It’s been just over a week since I left the Philippines and I am already craving all of the great food and hot weather you get in the Philippines. Having been there for over three weeks, I have lots to share on some of the best places to visit, exciting things to do and all the food trips you could ever want to explore and more.
In this first post, I wanted to give some highlights of my trip as well as some snaps of what we got up to and give just a handful of reasons as to why #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines.
Food, food, food
It’s no secret that the Filipinos love their food! The Filipino cuisine is as varied as the culture. With some Spanish elements enhancing the Southeast Asian inspired ingredients – Filipino food does not disappoint.
One thing I really enjoyed is shopping for fresh produce in the markets. The selection of fruit and veg is reason enough to go back. You can find exotic fruits such as longan, rambutan, mango and more. And there’s variations to each fruit too. Depending on what region of the country you visit, they may grow something locally that is the same fruit but will be slightly different in taste or sweetness.
I particularly love the rambutan I purchased in Tarlac. My mother is from Tarlac, Paniqui – so I always visit the town when I come over. They must have been in season this time of year, as I had never noticed the fruit there on my previous visits. Tarlac also has many sweet potato farms, including my own family, who farm sweet potatoes and the Filipino staple – rice!
Fresh seafood is a must when in Philippines! Being a country made up of islands, its unlikely that you will ever be too far away from water to get fresh seafood. There are also wet markets you can purchase the fresh fish and seafood from. Then actually have it cooked to your liking. I love getting a mixture of mussels and shrimp to be steamed or grilled – yum!
History & Culture in the Philippines
The Philippines has a very diverse history. I’m not overly familiar with the history so you’ll have to excuse me if any of the information I provide is inaccurate.
The country is actually formed from over 7,000 islands. And was named to honour King Philip the second after being discovered in 1521 by Magellan. Being a Spanish colony, there are many correlations between the Spanish and Filipino cultures. Although it lead to the Philippines revolting for their independence, the culture left behind by the Spanish is something that the Filipinos still embrace.
I actually had the chance to discover some of the great history when I visited Intramuros and Baguio, where I visited the Philippine Military Academy. I highly recommend both visits and will talk more about my experience in my next posts, so look out for those!
The national language is Tagalog, although there are also a number of widely used regional dialects. Across my family there are 3 dialects, Tagalog, Ilocano, Kapampangan. And these are all actually very different from each other. My mother’s family mainly speak Ilocano. I don’t understand a single word, but on the other hand I am fluent in Tagalog. Luckily pretty much everyone can speak Tagalog so I didn’t have too much trouble communicating with locals. Philippines is also quite ‘westernised’ so many people are either fluent in English or speak enough of it for you to be able to speak with them. They mainly speak English in schools so children learn English from a very young age.
Fun for everyone
The Philippines is so diverse there’s bound to be something for everyone, regardless of your preferences. There are beaches good for swimming, surfing, snorkelling, scuba diving or just chilling on the beach and topping up your tan. There’s also fishing and wildlife, I highly recommend Manila Ocean Park or visiting Palawan for this.
If you’re the adventurous type, there’s zip-lining, trekking or mountain climbing. I recommend visiting the Underground River, again in Palawan. The Underground River has been named one of the new seven wonders of the world! You can also ride a horse up the Taal volcano in Tagaytay before reaching the breath-taking panoramic views.
For the partygoers, the nightlife in Manila could compete with the likes of London and New York. You have a range of high-end nightclubs, bars and casinos as well as all night karaoke bars. There’s something for everyone no matter your budget or taste in music.
Have you ever been to the Philippines? Thinking of visiting in the future? Leave a comment or tweet me at @arcasela
At the time of writing this post, the news about the terrible incident in Davao had just come out. I wanted to dedicate this post in memory of those that died or were injured. Despite being in the midst of all the terror and war in the world, we should stop and embrace the good. Philippines is one of the world’s many beauties we should celebrate. #PrayforDavao