Traveling the Philippines is extraordinary and also offers worthwhile opportunities for locals.
Find out how the Philippines is preserving more fun for the next generation. The legendary beaches are eye-popping pockets of snow-white sand leading to clear blue waters. Here you can have fun in the sun with every watersport imaginable, join unforgettable marine life-spotting tours, or simply sit back and soak up the beauty of the beach. Inland you’ll find rolling hills blessed with lush jungles, coiling rice terraces that burst with color, and gushing waterfalls tempting you to swim. Wherever you head, it’s hard to miss the unmistakable hospitality of the locals, who welcome you with warmth and graciousness.
For those wanting to discover more to this picture postcard nation of islands, a trip will be even more rewarding with the sustainability efforts of its tourism authority. The travel industry has helped bring countless individuals out of poverty, but it’s also been an important force in preserving the country’s diverse and rich cultures.
Tourism has provided valuable employment opportunities to people with disabilities and encouraged others to launch programs with lasting community impact. With sustainable tourism and environmental preservation being key focuses over the last decade, you’ll find that it’s possible to have even more fun in the Philippines than ever. Here’s a taste of the outstanding destinations and colorful characters you’ll encounter during your visit.
Palawan offers some of the most extraordinary seascapes on the planet. Picture turquoise lagoons enveloped by sharp karst mountains. Imagine outstretched palm trees hovering over crystal clear waters. And prepare to encounter mind-boggling variety of marine life too.
Palawan is where Angelo Cayabo was born and raised, and it was the province’s rich marine life that inspired him to launch his company: Dolphin and Whales Travel and Tour. But it wasn’t easy. With restricted educational opportunities, Angelo first worked as a dishwasher for just 20 pesos (USD 0.40) per day.
I dreamt that somehow I would be able to help my family have a better life.
Angelo saved and borrowed before building a small team and offering dolphin-spotting outings for visitors. His tours were so popular he expanded his product line further, offering whale shark-spotting excursions and bay cruise dinners with firefly watching. His company offers tours that follow the natural migration patterns of the wild dolphins and whale sharks and unlike other tours, visitors aren’t allowed to hand feed the wildlife. “These are destinations where I can leave a legacy,” says Angelo.
Legacy is also what drives Whang-Od, a 103-year-old tattoo artist from Kalinga. Whang-Od is the world’s oldest mambabatok (traditional Kalinga tattoo artist) and she was just 15 when she inked her first local customer.
Almost a century later, her customers travel from different corners of the globe to seek out her unrivaled experience and expertise. “I determine the design of the tattoo based on how the personality of the visitor radiates towards me,” explains Whang-Od, who understands international interest helps cultural preservation. “Now, we have more locals learning the art of Kalinga tattoo.”
Situated in the northern part of the country, Kalinga stands proud as one of the most beautiful highland provinces in the Philippines. Kalinga demonstrates that if you can draw yourself away from the coastline and delve into the archipelago’s interiors, you’ll find a wealth of adventures to take in. Don’t worry if getting inked isn’t your thing – you can also enjoy jaw-dropping hikes through vibrant rice terraces and authentic village homestays nestled in the hills.
The poetic coastlines and rugged interiors prove the Philippines is a country of intense natural beauty.
But don’t let that overshadow the country’s urban delights. Perhaps less known than the country’s beach destinations, Manila, is in fact, a storied capital city with centuries of history. Nowhere is this clearer than in the historic walled area of Intramuros. Here you can marvel at a 16th-century fort, city walls over six meters high, and the San Agustin Church, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Travel is a universal language, and no one understands that more than Jamie Aquino. Jamie has never let her disability stand in the way of giving her clients the best travel experience. Jamie is one member of a team of hearing-impaired tour guides that offer cultural heritage tours of Intramuros in sign language.
After seeing the benefits for both the local deaf and hard of hearing community and visitors to the Philippines, Jamie is excited to see the program expand across the archipelago. “This is an opportunity for the deaf to have a job in every region,” she signs. “Not only in Manila.”
Back in Palawan, tourism has provided the mechanism for locals to make a meaningful impact on their community. Eva Valledor, a trained civil engineer, saw weaving as a way to improve the lives of hundreds of women by providing meaningful employment.
She launched Binuatan Creations, a handicraft shop that trains diligent students wanting to earn extra income for their families and mothers who find it difficult to secure work because they didn’t go to school. Binuatan Creations offers a full range of hand-crafted souvenirs, from small gifts like bookmarks to ambitious creations made with the traditional loom, like scarves and skirts.
Tourism is really what keeps our business going.
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