From the sky, the Philippines are scattered like a shower of green mirrors on a blue sea. More than 7000 islands, for an island whose history is that of trading posts, of eternal passages. It is even said that the first man to have accomplished a round the world trip was a Filipino, the fellow-sufferer of Magellan. The country is perhaps the best crossroads possible between East and West.
A Spanish colony, then American, the archipelago has maintained a language, Filipino, but also English which remains the language of communication par excellence. The religion, very much predominantly Catholic, makes it an exception in the Eastern hemisphere. There are splendid Hispanist churches, brilliant Holy Week processions which invade the pavements of Manila, in a saraband which is in no way backward-looking. Because the Philippines, apart from the quality of services, is a country which breathes the future.
An exciting cinematic production, a growing literature, a cuisine amongst the richest on the continent. You must understand this shower of islands like the living history book of the Pacific. Japanese, European and Indian influences which have all passed through the filter of a largely Americanised English. All those who, through the centuries, have put down roots on the archipelago, have contributed to emergence of a Filipino, mixed-race and abundant identity. Besides the baroque buildings, of which some are listed as UNESCO World Heritage, the Banaue rice terraces of the Cordillera - considered by many as the eighth wonder of the world - also participate in the persistent charm of an unrecognised country.