecture. Historic mosques, temples, and indigenous places of worship such as dambanas are also present throughout the country. Among the most popular pilgrimage sites in the Philippines are Paoay Church, Manila Cathedral, Maragondon Church, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Baclayon Church, Panay Church, Loboc Church, Daraga Church, Boljoon Church, Guiuan Church, Calasiao Church, Manaoag Church, Tumauini Church, Naga Cathedral, San Sebastian Church of Bacolod, Betis Church, Quiapo Church, Taal Basilica, Miagao Church, Caraga Church, Paete Church, Lucban Church, San Sebastian Church of Manila, Jimenez Church, Barasoain Church, Seng Guan Temple, Sheik Karimol Makhdum Mosque, Taluksangay Mosque, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid, Masjid Dimaukom, Mount Banahaw, Kabayan Mummy Burial Caves, Limestone tombs of Kamhantik, Bud Bongao, Mount Apo, Mount Bulusan, Mount Pulag, Callao Cave, Mount Kalatungan, Mount Matutum, Mount Makiling, Kanlaon, Mount Arayat, Mayon Volcano, Mount Pinatubo, and Mount Kitanglad.

Fiesta tourism[edit]

Various festivals in the country are flocked annually by both locals and foreigners. The country has been known as the traditional capital of the world's festivities and the capital of fun due to the thousands of festivals which happen in the country, most of which are annual spectacles. Among the most famous of these events are the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, the Kadayawan Festival of Davao, the Ati-Atihan Festival of Aklan, the Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, the Panagbenga Festival of Baguio, the Moriones Festival of Marinduque, the Pahiyas Festival of Quezon province, the Obando Fertility Rites Festival of Bulacan, the Pintados Festival of Leyte, the Sandugo Festival of Bohol, the Ibalong Festival of Bicol, the MassKara Festival of Bacolod, and the Giant Lantern Festival of Pampanga. Each of the festivals, or locally known as fiesta, have different traditions at play. The festivals may be indigenous, Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Muslim, or a mixture of religions in origin. Some festivals, however, are not interlaced with any form of religion.

Wellness tourism[edit]

Wellness tourism has recently doubled its contribution to Philippine tourism due to the rise of hilot (ancient Filipino art of healing) practices in spas, bath houses, and hotels. Surges in patriotism for whole-body firewood pot bathing and indigenous herbal usage have also helped the industry to prosper in the village-level. Staycation, or staying in hotels for relaxation purposes, has also become a trend, along with the increase of yoga, as rooted to the Indian roots of many indigenous Filipino cultures. Hilot havens include Camiguin, Siquijor, and Antique, while staycation destinations include the hotels of Manila, Bataan, Batanes, Tagaytay, Baguio, and Bukidnon.

Heritage towns and cities[edit]

The Philippines is home to numerous heritage towns and cities, many of which have been intentionally destroyed by the Japanese through fire tactics in World War II and the Americans through bombings during the same war. After the war, the government of the Empire of Japan withheld from giving funds to the Philippines for the restoration of the heritage towns they destroyed, effectively destroying any chances of restoration since the pre-war Philippines' economy was devastated and had limited monetary supply. On the other hand, the United States gave minimal funding for only two of the hundreds of cities they destroyed, namely, Manila and Baguio. Today, only the centres (poblacion or downtown areas) of Filipino heritage towns and cities remain in most of the expansive heritage cities and towns in the country. Yet, some heritage cities in their former glory prior to the war still exist, such as the UNESCO city of Vigan which was the only heritage town saved from American bombing and Japanese fire and kamikaze tactics. The country currently lacks a city/town-singular architectural style law. Due to this, unaesthetic cement or shanty structures have taken over heritage buildings annually, destroying many former heritage townscapes. Some heritage buildings have been demolished or sold to corporations, and have been replaced by commercial structures such as shopping centers, condominium units, or newly-furnished modern-style buildings, completely destroying the old aesthetics of many former heritage towns and cities. This is one of the reasons why UNESCO has repeatedly withheld from inscribing further Filipino heritage towns in the World Heritage List since 1999. Only the heritage city of Vigan has a town law that guarantees its singular architecture (the Vigan colonial style) shall always be used in constructions and reconstructions. While Silay, Iloilo City, and San Fernando de Pampanga have ordinances giving certain tax exemptions to owners of heritage houses.[36] In 2010, the Philippine Cultural Heritage Act passed into law, effectively giving protection to all cultural heritage properties of the Philippines. However, despite its passage, many ancestral home owners continue to approve the demolition of ancestral structures. In certain cases, government entities themselves were the purveyors of such demolitions.[37] Because of the minimal reach of the current governmental culture agency and the lack of awareness on the importance of Filipino sites, a bill establishing a Department of Culture was formally filed in 2016. The bill is expected to pass into law by late 2018 or early 2019 as it was declared a priority legislation by both houses of Congress. If the bill reaches its deadline, a secretary of culture will be appointed by June–July 2019.[38]

