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Philippine Cultural Heritage tours

Tubbataha Reef Marine Park
Palawan Cultural Heritage
"The Philippine NatureScape"

Located at the heart of the southern Sulu Sea, 98 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, fragile Tubbataha Reef is a marvelous marine wilderness and a special eco-system much appreciated for its beauty as well as its scientific value.

In a wide expanse of sea that lies between Palawan and the Southern Island of Mindanao,Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park is a unique 33,200-hectare underwater splendor teems with abundant flora and fauna of the sea.

The name Tubbataha is a derivative of two muslim words, ""Tubba"" (meaning long) and ""Taha"" (referring to something related to shore, reefs, or lagoon). It is composed of two distinct atoll reef systems, the North Reef and the South Reef, separated by a four-mile channel.

Tubbataha's North Reef is a nesting site for sea birds of all kinds as thousands of birds converge there every year. Boobies and terns are some of the birds that fly into Tubbataha to lay their eggs. It is also a nesting site for endangered sea turtles.

Its seaworld is a diver's paradise with gorgonian seafans, soft corals, and gigantic sea sponges serving as home to turkey fish, anemone crab, banded sea snakes, nudibranches, starfish, cat sharks, surgeon fish, bat fish, and butterfly fish.

Rare fish can be found in the Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, like the unusual-looking Fox-faced Rabbit fish.

Because of its fabulous beauty, the marine park Cultural Heritage was honored by UNESCO on December 11, 1993, as the first natural site in the Philippines to be inscribed in the prestigious World Heritage List.


Ifugao Rice Terraces
Baguio Cultural Heritage

The Ifugao Rice Terraces was inscribed in the UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LIST in 1995 ""because of its great beauty that expresses conquered and conserved harmony between humankind and the environment.""

There are five major Cultural Heritage rice terraces listed which are similar yet distinct from one another:

BANAUE rice terraces

This is the most famous of all the sites. It is the artistic center of the Ifugao carvers and the Ikat weavers.

BATAD rice terraces

Located also in Banaue, it is home to the spectacular tiered, amphitheater-shaped terraces.

MAYOYAO rice terraces

Located in Banaue. The organic Ifugao rice, Tinawon, in red and white variety, is harvested here in abundance.

HAPAO rice terraces

Its stone-walled rice terraces date back to 650 AD and is located in Hungduan. Mt. Napulawan is located here.

KIANGAN rice terraces

It is home to two famous rice terraces sites known for their size and visual impact: Nagacadan and Julungan.
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Ifugao Cultural Heritage

The UNESCO World Heritage List has recognized the Ifugao epic ""HUDHUD,"" citing it as among the ""Masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of the humanity.""

The HUDHUD Epic is the only Southeast Asian Cultural Piece selected in the UNESCO list. This was the first time that the UNESCO gave the awards. It was the second time that UNESCO honored Ifugao, after the province's famous rice terraces was included among UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1995.

The HUDHUD, once chanted, will go on for two to three days. The epic is chanted by Ifugao women, usually at harvest time, funeral wakes, and wedding time. There used to be many versions of the HUDHUD but the advent of Catholicism in the province has helped dilute this Cultural Heritage.

The late anthropologist Fr. Francis Lambrecht, CICM brought HUDHUD to the international scene, which he claims has been sung by generations of Ifugaos since the late 17th century and still is a central part of the Ifugao life.

The social characteristic of the ancient Ifugaos as seen in the HUDHUD showed a strong matriarchal society.
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Ilocos Sur Cultural Heritage

The historic town of Vigan was inscribed in the World Heritage List in November 1999 because of its outstanding development in architecture, urban planning, and landscape design.

Vigan represents a unique fusion of Asian building design and construction with European colonial architecture and planning.

Vigan is an exceptionally intact and well preserved example of European trading town in East and South-East Asia.""

The name Vigan was derived from ""Biga"", a giant taro plant that grows abundantly along the banks of the Mestizo River. This river was central in the development of trade and community activities in Vigan during the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia.

Vigans architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines and from China with those from Europe to create a unique culture and townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

Cultural Heritage Places to visit in Vigan include:


Located at the heart of the Mestizo district. Lined on both sides by centuries-old Vigan Houses, it is made of cobblestones. Ground floors of the old house at Calle Crisologo have been turned into shops where souvenir items and Vigan furniture could be found at reasonable prizes.


Built by the Augustinians in 1790-1800 in distinctive ""Earthquake Baroque"" architecture. It has three naves, twelve altars, and a choir loft. Chinese influence is evident in its baptistery altar, brass communion handrails, a pair of Fu Dogs, and moldings on the façade. Most of the original church interior features are still in place. The octagonal belfry is located 10 meters south of the cathedral.


The only surviving 18th century arzobispado in the country, the palace served as headquarters of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898 and the invading American forces under Col. James Parker in 1899. Its Museo Nueva Segovia showcases antique portraits of bishops, a throne room, archdiocesan archives, and other ecclesiastical artifacts gathered from various colonial churches all over Ilocos Sur.


The elevated elliptical plaza west of the cathedral features the 17th century Juan de Salcedo Monument, the oldest of its kind in the Northern Luzon. It was in Plaza Salcedo where Gabriella Silang was executed by public hanging in 1763.


The ancestral house of Padre Jose Burgos is an excellent showcase of archeological and ethnographic treasures, antiques, dioramas of local historical events, and photographs of Ilocano heroes and achievers. A priceless collection of 14 Esteban Villanueva canvasses depicting the 1807 Basi Revolt is exhibited on the upper floor of the museum.


Mindoro Beach Resort, Syquia Mansion Mira Hills Eco-Park, Pagburnayan Jar Factory, Crisologo Museum, Terracotta Red Clay Industry, Abel-Iloco Weavers & Native Delicacy Makers.

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Catholic Churches

Baroque Catholic Churches
Santo Tomas de Villanueva
Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion
San Agustin Church, Paoay
San Agustin Church, Intramuros

Diving Scuba Vacations

  • • Anilao (Batangas)
    • Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro)
    • Cabilao Island (Bohol)
    • Balicasag Island (Bohol)
    • Apo Island (Negros Oriental)
    • Malapascua (Cebu)
    • Tubbataha Reef National Park (Palawan)
    • Sarangani Bay
    • Mactan Island (Cebu)
    • Olango Island (Cebu)

Best Trekking Destinations

  • • Laguna • Batangas • Bulacan • Pampanga • Olongapo • Batanes • Baguio • Mt. Province • Abra • Kalinga • Romblon • Marinduque • Naga • Iriga • Albay • Sorsogon • Oriental Mindoro • Occidental Mindoro • Cebu • Bohol • Samar • Leyte

Best Heritage Vacations

  • • Tubbataha Reef (Palawan)
    • Ifugao Rice Terraces (Ifugao)
    • Vigan Village (Ilocos Sur)
    • St. Paul Subterranean River (Palawan)
    • Philippine Baroque churches

Best Ecotourism Vacations

  • • Whale shark watching - Donsol, Sorsogon • Boracay Island • Danjugan Island and reef system • Agoo-Damortis Seashore
    • Mt. Pinatubo • Chocolate Hills – Bohol • Calbiga Caves – Samar
    • Tinago Falls – Iligan City • Mt. Apo – Davao • Governor’s Rapids – Quirino • Siraan Hot Spring – Antique • Paoay Lake – Ilocos Norte