A history of building: The Seven Man-made Wonders of the Philippines


Without question, the Philippines is best known for its natural wonders, ranging from towering volcanoes to pristine coral reefs. While the country can’t boast anything truly monumental like the Pyramids of Giza or Mount Rushmore, it does have its fair share of remarkable constructions. Here is our pick of the seven man-made :

Banaue Rice terraces 

man-made wonders
Picture via Windows 8 wallpaper

Arguably, this is one of the only man-made wonders on this list that is of truly global significance — indeed, the landscape is often known as The Eighth Wonder of the World.

At an estimated two-thousand years old, they are the most ancient in the world — and are still farmed today.


New flights from Clark Airport have made them more accessible than ever before.


man-made wonders

Found on the west coast of Luzon, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the few towns in the Philippines with a largely intact colonial-era town centre.


Among the best preserved parts of the town is Calle Christologo, pictured.

In May 2015, Vigan City was officially recognised as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Beirut, Doha, Durban, Havana, Kuala Lumpur and La Paz.


man-made wonders

The home and office of the president of the Philippines, the Malacañang is actually a whole complex of buildings built in the colonial style on the banks of the Pasig River.

Originally built in 1750, it is said to be haunted by numerous ghosts — indeed the current resident, President Duterte, refuses to sleep there.

man-made wonders

The Saint Augustine Church, commonly known as the Paoay Church, is a fine example of Spanish Colonial Earthquake Baroque architecture. Completed in 1710, the church in Ilocos Norte features enormous buttresses to protect it from collapse.

It was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.

Other notable examples of the architectural style include San Agustin Church in Manila, Santa Maria Church in Ilocos Sur and Miagao Church in Iloilo.

Fortune Island

man-made wonders

Sadly, these “ruins” are not proof of early Greek contact with the Philippines, but the remnants of a luxury island resort project, which was abandoned in 2006.

It’s possible to visit the 27-hectare island about ten miles off the coast of Batangas, but there’s no fresh water, toilet facilities or anywhere to stay.

Hanging Coffins

man-made wonders

Since time immemorial, the people of Sagada have followed a unique and bizarre burial practice.

Instead of burying their relatives in the ground, they squash their bodies into tiny coffins and hang them off a cliff.

Traditionally, the elderly carve their own coffins out of hollow logs. Of course, if they’re too weak or ill, a family member will step in to help.

Once dead, the bodies are squeezed into the caskets, which can involve breaking bones to make them fit, curled up in the foetal position.

Intramuros, Manila

man-made wonders

Literally meaning “inside the walls” much of the Intramuros was destroyed in World War Two when Japanese occupiers made their last stand here.

However, the three-mile long massive walls remain largely intact, and are truly a man-made wonder.

San Juanico bridge

man-made wonders

Yes, it’s only a bridge, but we think it qualifies among the man-made wonders. The graceful is part of the Pan-Philippine Highway and stretches from Samar to Leyte across the San Juanico Strait.

With a total length of 2.16km (1.34 miles), it is the longest bridge in the Philippines spanning a body of seawater.