HOTELS: In Manila there are 11,745 first-class hotel rooms. There are numerous smaller hotels, inns, hostels and pensions. Prices are often quoted both in Philippine Pesos and US Dollars. A complete directory of hotels is available from the Department of Tourism. The majority of establishments belong to the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines (HRAP), Room 205, Regina Building, corner Aguirre and Trasierra Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City 1229 (tel: (2) 815 4659 or 867 2557; fax: (2) 815 4661 or 892 0277; e-mail: email@example.com). In addition, most regions have their own associations. Grading: Hotels are graded in the following categories based on standards set by the Office of Tourism Services, Department of Tourism, Manila: Economy (43% of all establishments are in this grade), Standard (39%), First Class (9%) and Deluxe (9%).
SELF-CATERING: 'Apartels' are available for minimum stays of a week.
CAMPING/CARAVANNING: Offered only in a very limited number of places.
9 RESORTS & EXCURSIONS
The Philippines are composed of 7107 islands (7108 at low tide), with a total coastline longer than that of the USA. The warm tropical waters offer the attractions of sunbathing and swimming, while divers and snorkellers can explore coral gardens with beautiful marine life and dramatic drop-offs on the sea bed. Charter planes can be hired for reaching some of the more remote islands. Inland, the rich history and culture of the Filipino people, the dramatic landscapes and thriving cities will fascinate the visitor. For the purposes of this guide, this section has been divided into three areas, with the main tourist attractions listed under Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao and the South.
Luzon is the largest and most northerly of the main islands. Its spectacular landscape is made up of mountainous regions in the north, the flat vistas of the central plain, lakes and volcanoes in the southern peninsula, and a coastline dotted with caves and sandy-beached islands.
Manila: Manila, capital and hub of the nation, is situated on the east coast. Founded in 1571 on the ruins of a Muslim settlement, Manila has been a port for hundreds of years. The oldest part of the city, the Intramuros (Walled City), was protected by a massive wall, some of which still remains today despite savage fighting staged here in the Second World War. Places of interest include San Augustin Church and Manila Cathedral, from which there is an excellent view of the 2072 sq km (800 sq miles) of the harbour, and the ruins of Fort Santiago. Outside the Intramuros is Chinatown, a market in the district of Binondo, crowded with shops, stalls and restaurants. Luneta Park contains the Rizal Monument, a memorial to the execution of this great Filipino intellectual of the late 19th century. Other places of interest are the American Cemetery and Coconut Palace. Manila is a good base from which to make excursions, for instance to Las Piñas, situated a little way outside the city, where the famous Bamboo Organ is located and the Sarao Jeepney factory, where people are allowed to wander around free of charge. About an hour's drive away from Manila through coconut plantations, Tagaytay Ridge in Cavite overlooks a lake that contains Taal Volcano, which itself holds another lake. Tagaytay is a popular