Here Are The 6 World Heritage Sites In The Philippines
It’s no secret that the Philippines has a lot to offer in the way of historical and natural wonders. Whether its century-old stone structures or thriving coral reefs, the archipelago is full of places you just have to see. The country’s wonders are not lost on UNESCO (as in the United Nations), which has designated six world heritage sites in the Philippines. Add these places to your must-see list, and you’ll find yourself never wanting to leave.
1Cordillera Rice Terraces
The Cordillera Rice Terraces in Ifugao have drawn attention no doubt for their sheer natural beauty. But more than that, they play an important part in Philippine culture and identity. For one, the terraces demonstrate sustainable farming at work. They also allow the locals to preserve centuries-old farming techniques. Because the Cordilleras were hardly affected by colonization, the rice terraces are a living testament to the Philippines’ pre-colonial sophistication.
This centuries-old town in Ilocos Sur has long been a tourist favorite. Its picturesque cobblestone streets and cavernous stone buildings bring visitors right back to the Spanish era. But more than it’s pretty landscape, it’s the town’s cultural significance that earned it its UNESCO designation. With structures combining Philippine materials with European architecture, the town is truly a blend of East and West, making it not only interesting but valuable.
These Spanish-era churches made it to the list of World Heritage Sites in the Philippines no doubt because of their elaborate, well-preserved Baroque architecture. Scattered across four locations in Luzon and Visayas, seeing this world heritage site merits a small expedition. Start in Manila to see the San Agustin Church. Then head north to Ilocos Sur for the Santa Maria Church, and then further up to Ilocos Norte for Paoay Church. Afterward, go southbound to Iloilo, where you can find the Miagao Church.
4Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary
One of the three natural world heritage sites in the Philippines, Mount Hamiguitan is an important environmental treasure, and definitely a must-see for those with an interest in wildlife. The mountain in Davao Oriental is home to a lot of threatened and rare species of both animals and plants. Those who travel here might expect sightings of rare animals such as the Philippine eagle, the flying fox (which isn’t an actual fox but a bat), the tarsier, and the civet.
5Puerto Princesa Subterranean River
Also known as the Underground River, this world heritage site is one of the most visited tourist spots in Palawan. Aside from towering rock formations that elicit the requisite oohs and aahs, the 8.2 km river-in-a-cave is also home to nine species of bats, among other animals. In the coastal areas within the Subterranean River National Park, you can also find dugong and sea turtles!
Another natural wonder, Tubbataha Reef is any diver’s dream. Located in the middle of the Sulu Sea, the reef’s isolation only adds to its beauty. Over 1,000 marine species call Tubbataha home—among them are hammerhead sharks, manta rays, and critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles. If you love diving, this place is the ultimate go-to.