Taal Volcano (Talisay, Batangas, Luzon) – this volcano and lake (located 2 hours south of Manila) is another eco-tourist destination. Taal is reputed to be the smallest active volcano in the world! One of the most visited tourist spots in the Philippines, this geological wonder is actually a volcano within a lake within a volcano.
Just off the shore of Taal Lake is Taal Heritage Town, established in 1572. It is one of the oldest towns in the country and home to Asia’s biggest Catholic church, as well as a collection of old houses that showcase traditional Filipino-Spanish architecture. The town and its people played an important role in the Philippine revolution against the Spanish and is a great place to learn about the country’s history and culture. Eco-tourists interested in taking an excursion to Taal Volcano can contact: http://jeepneytours.com; www.manilastay.com; www.taalvolcano.org; www.unchartedphilippines.com
Star City (Vicente Sotto St, Manila, Metro Manila) – this is another Manila area amusement park (located near the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City). An array of roller coaster, Ferris wheel, water and swing rides rule the day here. While the regular admission (to the park only) is P65, the “ride-all-you-can” admission is P420. See Star City’s website for details: www.starcity.com.ph
Puerto Galera (Oriental Mindoro) – this beach (located on Mindoro island, just south of Luzon Island – where Manila is located) is a favored beach destination for those familiar with the Philippines. Along with sunbathing and water sports activities, visitors will be amazed to know that dolphin and whale watching is often conducted from here.
Mount Pinatubo (Cabusilan Mountains, Luzon) – a 3-hour drive northwest of Manila will take adventurous eco-tourist to another active Filipino volcano: Mount Pinatubo. Its last eruption was in 1991. It is one of a chain of volcanoes known as the Luzon volcanic arc, which is the result of the Oceanic Philippine plate being sub ducted under the lighter Continental Eurasian plate. Interestingly, there is an air base not far from this volcano: Clark Air Base (which was formerly used by the U.S. Air Force, and now in use by the Philippines Air Force. Those interested in visiting Mount Pinatubo can go to: www.mountpinatubotour.com; www.pinatubotour.com; www.trekkingpinatubo.com
Mayon Volcano (Albay, Luzon) – located 9 hours southeast of Manila (via car) this is an active volcano within a natural park in Albay (Luzon Island). Adventurous eco-tourists interested in seeing an active volcano will note that this volcano spewed lava as recently as September 2014 (causing nearby locals who lived within 6 km of the crater to flee). This volcano’s most violent eruption killed over 1,200 people and wiped out several small towns in 1814.
Masasa Beach – located 3 hours south of Manila (off of the main island of Luzon), this is both a beach and island of its own, which has been attracting attention among experienced travelers to Philippines for its pristine turquoise blue waters and unspoiled beaches. A boat ride from Anilao Port to Tingloy (Masasa Beach) will get you out there.
Manila Zoo (Adriatico St, Malate, Manila, Metro Manila) – opened in 1959, Manila Zoo has a land area of 5.5 hectares and has a current population of about 500 animals. There are 106 species, among which are 30 different kinds of mammals, 63 reptile species and 13 types of birds. In addition to popular zoo occupants such as elephant, tigers lions and the hippos, Manila Zoo also houses several endemic and indigenous species of animals like the bearcat, long-tailed macaques and crocodiles. Admission: P100 (foreign adult or child above 4 feet), P60 (foreign child less than 4 feet), P50 (adult local), P30 (local child).
Manila Ocean Park (666, Behind Quirino Grandstand, Luneta, Manila, Metro Manila 1000) – this is the country’s first world-class marine theme park and a premiere educational facility. An integrated urban resort with marine life attractions and aqua-themed hotel, the park is geared towards an all-year, all-weather destination for locals and tourists. Attractions here include an oceanarium, “Trails to Antarctica” (where visitors can interact with penguins), Jellies Exhibit (jellyfish), Fish Spa, a glass bottom boat ride, and a “Birds of Prey Kingdom”. See its website for updated ticketing info: www.manilaoceanpark.com
Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club (Congressional Rd, General Mariano Alvarez, Cavite) – located 34 km. south of Manila, this is one of the better golf courses in the Philippines (taking advantage of the local topography). This golf club boasts two (2) Championship Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses: The Legends and The Masters (the first that he designed anywhere in the Philippines). The tournaments held here reinforce these golf courses’ solid reputation: both the courses have hosted major tournaments such as the 1993, 1994, 1996 and 1999 Philippine Opens; The 1996 and 1997 Mitsubishi-Southwoods Open; The 1996 World Amateur Golf Team Championships and the 1999 Kosaido Ladies Open. Visitors interested in playing here can go to: www.manilasouthwoods.com
Manila Contemporary (Whitespace, 2314 Chino Roces Avenue, Pasong Tamo Extension, Makati City, Metro Manila) – this is a major destination for those interested in Manila’s art scene. This gallery (organized by investor Valentine Willie) hosts a variety of world-class exhibitions of both local and international artists. He has cross-promoted artists from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.