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The Philippines is a beautiful country in the Pacific Ocean where you can explore nature in its finest glory. Out of its 7,640 islands, only about 2,000 are inhabited. You can surely find places that, to this day, that remain untouched by civilization.
If you are planning to visit the Philippines to see its picture-perfect beaches and mountains, here are a few things that you should keep in mind in order to enjoy your stay in this tropical country.
How to Eat Filipino Cuisine
Filipino cuisine is an underrated gem. One bite of their famous lechon is enough to get you hooked.
It has several foreign influences, from Chinese cuisine brought by early traders to Spanish cuisine after Spain invaded the island.
You probably already know that Filipinos eat rice in every meal. What you may not be familiar with are the different condiments and dipping sauces that come with every meal.
Filipino chefs would not feel offended if you want to add more vinegar or soy sauce into your food. In fact, some dishes require it. The kare-kare, a stew with thick peanut sauce, is eaten with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste).
The Barrio Fiesta bagoong in sweet and spicy is a popular brand locally, but you can find it just about anywhere and is also eaten with extremely sour green mangoes. Atchara, or pickled papaya, often comes with grilled chicken or the popular breakfast food tapsilog.
If you want to eat like the locals, sit at a karenderya. Karenderya is a roadside eatery where you can find traditional food at an affordable price. For Php50 (about $1), you can enjoy one satisfying meal. Just point at whichever food appeals to you. The dishes of the day are on display in front of you.
Every region offers different dishes. If you want to explore Filipino cuisine, you have to travel to different provinces across the country.
How to Party
Filipinos love to party. The nightclub scene is very much alive in the capital of Manila, but even if you go out of the city, there is still so much partying going on.
The fiestas in small towns are worth seeing. They are colorful and can get very loud and The best ones that travelers should attend are
- Panagbenga, a flower festival in Baguio
- Masskara, a parade where people don masks in the island of Negros
- Ati-Atihan in Kalibo where dancers cover themselves in dark soot
- Sinulog, a celebration of the Christ Chil in Cebu
How to Find the Best Beaches
The Philippines has a number of beaches that are popular worldwide. Boracay and Palawan are, perhaps, the ones you hear most often. Other places that are drawing a lot of tourists are Cebu, Bohol, Ilo-Ilo, La Union, Pagudpud, and Siargao.
You would have to leave Manila to see these pristine beaches. Some are located a few hours away from the capital while others you have to take a plane to see.
If you want off-the-beaten-track destinations, the best people to ask are the locals. Often, these places are very hard to get to but, once you are there, you will be rewarded with gorgeous scenery.
Filipinos are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. However, as a tourist, you always have to be careful. Just like anywhere else in the world, there would be people who would want to take advantage of your naivete. But, mostly, Filipinos will be willing to help.