In Luzon, other notable heritage towns and cities include the UNESCO City of Manila, Taal, UNESCO Town of Banaue, UNESCO Townd of Mayoyao, UNESOC Town of Hungduan, UNESCO Town of Kiangan, Laoag, Sarrat, Pila, UNESCO City of Baguio, San Fernando, Bacolor, Guagua, Santa Rita, Malolos, Angeles City, Sabtang, Mahatao, Uyugan, Sariaya, San Pablo, Alaminos de Laguna, Tayabas, Lucban, Lucena, Balayan, Calaca, Kawit, UNESCO Town of Paoay, Batac, Roxas, Panay, Daraga, Legazpi, Camalig, Antipolo, Angono, Tanay, Morong de Rizal, Baras, Majayjay, Nagcarlan, Liliw, Magdalena, Pagsanjan, Paete, Pakil, Quezon City, Naga, Maragondon, Lingayen, Alaminos, San Miguel, Bustos, Plaridel, Angat, Baliuag, Los Baños, Calamba, Corregidor, San Juan de Batangas, Cabuyao, Biñan, Santa Rosa, Tuguegarao, Malabon, Sagada, Baler, San Juan de Manila, Daet, Tabaco, Batangas City, San Nicolas, UNESCO Town of Santa Maria, and Santa Cruz.[39]

In the Visayas, notable heritage towns and cities include Iloilo City, UNESCO Town of Miagao, Cebu City, Silay, Carcar, Argao, Dalaguete, Oslob, UNESCO City of Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Bacong, Romblon, Boac, Baclayon, Tagbilaran, Dauis, Panglao, Victorias, Capul, Cuyo, Taytay, Culion, Lazi, and Bantayan.[39]

In Mindanao, notable heritage towns and cities include Dapitan, Lake Sebu, Zamboanga City, Jimenez, Ozamiz, Oroquieta, Cagayan de Oro, Jasaan, Balingasag, Butuan, Cabadbaran, Iligan, Marawi, Jolo, Davao City, UNESCO Town of Tugaya, UNESCO Town of Mati, and Glan.[39]

Visa policy[edit]

The visa policy of the Philippines is governed by Commonwealth Act No. 613, also known as the Philippine Immigration Act, and by subsequent legislation amending it. The Act is jointly enforced by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

Generally, foreign nationals who wish to enter the Philippines require a visa unless:

  • He/she is a citizen of a member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
  • He/she is a citizen of a non-ASEAN member state whose nationals are allowed to enter the Philippines visa-free
  • He/she is a balikbayan and is only returning to the Philippines temporarily

Most foreign nationals are visa-free for 14 days, 30 day, or 59 days. Of more than 200 countries and territories, only around 30 need visas to enter the Philippines.[40][41]

Immigration and Customs[edit]

Guidelines on the entry of temporary visitors to the Philippines[edit]

Nationals from countries who are travelling to the Philippines for business and tourism purposes are allowed to enter the Philippines without visas for a stay not exceeding twenty-one days, provided they hold valid tickets for their return journey to port of origin or next port of destination and their passports valid for a period of at least six months beyond the contemplated period of stay. However, Immigration Officers at ports of entry may exercise their discretion to admit holders of passports valid for at least sixty days beyond the intended period of stay.[42]

Customs[edit]

Upon Arriving, visitors are allowed to bring in duty free personal belongings, two cartons of cigarettes or two tins of pipe tobacco and up to one liter of alcohol. Exceeding this is illegal. Balikbayans have separate rules and should check with the Embassy or Consulate in their home city.[42]

Currency[edit]

The currency in the Philippines is the Peso (PhP) and the Centavo. 100 centavos = P1. Coin denominations are: 1, 5, 10, and 25 centavos, P1, and P5. Bill denominations are : 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1, 000 pesos.[42]

Foreign currency may be exchanged at your hotel, and in most of the large department stores, banks and authorized money changing shops. Exchanging money anywhere else is illegal and the laws are strictly enforced.[42]

Most large stores, restaurants, hotels and resorts accept major credit cards including American Express, Visas and MasterCard. Traveller's checks preferably American Express are accepted at hotels and large department stores. Personal checks drawn on foreign banks are generally not accepted.[42]

