Photograph by Harel Gur, My Shot
A tropical archipelago of more than 7,000 islands splashed between China and Indonesia, the Philippines is known as one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hot spots, hosting endemic plants and animals and coral reefs teeming with life. With a history of colonization by Spain and the United States, the heavily Roman Catholic nation has retained a unique blend of cultures and traditions.
On Cebu Island, bright colors and ritual dances distinguish the popular Sinulog festival, a celebration of the child Jesus, patron of Cebu City.
Photograph by Per-Andre Hoffmann, Aurora
Glassy water and coral reefs surround Palawan, the westernmost province of the Philippine Islands. Called one of the last unspoiled frontiers in the nation, Palawan shelters a multitude of endangered endemic animals, including the glorious Palawan peacock pheasant.
Calle Crisologo, Vigan
Photograph by Laurie Noble/Getty Images
Streetlamps illuminate historic Calle Crisologo in the 16th-century town of Vigan. Located in the province of Ilocos Sur, Vigan’s well-preserved mix of Spanish colonial planning and Asian architectural influences earned it a spot on UNESCO’s World Heritage list in 1999.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Photograph by Jerry Alexander, Getty Images
Productive for centuries, the irrigated rice terraces of Banaue are still harvested by hand. The Banaue terraces are part of the rice terraces of the Philippine cordilleras, some 2,000 to 6,000 years old and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.