|Popular City in Philippines
Beaches can be found aplenty on this nation of 7,107 islands. These beaches come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and fineness of sand. Some are in well-secluded islands while others are just a short ride across a causeway from the city. Among the most notable are the following:
- Boracay - Boracay Island off the island of Panay has the White Beach. It is also one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It has fine, powdery white sand stretching on for several kilometers and is an excellent spot for sun-worshippers. Boracay also has several other lesser-known beaches. Outrigger boats to Boracay depart from Caticlan Port, just a short flight from Manila.
- Mactan Island - in Cebu, the Cebu airport is actually on Mactan Island
- Pagudpud - in Ilocos Norte, several hours north of Metro Manila
- Panglao - small island off the island of Bohol, a short ride from the capital of Tagbilaran, which in turn is a short fast ferry ride from Cebu City. From Panglao, you can easily schedule an excursion to the Chocolate Hills for which Bohol is most known.
- Puerto Galera - on the island of Mindoro. Ferries to Puerto Galera depart from Batangas Port, a couple of hours drive south of Metro Manila
- Samal Island - off the coast of Davao
- Camiguin Island - an island-province north of Mindanao. Also known as the Lanzones Capital of the Philippines, it can be reached directly by plane or ferry.
- Sta. Cruz Island - Zamboanga City Great Santa Cruz island is known for it's pink sand beach and sand bar, while the Little sta. cruz island is a typical white beach, with pulverized-like sand. It is also a diving site and is host to a lagoon.
- Negros Island - Negros Occidental (north-western half of the island, in the Western Visayas region) offers fine white sand beaches, and nearby Danjugan Island Marine Reserve. Danjugan Island is bursting with thousands of species of marine life and home to the endangered White Breasted Eagle. Negros Oriental (south-eastern half of the island, in the Central Visayas region) is home to Dumaguete and numerous beach resorts in Dauin that can take you to Apo Island, one of the most magnificent diving spots in the Philippines.
Metro Manila is home to many bars, watering holes, and karaoke sites. Popular places include Makati (particularly the Glorietta and Greenbelt areas), Ortigas Metrowalk, and Eastwood in Libis. Other big cities such as Cebu City and Davao also have areas where the nightlife is centered. Establishments serve the usual hard and soft drinks typical of bars elsewhere. Note that Filipinos rarely consume alcohol by itself. They would normally have what is called as "pulutan" or bar chow alongside their drinks which is like the equivalent of tapas. At the least, this would consist of mixed nuts but selections of grilled meats and seafood are not uncommon food alongside the customary drinks.
Beer is perhaps the most common form of alcohol consumed in bars. San Miguel Beer is the dominant local brand with several variants such as Light, Dry, Strong Ice and their flagship variant Pale Pilsen. Budweiser, Heineken and Corona can also be found in upscale bars. Rhum and "ginebra" which is the local form of gin are commonly available forms of hard liquor. Indigenous forms of liquor are lambanog and tuba which are both derived from coconut sap. Tuba is fermented from the coconut sap and though tuba itself can be drunk, it is also distilled to take the form of lambanog. Lambanog is now being marketed widely both locally and internationally in its base form as well as in several flavored variants such as mango, bubble gum and blueberry.
Alcohol is extremely cheap in the Philippines (and probably cheapest in the whole of Asia). For a bottle of San Miguel bought at a 7-11 or Mini-Stop, a bottle would costs about PhP20-PhP30 (About USD 0.50). For top-end bars and clubs, a bottle would costs about PhP100.00-PhP200 (about USD 2.50-5.00). A bottle of 750ml Absolut Vodka at the supermarket would fetch a price of around PhP750.00 and a popular local rhum (especially amongst knowledgeable expats) Tanduay would get you just below PhP70.00 at a 24 hour convenience store in Makati (The Financial District).
Of course non-alcoholic drinks are also widely available in bars and other establishments. Don't miss:
- 'Calamansi Juice' - lemon juice made from small, local lemons called calamansi
- 'Fresh Buko Juice'- juice extracted from young coconuts
- 'Sago't Gulaman - a sweet drink of molasses, tapioca pearls and seaweed gelatin
- 'Green mango shake- a fruit shake made of green or unripened mangoes, sugar, milk and ice(one of the best native drinks in the Philippines)
- Taho - a sweet, warm soya snack usually served in the morning, with tapioca balls, soft tofu and caramelized syrup
Don't flash around valuables like mp3 players, jewelry, and cellphones because they pose a pickpocketing threat. Pickpockets are really common in the big cities of the Philippines. On the other hand, Manila is one of the safest cities in the Southeast Asian region. Manila is not a place for violent robbery, but the attivan scam is common practice. Innocent looking persons, that befriend you put a drug in your drink that knocks you out right away. They can drag you to a waiting car, saying that you have drunk too much and strip or rape you or even take your kidneys and dump you.It will take 10 hours to wake up and you can be dizzy and short of memory for 3 days. Don't expect any reprisal from police. They have their own scam and will be waiting for foreign currency.
The Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas) is an archipelago in South-East Asia consisting of 7,107 islands located between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam, and north of Sabah and Borneo.
The Philippines is an archipelago abundant in nature, rich in culture, and filled with pleasant discoveries. Experience the Philippines, its 7,107 islands, its natural wonders, colorful history and warm, engaging people. Over a hundred ethnic groups, a mixture of foreign influences and a fusion of culture and arts have enhanced the uniqueness of the Filipino race and the wonder that is the Philippines.
There are a total of 79 provinces in the Philippines that can be divided among three main island groups:
||Luzon (Luzon, Mindoro, Marinduque, Masbate)
The northernmost island group, center of government, history and economy and home to the capital
||Visayas (Palawan, Negros, Cebu (island), Bohol, Leyte)
The central island group, heart of the country’s antiquity, nature and biodiversity
||Mindanao (Mindanao, Basilan)
the southernmost island group, which showcases the Philippines’ indigenous and rich cultures
- Manila - the national capital. The Metropolitan Manila area includes several cities and municipalities to form one administrative body governed jointly by the local governments and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
- Angeles - interesting place with a wild nightlife, wonderful and friendly people.
- Bacolod - the city of smiles and land of sweet tooths.
- Baguio - the country's summer capital (cool weather), nice parks and views, home of the "Igorot" peoples, vegetable gardens
- Cagayan de Oro - known as the City of Golden Friendship, it is popular for whitewater rafting. As the gateway to Northern Mindanao, it is the jump off point to destinations like Camiguin Island and Bukidnon Province.
- Cebu - also known as the Queen City of the South, Cebu is the first established indigenous settlement discovered by the west in the Philippines. For a short time before the re-dedication of Manila, Cebu City served as the capital of the far eastern territory claimed by Spain.
- Davao - one of the largest cities in the world in terms of land area. Relatively young when compared with Manila or Cebu, it has grown to become the economic and commercial hub of the southern island of Mindanao. Nearby you'll find the country's tallest mountain (Mount Apo), the endangered Philippine Eagle, and one of the priciest orchids in the world, the Waling-waling (Vanda Sanderiana.)
- Tagbilaran City, Bohol - the City of Friendship, site of the Blood Compact Treaty between Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and Rajah Sikatuna representing the Bol-anon people (of Bohol). The main entry point to Bohol's Chocolate Hills, centuries-old churches and Panglao Island's white-sand beaches and world-class dive sites.
- Vigan - historic Spanish town and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Zamboanga City aslo known as the Asia's Latin City, Zamboanga City brings its best foot forward during the popular Fiesta Pilar, celebrated in honor of the city's patron saint, La Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza Our Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza, Spain. The people of Zamboanga speak a unique Creole language called Chavacano - a blend of Spanish and European, Mexican-Indian words with a spattering of several local dialects,and Zamboanga is an important part of BIMP-EAGA area which stands for Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area. BIMP-EAGA is an agreement among the four Southeast Asian neighbor countries for economic cooperation. It has put Zamboanga City in touch with towns in Malaysia and Indonesia. As a result of contacts arising from BIMP-EAGA, an air and sea route has been opened between Zamboanga City and Sandakan in Malaysia.
The people of the Philippines, or Filipinos, are descended from Austronesians (related to Malays and Polynesians) and of other races. Many, particularly in the cities of Luzon and the Visayas, have Chinese, Spanish, and American admixtures, whereas those living in the provinces are mostly of pure Filipino origin. Many Muslims in Mindanao have Arab, Indian and Chinese admixtures. The four largest foreign minorities in the country are as follows: Chinese (1st), Koreans (2nd), and Indian (3rd), and the Japanese (4th). Also of significance are the Americans, Indonesians, and Arabs. Pure Spaniards, and other Europeans, form a small proportion in the country's population.
Filipinos are hospitable by nature. Guests will often be treated like royalty in Philippine households. This is most evident during fiestas when even virtual strangers are welcomed and allowed to partake of the feast that most, if not all, households within the town serve during the occasion. At times, this hospitality is taken to a fault. Some households spend their entire savings on their fiesta offerings and sometimes even run into debt just to have lavish food on their table. They spend the next year paying for these debts and preparing for the next fiesta.
Also, it may seem peculiar for tourists to notice the Latin flair in Filipino culture. Philippine culture compared to the rest of Asia is highly Hispanized. Still, Filipinos are essentially South-east Asian and many indigenous and pre-Hispanic attitudes are still obvious.
