30 Famous Things to Experience in the Philippines
written on September 15th, 2016 by Rafia Abubakar
You know you’re in the Philippines when you see these famous spots, experience these to do’s, and everything or anything in between. This tropical archipelago with 7,107 islands has plenty to offer. This is just a peek.
1. Banaue Rice Terraces – The cascading beauty, tilled by farmers from long ago, and was in the running for the Eighth World Wonder title.
2. Boracay Island – One of 3 islands from the Philippines to be shortlisted in the 2016 World’s Best Island List of Travel + Leisure.
3. Palawan – The Island to top the list mentioned above.
4. Cebu – And the third Philippine island, ranking 6th at the Best Island List of the Travel + Leisure.
5. Sinulog – This celebration has helped make Cebu one of the most popular cities in the Philippines. The Queen of Philippine Festivals, Sinulog, draws in people from all over the world.
6. Festivals / Fiestas – Speaking of festivals, the Philippines is never short of them. All year round you will stumble upon a festival no matter how big or small in an area near you.
7. The Jeepney – The cheapest mode of transportation. Some of them are quite a sight to see, decorations, colours, and flare.
8. Balut – A favourite street food, and an initiation for many, especially for foreign visitors. Boiled developing bird embryo, eaten straight from the shell with some salt. Google it, if you dare.
9. Dinuguan – Often eaten as an afternoon snack with sticky rice cakes (Puto). In English it’s called Pork Blood Stew.
10. Street Food – While many warn against street food, it still begs to be tried at least once. Fish balls, Kwek-Kwek, Helmet, Adidas, Betamax, Isaw etc. Don’t the names make you curious? Here’s a primer to these street food and more.
11. Cebu Lechon – “The best pig ever ” – Anthony Bourdain.
12. Rice with every meal – I know that other neighboring Asian countries love their rice too, but a Filipino meal is never complete without a cup of rice, not necessarily eaten as a siding.
13. Jollibee – The biggest rival of any fast food chain in the Philippines. It’s even spreading its wings, bringing a taste of the Philippines to many other countries.
14. Tarsier – World’s smallest primate. Found in Bohol.
15. Philippine Eagle – Also known as the Monkey-eating Eagle, It is considered the largest eagle in the world in terms of length and wing surface. Sadly it is also critically endangered. Among the most powerful and rare birds in the world, it is Philippines’ national bird.
16. Cebu Dancing Inmates – From the CPDRC (Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center), a maximum security prison where for their daily exercise and recreation, the inmates learn and perform dance choreographies. They’ve gone viral several times.
17. Villa Escudero Waterfall Restaurant – Have a nice meal, right beside the waterfall. And by beside we mean literally by the falls.
18. Halo-Halo – This delectable dessert is one of the first things my Mom and visiting relatives ask to have when they come back to the Philippines.
19. Dirty Ice Cream – When you hear the ringing of the bell at the corner of the streets, be ready for a cold sweet treat to beat the tropical heat.
20. Volcano Hiking – The Philippines has more than its fair share of volcanoes, being in the Ring of Fire and all. We have experienced some of the biggest eruptions in this century. Mt. Pinatubo for one, it is now open for hitchhikers and those who are curious to see the crater.
21. Surfing in Siargao – The surfing capital of the Philippines, drawing worldwide wave riders annually. Home of the famous Cloud 9.
22. Pink Sands of Sta. Cruz Island – The famed pink sand beach is found in Greater Cruz (Cruz Grande) of the Sta Cruz Islands in Zamboanga City. Yes the shore looks pink! Apparently caused by washed up crushed red corals.
23. The colonial charm of Vigan – Known for its well-preserved Spanish colonial houses, lining the cobblestone streets. It’s physical throwback to a Philippines centuries ago.
24. Chocolate Hills of Bohol – Natural geological forming hills that make you want to have chocolate kisses.
25. Diving spots – With the country having the longest non-linear coastline, surrounded by four seas, you have no shortage of diving spots.
26. Island Hopping – Can’t choose which diving spot? Want to see more of the 7000 plus islands? Can’t get enough of sun, sea, and sand? Go Island hopping.
27. Enchanted River in Surigao – Hinatuan Enchanted River, a deep spring river, so deep that there are still unexplored areas below. Explorations have led to the discovery of underwater caves.
28. Tamaraw – Mindoro Dwarf Buffalo, the only bovine endemic to the Philippines, though they are now only found in Mindoro, it is believed they were largely found in other parts of Luzon.
29. Adobo – The dish every Filipino knows or has an ancestral recipe of.
30. Manny Pacquiao – Maybe you’ll get lucky and see him. Ask any Filipino about Manny Pacquiao, love him or hate him everyone has something to say. Quite a conversation starter with Filipinos.
Those are just some of the things you will hear, see and learn about this tropical archipelago. And that’s just scratching the surface. The diversity of each region has more to offer. Each has their own identity, yet making it every bit Filipino. Experiencing even some of the things on this list is enough for you to remember the country and its people.