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Travel: Find Your Way in the Philippines

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A first year student at Brighton tells us why we should visit the Philippines from her own experience…

Whether it’s looking at beautiful landscapes or partying on the beach, the Philippines has plenty on offer, whoever you are and whatever you like to do. The country has a whole host of exciting spots to visit, and while there’s lots of hype around Thailand and Vietnam, this is one place that definitely shouldn’t be skipped on your South East Asian adventure. With student travel agencies such as STA Travel offering great flight deals from as little as £399, there’s so many reasons to visit this hidden gem:

It boasts some of the best beaches you’ll ever get sunburnt on…

One is the famous Boracay beach, which is the jewel of the Philippines. It’s home to both luxurious hotels and cosy hostels, sunbeds and water sports and last but not least cocktails, and lots of them. If you want to party the night away there’s plenty of bars and clubs to satisfy you and if you stumble upon the Full and Black Moon parties, you’ll be sure to have one of the best nights of your life. If that isn’t enough, Bulabog beach will set your adrenaline pumping with its wind and kite surfing activities.

No amount of photos will replicate quite how stunning the sites are…

The Philippines offers some of the most glorious views and natural landscapes you’ll ever see. The Rice Terraces really are a sight to behold, having been carved out of the mountain sides about 2000 years ago. You can trek through the terraces and stand in awe as you see them stretch across the landscape. For the best viewing spots, head to Banue or Batad to gaze at this amazing wonder of the world.

If you thought the natural beauty ended with the Rice Terraces you’d be very wrong. How about taking a bite of the Chocolate Hills? A sight possibly better than the taste of the delicious treat, you can spend some time marvelling at the unusually shaped group of hills nestled in the tranquil countryside of Bohol. STA Travel offer package tours where you can take in the hills in the morning and then head out to see the world’s smallest primates, the endangered Tarsier monkey, which are definitely worth a look – if only to decide whether they’re cute or ugly.

You can soak up some culture too…

The capital city Manila is packed with things to see and do, from theatres and art galleries to parks and museums. Send your taste buds into a swirl at the Salcedo Community Market which offers a range of local cuisine that will have you wandering the market for hours.

If history’s your thing, the famous walled city of Intramuros is where you should head to. If the history doesn’t lure you in then perhaps the segway tour of the city will, an offer difficult to refuse. Intramuros is home to Fort Santiago, a Japanese prisoner of war camp in WWII, which is now a popular tourist destination. Equally, the San Agustin church and monastery has some interesting architecture to peruse.

And even volunteer in the local community…

If you really want to get to know a country, you need to immerse yourself completely within the local community and become part of the activities of everyday life. The Philippines offers plenty of opportunities to volunteer, from teaching in schools to helping on farms. A fulfilling and rewarding experience, you are able to learn new skills like cheese and chocolate making while giving something back to the community at the same time. STA Travel can help you organise volunteering trips that put you right into the heart of local life.

There’s more to be seen beyond the land…

The Philippines provides just as much under water as it does on land. Coron is a great place for your first diving experience. The clear waters and amazing lagoons allow you to see colourful coral gardens and underwater marine life. There’s also a diving school, giving you the opportunity to take a 3-day course and earn your license there and then.

With so much on offer from the Philippines and so many deals available with STA Travel, this is a country that you can now afford not to miss. For more information and ideas, head to their website.

By Lily Almeida

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