The climate is tropical, with March to May (summer) being the hottest months. The rainy season starts in June and extends through October with strong typhoons possible. The coolest months are from November to February, with mid-January to end of February considered the best for cooler and dryer weather. Locations exposed directly to the Pacific Ocean have frequent rainfall all year. This includes the popular Pagsanjan Falls southeast of Manila (though the falls will get you wet regardless). The average temperatures range from 78°F / 25°C to 90°F / 32°C, and humidity is around 77 percent. Baguio, which is branded as the summer capital of the Philippines, tends to be cooler due to its being located in mountainous regions with temperatures at night going below 20°C (68°F).
Being a predominantly Catholic country means observing the traditional Catholic holidays of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday during Lent. Christmas and New Year's Day are also observed as non-working holidays along with All Saints Day on November 1. In recognition of the Muslim Filipino, the Islamic feast of Eid-Al-Fitr (known in the Philippines as Hari Raya Puasa), held after Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, is also a national holiday. This day changes year by year, as it follows the Lunar Calendar. Secular holidays include Labor Day (May 1) and Independence Day (June 12). Some holidays also commemorate national heroes such as Jose Rizal (Dec. 30) and Andres Bonifacio (Nov. 30). Metro Manila is less congested during Holy Week as people tend to go to their hometowns to spend the holidays there. Despite this, it is not a good idea to be in the metropolis at this time as most malls, shops and attractions are closed. Apart from Lent, malls and shops particularly in tourist areas generally still remain open on holidays. Shops may observe limited hours on Christmas, New Year and All Saints' Day. Holy week is also considered part of the super peak season for most beach resorts such as Boracay and the most popular ones tend to get overcrowded at this time. Due to its cool mountain weather, Baguio is also where a lot of people spend the Holy Week break.
Filipino cuisine has developed from the different cultures that shaped its history. As such it is a melange of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Arabic, Spanish and American influences. Though it is not as renowned as Thai and lately Vietnamese cuisine, Filipino cooking is nonetheless distinct in that it is possibly the least spicy of all South East Asian cuisines. Don't make the mistake to think of Filipino food as bland, though. It is just that instead of spices, Filipino food depends more on garlic, onions and ginger to add flavor to dishes. Painstaking preparation and prolonged cooking time is also a characteristic of most Filipino dishes, and this often is what brings out the flavor of the food as opposed to a healthy dose of spices.
Filipinos usually eat with a spoon and fork, with the spoon held in the right hand and the fork used for pushing food onto the spoon but sometimes, Filipinos eat with their hands, usually on provinces and remote areas or when they are on a picnic and using banana leaves as their plates.
As with the rest of Southeast Asia, rice is the staple food of the Philippines. Some areas in the Visayas prefer corn but elsewhere Filipinos would generally have rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Uncooked rice usually comes in 50kg sacks but can be bought by the kilogram at the wet market or at neighborhood rice dealers. Single servings of rice are readily available at fastfood restaurants or eateries.
Filipinos usually serve at least one main course accompanied by rice for lunch and dinner. At times you would have two with a vegetable dish accompanying a meat dish. On special occasions such as fiestas, several main dishes would be served. Soups are also often the main course apart from being a starter. It is not uncommon for Filipinos to douse their rice with the soup and eat the meat that came with the soup alongside. Here are a few typical Filipino dishes:
- Adobo - chicken, pork or both served in a garlicky stew with vinegar and soy sauce as a base.
- Pansit - chicken, pork or shrimp mixed with rice noodles with variety of vegetables i.e. carrots, cabbage, celery, peapods etc.
- Sinigang - soup soured usually with tamarind (but can also be by guavas or kamias), can be served with pork, beef, chicken, fish or shrimp.
- Lengua - roasted beef tongue marinated in savory sauce
- Nilaga - literally means "boiled", can be beef which in certain places is served with its marrow (bulalo), pork or chicken.
- Calamares - fried shrimp/squid wrapped in breading.
- Kare-kare - peanuty stew of vegetables and meat simmered for hours on end, usually beef with tripe and tail and eaten with a side of shrimp paste (bagoong). There is also a seafood version of kare-kare with crabs, squid and shrimp instead of beef.
- Camaron Rebusado - the Filipino version of tempura.
- Lechon de leche - slow-roasted baby pork, usually served during larger occasions. The crispy skin is delicious and is often the first part that is consumed.
- Daing na bangus - fried dried milkfish, usually served for breakfast with garlic fried rice and fried egg.
- Pakbet - a traditional meal of mixed vegetables usually containing cut tomatoes, minced pork, lady finger, eggplant, etc.
- Dinuguan - a dark stew of pig's blood mixed with its innards. Usually served with a big green chili and best eaten with puto.
- Bopis - pork innards, usually served spicy.