Top 9 Things to Do in the Philippines

An archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a country to behold. It’s truly a haven for travellers. Here are the amazing things you can do in the Philippines:

An archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, the Philippines is a country to behold. It’s truly a haven for travelers. Here are the amazing things you can do in the Philippines:

Dive like no other

The country is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. Located at the island of Palawan, this site is like heaven for divers. It has a diverse and rich marine biodiversity, and is home to hundreds of species of fish and corals, including whales and dolphins.

Go hiking

From going up a really tall mountain to hiking a small volcano nestled within another volcano, the Philippines offers you a lot of hiking options. It might take you hours to reach the top, but trust us, the picturesque views are totally worth it. Plus, don’t you want to see the clouds?

Visit architectural wonders

The country was colonized by the Spaniards for centuries, so architectural marvels built during that period are all over the country. From towering churches to well-kept ancestral homes, the Philippines will surely wake up your love for architecture. You can even ride horse-drawn carriages while exploring historical places such as Intramuros (located in the capital, Manila) or Vigan (around 8 hours from Manila).

Eat local food

From mouth-watering appetizers to mind-blowing desserts, the Philippines boasts a wide selection of local food that will surely tickle your taste buds. Among the most recommended Filipino dishes are the infamous adobo and the spicy sisig. If you have an adventurous side, you can try the balut, which is an egg with an almost formed duck embryo inside.

Attend a local festival

There are more than 42,000 festivals in the Philippines. Attending at least one is a must. These festivals can last from a few days to a few weeks, and usually consist of parades and colorful costumes. Some people would even welcome you into their dining table for free during these festivals.

Go island hopping

As mentioned earlier, the Philippines has thousands of islands so you should definitely try island hopping. From permanent islands to small ones that only appear during low tide, you will surely be delighted. Plus, taking a boat usually costs from 10 to 20 dollars only.

See the caves

Enormous limestones and rock formations await you in the Philippines. Many caves have historical significance (e.g. being used as a hiding place during World War II), and underground rivers (though you cannot usually swim in them). Caving is one thing you don’t wanna miss.

Interact with amazing animals

From swimming with whale sharks that are as big as buses to touching tarsiers that are as small as your palm, the Philippines is home to many species that you must meet during your visit. Plus, specific species of flying foxes, flying lemurs, and warty pigs can only be found in the Philippines.

Get a tan

The Philippines is a tropical country so getting a tan is easier here than in non-tropical countries. Finding a beach with white sand isn’t so hard, too. The pristine beaches in Cebu, Boracay, or Palawan will surely make your sunbathing experience better. Just don’t forget to put on sunscreen.

It’s never too late to join the traveling bandwagon, and the Philippines should definitely be on your bucket list.

Unique Traditional Dances From Around the World

Traditional dances are a sight to behold. They’re not done just for the aesthetics, but to preserve cultures and remind people of their humble origins as well.

Contrary to Abba’s words, not only seventeen-year olds can be dancing queens. Everyone can be, and these traditional dances from around the world prove that. Traditional dances are a sight to behold. They’re not done just for the aesthetics, but to preserve cultures and remind people of their humble origins as well.       

Indonesia – Kecak Dance

The Kecak is the famous fire dance originating from Bali, Indonesia. It is a popular cultural attraction for local and international tourists alike due to the amazing display of colorful costumes and elaborate fire structures.

This traditional dance is a portrayal of a war between Prince Rama with his monkey army, and the evil Rahwana. The dancers move to the tune sung by themselves.

It’s usually performed at dusk to emphasize the fire attractions. To do the Kecak, 150 men wearing Balinese sarongs sit around a fire structure. In the middle are the priest, Rama, Shinta (Rama’s wife), the Monkey King, Rahwana, and Sugriwa, a Buddhist god.

Italy – Tarantella

The Tarantella is a couple folk dance that involves light, quick steps, and flirtatious & teasing behavior. The female dancers usually carry tambourines as they groove to the sound. The dance is traditionally performed during celebrations, especially weddings.

