Are you looking for exciting man-made attractions that’s unique and creative? The Philippines, an archipelago with 7100+ islands offers quite a few of this. From the world’s largest bamboo organ to rice terraces to a walled city within a city, here’s a list of these unique and spectacular sites:
1. BANAUE RICE TERRACES. Though rice terraces are common in the Cordillera region of northern Philippines and in other Asian countries, the most extensive and impressive collection is found in Banaue, Ifugao. More than 2000 years old, it is located 1500 meters above sea level and covers an area of 10,400 square kilometers. These terraces are thought to be built mostly by hand and with minimal use of tools, and were created out of necessity to create flat fields for planting rice in the mountainous regions. It uses an ancient irrigation system.
2. LAS PINAS BAMBOO ORGAN. This 19th century church organ is the world’s only bamboo organ and is made almost entirely from bamboo. Located inside the restored colonial Church of St Joseph in Las Pinas City, the bamboo organ is used during concerts and festivals and is noted by many international organ masters as amongst the best old organs in the world. The organ was built by a Spanish monk using 950 bamboo pipes buried in the sand for 6 months to preserve these from insect infestation.
3. INTRAMUROS. From the Spanish phrase “within the walls”, the walled city is found in Manila and is a relic of Spanish rule in the Philippines. Built by the Spaniards in the 16th century, most of the original buildings were destroyed in World War II but were restored in the 1980s. This city within a city is home to two famous Philippine churches – Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church, as well as to Fort Santiago, the seat of colonial powers during the Spanish and American periods in Manila.
4. VIGAN. The city of Vigan in northwestern Philippines contains the most intact example of a Spanish colonial town in Asia. Established in the 15th century under Spanish rule, Vigan is well-known for its cobblestone streets and architecture that merge Asian and European influences. Ancestral houses built mostly by rich Chinese traders feature brick walls of red clay and tile roofs. Museums and churches dot the landscape showcasing the city’s rich heritage.
5. BAROQUE CHURCHES. Scattered across the Philippine islands are four Spanish-era churches listed under the UNESCO World Heritage List. They are the San Agustin Church (Manila), Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion (Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur), San Agustin Church (Paoay, Ilocos Norte), and the Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church (Miag-ao, Iloilo). These churches served not just as religious structures but also as also as political landmarks as the Spanish rule in the Philippines regarded both church and state as one. As these churches have been subject to local revolts and attacks, their unique architecture resemble that of fortresses.