While you are in the Philippines, be sure to join Kultura Kamp. They organize weekend camps with indigenous people wherein one can experience and learn the culture of the Filipinos first hand. Campers are assigned to foster families. Over the weekend, campers get to plant, have story-telling with the elders of the village, learn the traditional dances by the bonfire. The camp has an unconventional take on touring, from merely sight-seeing to immersing. Unlike other tour services, Kultura Kamp will allow you to live as the locals do.
Halo HaloHalo is a delicious cool drink rather like a knickerbockerglory (if you remember the old days) which translates into mix mix. It consists of shaved ice, mixed boiled or dried fruits with evaporated milk and a scoop of ice-cream on top.Halo Halohalo is very popular throughout the country and simpler versions are found in stalls by the side of the road in smaller communities that will only cost a few pesos. Restaurants will sell this drink from 50 pesos to well over 100 pesos but you will not be disappointed if you try it.
Ingredients will vary but sugar palm, kidney beans, garbanzos, coconut strips, plantains, tapioca, jackfruit, gulaman, nate de coco , sweet potato, cheese etc will most likely be in the glass.
In most towns you can find locals selling peanuts, with or without garlic, hot peppers, skinned or unskinned and cashew nuts. (10 pesos a small paper bag) Sometimes the vendor will roll his cart around from area to area while other prefer to stay in the same place every night so the locals know where to find them.
Another favorite is fried bananas, normally you can buy two on a stick for a few pesos.
If you are near the sea chances are you will see locals selling dried squid for a few pesos. There will either be one squid on a stick or two or three small ones. When you have made your choice the vendor will heat it over hot charcoal then hand it to you, usually with a sweet sauce, Try it ! It is chewy but very good. I often eat this.
Jackfruit, known locally as langka grows on trees and is native to south and south-east Asia. It is the largest fruit that is grown on a tree and can be as heavy as 35 kilos, although the heaviest that i have had on my trees is only 22 kilos. The fruit has a distinct aroma, perhaps sweet and fruity smell, unlike any other fruit. The fruit is large, green and a warty texture and locals know when it is ready to pick, then they will slice it open with a machete and enjoy the fleshy yellow fruit inside. There are fibers in the fruit that you will peel away then eat the part that is in between that contains the seed. Do not eat the seed raw but they can be cooked in coconut and eaten. Jackfruit jam can also be made from the fruit.
I am not quite sure where to put this but on my first trip to the Philippines over 30 years ago i thought i had spotted a pineapple tree, having had no idea where pineapples grow. In fact the tree is a type of pandan tree and the fruit / for want of a better name is certainly not edible. You will come across these trees growing near the beach.
All over Philippines the locals love to eat chicharon, one of their favorite snack foods which you can probably see being sold at markets or sellers will wander around the village looking for customers. Chicharon is crispy fried pork rind, actually the skin of the pig with some fat still attached and when it is deep fried it curls up. In this country you will normally eat it by dipping the snack into a small bowl of vinegar, often with chili peppers. You can usually buy a bag for around 20 pesos.
The Philippines is a strongly Catholic country. There are many beautiful churches here.
The church in the photo is the Basilica del Santo Nino, Cebu City. It was built in 1565. This basilica houses the oldest and most celebrated Christian relic in the Philippines –the image of Senor Santo Nino de Cebu ( the Infant Jesus).
Fort San Pedro in Cebu City was one of the first Spanish settlements in the Philippines. The walls of the fort are around 20 feet high and 8 feet thick. Its towers are around 30 feet high. Construction of the fort began in 1565.
The fort was used by the Japanese army during the Second World War. It was also once used as barracks by the American army. It has even been home to the Cebu City Zoo. Now it is a museum owned by the tourism authority.
Mayon Volcano is one of the places you must never miss in visiting the Bicol Region. This volcano is popular for its “perfect cone”- symmetrical conical shape. Just a piece of advice before visiting the place, wish and pray that it will not be cloudy when you get to see it. I got this advice from one of my local friends because sometimes the volcano hides in the clouds and you’ll miss to see its perfect cone. I didn’t believe my friend when he said that and you know what happened.