This traditional dance was believed to cure a specific sickness caused by tarantula bites, hence the name Tarantella. As time passed by, it also became a dance of courtship. In this version, the woman uses liveliness to spark the love of her partner. In return, the man tries to charm her with elegance and tenderness.

The Philippines – Tinikling

Tinikling is the oldest dance in the Philippines. It involves bamboo poles that are moved simultaneously. The original version includes two poles only, but a variation involves four poles in a criss-cross position.

Each pair, consisting of a male and a female, has to dance to the rhythm while the bamboo poles are moving at their feet. The dancers have to maintain composure as they have to avoid getting their ankles caught between the bamboo poles.

Ukraine – Hopak

Hopak is a traditional dance with a Ukranian origin. Its first version only involved males. As it became more popular, Hopak was danced by soloists, couples, and groups.

What makes this traditional dance interesting is that it doesn’t have a fixed set of steps. Men usually improvise steps in the form of high leaps, turns, and squat kicks. On the other hand, women do simple steps by swaying, clapping, and going in circles. Additionally, complex acrobatic movements are common in stage versions of Hopak.

Japan – Kabuki

Kabuki is a traditional dance accompanied with drama. The amazing mix of dance, music, mime, and costumes made it popular in Japan for more than four centuries. The dance drama is also a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, which makes locals and foreigners flock to see Kabuki live.

Kabuki is a visual spectacle that emphasizes looks more than the plot. The set design, music, and dance steps were all carefully crafted to produce a breathtaking show.

Russia – Barynya

The Barynya of Russia is a traditional dance characterized by extremely energetic moves. It is accompanied by chastushka, which is a folk song with a high beat frequency. Chastushkas are full of humor, irony, or satire.

The female dancers wear embroidered Russian dresses and headgears. On the other hand, the male dancers don shirts, loose trousers, and boots with high heels. The dance has a non-complex choreography, with simple steps such as foot stomping and knee bending.

Mongolia – Tsam Dance

The Tsam Dance of Mongolia is a Tibetan Buddhist dance that includes characters of Buddhist legends and animals that symbolizes both good and bad. Seeing dancers wear lion, crow, or deer costumes are a common sight during a Tsam performance. 

Historically, a Tsam dance was done at the beginning of the year to exorcise evil. Nowadays, the dance is mainly believed to bring good fortune. All dancers are required to wear masks (most of which cover the whole head) and elaborate costumes that take many days to perfect.

England – Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance that’s believed to be the oldest one, with an age of more than 1,000 years. This traditional dance is performed each year on the first Monday after September 4 in the Staffordshire village.

During the dance, six people carry the horns. They are accompanied by a musician with a violin or accordion. The Maid Marian (a man in a dress), the Hobby horse, the Jester (a young person with a bow & arrow), and another young person with a triangle complete the ensemble.

Traditionally, all of the dancers have to be males, but modern versions of the dance allow girls to carry triangles, bows, and arrows.

    

5 Amazing Mexican Dishes To Try at Home

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and what’s better than indulging in authentic Mexican food on this festive day? Here are 5 amazing Mexican dishes you can try at home.

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and what’s better than indulging in authentic Mexican food on this festive day? This day holds much importance to people living in Mexico and some parts of the USA as it portrays a good moment in history. So it doesn’t matter if you can’t go to a Mexican restaurant this year or see the parade, you can easily whip up some amazing recipes that are sure to make your day! 

Enchiladas Verde

Enchiladas are simple to make and will give you an authentic Mexican feel while you devour it. Get your hands on the tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeños, poblano, shredded chicken, lime, and tortillas. Broil all the vegetables and then toss them into a blender to create a smooth sauce. Then all you need to do is layer up 8 to 10-inch tortillas, insert your shredded chicken (or meat), pour the sauce over your tortillas, and finally, bake it altogether, to get the Enchiladas Verde hot, delicious & ready!

