The Philippines isn’t only home to an abundant collection of beautiful islands and beaches, it is also a country jam-packed with cultural and natural attractions that are continually reminding us Filipinos of our colorful heritage and bountiful environmental gifts — and many of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Through them, we find more reasons to be proud of our country.
Have you seen them all? If not, then don’t fret, as these can be surely ticked off your bucket list in no time.
Baroque Churches of the Philippines
While the Spanish brought Christianity to the Philippines over their 300+ years of occupation, it built hundreds of massive stone churches highlighted by stylish architecture of detailed facades and impressive bell towers. Among the most prominently erected were those influenced by the Baroque period. Currently, four churches representing this artistic era are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are the following.
The Church of San Agustín at Paoay, Ilocos Norte
The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
The Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Miagao, Iloilo
The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín in Manila
Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (Davao Oriental)
Characterized by a unique soil condition giving birth to a wide expanse of pygmy forest, Mount Hamiguitan is cited by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for exemplifying “nature’s bid to survive in adverse conditions.” A pygmy forest is an uncommon environment phenomenon that features miniature vegetation such as low standing trees, and small species of fauna like lizards and rodents. Standing 1,620 meters, this mountain is home to a very diverse set of wildlife species. Among the many endemic species of flora and fauna, a type of pitcher plant — the Nepenthes peltata — is definitely a must-see.
Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park
This underwater haven of some of the healthiest and most colorful reef ecosystems in the world is home to more than 500 species of fish and 350 species of corals. Spread over more than 100,000 hectares of ocean space, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park is ranked as among the top five scuba diving spots in the world.