The Philippines is a treasure trove filled with culture, nature, and life! Its 7,107 islands flaunt manifold wonders that will invigorate you with majestic landscapes, scrumptious cuisines, friendly people, and temperate climate. Much has to be said about the wonders of the Philippines, and among the long list of things that keeps people coming back to this gem of a country in South East Asia, here are 5 of the things that I love the most.
Being the only Christian country in the continent, your gastronomic adventure will not be limited to just non-halal foods. The Filipino culture is never complete without its sinful yet mouthwatering signature dishes. There are hundreds of Pinoy delicacies out there but these three are the all-time favorite of every Pinoy, including me.
Better known as roasted pig in English. As its English name suggests, it is a pork roasted to perfection. It’s oozing with juiciness and has a delightfully crispy skin. This is one of the delicacies that tourists should try. If you’ve been to the Philippines but haven’t tried Lechon yet, then you are truly missing out.
The colonization of the Philippines by Spain not only had an impact on the country’s religious, socioeconomic, and political culture but also on Filipinos’ cuisine. The Spanish left a recipe to the Filipino heritage that became a staple cuisine to most Filipinos. What was once called “adobar” by the Spanish is what we now call the “adobo”. Adobo is a pork or chicken dish marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, and salt. Commonly, tourists who have been to the Philippines have a soft spot for this dish because its aroma and taste are delectable.
If you watched the popular dare game show “Fear Factor,” most likely you have seen an episode where contestants were challenged to eat “balut” or boiled duck egg. Contestants grimaced at the duck embryo inside the egg, while some almost puked on their first bite. For the inquisitive minds out there, try the 16-day old variety since it is fresh and the embryo is not that mature enough. Then, sprinkle some salt and sip the stew inside. Lastly, eat the egg yolk together with the embryo to get a dose of culinary revelation. Along with its twin – the Penoy (unfertilized duck egg), many Filipinos are always on the lookout for these evening treats. They’re usually sold in the streets every night anywhere in the Philippines.
The Philippines is blessed with a tropical climate. It’s a country where it’s sunny every day all year. Its climate is as warm as its people, that’s why you can easily don those bikinis and shift to beach mode anytime of the year. The best thing about it is that the climate is perfectly matched the country’s abundance of beautiful beaches.
Apparently, an archipelago with 7,107 Islands, the Philippines will never fall short in providing an exquisite beach experience. Some of the country’s beaches are renowned worldwide. Here are two of the most popular beaches in the Philippines.
Today, when it comes to beaches in the Philippines, El Nido now shares the spotlight with Boracay in terms of popularity. If you are looking for a destination that hosts white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, splendid lagoons and caves, and magnificent marine wildlife, then El Nido is the place to go. El Nido is located in northern Palawan which was once an unknown town but now a destination flocked by millions of local and foreign visitors each year. Most people who visit the place go for snorkeling and kayaking in the small lagoons. All in all, El Nido is a stunning paradise that is wondrous and pristine, like it’s some surreal landscape from a dream.
Boracay is still the undisputed king of all beaches in the Philippines. Despite getting some flak from unsatisfied visitors, it’s still a highly-visited destination and one of the top beaches in the world. The paradise is not only renowned for its white, sandy beaches and turquoise waters but also for its amenities like restaurants, nightlife, leisure activities, and much more. It’s also a great place to meet new friends. If you visit the island alone, chances are you will be in for some small talk as most people are up for a chat, especially if you hang out in bars. So, free yourself from the spell of a too-quiet office and daily work grind, release your inner party animal in Boracay.
No Language Barrier
Aside from the mild tropical weather, the Philippines is one of the most tourist-friendly countries in the South-East Asia due to the fact that everyone here speaks English. If you are visiting the country for the first time, you won’t have any problems doing transactions since people can communicate well and have expertise in English. Although English is also spoken as a second language in other Asian countries, what makes Filipinos fluent in the language is its implementation. Children start learning English from pre-school to college (yes, other countries do that too), however, learning English doesn’t stop there. Since the Philippines is a hotspot for outsourcing businesses, the country is teeming with call centers and other BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) companies. Most of these companies implement EOP (English Only Policy), which improves the employee’s command of the English language. Also, English is a major subject in schools, so if you flunk it, then say hello to a summer remedial class.
Apart from our spectacular beaches, one of the reasons why the Philippines is a favorite destination for travelers is the hospitality of our people. It’s true, nothing beats Filipino hospitality –they will invite you for a meal and get to know you personally even though you’re a stranger. Then, they will call you “ma’am” or “sir” as a show of respect or politeness.
There is more to the Philippines than meets the eye. The magnificent beaches, warm climate, and delicious cuisines – they’re everything that you can expect from every country. However, the people and culture in the Philippines are something you’ll never find anywhere else in the world. Many fell in love with the country not only because of the amazing beaches or the food but also because of the people’s kindness and hospitality. These positive Filipino values are what I love the most about the Philippines.