Tourism is an important sector for Philippine economy. In 2015, the travel and tourism industry contributed 10.6% to the country’s GDP. 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. 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.
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.
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.
Immovable Tangible Heritage
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. The following are the most significant natural and cultural heritage sites of the Philippines:
|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 Philippines • Laoag|
|Igorot (Cordillera)||Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, UNESCO World Heritage Site • Churches of Cordillera • Kabayan Mummy Burial Caves • Alab Petroglyphs • Mount Pulag • Baguio City, UNESCO Creative City • Lubuagan • Kiangan • Sagada • Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park • Cassamata Hill National Park • Mount Data National Park|
|Cagayan Valley||Churches of Cagayan Valley (including Tumauini Church) • Batanes • Lal-lo and Gattaran Shell Middens • Sierra 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)||Malolos • Baler • Churches of Central Luzon • Mount Pinatubo • Sierra Madre Range • Zambales Mountains • Heritage Railways and Stations of Luzon • San Fernando • Spanish 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) Rise • Candaba Swamp • Subic • Angeles City • Minalungao 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) • Intramuros • Rizal 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)||Taal • Churches of Calabarzon • Kawit • Sariaya • Tayabas • Sierra Madre Range • Angono Petroglyphs • Limestone tombs of Kamhantik • Mount Makiling, ASEAN Heritage Park • Heritage Railways and Stations of Luzon • Mount Banahaw • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Corregidor • Kalipung-awan (Philippine) Rise • Pagsanjan Falls|
|Ibalon (Bicolandia)||Mayon Volcano • Ticao 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 Philippines • Kalipung-awan (Philippine) Rise • Philippine 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 Reef • Coron Island • Singnapan Cave Petrographs • Churches of Mimaropa • Mounts Iglit-Baco National Park, ASEAN Heritage Park • Mount Mantalingajan • Cuyo Archipelago • Tabon Caves • Romblon • Kalayaan • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Boac • Culion • Naujan Lake National Park, Ramsar Wetland Site|
|Madja-as (Western Visayas)||Churches of Madja-as (including Miagao Church, UNESCO World Heritage Site) • Iloilo City • Negros Sugar Central Sites • Bacolod • Central Panay Mountain Range (including the Panay-Bukidnon Rice Terraces of Antique) • Heritage Railways and Stations of Negros • Heritage Railways and Stations of Panay • Boracay • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Historic Mango Plantations of Guimaras • Silay • Victorias • Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area, Ramsar Wetland Site|
|Sugbu (Central Visayas)||Churches of Sugbu (including Loboc Church, Boljoon Church, and Lazi Church) • Chocolate Hills • Dumaguete • 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 Philippines • Bantayan Island • Panglao • Argao • Olango 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) • Capul • Sohotan (Samar) Natural Park • Langun-Gobingob Caves • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Leyte Gulf • Biri Larosa Protected Landscape and Seascape • Biliran • Maripipi • Philippine Trench|
|Subanen (Zamboanga)||Zamboanga City • Churches of Western Mindanao • Mosques of Mindanao (including Taluksangay Mosque) • Dapitan • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Dipolog • Pagadian|
|Amihan (Northern Mindanao)||Camiguin (including Timpoong and Hibok-Hibok Natural Monument, ASEAN Heritage Park) • Churches of Western Mindanao • Mosques of Mindanao • Mount Malindang, ASEAN Heritage Park • Kitanglad Mountain Range, ASEAN Heritage Park • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Historic Pineapple Plantation of Bukidnon • Jimenez • Ozamiz • Jasaan • Balingasag • Iligan • Maria Cristina Falls|
|Butuan (Caraga)||Butuan Archaeological Sites • Churches of Western Mindanao • Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Ramsar Wetland Site • Dinagat Islands • Hinatuan Sacred River • Siargao • Tinuy-an Falls • Philippine Trench|
|Dabaw (Davao)||Mount Hamiguitan, UNESCO World Heritage Site • Churches of Eastern Mindanao (including San Salvador del Mundo Church) • Mosques of Mindanao • Mount Apo, ASEAN Heritage Park • Samal • Pujada Bay • Philippine Trench|
|Kotabato (Soccsksargen)||Maitum Archaeological Site • Allah Valley Cultural Landscape (including Lake Sebu) • Churches of Eastern Mindanao • Mosques of Mindanao • Glan • Mount Apo, ASEAN Heritage Park • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines • Asik-asik Falls • Liguasan Marsh|
|Bangsamoro||Torogans Royal Abodes of Lanao • Mosques of Mindanao (including Masjid Dimaukom, Sheik Karimol Makhdum Mosque, and Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid) • Tugaya • Lake Lanao • Sibutu-Sitangkai • Bongao • Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary • Tombs of Sulu Royalties • Tombs of Maguindanaoan Royalties • Tombs of Maranao Royalties • Marawi • Liguasan Marsh • Spanish Colonial Fortifications of the Philippines|
Movable Tangible Heritage
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.
|Cultural||Jose Maceda Collection, UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Las Piñas Bamboo Organ • University of Santo Tomas Baybayin Documents • Philippine Paleographs (Hanunoo, Buhid, Tagbanua, and Pala’wan), UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Laguna Copperplate Inscription • Balangay • Spoliarium • Manunggul Jar • Tabon Skull Cap • Callao Bones • Presidential Papers of Manuel L. Quezon, UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Maitum Anthropomorphic Pottery • Sultan Kudarat-Maguindanao Anthropomorphic Pottery • Oton Death Mask • Banton Cloth • Masuso Pots • Butuan Ivory Seal • Radio Broadcast of the Philippine People Power Revolution, UNESCO Documentary Heritage • Bolinao Skull • Golden Tara • Monreal stone • Prehistoric beads in the Philippines • España y Filipinas • Prehistoric grave goods in the Philippines • La Bulaqueña • Tampuhan (painting) • Shell tools in the Philippines • San Diego (ship) • The Parisian Life (painting) • Philippine jade artifacts • Arnis • Piña • Ikat • Bakya|
|Natural||Philippine Eagle, EDGE Bird • Alveopora excelsa, EDGE Coral • Sulu hornbill, EGDE Bird • Dugong, EDGE Mammal • Tamaraw • Philippine Pangolin, EDGE Mammal • Philippine Tarsier • Cloud Rat • Hawksbill turtle, EDGE Reptile • Leatherback turtle, EDGE Reptile • Sulu bleeding-heart, EDGE Bird • Alveopora minuta, EDGE Coral • Mindoro bleeding-heart, EDGE Bird • Narra • Walingwaling • Ylang-ylang • Spoon-billed sandpiper, EDGE Bird • Jade Vine • Ross’ 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 monitor • Dinagat gymnure, EDGE Mammal • Calamian Deer • Philippine Warty Pig • Visayan leopard cat • Negros bleeding-heart, EDGE Bird • Sardinella tawilis • Whale shark • Turbinaria mesenterina, EDGE Coral • Philippine mouse-deer • Fin whale, EDGE Mammal • Shorea astylosa • Blue 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|
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:
|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|
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. 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. In 2012, Boracay received the “best island” award from the international travel magazine Travel + Leisure. Aside from its white sand beaches, Boracay is also a popular destination for relaxation, tranquility and an exciting nightlife.
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. Mount Apo has become a popular hiking destination for mountain climbers.
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, and balut. Adobo and ube are the most internationally known.
Beach and diving tourism
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 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
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
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.
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.
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 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
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Source from Wikipedia