The Philippines is home to six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, spanning nine locations, each of which holds cultural or natural significance to the country. From Baroque churches to national parks, here are the sites that you should definitely not miss.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park
The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located in the Palawan province in the Saint Paul Mountain Range. The sharp, karst limestone ridges here make up around 90% of the park, and these dramatic landscape features are, without a doubt, one of its main highlights. The subterranean river system that the park is also known for stretches out for just over five miles, and features several large chambers that are popular spots for divers to explore.
The historic town of Vigan was first established in the 16th century, and is one of the best-preserved examples of an Asian Spanish colonial town on the entire continent. The merging of cultural influences here is incredible, and you can see features from China and Europe that have been blended together in truly unique ways.
Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras
The rice terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras have been around for more than 2000 years, and are living landscapes dedicated to the production of one of the most staple crops in the world. The techniques that are used here to grow rice date back many centuries, and showcase the way in which humans are able to live in harmony with nature, rather than fighting against it. This is one of the only areas in the Philippines that has managed to stay free of colonial influences, and the history of the local tribes here is definitely worth learning more about.
The Church of San Agustin
The Church of San Agustin is a great example of earthquake Baroque architecture, as it features a number of aspects that have been designed to protect the structure from any damage during earthquakes. The church features 14 buttresses, as well as a huge coral stone tower, although this was only added 50 years after the church was originally completed.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
If you are someone that appreciates nature and marine life, then the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is a must-visit. Lying in the center of the Sulu Sea, this park protects an area of around 250,000 acres, and is home to a diverse array of marine life. From whales and dolphins to sharks and Napolen wrasse, there are several species to be found here, including 500 species of fish and 350 species of coral. This is also where one of the only remaining colonies of breeding seabirds in the region call home, showing just how important this site is.
While the Philippines is home to several cultural and historic sites of interest, its UNESCO World Heritage Sites should definitely not be missed. From the abundance of marine life at the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park to the colonial culture of Vigan, try to explore as many of these areas as you can.