Located in the southeast of Asia lives a cluster of islands known as the Philippines… 7,107 islands and islets to be exact. It has a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers surrounded by the Philippine sea to the east, the Celebes Sea to the south, and the South China Sea to the north and the west. The Philippines cultural diversity emerged hundred years ago shared by the Malays, Spanish, and Americans. Long time affiliation with the West made the Philippines the fourth most populous English speaking country and the only predominant Christians in Asia. A country rich in history and culture, a place of beauty, tropical majesty and filled with a people whose kindness is known to all who visit.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Kris, a blogger from The Blank Polaroids. She currently lives in the United States but was born and raised in the Philippines. I must admit interviewing her was so much fun and also very informative to me. Her in-depth descriptions of her home country easily highlighted some of the most attractive parts of the Philippines and it’s heritage. Thanks for sharing with us Kristine!
What country were you born in and how long have you lived there?
Philippines, 20 years.
Where in your home country should I travel? And why?
There are a lot of islands to visit in the Philippines. If you head north, there is the Summer Capital of the country which is Baguio. You can always have fun in Baguio, there are a lot of tourist spots that you can enjoy, there is horseback riding and also many known thrift shops.
I remember when I was young, we always would go to Baguio almost every year for vacation. You can enjoy horse-back riding and the best part is, you can pick strawberries on a farm yourself. The weather up there is best in spring or fall, since it is up north. Also, there is one place I always wanted to visit but unfortunately I haven’t gotten to visit it. And that is in Vigan City. If you love old buildings and establishments, I would advise you to visit Vigan City and it reminds me a lot of Spain in the old times.
Do you have any tips for travelers to the Philippines?
One tip would be wearing the comfiest outfit you have since the weather in the Philippines ranges up to 90F every day, so I would recommend you wear a “summer” outfit if you have one, for traveling and exploring the country comfortably.
I understand it that you now live in New Jersey how did you go from living in the Philippines to living in America, it seems like such a huge change?
Like what you said, it is indeed a big change. I grew up in a country where it is always summer all year long. It was to my shock when I first experienced spring and especially winter. That would be the first change for me – the weather of two different countries is insane! We moved here in 2011 because my parents are here working and they wanted us to be all together in one place and be together again.
Do you wish to move back to the Philippines someday?
I don’t think so. Maybe I’ll go back to the Philippines, just to visit some friends, but not settle there. I have lived in the Philippines for so long and I prefer to live in the US than PH. Work compensation is great here that is one thing I love about living in America. I would most likely want my future family to be here in the US, if we all want to visit my home country, then I’d be happy to do that.
What is the best local food from the Philippines that you like?
Growing up in the Philippines and living there for almost twenty years, I tasted the best of the best… I think. We have different kinds of food, from exotic and common. We also have lots of sweets, from cassava cakes and “pastillas” and a lot more. Some of my favorite local foods are…
I’m from an Asian country so you might not be familiar with this food. We call this Sisig, basically, it is a pork, chopped into bits with onions, lots of onions. I usually just eat this at home since I don’t like to eat tons of onions while going out. We pair this with rice and soy sauce. It is one of my favorites, but I don’t eat it that much.
This is one of my favorite street foods, and I’m currently craving it right now. We call this Isaw or Pork Intestines, it’s a street food but it’s good like super good. I remember we would always eat this on our way home, especially those who are always on the front of the compound’s gate. We would eat this alone and dip it in vinegar with peppers or on a sweet sauce which by the way is my favorite
Traditional Filipino Breakfast
And this what a traditional Filipino breakfast looks like:
Fried Rice, Eggs, Dried Fish, and Filipino Sausages.
When visiting in the Philippines be sure to stop by any eatery and ask for any “-silog” or fried eggs and rice. I am sure you’ll love them
What is something about your culture that you love and wish to keep now that you live in the states?
Two things: Christmas and New Year celebrations. In our home country, we celebrate Christmas and New Year like it is the biggest thing ever. Here in the states, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as their most important holiday, and in the Philippines, we celebrate Christmas big time! Radio stations and malls would start Christmas decorating beginning very early, basically, malls are geared up for Christmas starting in September. New Year we also celebrate with a bang! Literally. Neighbors will purchase fireworks and will light them when the clock strikes midnight. Those were the two biggest holidays that I miss celebrating. We still celebrate them but it’s not like how we celebrate it in the Philippines.
What is something about the Philippines that may surprise a tourist once they get to the Philippines?
The hospitality of the Filipinos especially for the foreign tourists. I am sure, once you visit the Philippines, you will be greeted with a huge smile, even if they have problems, you will still see smiles on their faces. Once you visit one home, they’ll prepare their best dish for a foreign tourist to taste them. And the tourist spots, such as Boracay, Vigan, Palawan and some more of the islands. I bet you’ll enjoy vacationing in those places. We Filipinos are hospitable and friendly. And you will always see a huge smile on our face, every time. Be sure to put the Philippines on your Travel Bucket list, and see what I am talking about for yourself.
If you have any suggestions for questions to ask our Chatting Compass bloggers please let me know in the comment section below… Stay tuned for next weeks post.