MANILA – A leading travel guide has included the Philippines in its list of Top 10 countries to visit this year.
Rough Guides, which was first published in 1992, ranked the Philippines 10th in its “Top 10 countries” list for 2014, citing the archipelago’s “dazzling array of pristine reefs, volcanoes, sleepy backpacker islands and the famed rice terraces.”
It also noted how the Philippines recently suffered a blow from super typhoon “Yolanda” (international name Haiyan).
“In the wake of the terrible devastation wreaked by typhoon Haiyan, tourism has become even more important to the Philippines, bringing crucial support to the economy,” Rough Guides said on its website.
“An estimated 97% of the country remains unaffected, including Boracay and the southern parts of Cebu… the country mostly remains off the beaten path, despite being relatively safe for travelers – flare-ups of political violence (mainly in Mindanao) are easily avoided,” it added.
Rough Guides also encouraged European travelers to visit the Philippines, citing direct flights from London to Manila.
“New direct flights from London to Manila mean that it’s now easier to get there from the UK,” it said.
Aside from the island paradise of Boracay, other “things not to miss in the Philippines,” according to Rough Guides, include the Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo, El Nido resort in Palawan, the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Filipino dessert halo-halo, Vigan in Ilocos Sur, swimming with whale sharks, Coron island in Palawan, Chocolate Hills in Bohol, and San Agustin Church in Manila.
Topping Rough Guides’ list of must-visit countries this year is Ethiopia, followed by Madagascar, Brazil, Turkey, Georgia, Rwanda, Japan, Bulgaria and Macedonia.
In October last year, Lonely Planet named the popular Philippine destination Palawan as one of the “best value travel destinations” for 2014.
The island province has been praised for its “jungle rivers, limestone cliffs and awesome beaches.”