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Six World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

CEBU, Philippines - It’s no secret that the Philippines has a lot to offer in the way of historical and natural wonders.

Whether its century-old stone structures or thriving coral reefs, the archipelago is full of places you just have to see.

The country’s wonders are acknowledged by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and

Cultural Organization), which has recognized six world heritage sites in the Philippines.

Cordillera Rice Terraces

The Cordillera Rice Terraces in Ifugao have drawn attention for its sheer natural beauty. But more than that, these natural wonders are an important part of Philippine culture and identity. For one, the terraces demonstrate sustainable farming technique, which the local famers continue to practice to this day. Because the Cordilleras were hardly affected by colonization, the rice terraces are a living testament to the sophistication of pre-colonial Filipinos.

Baroque Churches

These Spanish-era churches in the Philippines grab attention for their elaborate, well-preserved Baroque architecture. Scattered across four locations in Luzon and Visayas, these World Heritage Sites may require a little expedition to fully witness. One may start in Manila to see the San Agustin Church, then head north to Ilocos Sur for the Santa Maria Church, and then further up to Ilocos Norte for the Paoay Church. Afterwards, the journey may head southbound to Iloilo, where the Miag-ao Church is.

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Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

Also known as the Underground River, this World Heritage Site is one of the most visited tourist spots in Palawan. Aside from towering rock formations, the 8.2-kilometer river-in-a-cave is also home to nine species of bats, among other animals. In the coastal areas within the Subterranean River National Park, one can also find dugong and sea turtles!

Vigan

The centuries-old town of Vigan, Ilocos Sur has long been a favorite of tourists. Its cobblestone streets and cavernous stone buildings bring visitors back to the Spanish era. But more than its pretty landscape, it’s the town’s cultural significance that earned it its UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site. With structures combining Philippine materials with European architecture, the town is truly a blend of East and West, making it not only interesting but valuable too.

Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary

One of three natural World Heritage Sites in the Philippines, Mount Hamiguitan is an important environmental treasure, and definitely a must-see for those with an interest in wildlife. This mountain in Davao Oriental is home to a lot of threatened and rare species of both animals and plants. Those who visit the place might expect sightings of rare animals such as the Philippine eagle, the flying fox (which isn’t an actual fox but a bat), the tarsier, and the civet.

Tubbataha Reef

Another natural wonder, Tubbataha Reef is every diver’s dream. Located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, the reef’s isolation only adds to its mystery and beauty. Over 1,000 marine species find home in Tubbataha – among them are hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles. For those who love diving, this place is the ultimate go-to. (www.philihappy.com)

 

 

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