The Philippines is a country that is made up of a large number of islands that lies in the western portion of the Pacific Ocean, and with a population of over ninety million it is among the largest countries in Asia. However, this large population doesn’t mean that it is a fully urbanized country, and there are still vast areas of beautiful beaches and natural beauty to be found here. For tourists to the Philippines, the natural sights to be enjoyed on these islands are often just as important as the experiences they have and the cities they visit.
Puerto Princesa Subterranean River
This underground river is one of the most remarkable sights in the whole of Asia, and with a huge cave dome above the river itself and stunning rock formations, it is a truly unique experience to visit the site. The river in question here is the CabayuganRiver which runs under the limestone rock of the hills for over eight kilometers, and has carved out a number of stunning chambers. Because of the lack of oxygen, visitors are only allowed to see some of the river, but can still enjoy wonderful rock formations such as stalactites.
As the river itself flows into the sea, much of the underground river is subject to tidal effects, and this means that the ecosystem itself is also unique. Because of the species of bats and marine creatures along with the river itself, the river was designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
As the largest mountain in the country, MountApo is naturally one of the most attractive places for hikers and climbers coming to the country. The steep sides of the mountain rise from the flat land surrounding it, and is believed to be a stratovolcano that may be active, and as it rises from a very flat island climbers will be climbing from a very low starting point up to the peak at 2,954 meters above sea level.
As well as being a popular climbing and hiking destination, MountApo is also noted because of its diverse natural ecosystem which includes many species only found in the region. One of these species is the Philippine Eagle, which is critically endangered although still sometimes sighted in the air around the mountain.
Sierra Madre Mountain Range
The view from the highest point in the Sierra Madre is without doubt one of the most beautiful scenes in the whole of the Philippines, with the tropical forests covering the land as far as the eye can see. A part of the range itself is made up of the Quezon National Forest Park, where the best of these forests are managed and cared for. Within these forests are many animal and bird species, and the change in the climate can also be seen in the different habitats within the mountain range.
This atoll coral reef lies in the Sulu Sea off the coast of the Philippines, and is an important area because of the vast array of different species to be found in the area. The coral itself is so important that it is a part of a protected marine area, and people visiting the area are not allowed to set foot on the sand bars around the area.
One of the most attractive features for divers is that there are diving trips allowed in the area, and the sheer density of species means there is plenty to be seen around these reefs. Lionfish, clownfish and sea turtles are often seen here, and there are also other species such as moray eels, tiger sharks and hammerhead sharks to be found here. The corals are also vividly colorful and beautiful to see, making a diving trip here absolutely spectacular.
Another reef that lies within a dedicated national park is the Apo Reef, and has the accolade of being the second largest contiguous coral reef system in the world. It can also boast a wide range of different marine species, while the island near the reef has a number of mangrove stands. This is another popular diving site which has developed a tourism industry, with the beautiful coral and plentiful numbers of fish making for a stunning diving experience.