The Philippines, also called the Pearl of the Orient Seas, occupies a meager area of 300,000 square kilometers in Southeast Asia and home to around 108 million Filipinos and immigrants. It is considered the 8th most populated in Asia and ranked 12th in the most populated country in the world.
Its richness can be traced back to the 1520s, during the Spanish colonization. Other than capturing continents as a sign of power, the colonizers were attracted to the abundance of the Philippines’ natural resources.
The Philippines is a multi-cultural country, its culture, language, and food influenced merely by its past colonizers. It had been under the dominion of Spain for 333 years, 48 years as a colony of the United States, and three years as a colony of Japan.
The Philippines was enslaved before it even established a government or culture. Still, it evidently, has risen as one of the sought-after countries in the world with its unique culture and welcoming people.
A Haven of Sceneries
The Philippines is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, so it experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It has 53 active volcanoes distributed among its 7,107 islands, the most famous being the Taal Volcano, Mayon Volcano, and Mount Pinatubo, all located in Luzon, its biggest island.
It is quite surprising how this small archipelago cradles many sceneries and spots that are unique in the world.
Sagada Hanging Coffins
As creepy as it may, the old ritual of Filipino tribes for burial is being preserved and made as an attraction for tourists to see. This attraction can be found in the Mountain Province of Luzon. The ancient Filipinos believe that if they hung the coffin of their departed loved ones high on the mountains, their spirits would also be closer to their ancestors.
Banaue Rice Terraces
The Philippines is an agricultural country consisting of numerous highlands and mountain ranges. It is a powerhouse of coconut, sugarcane, and rice production and the top producer of nickel and abaca.
This practice can be seen through the picturesque Banaue Rice Terraces, which is part of the world’s seven wonders. This scenic spot is an artificial rice field carved in the mountains.
Philippine Pristine Beaches
With the Philippine Sea on its north, the South China Sea on the west, and the Sulu Sea and the Celebes Sea on the south, you’ll never run out of beaches to visit in the Philippines. Among the famous beaches to tourists are Boracay, located in Aklan, El Nido in Palawan, and Siargao in Siargao Island.
Philippine beaches are remarkable with their blissful ambiance, powdery white sand, turquoise water, and festive nightlife.
In 2019, the Philippines was ranked as the 8th most favorite travel destination globally by a travel and luxury magazine, its beaches are still on top of the most visited spots.
Modes of Transportation
Venturing the country is made possible by a decent number of choices. The Philippines has a railway system called LRT (Light Rail Transit), MRT (Metro Rail Transit), and PNR (Philippine National Railways) that connects cities and provinces.
The most prevalent way of transportation is via jeepney, which is considered a means of transportation and a symbol of culture in the Philippines.
All other modes are available, like buses, cabs, and vans.
Authentic Filipino Cuisines
Filipinos are dubbed as everyone’s best friends because of their hospitality and happy demeanor. It was said that this warmth could be further felt when you got a taste of their cuisines, especially through desserts.
Do not be confused if you see a local with a mix of Spanish and American names and speaks with a hint of Spanish and English. It is, in fact, a norm in the country due to them being multi-cultural.
The Philippines offers an abundance of delicacies that you can experience at local restaurants by the sidewalks or what they call “carinderia.” At around 1 dollar, you can already eat one dish with a staple rice.
Here are a few famous Filipino dishes you may try if you’re wondering where to start from a plethora of choices:
Adobo is a counterpart of stew in the Philippines. It is made either of pork or chicken marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, and spices, slowly boiled until cooked. It is regarded with a rich flavor and tanginess brought by the mixture of vinegar and soy sauce.
Sinigang is known for its sour taste. It is considered one of the comfort foods in the Philippines. It is a soup made from boiling the pork, mixed with tamarind, vegetables, and other spices.
Living a Filipino experience is not complete without a glimpse of a boiled fertilized duck egg or balut. There’s nothing special about how it’s prepared, but the challenge lies typically on how foreigners will devour it.
Jollibee is considered the most popular fast-food chain in the Philippines, which can be a McDonald’s counterpart. Though it serves an almost identical menu, Jollibee is considered by many Filipinos as a place to be since their dishes adjust with the Filipino taste buds.
The fast-food chain serves sweet style spaghetti, chicken, halo-halo (literally means mix-mix in English), which is basically made of shaved ice, gelatin, beans, fruits and milk.
The Philippines as a Global Competitor
Filipinos are competitive and supportive with fellow Filipinos in terms of international competitions, particularly in athletics and pageants.
The Philippines is the titleholder of 15 victories in international beauty pageants and, if not announced as a winner, rise as one of the runners-up in competitions. Meanwhile, it also led in athletics having Manny Pacquiao, a boxing legend who’s the first to win four major titles of the eight weights of boxing.
There’s a lot to tell and discover about the Philippine culture, and experiencing it once in your lifetime is a decision to remember. Here are a few more facts about the Philippines, whether you are just curious or planning to set foot in the future.
- Philippines is named after King Phillip II of Spain.
- The deepest ocean trench in the world is Mindanao Trench, which can be found in the Philippines.
- The largest fish, snake, and bird in the world is in the Philippines.
- The Philippines has two of the largest malls in the world, namely SM Megamall and SM Mall of Asia.
- Filipinos eat using their bare hands.
- Filipinos love music.
- Respect is shown by using “po” and “opo” at the end of their statements.
- Among other spots to visit in the Philippines are its amusement parks, underground river, and the Chocolate Hills located in Bohol.
- The majority of Filipinos can understand and speak English.
- Filipinos celebrate the most extended Christmas season, starting September and ending in January.