Currency regulations[edit]

It is illegal for any incoming or outgoing passenger to bring in or out Philippine Pesos in excess of P10,000.00 without prior authority from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Any violation of this rule may lead to its seizure and civil penalties and / or criminal prosecution.[42]

The transportation of foreign currency or monetary instruments is legal. However, the carrying of foreign currency in excess of US$10,000.00 or its equivalent in other foreign currencies must be declared to a Customs Officer or the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Violation of this rule may lead to seizure and sanctions, fines and / or penalties.[42]

Transportation[edit]

Air Transportation[edit]

Currently, there are eleven airports classified by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines as International Airports. There are also hundreds of principal domestic airports and community airports throughout the country. Aside from the eleven international airports, there are also two international airports that are currently being constructed in Albay and Bohol. The eleven international airports include:[43][better source needed]

Sea Transportation[edit]

The country is a traditional sea vehicle user since pre-colonial times. The archipelagic country has four areas of ports concentration, as administered by the Philippine Ports Authority. These areas are the West Philippine Sea ports area, Philippine Sea ports area, Celebes Sea ports area, and Inland Seas ports area. Each area has hundreds of ports serving local and international ships and other sea vehicles.[44]

Land Transportation[edit]

Land transportation in the Philippines is administered through various means such as trains, jeepneys, tricycles, taxis, buses, and many others. Various Philippine expressway network have been established throughout the country to hasten land transportation. Construction of more expressway networks and train railways are currently being made by the government, especially for Mindanao. Rail transport in the Philippines is mostly administered by the Philippine National Railways, while the Philippine expressway network and the Philippine highway network are mostly administered by the Department of Public Works and Highways.

International Tourism Offices[edit]

Every town and city in the Philippines has at least one tourism office. The country has also established numerous tourism offices in various foreign countries. The international tourism offices include:[45]

Aside from the international tourism offices, embassies and consulates of the Philippines throughout the world also serve as de facto international tourism offices.

Threats to the tourism industry[edit]

Terrorism may pose the greatest threat to tourists' safety in the Philippines, notably in the southern regions bordering Malaysia. While most parts of the Philippines archipelago are relatively safe to visit, certain areas where terrorist cells have been at large are best avoided. The far-southern region is widely known as a no-go zone for foreign visitors. Areas surrounding Marawi City and other parts of the island are considered unsafe. This is because rebel groups like the Maute Group and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are active in these areas and have been held responsible for a number of violent incidents. However, since not all parts of Mindanao have terrorist cells and rebel areas, Mindanao is still a relatively safe place to visit and as long as you are aware of your surroundings and you have knowledge of the places you visit and have knowledge that these places should be avoided, then you can enjoy your travel as much as other tourist destinations.[46]

Certain militant Islamist groups such as Abu Sayyaf and Jema'ah Islamiyah are particularly dangerous, since they are responsible for the majority of recent attacks, which have included bombings, piracies, kidnappings and killings of foreign nationals if their government failed to pay the demanded ransom.[47] The New People's Army of the Communist Party of the Philippines has from time to time been listed as a rebel or terrorist group by the Philippines and the United States.[48]

Other threats are mostly focused on heritage destruction. There include cultural heritage destruction such as the demolitions of many heritage structures annually with little opposition from the government, government infrastructure projects (such as road projects) that destroy or damage heritage structures and archaeological sites, looting of heritage sites (usually by foreigners or locals paid by foreigners), illegal treasure hunting activities by foreigners and locals, limited funding for heritage restoration, a shift in mall culture, expansive establishment of structures (such as high-rise condominiums and casinos) in heritage zones, irresponsible and destructive heritage restoration activities from government and private entities, and urbanization of younger generations away from indigenous traditions, causing various rituals and practices to fade away due to the absence of a future bearer. Natural heritage destruction is also a huge problem due to mining, severe population growth, urbanization, introduction of invasive species, deforestation, irresponsibly establishing structures in forests (such as the proposed Sibuyan Island road project), irresponsibly enlarging structures and roads that lead to the chopping and destruction of centuries-old trees at road sides, illegal fishing, illegal hunting (usually by Chinese and Vietnamese foreigners), illegal wildlife trade, water pollution, air pollution, establishment of coal power plants (such as the proposed coal plant in Sariaya, a heritage town in Quezon), climate change, irresponsible tourists, and a lack of initiative in proper waste disposal among poor brackets in society.[49][50][51][52]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]