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Why I love the Philippines

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The Philippines is a paradise for travelers. It is safe, beautiful, and affordable. It is also amazing to see how much the country has grown. In the past, the Philippines was one of the poorest countries in Asia, but today, it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. In a few years, it will likely be one of the most developed countries in the world. Yet, despite all its development, the Philippines is still a country where you can experience the beautiful beaches, the amazing food, and the friendly people. It is a place where you can take a break from all the stress in the world.

If you’re looking to visit the Philippines, you’re in luck. The country has some amazing spots, and all of them have something in common: they’re within close proximity to one another. You can take a short flight to visit one of these beaches, or dive into the waters of a lake that is only a few hours away.

One of the reasons I love the Philippines is because it is a country where the culture is so rich and woven together through music, food, art, religion and the people. My heart is always warm and I am always happy when I am there. We have so many wonderful places to visit, from the beaches of the southern part of the country to the snow covered mountains in its northern regions.

I take walks throughout the Philippines and am always thinking of ways to convey my love for the country on my site. It’s difficult to put into words what makes every day here a comedy lesson or, as one friend put it, a “carnival of insanity” in so many ways. Every day in the Philippines offers me something new to savor and a new peculiarity to experience, thanks to the unemployed’s patience.

The fact is that I adore the Philippines for a variety of reasons.

From relearning what air sirens mean, to watching a staunchly catholic country celebrate Miss Ladyboy Philippines 2009 to being swept along in the swirling current of daily life in a small town, this enigmatic country is full of contradictions and they are a pleasure to explore. I often think of my temperament when I was working in NY and — less a factor of my job and more the fact that I was living in a big city where time was money — efficiency was the name of the game. In the Philippines, efficiency can occasionally be a very foreign concept. Whether it is the meticulousness of the Yummy Angel Burger lady as she slowly puts my egg & ham sandwich together or the undeniably rocky transportation routes (direct never, ever means direct), time is relative. However, since I have all the time in the world, I take pleasure in these small but significant departures from my normal.

I though I’d make a list of some of the little idiosyncrasies and hilarious events that deserve to be shared, as well as a concrete illustration of why I like the Philippines.

1. Motorbike skepticism

With the exception of Negros Occidental, I’ve hired a motorcycle on every island I’ve visited, and the natives have always been amazed that I’m a woman riding alone. Even if we’re in a group of other tourists, the fact that I’m riding my own bike rather than riding on the back of a man’s bike amazes them. Driving the bike with a man on the back adds to the shock element. Unthinkable.

Every time you hire a motorbike, the following cycle of awesomeness occurs:

Me: Hello, I’d want to hire a motorcycle for the day. (Or, since Tagalog doesn’t include terms like “the” or “a” in most phrases – “Moto, me. “Thank you.”

Them: Hello, can you tell me where you’re from?

Canada is my country. Do you have a moto?

They (slowly) say, “Ma’am?” For you, a motorcycle, and……? (trailing off in a daze)

Me (with emphasis): Thank you, only for me. I am the only survivor.

Them: And you…know how to ride them (panicked gesture towards his motorcycles)?

Yes, I have rode alone many times. I don’t need instruction. I’ll be cautious.

Them: All right, but now I’ll teach you how to ride a motorcycle, okay? I’ll show you how.

Me: I appreciate that, but I already know how. Allow me to demonstrate.

(I grab the keys and grin as I drive around the corner and return.)

They say, “Ma’am?” What makes you so daring?

Add to this endless cycle of conversation the fact that people’s jaws drop every time I pass them on the side of the road or stop in a town to purchase supplies.

Why I love the Philippines: motorbike adventuresMy steed!

Roosters, No. 2

I know I covered the entire rooster-mania thing in my Welcome to the Philippines article, but it bears repeating since, after having lived in the Philippines for many months, I still find roosterism amusing. Buses, automobiles, vans, aircraft, restaurants – everywhere you go, a rooster is eagerly waiting to crow your ear off. When I have a difficult night’s sleep due to the karaoke club next door or the dogs barking down the street, people seem surprised. Why? Because they grew up surrounded by shrieking birds with screwed up circadian cycles, they all sleep like logs. I keep photographing roosters in public areas – which the locals find perplexing since roosters are everywhere – and my pleasure shows no signs of abating.

