Manila Revealed: Testimonials on Why the World’s Most Misunderstood City Rocks

Manila is a misunderstood city. Often neglected and rejected by many, even by locals, it is in need of a second chance. Years and layers of poverty and pollution has made it look derelict. But if you go beyond the surface you will find a city with a soul.

This is exactly what these adventurers and discerning travelers below have discovered. Read on as they share five different testimonials with one common message: Manila Rocks!

For Mark, it’s the passion of the people, the enthusiasm and the virus of happiness that spreads through Filipinos and carries over to those who choose to visit which makes it so special.

Continue reading “Manila Revealed: Testimonials on Why the World’s Most Misunderstood City Rocks” »

A balikbayan’s guide to an awesome food experience in the Philippines

So you haven’t been back to the Philippines in a while huh? As a balikbayan you are probably spoiled by the gastronomic delights of different cuisines abroad. You have most likely dined in gastro pubs, two star Michelin restaurants and even the latest chi chi eatery in town. So naturally your criteria for pleasing your sophisticated and worldly palette is set high.

However,  when it comes to Filipino food you know that an awesome experience in the motherland would constitute of the following well executed dishes or treats:

1. Classic Filipino dishes done right

Rule of thumb is to load up your plate with a sampling of food. 1. White rice- the foundation of any Filipino plate 2. Lechon- roast pork 3. Binagoongan- pork in shrimp paste with steamed vegetables 4. Sago’t Gulaman- caramelized sugar drink with gelatin 5. Kaldereta- goat in tomato and liver paste 6. Dinuguan – blood pudding stew 7. Lumpia- pork or vegetable spring rolls

 Where to eat

At a Philippine province during fiesta or at a handaan/salu-salu (get together) on your honor. You will be sure to get homemade dishes made from scratch.

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Carabao racing is so rad!

In my lifetime I have seen turtles race, spiders fight and crabs wrestle but I never knew that carabaos could race! I had the opportunity to watch these hefty farm animals go neck and neck during a Filipino Fiesta at my mom’s hometown of Nueva Ecija . It was spectacular! I never knew they could run very fast.

Little did I know that carabao racing is serious business among farmers in the province. I got a chance to sit down and talk to my uncle who used to own a champion carabao. He said that these carabaos are trained like horses. They are also bred to race. One can cost from anywhere to Php 50,000 to 200,000 (USD 1,000-5,000) depending on the beast’s genealogy, speed and training.

Carabao racers can win up Php 25,000 to 50,000 (USD 500-1000) per contest. So every summer (March-May) when fiestas are happening all over the country some would go from town to town in order to join the local race. For a farmer to win 1-2 contests is a big deal. Plus they get bragging rights aside from the prize money.

If you want to see why carabao racing is so rad check out this exciting video that I captured especially for you: