Be very very brave and eat the street food where dog may well be on the menu ! Watch a cock fight! Controversy is everywhere in the Philipines as well as some amazing beautiful destinations. The thousands of islands here with diverse conditions make for a diving mecca. You may find a lot more of interest however in this bizarre country.

The country of the Philippines is exactly 300,000 square kilometers of jungle, mountains, and volcanoes. It is a country that thrives on manners, even though almost everyone is casually dressed.

More than three-quarters of the country is Catholic; Filipino is the official language, while English & Spanish are spoken almost all over; and as the Philippines lies along the Bascuit Archipelago, making the scenery some of the best you'll find in one place.

Most people are familiar with the Philippines because of some 3,000 pairs of shoes. No, it isn't some odd footwear exhibit--but the former leader Ferdinand Marcos' wife, Imelda, owned that many.

Such was the extravagant lifestyle of the former rule, but now the political regime of the Marcos is gone; making the Philippines one of the best backpacking destinations for anyone.

So many people come to to dive or kiteboard at Boracay Island, snorkel or take an outrigger boat (called a bangka) ride. Diving is a big deal at the Calamian Islands, and the pink sand at Santa Cruz Island is the icing on the whole swimming, surfing, ands snorkeling cake.

The Philippines are historical, as well as being a watersport loving place. The Rice Terraces are more than two millennia old, and the walled capital city of Manila tells the tale of its colonial past.

Still, it always goes back to the water. Who can resist snorkeling with whale sharks? If the word shark scares you, there's always going to see the world's smallest monkey at Bohol.

Shopping is fun, too. Buy the locally made barong tagalong, a dress shirt that's beautifully embroidered. Or, buy some rice figurines or grass mats.

Eating wil excite you--especially when you've tasted Adobo, a tangy soy sauced chicken made with garlic. A good accompaniment to any meal is the locally made beer, San Miguel.

Be sure to take care when eating or drinking--as all water should be boiled or bottled. No swimming in fresh water--chlorinated pools are the exception.

Take care against mosquito bites, as Dengue Fever is carried by them. Medical insurance is recommended, as are most vaccinations.

With that taken care of, you're free to roam about the Philippines by air, car (don't drive at night), motorbike, mass transit train, ferry, or horse-drawn carriage.

Doesn't matter though--you'll just want to find your way back to the beaches that makes the Philippines so popular.

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