Unique and Fun Things to Do in the Philippines: Most Interesting Things to See and Experience in the Pearl of the Orient

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If you’re planning on visiting the Philippines and looking for things to do, then you’re in for a treat! There are so many unique things about the Philippines that many people are not aware of. The rich Filipino culture is well diverse when it comes to culinary arts, languages, islands, and tourist spots that will give you unforgettable experiences. If you’re looking to have fun while enjoying the uniqueness of a beautiful place, the Philippines offers a lot of surprising features that you can definitely learn from.

In this article, I’m going to show you the many different faces of this amazing archipelago and teach you a few Filipino words that are really cool to learn.

​Things to Eat in the Philippines – Exotic and Original Filipino Food

If you’re a foodie then here are a few ideas on what to eat while in the Philippines.

Balut

Perhaps, you may have already heard of the boiled duck embryo delicacy that has now been served around Southeast Asia but originated from the Philippines in the 1900s. The famous balut or a fertilized duck egg that is boiled and eaten while still warm is one of the most exotic Filipino foods that are both loved and abhorred by foreign visitors. A trip to the Philippines is not complete without trying this popular street food that you can find literally anywhere in the country.

​Pandesal

Another must-try delicacy is the pandesal or salt bread which is uniquely Filipino. This is a staple on every table during breakfast and even in merienda or afternoon snacks. It’s a perfect match for a cup of coffee, Pinoys even love to dip the bread in their coffee or hot chocolate drink. This best-selling bread roll is low in sodium and contains iron, making it the best snack for people with hypertension or kidney disease.

​Jollibee

Okay, if you’re still not familiar with this fast-food chain, you definitely need to visit the Philippines and learn why Pinoys love this food so much. This iconic Filipino food chain is the McDonald’s of the Philippines. While there are Jollibee branches around the world, still nothing compares to the feeling when you eat at a local branch with the whole family. Children love the bright red bee mascot as it represents the jolly spirit of every Filipino.

​Diverse Philippine Languages

Generally, Filipinos are good English speakers although most people can only understand basic words. If you need directions when traveling around the country, you can ask the friendly locals and they will help you get to your destination. There are more than 170 individual dialects that Filipinos use in different parts of the Philippines. The most common are Bicolano, Cebuano, Ilonggo, Ilocano, Waray, and Capampangan.

However, the main local language is Tagalog and there are some interesting terms that are derived from Spanish words. Below are common Tagalog words with similar Spanish meanings:

  • Sapatos – shoes
  • Pamilya – family
  • Kwento – story
  • Gwapo – handsome
  • Hepe – chief or police chief
  • Harana – serenade
  • Inutil – impotent
  • Impakto – an evil spirit
  • Pacencia – patience
  • Seguro – maybe

Language experts say that about 20% of Filipino words are Spanish. You might be even surprised to know that Tagalog is one of the world’s most widely spoken languages. Why? Because it consists of Spanish and English traces.

In the United States, Tagalog was the 5th most-spoken language in 2003, with around 1.2 million speakers; and in 2011, it became the 4th most-spoken language. The use of Tagalog is more common in Washington, Nevada, and California as many Filipinos inhabit these states. On the other hand, Ilocano is also a significant language in Hawaii. Around the world, approximately 34.3 million people speak Filipino as their mother tongue.

​Places to Visit in the Philippines – Fascinating Islands and Their Hidden Gems

Palawan and Boracay are only two of the most beautiful island destinations that tourists love to visit in the Philippines. Whether you’re choosing an ideal place for island-hopping or simply looking for the perfect place to relax and unwind, these fascinating islands in the Philippine archipelago are worth your plane tickets.

​Siargao

This teardrop-shaped island is located in northeast Mindanao and is locally known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. Siargao has been featured in both local and international magazines for being one of the world’s best islands. With pristine white sand, lush mangroves, enchanting lagoons, and stunning islands, this tropical paradise deserve to be on your bucket list.