I awoke on a cargo boat from El Nido to Coron with one of these beauties on my tummy. I was requested to “hold for a minute” on a bus in the Visayas, and a rooster was placed into my arms while its owner grabbed a bag from the hold above his seat.

Although I despise cockfighting, the constant presence of roosters makes me happy.

Roostermania in the PhilippinesLISTEN TO ME ROAR!

3. Playing with words in a deceptive manner.

The Philippines, speaking of roosters, is rife with chances for subtle profanity. People will order exactly that (“Hi, 12 ass juices, please”) since the receipts for various drinks say “ass juice.”

The F. U. Store, one of El Nido’s general goods shops, has generated a terrible amount of immaturity in yours truly (Me: What store sells wine again? The FU Store is who they are. Me: What is it, exactly? They say, “FU!” and “FU!” and “FU!” and “FU!” and “FU!” and “FU!” and “FU!” and “FU!” and “FU!” and Rinse. Repeat.) There is now a debate over a possible Constitutional Assembly amendment – abbreviated as Con-Ass – to the constitution.

The roosters, on the other hand, are in a league of their own. While they are referred to as “manok” in Tagalog, they are often referred to as “cocks.” So you can image how difficult it would be for a dirty-minded bunch of Western visitors to overlook the vast array of opportunities that a nation full of roosters would provide. This nation offers infinite possibilities for people with 14-year-old sensibilities, from the apparently harmless (“Wow, that’s a big cock you’ve got there”) to the flattering (“You really have a fantastic looking cock”) Yes, I am one of those individuals.

Why I love the philippines: punsThere is no need for a caption.

Tanduay Rum is a rum produced in Tanduay, is number four on the list.

I am not a big drinker, and as a woman traveling alone, I am conscious of the amount of alcohol I consume, whether in the Philippines or abroad. Tanduay, on the other hand, is the ideal ice breaker for any circumstance. Tanduay is a Pinoy rum that originated in the sugar cane fields of Panay and whose name translates to tandugay, which means “low-lying area” in ancient Tagalog. Over a bottle of Tanduay, a table of strangers soon becomes a table of friends, and what started out as a peaceful evening evolves into a karaoke sing-off and a barrage of curious inquiries about Canada. On rare occasions, I’ll be asked to perform my national anthem.

A litre of Tanduay is cheaper than a litre of water, therefore it isn’t an exaggeration to claim that the Philippines is flooded with tawny rum.

Tanduay RumTanduay Rum

5. Cute children

And by that, I mean the sheer number of youngsters shouting at you as you walk, drive, or ride your bike past. Not only do they all shout hello or “hi friend!” from the side of the road, but they won’t stop until you answer them. If you don’t respond, the cycle will continue, with them following your bike, vehicle, or you down the street, laughing the whole time. When you’re faced with such disarming kindness, it’s hard not to go about with a huge grin on your face.

There are plenty of toddlers in El Nido, and now that they know who I am (and what my name is), I’m leaving a pied-piper-esque trail of grins and hellos everywhere I go. Of course, the fact that I often purchase them cookies from the bakery contributes to their urge to follow me about town.

IMG_2839.JPG

6. Everything’s sample size

I like the pharmacy’s travel size section, and I’m sure I’m not alone in my adoration for little toiletries (I am talking to you, Cheryl). Imagine my delight when I first entered a Pinoy supermarket: everything is in tiny packages. Everything. My brother doesn’t have to imagine my joy since he was there with me in Tagbilaran, screaming after me in panic as I raced from aisle to aisle yelling, “ALL tiny sizes!” and laughing like a fool.

This whole nation is designed to fill up on travel necessities if you are traveling about, from shampoos to baby powders, soaps to smokes (sold in twos or fours). It’s worth noting that these sample sizes exist since most Filipinos can’t buy a whole container, much alone the jumbo/family ones seen in North America. Every corner shop and supermarket in El Nido has sample quantities of everything hanging from the rafters.