Crockpot chalupas

Chalupas are some of the most common food items opted for on Cinco de Mayo. You can easily make them at home now as slow cookers are here to help you. Add the meat, spices, beans, and vegetables into the crockpot and let them sit for 4 to 6 hours. You can carry on making other delicious for Cinco de Mayo while this gets done. Once the timer is up, all you need to do is shred up the meat, layer the contents from the crockpot onto a tortilla base, add some cheese on top, and voila! Your crockpot chalupas are ready.

Breakfast burritos 

What’s a Mexican festival without burritos? Add a spin to it and start you Cinco de Mayo with a breakfast burrito. Add all the ingredients that you would like in the burrito and start your day right! A saucy breakfast burrito with beans, eggs, and cheese is sure to put you in a great mood while you stay at home. 

Tacos

Indulge in delicious variations of tacos this day! While people mainly opt for beef in their tacos but if you don’t want it, then you can easily switch the beef with chicken or beans. To make your crispy tacos, toss in your preference of meat and vegetables in spiced salsa, add a bit of lime on top to give your tacos that boost in flavor and enjoy! You can create different variations of these tacos and snack on them all day long, you can be creative with this one. 

Red Salsa 

And finally, Cinco de Mayo is incomplete without red salsa and nachos. The best thing about this is that you don’t even need too many ingredients to make it! Get your hands on some tomatoes, spicy jalapeños, cilantro, some onions, and lime; to make the perfect dip, pair it up with your choice of nachos. And don’t be tempted to buy ready-made salsa from your local supermarket, they just don’t taste the same, as a freshly made salsa, and its definitely not as fun.

While this Cinco de Mayo is going to be all about staying at home this year, you might as well indulge in cooking some of the greatest Mexican food! These recipes are simple and easy to make, and make sure to have fun while you’re creating these dishes. Viva Mexico!

Spain’s Mysterious Underwater Temple

Spain’s Mysterious Underwater Temple: In 2019, Spain was hit with record droughts, which it has never seen in recent years. It was these conditions that caused the waters of the Tagus coastline to recede, and reveal a shocking sight – an ancient temple monument, the Spanish Stonehenge.

Spain has a long and storied history of interesting culture, conflicts, and ancient mysteries. That is why it should come as no surprise that when weather patterns change, even more exciting things can be found in the waters.

If you weren’t in Europe during the summer of 2019, you likely didn’t realize how exceptionally hot the entire region was for those months. The whole of central and southern Europe was experiencing record high temperatures, and the country of Spain, was no exception. In that year, Spain was hit with record breaking droughts, that it has never seen in recent years. It was these conditions that caused the waters of the Tagus coastline to recede, and reveal a shocking sight – an ancient temple monument, the Spanish Stonehenge.

This temple that was revealed, dating to be between 4,000-7,000 years old, emerged for the first time in decades among the Valdecañas reservoir. The sight itself was previously excavated by a German researcher by the name of Hugo Obermaier in 1920; however, nothing was made of the discovery and the site was submerged completely underwater in 1963 during a construction project. The site was lost to the minds of the global community, until it’s recent re-emergence.

The site has come to be known as the ‘Spanish Stonehenge’, due to its construction of large granite megalithic structures organized in a 26m round circle. The resemblance to the famous English megalithic structure is rather uncanny. The tips of the structure were known to peak above the waters over the years when water levels in the reservoir were low, but it wasn’t until this historic summer of 2019 that they fully emerged.

Experts believe that the structure was previously used as a temple, or even a ritual burial ground. It is unclear, why people in the region would have needed the structure for at that time; but the fact remains that the massive 2m tall stones are something to behold.

Unfortunately, there have been concerns about how to preserve this unique monument. Granite is a very porous stone, and being submerged for the better part of 60 years has not been kind to the monument. Currently there are movements being launched to preserve and protect the monument from tourists and others who might damage it and all it’s natural wonders.

Many cultures have tales of ancient underwater temples and cities, the Spanish Stonehenge brings something mythic to the area in this regard. It gives an amazing look into older civilizations , and all who laid eyes on it have noted the sense of wonder and amazement it evokes. It truly is a wonder of the ancient world, brought forth for us to see again from the depths of the reservoir it sleeps in.