World Heritage Sites in the Philippines: Worth Visiting

Our country boasts of breathtaking sceneries that are admired by many people here and all over the world. These are also recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as vital to the natural and cultural heritage. To date, there are six (6) sites on their list! And I truly hope to see and witness their grandeur and beauty in the years to come.

Natural Heritage
1. Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in Sulu Sea
The Tubbataha Reef Marine Park covers 130,028 ha, including the North and South Reefs. It is a unique example of an atoll reef with a very high density of marine species; the North Islet serving as a nesting site for birds and marine turtles. The site is an excellent example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100-m perpendicular wall, extensive lagoons and two coral islands.

2. Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan
This park features a spectacular limestone karst landscape with an underground river. One of the river's distinguishing features is that it emerges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The area also represents a significant habitat for biodiversity conservation. The site contains a full 'mountain-to-sea' ecosystem and has some of the most important forests in Asia.

3. Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Davao Oriental
Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary in Mindanao, Philippines is the only protected forest noted for its unique bonsai field or 'pygmy' forest of 100-year old trees in an ultramafic soil.

Cultural Heritage
1. Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras in Ifugao
For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountains. The fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they have helped to create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment.

2. Baroque Churches of the Philippines
(1) Paoay Church, (b) San Agustin Church, (c) Miag-ao Church and (d) Santa Maria Church
These four churches, the first of which was built by the Spanish in the late 16th century, are located in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay and Miag-ao, Iloilo. Their unique architectural style is a reinterpretation of European Baroque by Philippine craftsmen.

3. Vigan in Ilocos Sur
Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines, from other parts of Asia and from Europe, resulting in a culture and townscape that have no parallel anywhere in East and South-East Asia.

Text from Wikipedia

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