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  Sunset on Olango Island


  Suba beach by night

  Some small satellite islands

  Virgin white sand beach

  Wildlife Sanctuary

  Around Hilutungan Island Marine Sanctuary

The Philippines

  1.     The Philippines.

   1.1 - The geography of the Philippines.

Located in the most western part of the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines form a mountainous archipelago, which belongs to a vast volcanic chain extending from Indonesia to Japan. From North to the South, its 7107 islands are scattered in an area of 1840 square kilometers and benefit from a tropical climate. The two principal islands, Luzon and Mindanao, account for 65% of the surface area and have more than 60% of the population, which totaled 84.2 million inhabitants in 2005. The total surface area of the archipelago (298 000 square km) is slightly higher than half of France, but the length of its coasts (35 000 km) is on the other hand twice as important as the coastline of the United States.

    1.2 - The Filipinos.

The Filipinos, mainly of Malayan or Polynesian origin, are a people of many mixed marriages, a consequence of the Spanish and Chinese presence. Very often, the traveler who visits the Philippines will discover the feeling of being in a very different area of the world. In many aspects, the archipelago of the 7107 islands will evoke the Caribbean or certain areas of South America. Among the 84.2 million Filipinos, 93% are catholic. So it is overwhelmingly the most catholic country of Southeast Asia. The national language, Tagalog, has become dominant although English is still used overall in the field of education, in trade and in communication. The Philippines constitute the third largest anglophone country in the world. But, 55 regional languages and 142 dialects are also spoken in the country. Philippines constitute a single nation representing the crossroads of four cultural heritages: Asian, European, Mexican and American. No other nation in the world can claim to have a mixture as varied and as extended through four cultures. Thus, it is not rare for the Filipinos to have a Spanish name, to speak English with an American accent, to have a Latin temperament, while having typically Asian physical characteristics.

     1.3 - A rich and varied culture resulting from 4 centuries of a colonial past

It was in 1521 that the Spanish discovered the Philippines. They were confronted with a multitude of small decentralized sultanates and kingdoms. The social organization mainly founded on small autonomous communities, were isolated, which facilitated colonization. But this tendency became effective only after the expedition of Legazpi, in 1565, attracted to the area in a search of pepper. In spite of the effort of unification, regional differences remained and survived even under the domination of the Spanish Empire as well as under the American hegemony which followed. The colonization, familiarly described by the expression “400 years of Religion, 50 years of Hollywood”, has certainly left traces, but according to anthropologists, the result remains deeply Filipino. This is one of the paradoxes of the Philippines where the mixture of the cultures is one of the authentic features of the Filipino people

  2.    The Archipelago of Visayas.

The Filipino territory is divided into 3 groups of islands: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Borded by Palawan in the West and Mindoro in the South, the Archipelago of Visayas is composed of six large islands, Panay, Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Samar and Leyte, and of a multitude of small islands, separated by a maze of ocean spaces composed of various straits, bays and gulfs. Visayas forms the second most popular tourist area of the Philippines. Moreover, a great number of historical events of the Philippines occurred in the Visayas. Magellan disembarked on the coast of Cebu in 1521, giving the Philippines its first contact with Europeans. As he promised, General MacArthur returned to the Philippines during the second world war, landing close to Tacloban, on the island of Leyte.

 3.   The province of Cebu.

The Visayas islands are divided into 4 areas: Cebu Province, Central Visayas, Visayas Western, Eastern Visayas. Capital of the province, the town of Cebu (or Cebu City) is the second most important city of the archipelago in respect to economic activity. Indeed, the majority of the companies in the shipbuilding industry in the Philippines has established their head offices in Cebu City. Thus, the docks of Cebu City receive more cargo ships and passenger liners than the docks of Manila. This is the part of the country where virgin islands and paradisiacal beaches come to mind. Indeed, the beaches are of white sand, have coconut trees and sparkle of turquoise water… Adding to this dream are mangrove trees and enormous wide coral reefs, which really makes of this area a paradise for tourism.


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