​Palawan

If you’ve watched the last season of Money Heist, Palawan was featured in some of the episodes. It means that the world has recognized the beauty of this magical island, particularly the El Nido and Coron islands. Located west of Luzon, Palawan consists of 45 virgin islets and islands that offer breathtaking views and exciting water activities. No wonder Forbes named Palawan heaven on earth, it’s truly a dream place for adventurers.

​Boracay

Over the years, Boracay is still one of the best islands to visit in the world. It’s located in the Visayas and offers many world-class hotels and resorts. The signature white sand beaches and spectacular islands surrounding the place make it a slice of paradise that everyone loves to stay in during holidays and vacations. Some of the popular activities here include helmet diving, kite surfing, parasailing, scuba diving, windsurfing, and snorkeling.

​Awesome Tourist Sites to Explore

The natural wonders that can only be seen in the Philippines are enough proof of how unique this country is. But aside from the tropical beaches, the mesmerizing mountains, and stunning islands, there are many other awesome tourist destinations that you can explore while enjoying a trip around the Philippines.

​Puerto Princesa Subterranean River

The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in Palawan was the world’s longest subterranean river until the 10-kilometer underground river has been discovered in Mexico. This popular tourist destination continues to attract foreign visitors all year round. If you’re planning to visit Palawan, make sure to include Puerto Princesa in your itinerary.

​Banaue Rice Terraces

Speaking of unique attractions, the Banaue Rice Terraces is a UNESCO heritage site that has been named the Eight Wonder of the World. It was built around 2,000 years ago by Filipino ancestors and maintained by the indigenous people living in Banaue. The ancestors created the rice terraces using only their hands, making it a breathtaking man-made tourist attraction in the Philippines.

​Mayon Volcano

Known as the world’s most perfect volcanic cone, the Mayon Volcano located in Albay is a surreal sight to behold. This active stratovolcano has an elevation of approximately 2,400 meters, giving people a great view of the volcano from the ground. At the foot of Mt. Mayon, there are nature trails where wild birds can be seen such as parakeets. Here’s a fun fact, Mayon was derived from the Bicolano word magayon which means beautiful.

​Memorable Experiences to Have in the Philippines

There are so many unforgettable experiences that a traveler can do when visiting the Philippines. Here are some of the best activities you must try during your stay, they will surely make your trip a memorable one:

​Riding the Colorful Jeepney

The jeepney is dubbed the king of the road and this unique transportation vehicle can only be found in the Philippines. They are leftovers of the jeeps during the American colonization. Today, these public vehicles can accommodate more people due to their convenient design. Payments are passed on among the passengers until they reach the driver. When paying, you say bayad po and if you’ve reached your destination, you simply say para po.

​Singing Like a Rock Star with the Karaoke

Filipinos love to sing and their number one go-to place is karaoke bars. However, you can also find karaoke machines or video singko in barangays (villages). You don’t have to be a good singer to buy your own karaoke as long as you enjoy singing and love to have a good time with family and friends. Even those who live in bamboo huts or nipa houses have their own karaoke machine.

​Getting Inked by Apo Whang Od

If you’re a tattoo enthusiast and would like to get inked by a centenarian tribal tattoo artist, Apo Whang Od is the person you should ask. Locals and foreign tourists have been eager to visit Whang Od and get a traditional tattoo from the oldest and last mambabatok or hand-tap artist in the Philippines. She’s from the Butbut tribe that has inhabited the Kalinga province for many years.

​Wrapping It Up

The Philippines has a lot of interesting things to offer, but the most unique thing about this country is the hospitality of the Filipinos. Wherever you come from, the friendly locals will give you a warm welcome in their small villages. You can ask for directions and they will do their best to help you get to your destination.

Blue lagoons, giant limestone caves, white sand beaches, rocky mountains, majestic waterfalls, awe-inspiring active volcanoes, enchanting underwater rivers, historical sites, delicious exotic foods, and unforgettable experiences, name it and this tropical paradise located in the Pacific Ocean will give you everything you want in a memorable vacation. There are more than 7,000 beautiful islands to explore so make sure to plan your trip before booking a flight to the Philippines.

Honeyj So

As a content writer/journalist, I write about people, places, cultures, innovations, and experiences. Since 2014, I create engaging content that focus on brand awareness as well as fun learning.


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