Small sizes of toiletries abound in the PhilippinesToiletries in small sizes exist in the Philippines.

7. Ballads with a lot of power

Is this the country? I’m a sucker for 80s power ballads and those sluggish, terrifyingly melancholy tunes from the 1990s. Total Eclipse of the Heart, Everything I Do, I Do it for You, Hello, Memories (from Cats), Bed of Roses, Hero, and — spanning the 1970s and 1980s — anything by Air Supply are among the songs I’ve heard many times.

On jeepneys, public buses, tricycles, and the street, they are blasting at full power. For the first month, you want to chop your ears out, but the sheer persistence of these songs gradually worms its way through the hard, obstinate heart of your resistance, and you find yourself embarrassingly singing along, every time.

Hooking up a microphone to a TV, loading a disc with these oldies, and singing like your heart is breaking is what family karaoke is all about.

8. “It’s all right.”

It’s difficult to imagine that two simple words can create such a stir.

“It’s fine” may imply everything from “okay” to “no” to “don’t even think about it” – and there’s no way of knowing which one is meant in any given circumstance. You’d think that you’d be able to discern the appropriate sentiment given the context, from asking someone if they want something (response:”It’s ok!”) to asking if you can go somewhere (“It’s ok!”) to asking whether anyone was hurt when the tricycle crashed into the pile of mangoes across the street (“It’s ok!”), but you can’t.

To add to the amusement, most individuals don’t just say “It’s alright” once; they say it three or four times (“it’sokit’sokit’sok”), so frequently that even myna birds have perfected the phrase. I’ve been repeating “it’s fine” at least a couple times a day for nearly four months in the Philippines.

9. Smooching 

Or, to put it another way, no one here knows how to whisper. No one seems to mind where you are or how weary you are at night, on boats or buses, at hotels or restaurants. Indeed, they will shout at the top of their lungs, only to be perplexed when you stagger out of your room and groggily request that they quiet down. The standard response is, “Keep it….down?” Yes, we’re going down. It’s your voice. QUIET. But it’s all for nothing. As I previously said, the idea of peace and quiet is alien to a society that grows up with roosters crowing at all hours of the night and dogs fighting outside the window. To the Filipinos, everything becomes white noise, and most visitors lack this ability to block out the harsh sounds of the night. It’s not that I like the noise; it’s that I’m envious of the ability to block out the noise and fall asleep without waking up.

Eden Cheese is number ten.

Eden Cheese is composed of enough synthetics and random preservatives that it is virtually indestructible. It is sold by Kraft (of course) and wrapped in foil in a bright blue rectangular box that mimics cream cheese bricks back home. It’s pointless to put it out in the sun for hours, attempt to melt it for a sandwich, or shred it in the hopes that it won’t taste like manufactured cardboard.

Eden cheese, the Rasputin of Pinoy delicacies, is unrefrigerated, infrangible, and unreal, and it merits its own paragraph since it is the only cheese available on many islands and towns. El Nido is one of these towns, and it’s ubiquitous at 42 pesos (less than $1) per block. Eden Cheese’s complete and obvious refusal to be like other cheeses has grown on me, although I can’t say I like the flavor of soggy, sticky plastic.

Eden cheese: it just won't melt.Eden cheese refuses to melt.

Plus, it’s very lovely.

batadAnd, on a subsequent visit, gazing out over Batad’s magnificent rice terraces in Northern Luzon.

My trip to the Philippines was exciting, boisterous, and just what I had hoped for.

-Jodi

I don’t know much about art, but I’ve been collecting art since I was 11-years-old. I have over a dozen paintings from artists like Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Andy Warhol. I also have original sketches by Picasso, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, as well as a print of the Mona Lisa.. Read more about philippines is a beautiful country essay and let us know what you think.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Philippines so amazing?

The Philippines is a beautiful country with many natural wonders, and it has the most number of islands in the world.

How would you describe Philippines?

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It is composed of over 100 inhabited islands and a number of uninhabited ones.

Why do foreigners love Filipinas?

Filipinas are known for their beauty and kindness.

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