Mayon Volcano is an active volcano in the country until now. The most destructive eruption in the history happened on 1814. Recently, on May 2013, it erupted again so advisories from local authorities should be followed.
Travel from Manila to Legaspi by land takes 14hours or you can travel by plane from Manila directly to Legaspi for almost 1 hour.
Travel time from Manila to Naga by bus is 12 hrs (fare for air conditioned bus 750php- 1200php, ordinary/non-air conditioned bus is 400-450Php) while by plane takes 55mins only. Then from Naga to Legaspi takes 2 hours of travel time. You can ride a van in the terminal in front of the SM Mall Naga to go to Legaspi, fare costs 150php. From Legaspi Central Business District, take a jeep going to Camalig/Guinobotan/Ligao/Libon/Oas, fare is 8Php. Just tell the jeepney driver to stop by the road going to the ruins. At the right side of the road, you’ll see a big signage of the Cagsawa Park then walk straight down the road.
Palawan was until recently the last frontier in the Philippines and a very isolated island because it's located quite far from Manila, but these days the island is well connected by air with not just Manila but also other cities in the Philippines.
Palawan is famous for it's beaches, it's underground river and unspoilt natural scenery.
When i was there i spend quite some time cycling around Palawan and the island is one of the best places i have come across in the Philippines for cycling with fairly quiet roads with a decent surface.
The island is fairly hilly with some smaller mountains scatterd all the way down this long island.
The capital Puerto Princesa is a pleasant little harbour town with a nice seafront avenue that is full of locals in the evening.
The place is getting very popular with backpackers and Philippine tourists and you will most likely see a big influx of package tourists soon now that the island is becoming more accesible to the world.
The island of Boracay is one of the hottest tourist destination in the Philippines. Its white fine sand, the night life , plenty of delicious food and water sports and most of all, the Boracay sunset. There are plenty of hotels to choose from the most expensive one to the cheapest ones. Plenty of bars.
We spend our daytime exploring the beach and enjoyed the cold drinks and a big bite of the biggest hamburger and the water rides like the banana boat rides, parasailing, helmet diving, island hopping, and don't forget the ATV expedition.
For our night time, we spend it on food tripping and watching the fire dancing and all the live bands. They say life in the island starts after sunset.
Emperador brandy and Tanduay rum are the favorites of the locals and cost as little as 35 pesos for a small bottle----what a bargain as a single shot in a British pub would probably set you back £3. It is normal for the locals to hang around at night with a few bottles of their favorite booze, some ice and a communal glass which is passed from person to person. Probably they will have some Palutan too, which is snack food such as chicken wings, pork chizeron, or bbq'd meat.
There are some cheaper versions of the brandy such as Generoso, Matador and other too ghastly to mention.
Make sure you down a few San Miguels while you are in the country, as it is the most consumed alcohol in the country. It also comes in 1 litre bottles although they are not widely available at restaurants.The San Miguel Brewery opened up in Manila in 1890 and took its name from the brewery in Barcelona.
San Miguel also produces RED HORSE, a favorite of the locals as it is stronger. There are many other types of beer by San Miguel also.
The second brewery and their only competitor is Asia Brewery whose beer is called 'beer na beer' and is slightly cheaper. They also produce Colt 45, a malt liquor which has a bit of a kick to it.
You may buy litres of San Mig at sari-sari stores for as little as 65 pesos a bottle.
Panga is the cheek, and it is the best and most delicious part of the fish. Normally one would eat tuna fish panga which has lots of tender meat. You should eat it with your fingers and dip it in soya and calamansi sauce/dip.
don't leave the Philippines without trying it!!!
This is my Makati Shangrila Tips with the Newer Pictures. The Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is a...more
Set back a short way from White Beach, Dave's Straw Hat Inn is the perfect place to sit back and...more
The location is great! Opposite the road is the stretch of shopping -- Green belt shopping area, SM...more