MANILA, Philippines – The National Geographic Magazine had named the Philippines as “One of 25 Best New Travel Destinations in the World in 2010” and the country’s ancient cultures, structures and biodiversity were cited as key reasons to visit the archipelago.
The magazine said in its November 2009 Adventure issue that the Philippines has “as many islands as the Caribbean and some of the most spectacular reefs on the planet,” adding that travel organizations have “finally gotten wise.”
National Geographic presented the “25 brand new adventures, all of them just right for right now.” The list is directed at “travelers who want their dollars to do more – for others, for the planet and for themselves.”
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy Gaa said the inclusion of the Philippines in the list shows the global community is “taking note of the natural and cultural wonders in the country as well as the efforts to protect and preserve them.”
According to the article, Wilderness Travel is organizing a trip to the Philippines in May 2010 which will “lead clients high into the 5,000-foot Cordillera Central then deep into the world’s most biodiverse marine environment.”
Wilderness Travel members are mostly travelers who got reviews of tourist spots from other members that include naturalists, authors, ecologists, archeologists, art historians, teachers and mountaineers.
The 12-day trip to the Philippines costs $3,300.
The group’s website www.wildernesstravel. com described the Philippines as a country, which boasts of breathtaking hiking routes through ancient rice terraces and scenic mountain landscapes, cultural encounters with the Ifugao people, and world-class snorkeling in the “Coral Triangle.”
Wilderness Travel said the Philippine journey explores “the emerald world” of the Ifugao tribe who have transformed the precipitous mountainsides of their homeland into steeply contoured rice terraces, complete with 2,000-year-old indigenous irrigation system.
The trip will take travelers to Cabilao Island in the Visayas to view stunning coral reefs that are part of the famed “Coral Triangle,” the world’s greatest concentration of marine biodiversity.
The Philippines has been promoting its cultural and natural wonders as preferred travel destinations for global tourists. The Philippine embassy in Washington works closely with the National Geographic in raising awareness on the importance of sustainable development and ecological protection.
President Arroyo spoke at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington last August and appealed for international support for preserving, promoting and protecting biodiversity in the Coral Triangle. –Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star)